Ko Huiarau Media Release
From Ko Huiarau Office
P.O Box 68 645, Newton,
Auckland. Ph. (09) 276 1876
Prepared by Mary Mahinarangi Forbes.
6 March 2000.
Saturday 4 March, 4.30 am. Over a thousand people gathered at the Velodrome in Manukau Auckland to celebrate a much awaited dawn ceremony of karakia (prayers), flag raising and powhiri (welcome) before witnessing certification to representatives of various tribal areas for their involvement in the newly reconvened Ko Huiarau Parliament..
Ko Huiarau or Te Runanga Ko Huiarau met first in 1808, but officially in 1816. It existed early last century and was formed as a tribal alliance to protect Maori interests when Europeans started coming to New Zealand in greater numbers. It operated as a forum until 1947 when it went into recess due to lack of resources.
Ko Huiarau is autonomous, and has structures; history and authority still in place. It operates under Maori Customary Law, because it existed long before the Treaty of Waitangi was even in place. It is an alternative platform for all New Zealanders to have their voice heard and is empowered to pass legislation.
The people brought Ko Huiarau out of recess on the 28 October 1997. The reason for such a move was that those who represent the 'grass roots' or the ordinary people had become dissatisfied with the present system and its dysfunctional role. The fact that Maori continue to suffer at a socio-economic level today was good enough reason to consider the re-establishment of structures outside of the current system that had proved to work.
The Elections were held on the 18th Dec 1999, with the results published on the 26 January 2000. Two months later on Saturday 4th March, Warrants were issued to forty-three Members of Ko Huiarau Parliament and Runanga Representatives including Maori and non-Maori, for their first eighteen-month term in Parliament. The MP's agreed that their first Parliament sitting will be on May 1st 2000, and up until that time shall be involved back in their Electorate informing the people of the policies of Ko Huiarau and promoting more electoral registrations for the next Election to be held on Sept 1st 2001.
The Taiopuru officially handed the Ko Huiarau Parliament Charter to the Chairman of the Parliament Chris Ruka of Kahungunu Rima ki Te Atiawa South Electorate to install in the newly reconvened Parliament. The Parliament building will be situated in South Auckland, which adheres to the 1860 Covenant of Kohimarama, whereby 700 acres was gifted by the hapu/iwi at Kohimarama, Auckland and agreed to by all the tribes to be used for the purpose of a Maori Parliament and tribal houses. Five hundred pounds in gold had been paid by the Chiefs to the Crown to erect the buildings. The Crown however forfeited the gold and entrusted the land to the Church of England who on sold it illegally. Ko Huiarau will focus on preparing the Parliament for the Parliamentarians first sitting on May 1st 2000.