Newsletter for The Kumara Vine
P.O.Box 408, Wellington, New Zealand
ISSN 0114-2097 - Special Issue 31 July 1989
Kia hiwa ra! Kia hiwa ra!
Kia hiwa ra i tenei tuku!
Kia hiwa ra i tera tuku!
Kia hiwa ra! Kia hiwa ra!
E nga waka, e nga mana
E nga iwi o te motu, e nga hau e wha
E nga manu korero i runga o nga marae
Whakarongo ki te tangi a te manu e karanga nei
"Tui, tui, tuituia!"
Tuia i runga, tuia i raro
Tuia i roto, tuia i waho
Tuia i te here tangata
Ka rongo te po, ka rongo te po
Tuia i te kawai tangata i heke mai i Hawaiki nui
I Hawaiki roa, i Hawaiki pamamao,
I hono ki te wairua, ki te whai ao, ki te Ao Marama.
E koro ma, e kui ma, rau rangatira ma
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
This special edition is a report to those who contributed towards the work of a steering committee to investigate ways and means of forming a uniting organisation for Maoridom. The steering committee was appointed at Turangawaewae in May 1988. It met a few times but due to a lack of funds did not persist as a formal committee.
A few organisations contributed amounts up to $1000 each and some individuals contributed. However the initial costs of hui at Waahi and Turangawaewae were quite large. In April it was also decided to respond to "He Tirohanga Rangapu" with a national awareness campaign. This consumed the remainder of contributors funds.
Those who persisted in this work eventually decided to form The Maori Alliance and to work towards establishing a financially independent national organisation. The major activity throughout 1988 was to continue the publication of the newsletter "Te Putatara" which I had privately started in January 1988. Throughout 1988 the newsletter was paid for by koha. By December 1989 it had become so widely read that I had to convert it into a commercial enterprise so that the demand for it could continue to be met.
Those initial contributors to the work of The Maori Alliance Steering Committee have continued to receive "Te Putatara" as Life Subscribers. Although the newsletter is not the official voice of The Maori Alliance it still serves that organisation, as well as a much wider readership known as The Kumara Vine.
In the course of our investigations and experiences over the last eighteen months we have come to many conclusions about the formation of a national Maori organisation. And in the meantime a new initiative has been taken to achieve the same end. This is the Maori Congress which has had one hui at Turangi, and is to meet again at Ratana Pa on 12 August 1989.
I have therefore decided to publish this special newsletter as a report to those who have contributed to The Maori Alliance, and to share the lessons we have learned with those who are forging the new organisation.
The single most important step in the formation of any organisation is the kaupapa.
The kaupapa will determine who will join, who will pay to join, what the structure of the organisation will be, and whether the organisation will survive the initial enthusiasm of its founders.
A kaupapa which seeks to unite the iwi into a single national organisation must therefore be designed to serve the interests of all iwi, and more importantly to minimise the conflicts which will arise between iwi from time to time. Conflicting claims and cross-claims before the Waitangi Tribunal show that the Treaty itself is not necessarily a uniting factor.
In seeking a kaupapa which will achieve what I demand of it I have made a single important assumption:
to be Maori is to belong to whanau, hapu, and iwi.
On the other hand, one of the main strategies of the power culture has been to eradicate tribal association in order to more completely absorb/assimilate us. Complete unification under the one "Maori" mantle will not work for us, but will rapidly deliver us into the clutches of the Pakeha.
This is the kaupapa:
Toi te hapu, toi te iwi, toi te mana:
te mana wairua, te mana whenua, te mana tangata.
Ka whawhai tonu ake! Ake! Ake!
The recommended kaupapa would focus the efforts and resources of a national organisation on the needs of the people, rather than the needs of the organisation itself, or on the needs of a few who might seize control of the organisation. This is the one thing that all iwi are themselves concerned to ensure.
All other issues in Maoridom stem from this single kaupapa.
Who should belong? The simple and politically correct answer is that the iwi (all of them), represented by their rangatira, should be the only members. However Maoridom today is too diverse for that simple solution.
Most Maori are rangatahi.
Half of Maoridom is female (to state the obvious). Since the coming of tauiwi they have been relegated by Maori men to a much inferior status, compared to the days of old. In many ways our women have been forced into the roles and status formerly occupied by slaves. If we are to restore te mana Maori, we must first restore te mana wahine.
Most Maori live in the cities.
Many of the rangatahi (and many of their parents) in the cities do not know their whakapapa, and therefore do not necessarily support the iwi.
Many Maori have a greater affiliation to their church, their sports club, or their gang, than to their iwi.
Many Maori have very little to do with anything Maori, let alone their iwi.
Rangatahi, Maori women, and city Maori, must be included within a national organisation. To insist that they are solely represented by traditional, elderly, male, iwi leadership is to deny both traditional and modern reality. To deny reality is to court defeat even before the organisation gets off the ground.
One of the biggest threats to the iwi is and has always been the Department of Maori Affairs/Iwi Transition Agency. One has only to look at the evidence of the last three years to see the antagonism of many Maori to the Iwi Authorities, and their pleas to Government to retain the Department.
The Department, and the "rangatira" in it, have worked among the city Maori for many years, steadily eroding the mana of the iwi and building their own. Even since the publication of "He Tirohanga Rangapu", their strategy has been to give way to the iwi in rural areas, but to keep control of the cities, where most Maori live anyway.
Hence in Rotorua the Arawa Maori Trust Board had its cash-flow cut off, in Hamilton the Tainui Maori Trust Board had some of its cash-flow cut and Te Runanga O Kirikiriroa has dis-affiliated. In Auckland the Tamaki Maori Development Authority suffered a similar fate. At Wellington the Department set up a bogus Runanga under the mantle of Ikaroa District and attempted to force Te Runanganui O Te Upoko O Te Ika to hand over MANA and MACCESS. In Christchurch and other southern cities the Department has actively attempted to reduce the influence of the Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Board.
By concentrating on and capturing the major cities Maori Affairs/ITA senior staff intend to keep control of most of Maoridom.
The reality is, provision MUST be made for these groups to be represented under the mantle of the iwi, for if they are not they will be drawn into the net of the Pakeha. They could even become hostile to the iwi and their national organisation. The iwi will not survive for another two generations unless they actively seek the support of city Maori and church Maori, and actively counteract the efforts of Maori Affairs/ITA and other departments.
I believe the reclamation of our people to be the priority issue for a national organisation, and for all iwi.
IN PURSUING THE INDIVIDUAL ISSUES OF LANGAUAGE, HEALTH, EMPLOYMENT, JUSTICE, LAND, FISHERIES ETC, THE IWI ARE IN DANGER OF LOSING THEIR MOST PRECIOUS RESOURCE; HE TANGATA, HE TANGATA, HE TANGATA. MOST OF THEM ARE RANGATAHI AND THEY ARE IN THE CITIES.