Maori control over Maori frameworks – Why I advocate strongly for Kaupapa Maori

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Dr Leonie Pihama Dr Leonie Pihama

Was asked recently why I advocate so strongly for Kaupapa Maori and for Maori control over Maori frameworks. The question has also been asked recently by a Pakeha academic around who gets to determine the boundaries for kaupapa Maori? It’s simple. We do. For the past 200 years the majority  of our land has been stolen or taken through the use of foreign systems, structures & definitions, our language, culture, knowledge, practices and structures have been systematically subjucated, attacked and denied. Our voices and acts of struggle against oppression have, and continue to be actively targeted and suppressed in order to protect the interests of those who have benefited from such actions. All that we have now we have fought for. All that we have held within ourselves we have struggled for. For 200 years we have lived with other peoples definitions of who we are and…

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Reflections from Great Turtle Island II

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Dr Leonie Pihama Dr Leonie Pihama The Idle No More movement continues to gather momentum and Waitangi Day provided opportunities to join with Veronica Tawhai here, on Great Turtle Island, to share some thoughts and reflections on our experiences in Aotearoa.  The Idle No More movement grew from the desire of four Native women, Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdams, Sheelah McLean, and Nina Wilson to highlight the implications and impact of the Omnibus Bill C 45 on First Nations Peoples and its consequences more broadly for Papatuanuku.  The movement gained further inspiration and momentum though the courageous hunger strike of Chief of the Attawapiskat, Theresa Spence.  It has been clear that First Nations women have taken their role as protectors of this great Mother Earth and future generations and forged a movement that is now inspiring tens of thousands of people across Great Turtle Island.

Within Aotearoa groups of our people have worked to…

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Colonisation is an act of Genocide

Māori researcher Dr Leonie Pihama says the use of the term holocaust is an appropriate and valid description of the impact of colonial genocide on Māori. A Radio New Zealand panel featured Taranaki Māori academic Keri Opai using the word holocaust to describe colonisation for Māori. The NZ Jewish Council said his use of the term was “diminishing and trivialising of the Jewish Holocaust experience”. Dr Pihama says the NZ Jewish council are “basically incorrect” in their response. She states “The term holocaust refers to deliberate acts of genocide and ethnocide against groups of people, and that is exactly what occurred here in Aotearoa. There was a deliberate and planned process of colonisation that sought the extermination of our people. That is clear and well documented”.

United Nations conventions define genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group , as such: as killing members of the group;

(i) killing members of the group;

(ii) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(ii) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(iii) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(iv) forcibly transferring children of this group to another group

The definition of genocide by the United Nations is clearly one that reflects the experience of Māori people and there needs to be a greater awareness of the reality of the history of this country and of other Indigenous Nations. “There is clear historical evidence of acts of genocide that were undertaken by successive white settler Presidents in America. Hitler modelled many of his oppressive acts on the forced removal and murder of Native Amerian people and the imprisonment of thousands in concentration camps” states Dr Pihama.

Dr Pihama notes that Māori use of the term ‘holocaust’ should not be viewed as in any way diminishing the experience of Jewish people and others that were targeted by Hitler and Nazi Germany. She says clearly that Maori have always actively acknowledged that history and the impact of it. Dr Pihama explains “This is not about comparing experiences. The reference by Mr Opai is directed to the historical trauma and post traumatic stress experienced by our tupuna and generations of our people who continue to live with that impact on our own land”.

Professor Leonie Pihama (Te Atiawa, Ngati Mahanga, Nga Mahanga a Tairi) Director – Maori And Indigenous Analysis Ltd

Another Ugly Chapter in the Crowns History of State Imposed Abuse

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This blog includes reflections on recent developments regarding Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill and includes part of the submission by Associate Professor Leonie Pihama on behalf of Te Kotahi Research Institute to the Social Services Select Committee.

Over the past months the collective #Handsoffourtamariki has been working to raise both awareness and opposition to the governments proposed restructuring of the current Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) to the Ministry of Vulnerable Children. The date for the new structure has been determined to be April 1st 2017, and with only a week until the launching of the new Ministry of Vulnerable Children there remain many critical issues yet to be fully engaged by the government let alone any meaningful process of resolution.

What is clear across all of the processes at play is the ongoing denial of the Crown to undertake a meaningful Treaty relationship…

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Christchurch Santa Parade Float Demeans Native Americans

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“The raising of issues by Christchurch residents Michelle and Derek Flores related to the inclusion of a float in the Christchurch Santa Parade that demeans Native American people are concerns that have been raised consistently in New Zealand and continue to be ignored due to both arrogance and racism” states Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato. The float is defended by parade organiser Pam Morris who stated in an interview with Morning Report the Native American float had been part of the parade for 20 years who would continue to be included. She is supported by the Chair of the Santa Parade’s trust, Anne Jamieson. What both Pam Morris and Anne Jamieson fail to understand is that for the past 20 years Native American people have been fighting against such racist and demeaning representation.


