“Mana Wahine is…”

A presentation to Mana Wahine: Showcasing the mahi of Wāhine Māori, Auckland Women’s Centre, Western Springs Community Garden Centre, Tāmaki Makaurau. October 9th, 2018.

He mihi maioha ki a Dayle Takitimu, Kathie Irwin, Rachel Brown, Kiterangi and Te Rehua Cameron, Whetu Fala, Maree Sheehan, Mera Penehira, Naomi Simmonds, Al Green, Kaapua Smith, Sina Brown Davis, Marnie Reinfeld, Ali Newth, Tina Ngata, Huia Hanlen, Gina Rangi, Sarah Jane Tiakiwai, Rihi Te Nana, Renae Maihi, Tammy Tauroa, Louisa Wall, Hineitimoana Greensill, Marama Davidson, Ninakaye Taanetinorau, Jenny Lee-Morgan, Moana Maniapoto, Annette Sykes.

This morning I attended a Waikato-Tainui Iwi summit and was reminded of the many incredible insights that our tupuna left us as guidance and learnings. Te Puea we know worked tirelessly for the people. She knew the power of having collective dreams and visions for the people. She worked and strategised for the benefit of the iwi. In the many tongikura (prophetic saying) attributed to Te Puea she provides us with learnings and calls on us all to aspire to a world within which all can dream for, and achieve, success. One of those sayings is,

Mehemea ka moemoeā ahau, ko ahau anake
Mehemea ka moemoeā tātou, ka taea e tātou,
If I dream alone only I benefit
If we all dream together we can all succeed together

In this tongi at its most simplistic level she reminds us to dream. For all of our people dreaming is important. Dreaming is life. Dreaming is knowledge. Dreaming is vision. Dreaming is a learning space. It is an ancestral teaching place. It is a spiritual and cultural based learning centre. Dreaming is methodology. Dreaming is pedagogy. This tongi also brings forward the strength of the collective. Te Puea highlights our collective responsibilities, our collective obligations, our collective accountabilities and our collective power of working for a common cause, for the wellbeing of the people. In preparing for this kōrero I felt it would was important to share wider collective views about Mana Wahine means for us as wāhine Māori. So I asked a range of wāhine to finish this sentence.

Mana Wahine is…

In doing so I was asking for wahine to share their whakaaro about what Mana Wahine means to them, what it ‘is’, not what it ‘is not’ as we are often told what we are not to do as wahine Māori, and often by others. But what I know is that many of those exact things we are told wahine Māori ‘do not do’, I or wahine that I know have actually done. So what does Mana Wahine mean to us, this particular collective of wāhine Māori at this point in time. I want to share those thoughts with you tonight and alongside you will see the names of each of those wahine that contributed their whakaaro.

Our collective Voices

Mana Wahine is …

… everything we ever were, are and will be – and in any moment everything we need it to be, it’s badassery, shape-shifting and our unique collective pulse.
… cackling laughter about mischief things, itchy wool blankets and real butter on fry bread. Dayle Takitimu

… where I learned stragy, vision, resistance and heart, from my maternal grandmother, my mother and my daughter”. Kathie Irwin

… having the strength to show vulnerability so that others may also grow and know they are not alone. Rachel Brown

… unapologetic! Kiterangi and Te Rehua Cameron

… utilising our divinity for the everyday-ness of mahi. Whetu Fala

… the past present and future. Maree Sheehan

… my grandmothers my mother my aunties, my sisters, my daughters and my mokopuna yet to come.Ko te mana wāhine ko ngā taupuwae a rātou, a tātou katoa nei wāhine mā. Mera Penehira

… dreams of our tūpuna embodied by us. It is our triumphs, our struggles, the lessons we learn and the teachings we share as Māori women, descendants of visionaries, dreamers, fighters and healers.
… theorizing over burgers and fries with your soul sisters Naomi Simmonds

… He tira wahine, he rongo ā whare!
… raising our children to live in relationship to everything because everything is always present. Al Green

… my nanny. Loving, fierce, loyal, proud…and, occasionally, sharp tongued. Kaapua Smith

… the power and presitige of the universe and the land, it is elemental, fertile, powerful
…. is the conduit between the spiritual and physical realms
… the protection and continuation of life. Sina Brown Davis

… frying the bread, doing the karanga, singing the waiata tautoko, poring the tea, drying the dishes, scrubbing the loos all while you have a baby on the breast Marnie Reinfelds

… ko au, ko koe, ko ia, ko tātau. Ali Newth

… Ko te mana wāhine, te mana whānau, Ko te mana wāhine, te mana wai, Ko te mana wāhine, te mana whenua, Ko te mana wāhine, te mana tieki, te mana whāngae pōtiki, whānau, hāpori. Tina Ngata

… being whoever you need to be. Huia Hanlen

… listening to your nanny’s quiet voice in your heart, when everyone else is yelling at you. Gina Rangi

… like flickering flames of memories, scars, tears, thoughts, hopes and dreams that you carry with you every day, constantly fanning them into your burning and passionate desire to leave this world a little bit better than when you entered it. Sarah Jane Tiakiwai

… Ko te hua o te mana wahine, ko te pono, te tika me te aroha ki a mātou nei tamariki mokopuna, a mātou whānau, me a mātou hapu, i te ao, i te po ahakoa te aha! Rihi Te Nana

… an understanding that Mana in its original source comes from the Atua & lives within us all. That is the spirit, power, ihi, wehi & mana of Papatuanuku & her descendants. As we know her descendants include Atua Taane therefore to me Mana wahine is the balancing & nurturing of the MANA of nga Atua Wahine ME nga Atua Tane that exists in us all. Renae Maihi

… imbued in our whakapapa and has the vested power to transform our realities Tammy Tauroa

