Letter to the Dominion
Letter to the Editor 8 March 2000
Saturday 4 March, 4.30 am. Over a thousand people gather at the Velodrome in Manukau Auckland to celebrate a much awaited dawn ceremony, before witnessing certification to representatives of various tribal areas for their involvement in the newly reconvened Ko Huiarau Parliament, an ancient parliamentary structure originally set up in 1808.
Overhead an eclipse moon with a lone star stands out clearly in the sky on a balmy early dawn, the atmosphere is serene as the magical moment passes from dawn to sunrise. To Maori this is the most sacred time of the day; it is believed that the ancestors walk with you at this bewitching time.
The rest of the day is a matter of procedure; in fact many leave after the powhiri. Those remaining taking their seats in the Velodrome where the official issuing of certification is to be begin. It makes no difference that the Velodrome was built for the Commonwealth Games in 1990, for Maori are aware that early Colonists illegally took the land where the venue is situated in the 1800's anyway.
Saturday 4 March, 7.00 am. A perturbed young male Caucasian (pakeha) Maori Affairs Reporter boards a plane for Auckland at Wellington airport amongst the hustle and the bustle. This is the same day as the America's cup ticket tape celebration and thousands of people are heading to the city of sails for the occasion. Instead of joining the festivity in Auckland, or staying home to enjoy a weekend off, or hang out with his mates, this Reporter has instead been instructed to work this weekend and attend some boring Maori event in Auckland to gather data. He arrives at the Velodrome about 8.30am after the most important part of the programme has finished and struggles to pick up the threads of what had taken place.
Through Caucasian eyes he experiences a strange scene and a scalding hot sun, Maori saw a beautiful day ahead blessed by the sun. He sees only a Boeing 767 fly overhead; Maori saw a Boeing 767 and a soaring Hawk. He sees a longhaired Maori person, Maori saw a Taiopuru. He sees middle-aged soldiers dressed in ill-fitting white uniforms; Maori saw a proud representation of seasoned warriors. He sees Mongrel Mob members present, Maori saw and welcomed whanau and other hapu members. He sees a threat that people have their own God to swear allegiance to, Maori respect that all nationalities have their own interpretation of God. He sees a threat in swearing an allegiance to the Taiopuru Ko Te Riria V, but fails through his ignorance in understanding the Maori language that part of the sworn allegiance is also to 'Te Kotuku Rerenga Tahi' meaning 'the lone flight of the white heron' being the title gifted to Queen Victoria on signing of the Treaty Of Waitangi, and that same title today is bestowed on her descendant Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11.
Monday 6 March. Front page of the Dominion, 'Maori Parliament asks Supporters for money'. In one sweep of the pen the media attacks something precious to Maori and assists a prejudice Caucasian reporting on Maori Affairs to immorally twist information to suit his own story and incite negative interest at the expense of thousands of people including non Maori who believe in Ko Huiarau. Could it be that this whole fiasco of a vicious media attack on Ko Huiarau has been orchestrated by powers behind the scene; could it be that these powers are threatened that Ko Huiarau may rise to the aspiring heights that it once was last century; could it be that the resources belonging to Maori help uphold these powers, and that by the return of these resources to their rightful owners will be the downturn of the powers that be; finally, could it be that these very powers are those who control and manipulate the media. Consider this quote from T. St John Gaffeney in Breaking the Silence and stated in 1953 by John Swinton, the former Chief of staff of the New York Times; "We are the tools and the vassals of the rich behind the scenes. We are the marionettes. These men pull the strings and we dance. Our time, our talents, our capacities are all the property of these men. We are intellectual prostitutes."
Mary Mahinarangi Forbes