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Waitara Lands Taken Must Be Returned

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This blog includes three Submissions to the Māori Affairs Select Committee on New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill 2016 presented on November 18th at the Novotel New Plymouth. The Submissions are from Dr Leonie Pihama, Veronica Tawhai and Ngaropi Cameron.  We hope over the next few months to add more submissions here to update what is happening with the Pekapeka Block and Waitara Leaselands that were confiscated by the Colonial government in 1865.

Submission to Māori Affairs Select Committee on New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill 2016

Associate Professor Leonie Pihama (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Māhanga, Ngā Māhanga a Tairi)

Opening Statement

“E kore e pōuri tonu,
Waitara e mamae nei i te wā i mua a rā
e tū te hunga rīriki
me tōna raukura hei tohu ki te ao, hei!”

  1. I am a descendant of Ngāti Rāhiri hapū, Te Ātiawa, with whakapapa connections also to Ngā Māhanga…

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Māori and Indigenous National Doctoral Conference Endorses Global Solidarity for Standing Rock

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PRESS RELEASE Friday 25th November 2016

Delegates at the National Māori and Indigenous (MAI) Doctoral Conference, being held at Victoria University of Wellington, today voiced their collective support to the Sioux nation of North Dakota at Standing Rock.

University of Auckland MAI academic leader, Dr Mera Lee-Penehira states, “The people occupying Standing Rock are being subjected to the same and worse levels of police brutality and intimidation we suffered here in the 1970s on Bastion Point, and again during the shameful Spring Bok tour. It is our duty to speak out against such atrocities.”

solidarity-with-standing-rockThe long standing disagreement between the U.S. Government and the Sioux Nation centres on what has become known as the Dakota access pipeline. It will cut across the sacred lands of the Sioux Nation, presenting a serious threat to both land and waterways. “It’s an issue of serious risk to environmental sustainability and an issue of…

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#Hands Off Our Tamariki : An Open Letter

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An Open Letter to Whānau, Hapū, Iwi, Iwi Leaders Forum, Māori Members of Parliament, Māori National and Iwi Organisations

E ngā Pou Whirinaki o tēnā iwi, o tēnā iwi e whiri i ngā nuku, e whiri i ngā rangi tēnā koutou katoa. He whakaaraara tēnei mō te ture hou o te Kawanatanga e pā ana ki a tātou tamariki mokopuna. E kii ana te Kawana he ture tiaki mokopuna. Ehara! He ture huti rito, he ture pare awhi rito, he ture e kato rau tipu, rau rangatira i te pā harakeke a ka tuku ki ngā hau waho ki reira marara haere ai. Inā tipu pā harakeke kore a tātou tamariki mokopuna, ka tipu pēhea rātou otirā tātou. Ka mato, ka mate rānei?

Over the past months a number of Māori women have worked collaboratively across Aotearoa to raise issues regarding the documents released by the Crown related to the…

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Crown Processes Continue To Abuse Māori

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Yesterday I was honoured to be a part of a group discussion about the ways in which Treaty settlement processes continue to deny our people the fundamental right to tino rangatiratanga. The group included people who are regarded by their whānau, hapū and iwi as leaders of deep knowledge and integrity. We each spoke of the imposed Crown process as abusive. This is something that has been raised by our people for many years.

Over the past 15 years I have worked alongside a wide range of Māori, Iwi and Community Providers undertaking research related to wellbeing for our people. Some of that work has focused upon Family Violence and Sexual Violence prevention and intervention. This work requires a deep analysis of power relationships and how they play out within relationships in ways where abuse and violence are perpetuated. Oppressive power relationships and acts of abuse are not limited to…

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Just Another Excuse to Bash Maori: A Reply to Alan Duff

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At the bare minimum the NZ Herald seems committed to ensuring that uninformed opinion continues to be presented as some form of factual reporting, at the very worst they actually believe the conservative unfounded diatribe that is presented weekly by Alan Duff in his column. Either way, the Herald has been consistent in showing a lack of commitment to providing informed discussion that would contribute to making Aotearoa a better place.

Each column written by Alan Duff is yet another repetitive Once Were Warriors theme. We continually get themes of: Once Were Losers, Once Were Whingers, Once Were Drop Outs… the list goes on and within it the themes continue to reflect what is in fact Alan Duff’s inability to grasp the fundamental underpinning issues of the impact of colonisation, and how that has specific and particular consequences for Indigenous Nations. This is somewhat ironic, given that the position Duff…

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