… action, dynamic and purposeful. Doing for others, because someone must, doing what is right, role or not. Challenging and disrupting. Leaving a legacy that helps not hurts and makes us proud so we can hold our heads high. Louisa Wall

… a whakapapa that connects me to generations of strong, powerful women
… My grandmother, the absolute embodiment of mana wahine; reflected in her thoughts, her actions, what she stood for and how she carried herself in the world. Hineitimoana Greensill

… a collective power. Our individual embodiment of it is part of a whole that connects us to ancient tupuna and mokopuna yet to come. We can ground ourselves in it whether we are planting kai for our whānau, nursing sick tamariki, revitalising our reo and our tikanga, lawyering, researching, politicianing – as well as when we are in jail, when we are struggling and when we are lost. We can call on it and we are accountable to it in all the facets and changes of our lives. Marama Davidson

… to rise cloaked with courage, armed with truth, bathed in light. Ninakaye Taanetinorau

… knowing that we are the living stories of our ancestors and are storying the lives of our mokopuna. Jenny Lee-Morgan

… exists in every woman, whether she is a flamethrower or stealth bomber, a plant or a placeholder. … both tangible and barely discernible, a particular mauri unique to wāhine Māori that resonates with the mauri in all women. It is about connection – to generations past, to the land and to each other.
… about holding the line, even if we are staring each other down across those lines. Moana Maniapoto

… Creating from the ancients, sentinels of the present, creators of the future,
… I am, We are, Us all. Annette Sykes

Hate speech is not Free speech.

Over the past few months we have seen an intensification of public outrage against racist discourses being both supported and promulgated through the notion of free speech. The Free Speech Coalition emerged as two white supremacists sought entry to Aotearoa and were denied use of an Auckland city council venue due to their extremist views of race. What is interesting about this assertion of denial of free speech is that they were not denied free speech, in fact the Canadian supremacists received a great deal of media airtime to spew their hatred, which they did – quite freely. In her blog ‘If calling for Indigenous death is not hate speech, what the hell IS hate speech?’ Tina Ngata provides an overview of the issues surrounding this visit.[1].

Tina makes note of the manipulative ways in which some supporters of the visit advocated it as an issue of freedom of speech.
“Supporters still felt compelled to patronise others with their misunderstandings that freedom of speech required us to provide a public platform for even the most vile suggestions. This is not a matter of opinion we are talking about here – the concept of Freedom of Speech is clearly outlined in both national and international law as having limitations. Still – you confront them with this and they will merely pretend they didn’t see it.”[3]

So who is the Free Speech Coalition and what are they really about? The coalition members named on their website are:

  • Dr. Michael Bassett – Former Labour Party Minister
  • Dr. Don Brash – Former leader of the National and ACT Parties, and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  • Ashley Church – Business Leader
  • Dr. David Cumin – Senior Lecturer University of Auckland
  • Melissa Derby – University of Canterbury Academic
  • Stephen Franks – Lawyer
  • Paul Moon – Professor of History Auckland University of Technology
  • Lindsay Perigo – Broadcaster
  • Rachel Poulain – Writer
  • Chris Trotter – Political Commentator
  • Jordan Williams – Lawyer

It is an interesting line up. Most, but not all, advocate right wing conservative politics. A number have been a part of supporting or instigating defamation suits, highlighting that for those particular coalition members free speech is a free for all unless it is about them.

There are numerous indications that many in the Coalition are more about securing their right to reproduce hate speech against Māori and other minority groups, or to defend those that do so, in this country than they are about ‘free speech’. For example Brash is a supporter of Bob Jones in this defamation suit against Renae Maihi as reported in February this year. In an article related to Brash’s defence of Bob Jones it is stated,
“The ‘racist’ tag is freely used, with apparent impunity, by “Maori rights” activists, often to shut down debate”, Dr Brash said. “But any comment on or challenge to treaty orthodoxy unleashes a clobbering machine that extends from social media, through the mainstream media, to the Human Rights Commissioner”, Dr Brash said.[5]

Central to the position of the Free Speech Coalition is also the ability to threaten court action[6] and supporting those taking defamation suits for being called out for their racist discourses. Clearly Brash’s notion of ‘free speech’ does not reach to those that criticise racism or hate speech. It is more closely located to a context of freedom to oppress rather than freedom to challenge.

In regards to Chris Trotter, Graham Cameron in Spinoff states; “Chris Trotter claimed that “free speech denialism… [is] born of fear.” [7] Where fear may be experienced by those that are at the brunt of racism and white supremacist attacks, it is exactly that, a symptom. Fear is a symptom that is the result of hatred and the impact of generations of racism both personal and systemic. The cause is hate speech and racism.

In another example of selected application of free speech, David Cumin wrote “Whether you agree that settlements are not a real barrier to peace or you think continual refusal to accept a Jewish state is conducive to a resolution, there should be no place for free speech to cross over to hate speech or, worse, hateful action”. [8] From this statement, it appears hate speech applies and should be challenged in relation to Israel but not here in regards to racist discourses against Māori.

Melissa Derby a Māori (Ngāti Ranginui) academic at the University of Canterbury has indicated within a number of articles related to the Human Rights Commission recommendation that the Human Rights Act be amended to include protection from “religious hate speech”[9] that “What we are seeing here is the Human Rights Commission putting up barriers to protect the beliefs of immigrant groups, and discriminating against Māori by not offering the same explicit safeguards. It’s like a form of neo-colonialism.” [10] A similar position is put by Paul Moon who goes further to bring in the western notion of enlightenment
“The freedom to criticise religion and to try to discover the truth was a burning issue (sometimes literally) in previous centuries. Yet in our more enlightened age, the Human Rights Commission is challenging the notion that we have progressed far enough to discuss, debate, and even criticise ideas that are different from our own”.[11]

The argument that protection from religious hate speech somehow denies Māori rights is difficult to see, in fact what we do know with the Tohunga Suppression Act (1907) and the subsequent denial of Māori spiritual practices for many generations that the lack of such protections has had a significant impact both on Māori people and mātauranga Māori.

