Te Putatara a newsletter for the kumara vine
Issue No 3/00 - 15th March 2000 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.
Ki te whaiao, ki te ao-marama,
E nga iwi o te motu, e nga hau e wha
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
And let the trumpet sound,
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.
te whare miere, house of honeyed deceit
old minds with new programmes: health and & rangatiratanga
gap analysis, a different view
a political reason for gap analysis
the scourge of sociopathic leadership
nga pitopito korero mo Ko Huiarau
the real Maori parliament: 1892 - 1902
lessons from the Maori parliament and similar movements
new minds with vision
letters to the editor
what's new in the website
you can have your say too
Much of the analysis being explored in Te Putatara at the moment is part of an attempt to re-appraise the whole area of Maori development, or Maori advancement; political, cultural, social and economic. It involves critical questioning of many of the concepts we have come to accept as truths. It involves analyses of our history, and the extraction of lessons from that history.
I'm also, in this issue, starting to explore some of the elements of a vision of where we might be 50 to 75 years from now.
Urban and rural hapu
In the last issue I questioned the historical truth of the hierarchical whanau, hapu and iwi concept. I maintain that it is largely a myth, a post-colonial construct.
All my research points to the indisputable fact that whanau and hapu were the cultural, political, social and economic units of society. And I think the way forward, if we are to retain Maori forms of organisation, rests with whanau and hapu.
In the urban areas, we should think of ourselves as hapu. Autonomous urban hapu, both tribal and multi-tribal. Those hapu will be politically, socially and economically autonomous, in all respects. Links to the rural homelands, and to the rural hapu, will be historical, cultural and genealogical, as it ever was.
That is the way of the past, and that too is the way of the future.
The determined attempts by politically and financially motivated "iwi" runanga, and corporate "iwi", to extend their hegemony out of their rural homelands into the cities, are doomed to failure. They are even doomed to failure within their own rohe, where many hapu will eventually re-assert their own autonomy.
The so-called "tangata whenua" in the cities, who are mostly outnumbered by immigrants from other areas, and by non "tangata whenua" who are born in the cities, will eventually cede their status and hegemony to the new hapu. That's the way it has always been.
Population projections are important. In this issue I begin to build a vision based largely on population projections for Maori and other Polynesians. Helen Clarke, quoted in the Dominion (13/3/2000, p2), said:
"National's long-term problem is that it polls terrible badly among Maori and Pacific Island people and it doesn't poll well among new ethnic minority communities. Now, project ahead 40, 50 years and those groups taken together are going to be pretty close to 50 per cent of the population."
And if she and Labour's strategists think that they'll retain the Maori and Pacific Island vote for another 50 years, they'd better think again. With those population numbers we will certainly ditch the Labour Party as well as the National Party. They will both become irrelevant.
My vision building exercise for a new Republic of Aotearoa goes a lot further than that. Read on.
In this issue I take a closer look at the reigning gap analysis paradigm; its fallacies and its undeclared purposes. I've used Health as an example of how the gaps are not all that they seem to be.
There's more about Ko Huiarau. I don't object to their attempt to build a new Kotahitanga, although I do think that they will collapse in a heap.
I object to their cynical falsification of history, in order to build a sense of mystery and mystique around themselves. I object to the lies and deception they employ, to imprison the hearts and minds of their members in the dreams of a false past; and to imprison their hopes and aspirations in the promises of false prophecy.
The Scourge of Sociopathic Leadership
You might find this interesting. It's not written about anyone in particular, but it's fun to idly muse about the people I know in high places who do fit the sociopathic profile.
te whare miere,
house of honeyed deceit
parliament, parliament, what a sadsack ol' outfit you are
making the public service accountable
On 28th February Helen Clarke announced that the "Closing the Gaps" cabinet committee (aka Ministers for Maori Affairs) had decided to increase the powers of Te Puni Kokiri to conduct accountability audits on all government agencies.
Public Service CEOs would also be held accountable for their performance in meeting Maori Affairs policy goals, including financial accountability through their annual bonuses.
The real question is this; who will do the accountability and performance audit on Te Puni Kokiri, and its CEO?
When will cabinet ministers personally be held politically and financially accountable for their failures in the area of Maori Affairs? And for their own racism. It is simply not good enough to shift the accountability and blame to the public service.
