Te Putatara
a newsletter for the kumara vine

Issue No 2/99 - 5th December 1999 ISSN 0114-2097

"...you can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?"

- Kahlil Gibran

"Te Putatara" is a webzine by Te Aute Publications, P.O.Box 408, Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand. Edited by Ross Nepia Himona. "Te Putatara" is published on the World Wide Web at http://maorinews.com/putatara

At that URL all the back issues of "Te Putatara" have been indexed and are searchable.

Copyright: Ross Nepia Himona. Feel free to print, copy and re-transmit but please acknowledge source.


Putatara! Putatara!
Ki te whaiao, ki te ao-marama,
Tihei mauriora!

E nga iwi o te motu, e nga hau e wha
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

And let the trumpet sound,
"Putatara! Putatara!"
To signal your emergence
Into the dawn light,
The broad light of day.

I sneeze, there is life!

To the people of the land, of the four winds
Greetings, greetings, I greet you all.




a new government
Maori return to Labour, will Labour return to Maori?
old minds with new programs, or new minds with no programs
the kumara vine whispers
hoppity skippety jump
treaty analysis, and gap or disparity analysis
Paerangi: Maori boarding schools update
book review: "The Story of B" by Daniel Quinn
publish your own writing online
what's new in the "Hawaiki to Hawaiki website"
you can have your say too, leave your comments in the guestbook
and don't forget to subscribe to "Te Putatara"



a new government


We didn't vote very tactically did we? A bit of a stampede back to Labour really. But that's OK, the electorate gave Maori MPs a loud message about accountability, and we still got sixteen Maori MPs (or 13% of the House).

Georgina Beyer (Lab) Mita Ririnui (Lab) Winston Peters (NZF)
John Tamihere (Lab) Tariana Turia (Lab) Ron Mark (NZF)
Parekura Horomia (Lab) Joe Hawke (Lab) Donna Awatere (ACT)
Nanaia Mahuta (Lab) Sandra Lee (All) Clem Simich (Nat)
Dover Samuels (Lab) Willy Jackson (All) Georgina Te Heuheu (Nat)
Mahara Okeroa (Lab)    

Then there is Steve Chadwick (Lab), married to a Maori, who might be relied upon to support them.

So the eleven Maori MPs in Labour and the Alliance now hold the balance of power.

Have they got the guile and the guts to wield that influence. Will they stand up to the Government whips, and not just become lobby fodder. And if they do wield that influence, have they got the vision to wield it wisely, or are they just old minds with new programs.



Maori return to Labour,
will Labour return to Maori?


"And in the regions there is dismay, as people fear they will not be able to find new jobs in areas already badly affected by unemployment. Once again Maoridom is hit. A colleague recently stated:

"The reality is that in situations of economic change, Maori people are hit first, hit the hardest, and hit the longest.""

"Te Putatara", Issue No 05/88, 6 May 1988


This was the legacy of the last Labour government to the Maori people.

Massive unemployment, leading on to the poverty, helplessness, cynicism, apathy, despair and rage that still beset many or even most Maori communities. The consequent poverty, helplessness, cynicism, apathy, despair and rage is manifested in increased welfare dependency, poor health, inadequate housing, unrealised educational potential, uncceptable rates of suicide, and increasing but entirely understandable and predictable levels of crime.

Eleven plus years after I wrote that article, the Maori people are still being hit. Hit first, hit hardest, and hit longest. In fact, government policy in that intervening period has done nothing but entrench the economic position of the Maori people at the bottom of a heartless society, driven by individual greed cloaked as economic policy and political manifesto.

"I've noticed that there's a sure way to tell how unequally a society divides its assets: the more concentrated the wealth and the more violent the society's dominators, the more prisons there are."

Thom Hartmann, "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight",
p 154, 1999, Bantam Books, Australia & New Zealand.

The prevailing economic policy amounts to little more than political manifesto or ideology, in drag. At its heart, the practice of economics is ideology, and its purpose is to divide society's assets or wealth, according to the priorities of those in control of the levers of economic and political power.

They dress it up in academic and intellectual finery and rhetoric, but that's all economics is.

The prevailing ideology has achieved little more for Maori than to lay the blame on its victims. When governments have professed to be concerned about the plight of Maori people, policy has focused on the symptoms (i.e. the so-called disparities) rather than the causes. Policy has created a Maori problem, instead of seeking out and addressing the deep, underlying systemic causes of those disparities.

[Institutional racism remains one of those deep, underlying causes.