In an interview with Chris Lynch on Newshub[12] in regards to free speech Melissa Derby shows a lack of analysis in regards to what constitutes racism and its impact,
“If you tell a racist joke and I find it distasteful and offensive should you be penalised for that. Course not. So you know its about where we draw the line here. Like I said by definition or the threshold for hate speech has to be high so that it doesn’t impinge on our right for freedom of speech. “

This was followed by an exchange with Chris Lynch, where Melissa goes on to show a fundamentally flawed understanding of racism and racial hierarchies and how they operate within power dynamics within society[13].
“M: It seems to me that we are an inclusive society but not where white people are concerned. It’s crazy and I don’t understand how people can be sort of be against racism but make what I see to be extraordinary racist comments based on their ethnicity. It seems to be it’s acceptable when it’s against white people
C: It’s kind of back to front racism isn’t it.
M: Yes it is.”

We need to be clear that there is no such thing a “back to front racism” and it is also not racist to call out members of the dominant group, in this case Pakeha or white people, when they make statements about our people that are offensive or inappropriate or uninformed or misinformed. Racism is about the imposition or reproduction of power relationships that have been defined through the notion of racial hierarchies that locate white people as superior and position Indigenous People, Black People, People of Colour on what were considered ‘lower rungs’ of the social order. In such an order white people are positioned in a place of superiority and dominance, a position that served as justification for the colonial invasion and occupation of Indigenous lands. Racism is about the imposition of ideologies and practices that oppress Indigenous People, Black People and all People of Colour. Racism and racist ideologies have been embedded through colonisation in all components of this society. Where Melissa Derby may consider herself an advocate for free speech it is equally clear that the discourses of race that she is articulating requires much more depth research and critical analysis.The current positioning that she is taking is uninformed and therefore extremely dangerous for Māori, as it serves to reinforce the wider racist discourses being asserted by some of her Free Speech Coalition colleagues.

Another member of the Free Speech Coalition that is prominent in his public comments on free speech, including his support of Bob Jones, is Paul Moon. Behind closed doors, or perhaps more appropriately, within unseen emails, Moon is just as capable of threatening those who challenge his views as many of his colleagues in the coalition. Where he seems to be more careful about not being associated with public threats, sending emails to Māori academics and their employers threatening possible legal action is as much a trademark of Paul Moon as it is other members of the coalition.

If we want to even more evidence that for many involved in the Free Speech coalition the issue is clearly not free speech just look here to the contradictions highlighted by Hayden Donnell.[14]

  • Don Brash, “after hearing Te Reo Māori on Radio New Zealand, called for the publicly funded station’s bosses to remove that “pointless” speech from the airwaves”.
  • Don brash “obtained a High Court injuction to delay the publication of Nicky Hager’s 2006 book The Hollow Men”.
  • David Farrar – “called for the government to take away Homebrew Crew’s grant money after they released an anti-government song, saying “They’re entitled to call [John Key] what they want, but I’d rather not have the taxpayer fund it”.”
  • Jordan Williams “sued Colin Craig for defamation over some ridiculous pamphlets.”
  • Stephen Franks – “called for legal penalties against people who burn flags, saying flag burning is “not speech” and shouldn’t be protected.”

So how can we understand this idea of Free Speech in Aotearoa. Well firstly we must acknowledge and place upfront colonisation and its impacts. In making the decision to not enable hate speech on her campus VC Professor Jan Thomas at Massey University gives a clear position that emphasises that an acceptance of freedom of speech can not be an enabling of hate speech,
“Let me be clear, hate speech is not free speech. Moreover, as Moana Jackson has eloquently argued, free speech has, especially in colonial societies, long been mobilised as a vehicle for racist comments, judgements and practices.Hate speech is repugnant, or as one American legal academic has stated, hate speech is “a rape of human dignity”. Hate speech should be called out for what it is, especially when it incites violence against minorities. Beyond the reach of the law, however, the battle against hate speech is fought most effectively through education and courageous leadership, rather than through suppression or legal censure.And this is where universities can take positive action by providing a venue for reasoned discussion and cogent argument. After all, the Education Act 1989 compels us to act as “critic and conscience” of society. This does not just mean protecting the values of academic freedom, it also means standing up for what is right.”

The concept of free speech advocated by the coalition is not of this land, just as the construct of democracy that it asserts to protect is not of this land. These are all imported constructs that have been created within western colonial knowledge and legal forms.   Where we hear views such as ‘I abhor their views but I defend their right to say it’ we are reminded of the saying “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (which is said to be penned by Evelyn Beatrice Hall and attributed to the free speech views of Voltaire) as the basis for such a comment. However, such a view is grounded within the western colonial legal definition and context from which the original statement derived. It is as Moana Jackson noted highly problematic to advocate from a position that enables those in power to continue to dominate over others[15]. Such advocacy of free speech does not serve the interests of those that live in a context of colonial oppression.

The power of words and the trauma of racism are well known to our people. Our tupuna understood the power and sanctity of words. We know that through karakia we can open and close spaces, we can clear spiritual and physical energies, we can create safe spaces and we can create harm. The vibration of kupu is inherently powerful. As such we have tikanga that come with speaking. We also have deep understanding that speech comes in many forms. We are expected to take responsibility for our words. We are expected to take responsibility for our thoughts. Racism is a transgression of mana. To do so comes with consequences. These are ways of understanding that to ensure healthy relationships we must take care with how we use words. This is not an easy task when we live with colonial occupation that does not adhere to these understandings.