He Putahitanga Hou
This is the Maori policy document that is part of the Labour Party manifesto. It is essentially the policy blueprint that the government in Wellington intends to convert into programmes designed to close the gaps.
The problem is that it reads a bit like the Treaty of Waitangi - it can be interpreted in different ways, depending on whether you're Maori or Pakeha.
It seems already to be the cause of gaps in understanding between Maori and Pakeha cabinet ministers. Perhaps the "Closing the Gaps" cabinet committee should first of all close that gap.
the Maori caucus
They've been fairly quiet in the Maori caucus of the goverment in Wellington. "Big Hat no Cattle" Dover took a bit of flak in the House about whether he is the real Minister for Maori Affairs, and whether the other Maori ministers were trying to bowl him out of the portfolio.
Parekura Horomia coyly declared that he totally supported Dover and had no interest in replacing him as Minister for Maori Affairs. Well, at least not until Dover stuffs up and gets sacked anyway. Ne ra Parekura.
Dover has also had a falling out with his press secretary, Jodi Ihaka, and she's left his office, threatening to take a personal grievance against him. The kumara vine whispers that Dover tends to lose his cool around people who are brighter than he is. Unless their name is Helen Clarke, de facto Minister for Maori Affair.
Tariana Turia has on about three occasions issued media releases in which she seems to be attempting to create government policy through the media. Winston Peters played that dangerous game when he was Minister for Maori Affairs.
John Tamihere has also been very quiet since he made his stand and refused to vote for a government bill creating the Hauraki Marine Park. Interesting though, all the other Maori members voted for the bill.
This government seems determined to avoid a repeat of the public debacle that Tau Henare and his acolytes created around the last government. The Maori caucus has been very quiet.
the cat's away and the mice ain't playing
With Helen Clarke, the Minister for Everything including Maori Affairs, overseas in South America, Wellington is very quiet and well-behaved.
old minds with new programmes
health & rangatiratanga
What do I mean when I say that programmes never work. Let's look at health. It's an outstanding example.
The big money spinner for Maori providers in recent years has been "Health". While the focus on building Maori health provision through Maori providers is a great development, they shouldn't delude themselves that they are providing health.
Most of the $6 billion spent on health each year is not spent on health. It is spent on disease, and it is ultimately spent on the "health" professionals and "health" providers who minister to the diseased, and a chunk of that budget also goes to drug companies and medical supply companies. There is a huge disease industry, and it has a vested interest in disease.
It strikes me that the movement to create more Maori "health" providers is as much an economic development policy as a health policy.
In 1976 Ivan Illich wrote that "the medical establishment has become a major threat to health", in his book, "Limits to Medicine (Medical Nemesis, the Expropriation of Health)", Marion Boyars, London. His thesis was that they not only focused on disease instead of health, but that the medical establishment directly and indirectly caused a great deal of that disease.
Very little is spent on health, and health promotion, and health education. Yet all the research indicates that most of the degenerative diseases of the modern world are preventable diseases of an unhealthy lifestyle. About two thirds of all disease and disorder is preventable. We have known this for decades.
Yet governments continue to pour resources into "health" programmes, and ever-changing "health" structures. And the economic system greatly rewards the purveyors of unhealthy foods, and unhealthy lifestyles. None of it works for "health".
I posted this to the "Tino-Rangatiratanga" email discussion list recently:
"As many people have said before me in this tino rangatiratanga email list, tino rangatiratanga starts at home. For me it starts with my own body, and with my own health.
To me, to succumb to the Western lifestyle, including poor nutrition, too many harmful substances, and lack of exercise; and to accept the degenerative diseases that result from that lifestyle choice, is to surrender my tino rangatiratanga.
To me, to place my faith in western medicine to help me live slightly longer, with a much reduced quality of life, because I have allowed myself to succumb to that harmful lifestyle, is to surrender my tino rangatiratanga.
To me, to put my faith in my doctor to keep me healthy, instead of putting my faith in myself, and my own self-disciplined lifestyle, is to surrender my tino rangatiratanga.
So I choose to be vegetarian, I choose not to smoke, I choose not to drink alcohol, and I choose to exercise regularly. The way I see it, I choose tino rangatiratanga.
And if you choose the fatty steak, and the butter, [and the greasy boil-ups] and the rest, that's your choice, and you're absolutely entitled to choose.
But be aware that when you choose your lifestyle, you choose your state of health 20 or 30 or 40 years in advance. You choose whether or not to be a healthy kaumatua, or even whether or not you live to be kaumatua.