Even deeper down is the premise of a destructive culture that for 10,000 years has been hell bent on exterminating or using up all indigenous cultures, all "economic" indigenous flora and fauna, all other "non-economic" species of flora and fauna, the micro and macro-ecosystems of the world, and ultimately the world itself.

That single totally destructive premise is that the world was made for man, and man was made to conquer and rule it.]

What government policy has achieved since 1984 is to deliver all the wealth of the nation into the hands of those business and political elites who remain in Aotearoa / New Zealand, and into the hands of faceless offshore "investors". What it has achieved is to pander to, and become hostage to, the world's largest casino, euphemistically called the "international financial markets". A totally unproductive financial sector now drives the New Zealand economy. It creates individual riches for the elites, but absolutely no community wealth.

The productive, job-creating, wealth-creating sector has been systematically destroyed or sold off as a result of governments' policy-ideology.

And there is still no place for most Maori people in that society.

On election night Helen Clarke thanked the Maori people for returning all the Maori electorates to Labour. Will Labour now return to the Maori people?

Can Labour survive without Maori?
Can Maori survive without Labour?



old minds with new programs, or
new minds with no programs


In trying to address some of the inequalities, Tau Henare often boasted about the amount of money he was able to get out of a Tory cabinet for his programs.

No doubt the new Labour Minister for Maori Affairs will set about the same budget-building and program-building and structure-building and empire-building agenda, and he or she (or they) will no doubt be quite successful at setting up new programs.

The present CEO of Te Puni Kokiri, Professor Ngatata Love, is a programs man from way back. And I'm quite certain, that as a long-time member and former senior office holder in the Labour Party, Ngatata Love will already have had some influence on the development of the Labour Party's Maori Affairs policy. And it will likely be program based.

And they won't work. Those of us who have too long been tied up in program delivery should know that by now. Programs don't work.


Daniel Quinn has a few observations about programs:

"Programs make it possible to look busy and purposeful while failing. If programs actually did the things people expect them to do, then human society would be heaven: our governments would work, our schools would work, our law enforcement would work, our penal systems would work, and so on.

"When programs fail (as they invariably do), this is blamed on things like poor design, lack of funds and staff, bad management, and inadequate training [been there, heard that!]. When programs fail, look for them to be replaced by new ones with improved design, increased funding and staff, superior management, and better training. When these new programs fail (as they invariably do) this is blamed on poor design, lack of funds and staff, bad management, and inadequate training.

"This is why we spend more and more on our failures every year. Most people accept this willingly enough, because they know they're getting more every year: bigger budgets, more laws, more police, more prisons - more of everything that didn't work last year or the year before that or the year before that.

"If programs don't work, then what does work? In fact I have an even better way of asking the question: What works so well that programs are superfluous. What works so well that it never occurs to anyone to create programs to make it work?

"The answer to all these questions is: vision."

Daniel Quinn, "Beyond Civilization - Humanity's Great Adventure",
pp 9 -10, 1999, Harmony Books, New York.


Te Puni Kokiri is already a repository for old minds with new programs up their sleeves.

Will the new Minister for Maori Affairs be an old mind with new programs? Or a new mind with vision?

Labour and Alliance pre-election promises
Labour Cabinet members - News 3 December 1999



the kumara vine whispers


that Professor Ngatata Love's contract as Chief Executive Officer of Te Puni Kokiri will not be renewed. But don't hold your breath - he's very well connected in the Labour Party. Very very well connected.



hoppity skippety jump


I did vote. I did.

Hard case really. Before election day I got a number of emails; some telling me that I'd described exactly how they felt and voted, some thanking me for giving them a voting system.

And after the elections, there were those who told me that they'd used my system in the polling booth. You fullahs are gullible you know!

But I have to confess, on the day, I didn't use my own system. I decided to place all my faith in the divine inspiration system. So I strolled into that little cardboard booth whare, and I let my hand pick up the pen thing, and I let the divine powers guide my hand and make those ticks.

And before you could say "hoppity skippety jump" it was done. The fastest vote in Te Tai Tonga. E hoa ma, I reckon I must have created a new record for voting.

And I thought of all you poor fullahs all over the motu, standing in those little cardboard booth whare, struggling to work out who to vote for. And I had a bit of a giggle thinking about you fullahs trying to use my Rules for Voting.

But most of you voted Labour eh. So I suppose the laugh's on me.

So how did I vote? Well, that's between me and the divine. But I noticed that my divinely guided hand still seemed to observe most of my rules for voting ( see last issue ).