Given what we know of the power of words, we have every right to challenge those that speak in ways that seek to cause destruction and harm to our people. This notion of western free speech is not ours, it is a cultural construction that colonisation has imposed upon our lands. The abuse of such is growing in this country. Racism is also not a two way street. Racism is grounded upon the belief that white people are superior to all others. Racism is not free speech, it is hate speech. There are not gradations of racism where some is somehow worse than others. Racism is racism. Freedom of speech can not be the mechanism by which this country enables freedom of hatred, freedom of racism, freedom of oppression. As Moana Jackson states:
“The bliss of freedom enjoyed by those who have power should never mean the right to cause pain to those who are comparatively powerless. And no one’s exercise of free speech should make another feel less free.”[16]

[1] https://thenonplasticmaori.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/if-calling-for-indigenous-death-is-not-hate-speech-what-the-hell-is-hate-speech/

[2] https://thespinoff.co.nz/atea/24-07-2018/whakawhanaungatanga-not-censorship-a-maori-perspective-on-free-speech/

[3] https://thenonplasticmaori.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/if-calling-for-indigenous-death-is-not-hate-speech-what-the-hell-is-hate-speech/

[4] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12089831

[5] (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1802/S00087/brash-welcomes-race-speech-defamation-action.htm)

[6] https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/free-speech-group-calls-donations-pursue-legal-action-against-massey-uni-over-cancelled-brash

[7] https://thespinoff.co.nz/atea/24-07-2018/whakawhanaungatanga-not-censorship-a-maori-perspective-on-free-speech/

[8] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503459&objectid=11779654)

[9] (https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings/audio/academic-concerned-un-submission-is-anti-maori/)

[10] (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU1805/S00269/academic-warns-commission-plans-threaten-indigenous-culture.htm)

[11] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12063987

[12] https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings/audio/being-offensive-doesnt-make-it-hate-speech/

[13] https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings/audio/being-offensive-doesnt-make-it-hate-speech/

[14] https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/07/opinion-all-the-times-our-new-free-speech-coalition-really-hated-free-speech.html

[15] https://e-tangata.co.nz/comment-and-analysis/moana-jackson-no-ones-exercise-of-free-speech-should-make-another-feel-less-free/

[16] https://e-tangata.co.nz/comment-and-analysis/moana-jackson-no-ones-exercise-of-free-speech-should-make-another-feel-less-free/

Speaking Truth to Racism

Last Friday I received an email in my private email from someone called John Langford with the subject line ‘Attached Image Sir Robert Jones’. The email as below also stated ‘Please acknowledge receipt’. Even though the email signature noted a law firm this kind of subject line always raises issues in terms of the  potential for viruses spread by attachments from unknown and untrusted email accounts. So I left it for some time and then decided to do an online search to see who John Langford is before opening the attachment.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 1.31.10 pm

Once I confirmed that Langford Law actually exists I opened the attachment. I have decided to share the attachment for reasons I will discuss below. So here is the letter from John Langford, a lawyer representing Bob Jones.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 1.32.16 pm

It is noted in both the email and the letter that I need to acknowledge receipt. I am guessing this is some legal habit  as I do not know John Langford, I never asked him to contact me – so why exactly is there some expectation that I would respond? Seems strange to me. I actually get many such emails, some naïve, some entitled, some rude, some racist, some misogynist, some homophobic, some abusive, nearly all by white men and nearly all demand that I must respond. Then there is the general view within the letter that the “matter” is in my hands. That I somehow must take responsibility for resolving the issues that have been created by the statements made by Bob Jones. Interesting, the sense of entitlement that exists within such underpinning assumptions.

So, having reflected on this email for the past few days, and discussing options with friends and whānau I began to read papers and discussions related to what is known internationally as SLAPP: Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. SLAPP is not new,  it is a process by which wealthy individuals, corporations or organisations use the threat of litigation to silence opposition. The Public Participation Project define SLAPP as follows:

SLAPP = Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation

SLAPPs are Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.  These damaging suits chill free speech and healthy debate by targeting those who communicate with their government or speak out on issues of public interest.

SLAPPs are used to silence and harass critics by forcing them to spend money to defend these baseless suits.  SLAPP filers don’t go to court to seek justice.  Rather, SLAPPS are intended to intimidate those who disagree with them or their activities by draining the target’s financial resources.

SLAPPs are effective because even a meritless lawsuit can take years and many thousands of dollars to defend.  To end or prevent a SLAPP, those who speak out on issues of public interest frequently agree to muzzle themselves, apologize, or “correct” statements.

Sourcewatch provide an overview of some such cases in Aotearoa on their site.

What we are seeing in Aotearoa is clearly a use of legal threat and actions to silence the calling out of racism, with ‘defamation’ as the legal strategy being used as justification. The key focus in this email is that the term ‘racist’ used as a descriptor for Bob Jones as a result of his long history of racist comments about Māori is defamatory. It seems that for something to be defamatory it must be untrue.  That is clearly not my view. I use the term only when I believe it to be my honest and truthful opinion. A key part of that aligns to the definitions of racism that inform my understandings, for example:

Racism is promulgated on a number of fronts. Definitions of racism include “a mix of prejudice, power, ideology, stereotypes, domination, dis- parities and/or unequal treatment” (Berman & Paradies, 2010, p. 228). Fundamental to racism is an ideology of inferiority, promoted by social norms and institutions. These features constitute what Galtung (1969) has referred to as “structural violence” and provide a substrate upon which relational forms are perpetrated and experienced. Paradies and Williams (2008) suggest that racism operates at overlapping levels that can usefully be delineated as societal, institutional, interpersonal and internalised. Societal racism is constituted in the cultural ambience produced by the entrenched social orders and includes the values, epistemologies, norms and sensibilities that attach to hegemonic power.