That's tino rangatiratanga at the personal level."
The vision of a healthy future gives you the best chance of a healthy future. Reliance on government "health" programmes will definitely not ensure a healthy future. The "health" programmes don't work. Vision does.
a different view
There is a phenonemom of the human mind, and of the collective human mind, called the mindset.
These days it is also called a paradigm, and we talk of paradigm shifts; a term coined in 1962 by Thomas Kuhn in his book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". Kuhn showed that in the scientific community, once a particular paradigm takes hold, it is extremely difficult to shift minds out of that paradigm, even when all the available evidence indicates that there should be a shift.
Kuhn's theory of the paradigm shift has since been applied across a wide range of disciplines.
For a long time now I have believed that research data, gathered from disparity or gap analysis, has been presented in a way that distorts reality, and that this presentation has induced a policy mindset that itself is a distortion of reality.
Every time I have tried to explain this to policy-makers they have resisted, and some have even become quite agitated. That's a normal reaction, for people will resist to the end any attempt to break them out of their mindsets.
One or two have seen my point though. Let me try it on you, using Health as the example. Here's a standard simplified presentation of Health statistics.
Non-Maori level of preventable
Maori level of preventable disease
This presentation shows quite clearly the "gap" between Maori and non-Maori health, and leads to policies designed to close the gap between the two, so that Maori and non-Maori health will hopefully reach the same levels.
But let's look at another way of presenting Health information.
Ideal level of preventable disease
Non-Maori level of preventable disease
Maori level of preventable disease
This gives us an entirely different perspective, based on essentially the same data, plus a bit extra. There is now another gap in the equation.
The question is this: Which gap should policy-makers focus on?
And I ask you this: Who's the idiot that suggested that we should aspire to the same high level of preventable disease as non-Maori?"
It was a long time ago, but whoever it was, we now have a policy mindset that is, in my opinion, based on a distortion of reality, simply created through the incomplete presentation of relevant data.
I contend that because all the focus goes onto the gap between Maori and non-Maori, we end up by creating a Maori problem, when in fact the real problem is a preventable disease problem.
And I can use the same presentation to draw similar conclusions about employment, education, and a range of other statistical indicators which lead to policies designed to close the wrong gaps.
Am I right, or am I porangi?
Well, I know I'm often porangi, but am I right?
"a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
- Max Planck, "Scientific Autobiography and other Papers", New York, 1949.
a political reason
for the gap analysis paradigm
In Government there has long been a game of budget building and empire building. Senior public servants play the game, and government ministers play the game.
Work and Income NZ has one of the largest budgets, and its CEO has one of the largest salaries. Te Puni Kokiri has one of the smallest budgets, and its CEO has one of the smallest salaries. When a government agency has a large budget, more of its senior staff get bigger salaries, and its minister has more clout in Cabinet.
Let's look at two gap analysis reports.
"Ka Awatea", prepared for Minister of Maori Affairs Winston Peters, was essentially a political document which aimed to increase the budget and the importance of the Maori Affairs portfolio, and consequently to increase the number of programmes (which never work) to be delivered by TPK. Its primary aim was not to provide a well-researched blueprint for Maori development.
The Gaps Report, prepared by TPK for Minister of Maori Affairs Tau Henare, had exactly the same aim. In this case, Ngatata Love, the CEO of TPK, had seriously run down the policy-making capacity of TPK, and focused almost entirely on building a political case to increase the budget and power of TPK. Gaps analysis under Ngatata Love has been a political device, and is not based on sound research and analysis. Professor Love has long been a budget and programmes man. They play the same game in the universities.
Sadly, gap analysis has now made the transition from political analysis to policy analysis.
To use a health analogy, it reminds me of the way that relatively harmless diseases in domesticated animals become serious epidemics when transferred into the human population.
the scourge of
(there is power in naming the behaviour)
Over the last twenty years I've been fascinated by the ability of psychopathic and sociopathic personalities to manipulate and con their way into leadership positions.
I've seen them at the top of Maori tribal and other Maori organisations, at the top of the public service, in the Parliament, in local government, in business, in the professions, and in religious organisations.
The terms 'psychopath' and 'sociopath' are interchangeable, and basically describe the same type of person. Such people are also described as having 'antisocial personality disorder'.