Afterwards I looked to see if there was a Maori Green Party (Brown Greens) but there wasn't any, so I couldn't have voted for them anyway.

Do you think we should start a Brown Green Party? Or a Green Brown Party? We could set up an alliance with the White Green Party, make a clean sweep of the Maori electorates, combine our party vote with the White Greens and take about 10 to 15% of the seats in the House.

Fantasy, fantasy, hoppity skippety jump.



Treaty analysis, and
gap or disparity analysis


Maori must retrieve the policy debate from Government and the helping professionals.

disparity analysis (or gap analysis)

For some time I have been writing about the way Te Puni Kokiri is creating a "Maori problem" by focusing its analysis on the gap between Maori and non-Maori in education, health, employment, criminality, and a range of other areas.

This started in the '50s with the Department of Maori Affairs "Hunn Report", and was re-visited by Winston Peters with his "Ka Awatea" report. It was resurrected by Tau Henare in a Te Puni Kokiri report. Maori Affairs policy seems to focus almost entirely on the eradication of these "gaps" or "disparities".

"the power to label people deficient and declare them in need is the basic tool of control and oppression in modern industrialized societies of democratic and totalitarian persuasions. The agents with comprehensive labelling power in these societies are the helping professionals. Their badge bestows the caring authority to declare their fellow citizens "clients" - a class of deficient people in need."

John McKnight, "The Careless Society, Community and its Counterfeits", p 16, 1995, Basic Books, New York.

By focusing Maori Affairs policy on the so-called disparities, Te Puni Kokiri sets up the conditions for the continued colonisation of the Maori people; by other government departments, and by an army of public servants and helping professionals. These latter day colonisers need a "Maori problem" to justify their own existence.

It also allows governments to focus attention on a "Maori problem", and to deflect attention from the true problems of the continuing failure of its health, education, welfare, justice and employment programs for all New Zealanders.

Te Puni Kokiri, and its predecessors, have been agents of the state in helping to create this dependency of the Maori people on the colonising professions.

treaty analysis

From the time of the last Labour government and its Treaty principles, and through the later work of Te Puni Kokiri in developing a Treaty analysis framework for Maori Affairs policy, the government has also colonised the Treaty, and redefined it as a policy instrument.

In that process the true nature of the Treaty of Waitangi as a political document of immense constitutional importance has been sidelined and ignored.

moving on

These government defined analyses, Disparity Analysis and Treaty Analysis, have become so deeply ingrained that all policy, and most debate, is defined by them.

What must be done?

In the 1970s the debate and the initiative were siezed by the so-called protest movement, led by Nga Tamatoa and others. Since then both the debate and the initiative have slowly but inexorably been appropriated by government and its agents.

Since 1984 we seem increasingly to be left only with the protest, reacting against agendas set by others.

So it seems to me that we must move on, reclaim the debate and the initiative. To do that we must redefine the territory, in order to fight on ground of our own choosing, to use a military analogy.

For instance, it is well and good to fight against the debilitating effects of globalisation, the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, APEC, and other manifestations of the reigning Washington Consensus ideology. But they are just manifestations or symptoms.

We need to dig out the deeper issues, and the underlying premises, and attack those. You can't win by fighting these structures and their policies, for they are the heavy protective armour of the underlying ideology. And it is the underlying ideology and its premises that are weak and vulnerable.

And at the Aotearoa / New Zealand level we must also shift the debate from the program delivery level to the political level. Shift the debate from disparity analysis and Treaty analysis to the Constitution. Challenge the underlying assumptions of New Zealand's particular form of constitutionless democracy.

The reason why politicians defend the "unwritten constitution" is that if Aotearoa / New Zealand were to adopt a formal written constitution, then the issues of Tino Rangatiratanga / self determination would have to be addressed.

On the way to that we could also resurrect the struggle against the underlying institutional racism in this country (including constitutional racism). That too has been sidelined by the focus on disparity analysis and Treaty analysis.

We need to once again make it their problem rather than our problem.





"Hit your opponent as hard as you can, as fast as you can, where it hurts him most, and when he's not looking."

This boxing analogy was given to the young army officer who later became Field Marshal Sir William Slim, who at the high point of his operational career commanded the forces who overcame the Japanse in Burma in World War 2. Slim was required reading when I was a young army officer, I have never forgotten this down-to-earth lesson, given to him by a seasoned senior enlisted man.

Compare this with the teachings of a Chinese master strategist:

"Attack where they are unprepared, act when they least expect it".