Moewaka Barnes, A., Taiapa, K. Borell, B., 
 McCreanor, T, (2013) Māori Experiences And Responses To Racism In Aotearoa New Zealand, MAI Journal, 2(2), 63–77. (http://www.journal.mai.ac.nz/sites/default/files/MAI%20Journal%20Vol.2_2%20pages%2063-77%20Moewaka%20Barnes%20et%20al..pdf)

Racism is a complex system, based on an ideology of inferiority and superiority, that drives the categorization of people by race/ethnicity and structures opportunity according to those categorizations, resulting in the inequitable distribution of power, goods and resources in society (Ahmed, Mohammed, & Williams, 2007; Jones, 2002; Paradies, 2006b). Racism is enacted via discriminatory institutional and individual practices (racial discrimination) and varies in form and type (Krieger, 2000). Its manifestations are embedded in particular social, political and historical contexts. In New Zealand, this context includes colonization, and related processes of dispossession and marginalization for indigenous peoples, which are reflected in entrenched unequal power relations in contemporary New Zealand society (Robson & Harris, 2007).

Harris, R., Cormack, D., Tobias, M. Yeh, L. Talamaivao, N., Minister, J.,Timutimu, R., (2012) The pervasive effects of racism: Experiences of racial discrimination in New Zealand over time and associations with multiple health domains Social Science & Medicine 74 Issue 3. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.11.004)

Racism has many faces. Some of them may be veiled others frankly overt- unmasked. These faces may be grouped into three main forms-personal racism, cultural racism and institutional racism.Personal racism affects individuals or groups. It occurs when people of one group are seen as inferior to another because of skin colour or ethnic origin. It belongs to those situations in which an individual is directly diminished or discriminated against on grounds of race. In our country as in others, it may be manifested in jokes, disparaging comment and prejudiced attitudes. It may occur in rental housing, unequal distribution of opportunity and in our classrooms. Personal racism is the form that cuts most keenly at individual people. It is the variety that diminishes a person in their own eyes. It attacks the fount of personal identity and destroys a sense of self worth, as well as denying the indigenous person access to resources and opportunities in the larger society.Cultural racism is less obvious than the more open areas of prejudice between individuals. It is entrenched philosophy and beliefs. Its most obvious form in New Zealand is in the assumption that Pakeha culture, lifestyle and values are superior to those of other New Zealand cultures, notably those of Maori and Polynesian people.

It is rooted in the 19th century heritage of unshakeable belief in the cultural superiority of Europeans. It is a direct inheritance of colonialism and imperialism, and embodied in the ethos of the dominant group and thence the mind of the individual within the group. Without challenge and change this is transmitted to successive generations in the pre-school stage of development and becomes a recurrent theme in subsequent socialisation. Despite the fact that tenets of Pakeha culture become fractured, eroded or obsolete (for example the nature of family, the role of marriage and the position of women) the assumptions of cultural superiority persist.

One of the most pervasive forms of cultural racism is the assumption that Pakeha values, beliefs and systems are “normal”. This places Maori values, beliefs and systems in the category of “exotic”. Provision for Maori cultural preference thus become an “extra”. That which sees provision for Maoritanga as anything other than a normal ingredient of our national culture is essentially culturally racist. However, the most damaging aspect of cultural racism is the underlying notion of superiority. It is seldom overtly stated in modern New Zealand, but it is constantly implied in advertising, in education and in the marketplace. One of the ways in which this parcel of attitudes impacts on Maori culture is that the power culture, because it has the authority of “superiority”, takes to itself the right to select those aspects of Maoritanga it wants to use or include in general New Zealand culture.

New Zealand. Ministerial Advisory Committee on a Maori Perspective for the Department of Social Welfare, & Rangihau, John Te Rangi-Aniwaniwa. (2001). Puao-te-ata-tu Day break : The report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on a Maori perspective for the Department of Social Welfare. Wellington: Govt. Print. (https://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/archive/1988-puaoteatatu.pdf)

Racism describes both ideological beliefs and practices arising from the assumed superiority and inferiority of particular races. It can take many different forms, but the most common are individual and institutional racism. The first refers to the manifestation of negative stereotypes about characteristics of particular races by an individual (Rizvi 1993). Institutional racism brings together prejudice and power, describing a situation where a powerful group enforces beliefs about particular racial characteristics through privileged control over social institutions. These beliefs, in turn, serve to underpin the power of the group in control…

Racism as ideology becomes hegemonic when it supports social relations based on domination and exploitation, enabling people to make sense of their everyday experiences and cultural practices as if they were natural.

Lee, J. ( 2007) Jade Taniwha: Māori-Chinese Identity and Schooling. Auckland: Rautaki, pp29-30).

Within Aotearoa, racism informs and frames those discourses which actively demean, undermine and stereotype Māori and those that articulate views that Māori are socially, physically, culturally, and biologically inferior to Pākehā based on notions of Pākeha cultural, social, physical, and biological superiority. These assertions are, in my opinion, evident within the views of Bob Jones, and the racist demeaning comments made in relation to Māori cultural practices, Māori language, Māori people.  These belief systems and oppressive ideologies also manifest in the institutional, systemic racism that denies our rangatiratanga, marginalises the place of te reo and tikanga Māori in Aotearoa, reproduces inequities in education, creates disparities in access to health care, informs systemic racism in the police and courts which see the over-incarceration of Māori people. The list goes on.