They are a very small percentage of the population, but they seem, out of all normal proportions, to congregate in Wellington. But they're out there in your hapu as well.
The pychopath or sociopath presents the appearance of sanity, and often has high intellectual ability. They are often charismatic people. Their personality disorder is often not discovered until they reach the top. Their life at the top tends to be shortlived, as they are found out under the pressure of responsibility. In many organisations however, they do manage to hold onto their power for prolonged periods, through intellectual ability, and / or manipulation and intimidation.
They thrive on power; inauthentic power over other people, instead of the authentic power over oneself that comes from deep within.
They have no 'within', no spiritual depth, although in the Maori world they often talk about it, claiming to be guided by the wairua, and by aroha for the people. They are often mean spirited beneath a veneer of warmness, friendliness, and commitment 'to the people', or 'to the iwi'. And many of them seem so 'nice', most of the time.
"Charming" is the word that most aptly describes so many of these people.
They're the people who smile in your face, flatter you, and knife you in the back. They can convince you that it was someone else who did it, or even that you knifed yourself in the back. On their way to the top, they will say whatever it takes to bring you down, gossip and rumour and malicious lies, so that they can step into your shoes, and walk over you.
They're the people who take the credit for other people's work, who take all the credit when things are going well, who refuse to accept responsibilty when things go wrong, and who lay the blame for their own failures on everyone around them.
They often lose their cool when challenged by their peers or underlings, sometimes displaying violent tempers and tantrums, or bullying. They are however submissive in the face of higher authority, reverting to their manipulative skills. Like bullies, who are also sociopaths, they are cowards when confronted head on, and when their behaviours are named.
They are dishonest, and pathological liars.
They are unethical and amoral, having no sense of right and wrong. What's right for them is right.
Many criminals suffer from this disorder. Tricksters and con-artists are all sociopaths, channelling their energies and talents into criminal manipulation of trusting and gullible people for financial or political gain. They take the art of lying and deception to the extreme.
But not all sociopaths are criminals. Some of them are your 'leaders'.
The sociopath exhibits all or many of the following characteristics:
Glibness/superficial charm. Grandiose sense of self-worth. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom Pathological lying Conning/manipulative Lack of remorse or guilt Callous/lack of empathy Pretended empathy with other people Parasitic lifestyle Poor behavioral controls Promiscuous sexual behavior Early behavior problems Lack of realistic, long-term plans Impulsivity Irresponsibility Failure to accept responsibility for own actions Many short-term marital relationships Juvenile delinquency Criminal versatility
I'm not going to name the specific people I have in mind here in the seat of power, as I write this article, but if you've been following the political news you'll recognise a couple of obvious sociopaths in high places (no, not Bill Clinton - he's in the USA).
I've got a couple of others in mind as well, up to some nasty business in the Maori political arena, who will be 'outed' in due course.
But in the meantime, take a good look at your own 'leaders'.
nga pitopito korero mo Ko Huiarau
(intercepted from the broom cupboard)
Mere: E Rapana, that was a nice hui eh?
Rapana: It was Merry. A brilliant day. Who were those three big guys you were talking to at lunchtime?
Mere: They said they were Jake and the Fat Man. I don't know who they were really, but they were asking lots of questions about Ko Huiarau. They were very nice.
Rapana: As long as you're careful Merry. We've got to watch out for spies you know. Someone's been leaking stuff to that Ross Himona who writes that scurrilous rag, Te Putatara. And I've heard that there's a fat cat called Koha Te Ngeru who does lots of spying for him. I heard that his spies are called the Broom Cupboard Brigade.
Mere: Well I don't think Jake and the Fat Man were spies Rapana. The three of them were really keen to join us.
Rapana: Well that's OK then. Just be careful. Well, the people all seemed happy, and they still believe in the cause, and they still believe in us as well. It's going really well Merry. Really well.
Mere: Yes, but there was a couple of those people who weren't very happy Rapana. They kept asking me when will the money come, so they can get funded for their hapu projects.
Rapana: Hapu projects. Most of them want to get themselves funded, not their tribe. That's why they believe what we tell them, and keep coming back, so they can get rich. Greed, Merry, greed. It works every time. So what did you say?
Mere: Same as usual, my darling, same as usual. You know, first of all we need to get the Parliament going, then as soon as we're recognised as a sovereign government, we can access the funding from the New Zealand government and the international organisations, and the other indigenous nations. Its already all set up. You think they're going to keep believing that Rapana?