"To make sure you attack where there is no defense is what is crucial to warriorship ... "

- Sun Bin, circa 350 BCE
(great grandson of Sun Tzu)

In the struggle against the guardians of the dominant world culture my experience tells me that if he's ain't listening, he ain't hurting. And if he ain't hurting you're wasting your time.



Paerangi: Maori boarding schools update


Many of you will know that for over two years now the Maori Boarding Schools have been working with Ministry of Education on a schooling improvement project. Its aims are to improve school performances, and to increase the rolls.

Paerangi is the runanga formed by the eight schools to work with the Ministry of Education. The schools are Hato Petera, Queen Victoria, St Stephens, Hukarere, St Josephs, Te Aute, Hato Paora and Turakina.

During the time of the Paerangi project there have been many rumours and much conjecture about schools closing or amalgamating. At this time there is no intention to close any school, or to amalgamate.

However the Queen Victoria and St Stephens Trust Board and the Ministry of Education have recently started a feasibility study to determine what might be the best way forward for those two schools. There are many options and they are clear that continuation of both schools is the most desirable option, whether or not they are moved to a joint site, wherever that may be.

No decisions have been made, and the findings of this feasibility study are not likely to be implemented before 2001.

ERO reports from the first two years of the project have shown that there has been steady improvement in performance at all eight schools. Reports from the schools also indicate that rolls are likely to increase next year.

Now that this steady and ongoing improvement has been put in place, the Paerangi runanga is looking at a range of future options for the schools to co-operate, to place them once again at the forefront of Maori education, and to play a leading role in any Maori education strategy.

[I should confess I suppose, that I chair the Paerangi runanga - Ross Himona]



book review:
"The Story of B, an adventure of the Mind and Spirit" by Daniel Quinn
1996, Bantam Books, New York.


"The Story of B" is a continuation of the journey begun in "Ishmael". It adopts a similar teacher / pupil scenario in which we the readers become the pupils and are challenged to think about the unquestioned beliefs and assumptions that have shaped the world's dominant culture over the past 10,000 years.

Father Jared Osbourne is sent by his Order on a mission to Europe, to uncover a possible candidate for the mantle of Antichrist. His Order's covert centuries-old mandate is to know before all others of the existence of an Antichrist, and to suppress or destroy him.

Father Jared discovers that the man who is known only as "B" is quietly teaching the forgotten and hidden history of the world, and man's imprint upon the world. In unraveling the beliefs and assumptions on which the dominant culture has been built, B inevitably challenges the foundations of the Christian Church.

After penetrating the inner circle of B's disciples, Father Jared becomes the chosen disciple.

The subsequent adventures will keep you guessing until the end.

One of the fascinating ideas propounded by Quinn is that 10,000 years ago this dominant culture was the first to put food under lock and key. This struck me as the first and most blasphemous privatization of communal property, which has ultimately led to all the inequalities and inequities of the present global economic order.

The privatization of food. The extinction of all other cultures' communal property rights to food.

Another insightful idea is the basis of today's dominant form of agriculture:

"One particular style [of agriculture] that has been the basis of our agriculture from its beginnings ten thousand years ago to the present moment - the basis of our culture and found in no other. It's ours, it's what makes us us. For its complete ruthlessness toward all other life-forms on this planet and for its unyielding determination to convert every square meter on this planet to the production of human food. I've called it totalitarian agriculture."

"Totalitarian agriculture is based on the premise that all the food in the world belongs to us."

- The Story of B, p259-60


Believe me, you'll enjoy "The Story of B"



Publish your own writing online - FREE

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The way it works is that the site aims to attract advertisers and will display banners with your work. you will be paid 70% of the advertising revenue that is generated by your readers who click through to an advertiser. This is not a get rich quick scheme you understand, and not even a get anywhere near rich scheme, but it is an opportunity to publish online without building your own website.

To make any advertising revenue you will need to online market your own work.




what's new in the website
"from Hawaiki to Hawaiki"

There's an essay by Jodi Ranford of Auckland College of Education about how the Pakeha came to be called pakeha

And there's a big new section for the original Victor Company RNZIR (Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment) 1967. This was the first NZ infantry unit into Vietnam, and as part of that first unit I felt it was high time that they were acknowledged and honoured. What brought it on was the recent deployment of Victor Company 1st Battalion RNZIR into East Timor; once again after 32 years, the first company deployed, in the first operational deployment of NZ infantry since Vietnam.


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