What is clear is that the threat of lawsuits is a tool being used as a means of silencing responses that challenge his views of our people. What is clear is that no matter how many suits he threatens or he files against those who stand up against the vitriolic attacks on our people, we will not stop calling him out, not now not ever. There will always be people who will speak truth back to racism.










Racism + White Privilege + Rich Bully = Bob Jones & a Defamation Suit

In the lead up to Waitangi Day 2018 Bob Jones a Pākehā millionaire with Right Wing Conservative views wrote an opinion piece for the National Business Review which was published on February 2nd. The article was full of racist demeaning statements by Bob Jones. This is not the first time that Jones has published his conservative rantings. The Spinoff blog also highlights previous obnoxious writings by Jones stating;
“Provocations over recent years include dismissing beggars as “mostly fat Māoris”, calling for a ban on women drivers and admonishing women victims of indecent assault as “silly” for walking in a park.”

Bob Jones comments from NBR Opinion Piece February 2018 were as follows;

Responses to the article saw the NBR quickly removing it from their website. The NZ Herald in seeking comment on the removal of the article states “NBR has been approached for comment, but did tweet on February 5 “Sir Bob Jones’ latest column has been removed from NBR’s website, due to inappropriate content”.” https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11989940

The tweet itself appears here:
Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 2.26.38 pm

In March of this year a petition was presented by Renae Maihi and Professor Pou Temara to parliament with more than 68,000 signatures “calling on MPs to strip Sir Bob Jones of his knighthood over his controversial column about a Maori “Gratitude Day”. As the NZ Herald notes “The petition was prompted by a column Jones wrote in the National Business Review last month, calling for a Māori Gratitude Day instead of Waitangi Day. “I have in mind a public holiday where Maoris bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash & polish our cars & so on, out of gratitude for existing,” The petition has now over 72,000 signatures.

As a part of the response to the article a complaint was made by Mel Whaanga to the Press Council that the article breached “the Press Council’s principles notably Principle 1 (accuracy, fairness and balance) and 5 (opinion).” These principles are defined as:
Principle 1 Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Publications should be bound at all times by accuracy, fairness and balance, and should not deliberately mislead or misinform readers by commission or omission. In articles of controversy or disagreement, a fair voice must be given to the opposition view.
Exceptions may apply for long-running issues where every side of an issue or argument cannot reasonably be repeated on every occasion and in reportage of proceedings where balance is to be judged on a number of stories, rather than a single report.

Principle 5 Columns, Blogs, Opinion and Letters
Opinion, whether newspaper column or internet blog, must be clearly identified as such unless a column, blog or other expression of opinion is widely understood to consist largely of the writer’s own opinions. Though requirements for a foundation of fact pertain, with comment and opinion balance is not essential. Cartoons are understood to be opinion.
Letters for publication are the prerogative of editors who are to be guided by fairness, balance, and public interest. Abridgement is acceptable but should not distort meaning.

The Press Council did not uphold the complaint with a split decision of 7:4. Central to the Press Council decision was an acceptance of the argument by NBR that the article as 1. An Opinion Piece 2. It was satire and 3. That withdrawal of the article and decision by NBR to not publish further Bob Jones article is an appropriate response. There was however a very powerfully stated Minority Dissent position.

Minority Dissent
Four members, Chris Darlow, Jo Cribb, Tiumalu Peter Fa’afiu and John Roughan would have upheld the complaint believing it clearly exceeded a reasonable boundary of free speech on the subject of race. Putting aside the accuracy of the claim there are no “full blooded” Maori alive today, which the complainant contested, the minority found it hard to follow the contention that had it not been for migrants to New Zealand there would no Maori today. The writer appeared to be straining for a reason to suggest Maori should grovel in gratitude to non-Maori for their survival, a suggestion the four members found gratuitously offensive.
They disagreed with the view that this was excusable as “satire”. The important principle of freedom of speech was not served in their view by humour that depends on giving deliberate, gratuitous offence to a racial minority for the amusement of the writer and those who share his racial attitudes. This was an egregious example of free speech being used for no purpose beyond cruel amusement. While the newspaper quickly removed the column from its website when it realised the offence it had caused, the piece should not have been published.
The NBR’s withdrawal of the column underlines a useful principle that free speech on the subject of race ought to stop short of humour that deliberately sets out to hurt. The four members hope all editors will reflect on this case and recognise that gratuitous racial offence is unworthy of responsible journalism.
Press Council members considering this complaint were Sir John Hansen, Liz Brown, Jo Cribb, Chris Darlow, Tiumalu Peter Fa’afiu, Jenny Farrell, John Roughan, Hank Schouten, Christina Tay, Tim Watkin and Tracy Watkins.


In my view the Press Council gave far too much credibility to the assertion by both Jones and the NBR that the column was satire. I have written previously about this issue.

Yes, Racism is Hate Speech

It seems that the ‘it is satire’ position taken by both the NBR and Jones provided a useful post-publication response to the rapid and significant reaction to the article as yet another Bob Jones racist demeaning rant.

As a result of the high profile of the petition, Jones was quick to threaten Renae Maihi, and by his own admission to TV1 News he would find it “very enjoyable” to take her to court for defamation. In a show of pure arrogance Jones states: “I won’t sue her for a lot because that would seem like I’m bullying her.”

In true narcissistic form Jones turns the issue on its head stating “”You have to be sick to not see (what he wrote) was a p*sstake,

Just to clarify the use of the term narcissistic in relation to Jones behaviour, the general indicators include the following:
• Exaggerates own importance
• Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal romance
• Believes he or she is special and can only be understood by other special people or institutions
• Requires constant attention and admiration from others
• Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
• Takes advantage of others to reach his or her own goals
• Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy
• Is often envious of others or believes other people are envious of him or her
• Shows arrogant behaviors and attitudes


So it is not difficult to see how Bob Jones may fit well into this definition, with the current court proceedings of defamation against Renae Maihi being just one example of the indicators noted above.