Rapana: Of course they will Merry. They've believed everything else haven't they? You know what I keep telling you, the bigger the lie, the bigger the belief.
Mere: Like that King Kamehameha Trust one. That was a whopper Rapana, but they fell for it eh. They still think we're going to get heaps of money from the Hawai'ians.
Rapana: Or the one about being near to collecting on the trillion dollars in promissory notes issued last century.
Mere: Oh yes, a trillion dollars! That was an even bigger whopper. None of them know what a promissory note is Rapana, but our people won't ask in case they look stupid.
Rapana: And the one about funding from the United Nations, and from the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organisation. That was a good one telling them we set up a deal with Mike Moore. Nice touch that.
Mere: I see that Ariki Tu Wairangi Maui Dalvanius Prime put the one about the United Tribal Alliance Central Bank in his Piriwiritua website. About how they're funding us. What's that one again Rapana?
Rapana: It's just a tin-pot trust in Atlanta Georgia, but its got a link to the Swiss America Bank in Antigua. It's not really a bank but its good at ripping money off people. I know some people involved in that United Tribes ripoff. We could learn something from them Merry. Shall we take a trip to the Carribbean?
Mere: E hika. That would be nice Rapana. I'd love a holiday. Maybe one day. We must be going to run out of stories about funders one day Rapana.
Rapana: Never, they'll believe anything we tell them Merry. You know, I think that if we tell them that we've joined the Greater Inter-Galactic Council of Chiefs of the Universe they'd believe us. Why don't we try it?
Mere: E Rapana. they'd never believe that.
Rapana: Yes they would. Specially if we told them that they were sending a spaceship loaded with wealth and riches from all around the Universe, just for us to liberate and save the Maori people. They'd believe that Merry, same as they believe us every time we tell them we're getting funding from offshore. I think we might do that one day soon Merry.
Mere: E Rapana, you're a brilliant man you know.
Rapana: I know Merry, I know. You Maoris need a brilliant Pakeha to show you the way.
Mere: Ah well Rapana, its been a long day. Time for bed eh?
Rapana: Good idea my dear, good idea. And let's make love. I feel like making love.
Mere: Of course Rapana my love, just as soon as the spaceship comes.
the real Maori Parliament
1892 - 1902
Ko Huiarau makes claims that its runanga or parliament has been in existence since 1808, and went into recess in 1947. Ko Huiarau often claims that the real Maori Parliament which met from 1892 to 1902 was a Ko Huiarau parliament. They often use photographs and documents from the REAL parliament to support their false Ko Huiarau claims.
Let's look at the real history of the real Maori Parliament.
Tribal leaders met together at various venues from about 1885 to discuss the idea of a pan-tribal unity. In April 1892, at Waitangi, they formed Te Runanga o Te Kotahitanga mo Te Tiriti o Waitangi (definitely not Te Runanga o Kohuiarau) which led to the Maori Parliament later in 1892.
The Maori Parliament had its first session at Waipatu, near Hastings, in June 1892.
It met at Waipatu again in 1893, at Pakirikiri (near Gisborne) in 1894, at Rotorua in 1895, at Tokaanu in 1896, at Papawai (Wairarapa) in 1897 and 1898, at Waitangi in 1899, and at Rotorua in 1900 and 1901. Its final meeting was at Waiomatatini (Apirana Ngata'a marae) in 1902, when it was wound up.
The Maori Parliament drafted Bills which it then tried to have passed through the settler government in Wellington. The Government eventually responded with two new acts.
Apirana Ngata was closely involved in the parliament from 1897, and it was at his instigation that it closed in 1902, after the Goverment had passed the Maori Land Administration Act, and the Maori Councils Act. Ngata thought that the new Maori Councils, established by the Government, would continue the work of the Maori Parliament.
This was not a unanimous decision, as there were two broad factions in the Maori Parliament; those who advocated 'home rule' and who did not want to recognise the Government's authority in the tribal areas, and the "pro-government" faction that favoured working through the settler government. The pro-government leaders won the day.
Neither the 'home rule" nor the "pro-government" factions achieved what the the Maori Parliament was formed to achieve. And after the eventual failure of the Maori Councils, most political action became focused on the parliament in Wellington.
By his action in moving to close the Maori Parliament, Apirana Ngata and his pro-government supporters had virtually committed us all to trying to achieve what we wanted through the government in Wellington.