And even with over 72,000 signatures on the petition he continues to be of the misguided view that Renae Maihi stands alone. What is that? Stupidity? Arrogance? Racism? Or just straight our white male privilege spouting off? There is ample evidence that gestures to all of these attributes.
1. Evidence of Stupidity: Comments by Jones in response to the NZ Herald asking about the filing of the defamation writ, NZ Herald June 18, 2018:
“That’s a tough one,” he said.
“So no I haven’t [filed papers]. I lied on Whale Oil and the judiciary are trying to wind you up and are lying as well, the bastards. So keep your guard up son. You can’t trust anyone and certainly not the judiciary.”

2. Evidence of Arrogant White Privilege: Comments taken from Jones colum Bob Jones’ full NBR column.
I have in mind a public holiday where maori bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash and polish our cars and so on, out of gratitude for existing. And if any maori tries arguing that if he/she didn’t have a slight infection of Irish blood or whatever, they might be the better for it, the answer is no sunshine.

3. Evidence of Racism: Comments taken from Jones colum Bob Jones’ full NBR column. “As there are no full-blooded maoris in existence it indisputably follows that had it not been for migrants, mainly Brits, not a single maori alive today, including Professor William Temaru [sic], would have existed. So excluding individuals who may be miserably suicidal, and instead like 99.999% of us, actually like being alive, it’s long overdue for some appreciation… Maori Appreciation Day in which maori tangibly express their gratitude for existing thanks to European immigration, by a day’s voluntarily labour for non-maori folk, would be an excellent initiative for the new government.

I would put my bet on all of the above. Why? Because each of those characteristics align with both the definition of narcissism and with the position of white male privilege that he asserts.

He is also clearly showing that his thinking and opinions are, to borrow a phrase from Taika Waititi ‘Racist As Fuck’.

Moko Kauae: A Māori Women’s Right

Over the past few days I have been watching from afar the debate raging over moko kauae and who does or does not have the right to wear this taonga that has been gifted to us by our tupuna. I have been honoured to carry moko kauae for 17 years after being guided and supported by wahine of Taranaki. I remember the first time Mahinekura Reinfelds visited with me and said that it was time. My initial avoidance response was ‘time for what?’ which she ignored and continued to say “It will be in the summer”.

Mahinekura was clear, that to carry moko kauae is the right of all wahine Māori. It is our whakapapa kōrero that we carry visually within the world. It is our affirmation of our whānau, hapū and iwi. It is our right as wahine Māori to wear Moko Kauae and it is our decision to make. For many this decision is made in the context of whānau, hapū or iwi, for others it is a decision made in line with our fundamental right to wear the symbols of our ancestors.

In whatever process Māori women are engaged in, it is our right to wear moko kauae and it always has been. Far too many mythologies created through colonial belief systems have worked against the interests of Māori women to revitalise this taonga. Mythologies that say we have to be fluent in te reo, or old, or that we have to earn moko kauae, or that we have to have permission have all be constructed to deny our women our right to wear our own ancestral symbols. As Tina Ngata has written:
But what I really want to write about is this notion of what it takes for Wāhine Māori to “deserve” moko kauwae, because now, more than ever, I am seeing a lot of judgement on Wāhine Māori flying around the place. And I reiterate that this is in relation to WĀHINE MĀORI.
There are statements that infer, or outright declare, that Wāhine Māori should be examining their own behaviour or pathways before they take on moko kauwae.
Statements that outline what is acceptable for a Wāhine mau moko to do, or what she MUST do now that she has taken up this birthright.
Statements about how much Wāhine must achieve in other peoples’ eyes, or how much she must contribute to her community before she takes up her birthright.
There really is no way to make these kinds of statements without first making a judgement about Wahine in general and that is…
That in your natural state of Wāhine – you are not enough.
That as a member of a line of wahine who descend down from Hina – you are not enough. That as a survivor of multiple generations of attempted genocide, as a survivor of this very specific battleground of settler colonial racism and patriarchy – you are not enough. That as a vessel for the continuation of our existence as Māori – you are not enough.
And to that I say: E Hine, You ARE enough


I read a piece today by Mark Kopua that directly challenged the idea that Moko Kauae must be earned, he writes:
Over the last 30+ years, probably more, Maori have been manipulated to believe that wearing Moko, especially on the face, is something that we have to first be worthy of. That we have to seek and obtain a level of credit or ‘merit’ before earning the ‘privilege’ of Moko. Many early Moko recipients will be all too familiar with the old question/interrogation, “have you earned that? Or, the statement, “I thought only the chief got that?”
Even as I write those two common statements I feel the hackles on my neck standing. I’ve come to know that those statements come from the western, coloniser perspective of ‘meritocracy’, a western ideology that styfles Maori into not feeling worthy. And for that reason alone it is a curse upon our culture, traditions and way of being.
‘Meritocracy’ is one of the 3 societal flaws alongside ‘individualism’ and ‘A-history’ that spell grief for society. It is a myth that would have us believe that there is equal opportunity, however Maori, in this society, endure it as a curse.
Nonetheless many Maori have fallen into the hinaki of thinking, that only the worthy (privileged) can obtain Moko, a misbelief driven by the concept of meritocracy.

Moko kauae is a part of a wider political and cultural resurgence that is an assertion of tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake. It is an assertion of our political, cultural, social and spiritual aspirations as whānau, as hapū, as iwi, as Māori. Within such a context moko kauae is embedded within a critical cultural regeneration that is deeply influenced by the political context of our time.