In the Kingitanga Movement in the Waikato, Tawhiao had also established Te Kauhanganui in 1892. They did try to unite Te Kauhanganui and Te Kotahitanga in 1892 and 1895, but to no avail.
Between 1905 and 1909 there were attempts to set up similar organisations, such as the Maori Union and the Maori Association, and the Kingitanga tried to unite everyone around them, but nothing really came of those efforts. The focus remained on the parliament in Wellington, and in 1935 Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana strengthened this focus by virtue of his deal to support the Labour Party.
Apart from the 28th Maori Battalion, the next pan-Maori organisation was the Maori Women's Welfare League in 1951, followed by the the Maori Council in 1962.
There is absolutely no unifying parliamentary thread running through all of this from 1808 to 1847. No Ko Huiarau. No pan-tribal organisation No pan-tribal ariki, no taiopuru. Nothing at all. Ko Huiarau's claims are false.
lessons from the Maori Parliament
and similar movements
Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou / Struggle and Protest
Don't ever, ever, rely on the parliament in Wellington, no matter how many Maori MPs there are in the government. They'll give you what they want to give you, not what you want, and need.
Don't ever give up the struggle against the parliament in Wellington, and the various political parties, no matter what lengths they go to to seduce you to cooperate with them.
The history of our struggle since colonisation can be seen as the ebb and flow of a tide, between protest against the coloniser, and cooperation with them. Very often, perhaps most often, the rise of a protest movement, such as the Maori Paliament or the Ratana Movement or the broad protest movement of the 1970s and 80s, will force the government in Wellington to meet some of our demands, but only on their terms. Then for a while we move into cooperative mode again.
Although we seem to make some gains during these periods of cooperation, we never ever get there. It's always the illusion of reform.
An interesting phenomenon is the way that many leaders in the protest phase also move with the times into cooperative mode. For instance, at the moment we have Donna Awatere-Huata, Joe Hawke and Tariana Turia; all in the parliament in Wellington.
"Closing the Gaps" is just another manifestation of the ebb and flow of the tide of protest and cooperation. And although the present government is putting a great deal of effort into this "Closing the Gaps" policy, and inducing a period of cooperation, it will surely be followed by disillusionment, and another round of protest.
In the present parliament in Wellington there are many Maori MPs in the government, all of them well intentioned. However, despite their good intentions, they are serving within the institution that is the enemy, and has always been the enemy. In the overall struggle, they are in cooperative mode, even though some of them may mount many protests within that institution.
Kotahitanga / Political Unity
The cycle of struggle, protest and cooperation, has been accompanied by many attempts to build political unity amongst the many hapu, and it has never been achieved. A few of the protest organisations reached a level of unity, but only for short periods.
Whenever governments in Wellington perceive a level of political unity and purpose being built between the hapu, they always move to buy off the threat to their own legitimacy, and to induce another period of cooperation.
In a few cases in earlier days, such as the protest movements started by Te Whiti, Te Kooti and Rua Kenana, they have moved to violently quell the protest.
Today, the struggle for unity must also include unity between the traditional rural hapu, with the new tribal and multi-tribal hapu in the cities, and with the tens of thousands of non-affiliated people out there in the Maori diaspora. It is not getting any easier.
Maybe we ought to give it away. Reinforcing failure is not a great strategy.
The fisheries debate is not doing a lot for political unity at the moment either. It's like a lolly scramble - everyone for themselves.
Maoritanga / Cultural Unity
Throughout all of this, the unifying thread in the struggle has been the effort to maintain a strong cultural unity amongst the Maori people. It has been much more successful than political unity.
In more recent times this has seen the rise of the Aotearoa Maori Performing Arts Festivals and Te Kohanga Reo movements, manifestations of the so-called Maori Renaissance of the latter half of the 20th Century.
But this movement to maintain cultural unity has had its ups and downs as well, with a great many of our people leaving behind their Maori identity to embrace the other culture.
They were enticed away in campaigns of concerted attempts to obliterate Maori cultural identity, beginning with the missionaries, who were experts at cultural obliteration, well practised through several hundred years of experience in other colonised lands. The missionaries were followed by the settler governments, and in particular by their educational system. They also passed specific laws designed to obliterate the culture, such as the Tohunga Suppression Act.
However, Maori cultural identity has survived the onslaught relatively intact, whereas Maori political, social and economic identity have not. We should note that the culture itself has been much polluted in the process, by many strands of European influence [this will be the subject of a future article]. Nevertheless the cultural identity has survived, quite strongly, as a unifying force.
This cultural unity has not brought about the much needed political, economic and social reforms in Aotearoa, that many have thought it would. It has however been the unifying thread in the overall struggle for rangatiratanga.
Ka whawhai tonu matou.
new minds with vision
What do I mean when I go on about old minds and their new programmes, and new minds with vision? I've been going on about it for months; well, once a month for months anyway.
When you look across the sweep of history these last 200 years, only one vision prevails. That vision is the vision of the coloniser; the relentless and never-ending effort to subdue, subjugate and submerge Maori culture beneath their own. Their early attempts were aimed at obliteration, and failing that, they have continued their efforts to subdue, subjugate and submerge.
Even today, "Closing the Gaps" policies will be framed within that vision, designing and building new programmes certainly, but always within the cultural framework, and within the cultural institutions, of the dominant culture. Old minds with new programmes.
It seems to me that we have never built a long-term vision for ourselves, of where we want to be, in say, fifty or a hundred years time.
Yearning to go back to a distant and romanticised past is not a vision. It's nostalgia. And it keeps us locked into the cycle.
It seems to me that we have been for the last 150 years or so, locked within their vision, struggling and protesting against it, and often cooperating in it. In reactive mode. We need to break out of it. The cycle of struggle and protest and cooperation is not something we ought to look forward to for the next 200 years.
What vision do I see then, 50 years on, or at the most, 75 years on.
A New Vision
I see a nation where Polynesian people outnumber all others, and where Aotearoa New Zealand is truly a Polynesian nation. I see that it is possible to achieve 51% of the population by 2050.
I see the many Polynesian peoples in this country joining together, as Maori, to bring this about. I see that already, Maori and other Polynesian people are beginning to inter-marry at an increased rate. I see this is beginning to bring us together as Maori, and is also replenishing the Polynesian / Maori gene pool.
I see a Republic of Aotearoa, with our own Head of State, or Council of State. Why should there just be the One. I see a written constitution which reflects the cultural identities and practices and laws of all citizens. I see a constitution which places all power in the hands of the citizens, and delegates to the governing runanga or congress or parliament only those powers that are necessary to ensure the good governance of the nation, and no more.
I see that the constitutional arrangements of the new Republic will be the exact opposite of those that prevail at the moment, where all sovereignty resides in the parliament in Wellington, and the citizenry has no formal power at all.
I see governing and judicial and legal systems where the culturally divisive, and adversarial and racist Westminster model has been cast aside. I see those systems re-built to meet the needs of a Polynesian nation.
I see a modern new economy built on ancient principles of social and environmental harmony, and peace and justice, designed for the common good, not just for the benefit of political and economic elites.
I see a nation which celebrates diversity, and honours the languages and cultures of all its citizens, equally. I see a nation whose every citizen proudly and fluently speaks both Maori and English, and at least one other language of the world around us.
I see a nation of strong spirit, facing outwards to that world, confident of its place in the world, on its own terms.
I see much more. I see that I haven't mentioned the Treaty of Waitangi. Dare I say it, but perhaps it might be redundant in my vision.
I see a constitutional and cultural revolution. I see that if we build the vision, and hold it uppermost in our collective consciousness, it will be achieved. I see that it can be achieved in the next 50 to 75 years.
All it takes is just a few people, with a powerful vision.
What do you see? Dare to build a vision.
Who will build the new vision?
Politicians will not. Politicians can not. Neither Maori nor Pakeha politicians.
Politicians have other imperatives, including their own political survival, and usually a slavish adherence to the status quo which provides their own status in life. Politicians are beholden to their parties, and to the party moguls, not to the citizenry. Politicians are driven by short term programmes aimed at short term political perceptions. Old minds with new programmes which in the end, never work.
It is the poets and artists and writers and performers who create the visions, and carry them into the hearts and minds and souls of the people. They are the new minds in every culture.
Like the rest of us, I think that so many of our artists have until very recently been trapped in the old paradigm of struggle and protest and cooperation. It's time for them to break out of that paradigm as well.
It is the poets and artists and writers and performers who are the vanguard of any revolution. The vision builders.
Old minds with new programmes keep us locked in the cycle. New minds with vision will set us free.
Release the poet within. Dare to build a vision.
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