To speak about moko kauae in 2018 as if it is separate from our political context is naïve. In our bid to reclaim our taonga, all taonga, and in our bid to be self-determining in our representation of ourselves we can not remove ourselves from a context of colonial oppression within which we struggle every day. The reclaiming and the carrying of moko kauae is an outward expression of our whakapapa and of our honour to walk this earth carrying the images of our people that speak to our cultural, political and spiritual aspirations. I am not saying that this is necessarily the conscious or articulated intention of every wahine that carries moko kauae, it is however the context within which we are currently located.

The raging debate over whether Pākehā women should be accorded a privilege to carry moko kauae is also located within this context. I use the word ‘privilege’ deliberately as it reminds us that any Pākehā women seeking to or wearing moko kauae do not do so as a right, they do so as a privilege. Moko kauae is the right of Māori women. It is not a right for anyone else. It is not a right for Pākehā women. Moko kauae is a whakapapa right for our women. It s is not a right for Pākehā women. Moko kauae is the reassertion of an Indigenous right that has been marginalised, demeaned and denied by Pākehā colonial dominance. It is not a right for Pākehā women. The resurgence of moko kauae is a resurgence of Mana Wahine. It is not a resurgence for Pākehā women.

What is clear in the current debate is that there are some people that assume that Pākehā women are deserving of such a privilege. Yet there is little discussion of the role of Pākehā women in the attempted erasure of moko kauae. There is little to no discussion by those that advocate for such a privilege about the colonial injustices that continue to be perpetuated upon our people which many Pākehā women are complicit in.

To locate the discussion related specifically to Sally Anderson wearing moko kauae the following is an extract from a request sent to a Tāmoko artist that outlines her reasoning for wanting to carry Moko Kauae:
Why you may ask…?
(1) I am being called
(2) I believe it is the ending of something and the beginning of something, a symbol of triumph
(3) I believe turning 50 the next leg theres some significancy for me in turning a corner, a new era, an initiation to the next phase of my life
(4) I know I am a healer, a light worker, someone who bridges the gap between light and dark
(5) I believe I am a bridge between indigenous cultures and mainstream
(6) I believe I should have been born black but I’m white (Pākehā) yet bridge all races, creed, colour, and genders in a way no other practitioner can
(7) My husband and I co-lead together and have intentions of running indigenous workshops with Maori, Aboriginal, American Indian as part of our future together
It is a significant step as we launch the new company Evolved Leadership into the Australian Marketplace.

The 60 Minutes experience last weekend re-presenced me to what I have achieved in this lifetime and am beyond proud of how far I have come.
Roger who is more versed in Maori protocol than anyone I know understands its significancy and is totally supportive and saw it before I knew.
Love the opportunity to talk with you about whether you would partner me on this journey. I appreciate it is controversial for a Pākehā to wear a moko on the chin but this calling is bigger than who I am in my human form.
I look forward to hearing from you
Much respect Sally Anderson

There is nothing in this request that indicates an understanding or acceptance of fundamental tikanga that align to the taking of and/or carrying of moko kauae. The desire to take moko kauae is justified not on whakapapa, not on mana wahine, not on any aspirations for tino rangatiratanga, or mana motuhake or cultural resurgence. Rather the reasoning is about self transformation as a Pākehā woman who believes she should be ‘black’ woman and a sense of self entitlement.

Where Inia Taylor, the tāmoko artist, has stated online that he did not want to say ‘no’ and be considered ‘racist’ what he failed to recognise is that to decline such a request is not about race, it is about whakapapa, it is about tikanga, it is about rangatiratanga. None of those things equate to race. He also failed to see that racism is about power. Racism is about having the power to oppress and deny the fundamental human rights of another person based on their race. In Aotearoa racism is about the ability to control the systems and structures that are grounded upon white supremacy and colonial occupation.

To say no to placing moko kauae on a Pākehā woman is not racism, as it is not Pākehā women who are oppressed and subjugated in this country on the basis of race, it is Māori women. Where there is a focus on this case at the moment we also need to remember that this issue is not merely about Sally Anderson. Recently we have seen images of a white couple in Germany wearing both moko kauae and mataora. White privilege and entitlement is a global issue that requires critical discussion.

A range of comments on social media have also made reference to Pākehā receiving mataora and moko kauae during the 19th century. Where that is the case, we have to also consider the context of that period. It was a time when our tikanga was in place. It was a time where we held and maintained many of the fundamental elements of tino rangatiratanga. It was a time when our taonga were not threatened in the same manner and where our tupuna maintained significant control over what happened for our whānau, hapū and iwi. It was not a time, as we have now, where we have had to struggle to retain and revitalise the very fundamental ways of being Māori. It was not a time where our reo and tikanga have been denied for generations and where we have to struggle daily for te reo Māori. The impact of these conditions today means it is not the same context. As Mark Kopua has stated in regards to these comments:
I noted someone threw into this ‘hot’ thread the book “Pākehā Maori” which includes korero pertaining to both J Rutherford and Barnett Burns, with the poster saying that the practice had been happening for a long time, which is true, but you have to recognise the different contexts between early Late 17 to early 1800’s and 2018.
First of all, in the 17-1800’s Maori held total authority over such issues and decisions and initially these early Pākehā were held in captivity, as possessions to the iwi. They had no such decision making powers unlike this wahine Pākehā in 2018.
Our ancestors marked these captives with symbols of slavery, primarily to tell other iwi that they were ‘owned’ that they ‘belonged’ to an Iwi, hence they became wearers of Moko. One sure way out of the brutal, harmful life of slavery is to be a ‘good’ slave. So Barnett Burns for instance came out of slavery by making himself and his skills a valuable necessity to his capturers. First of all he became bi-lingual, so he became valuable as a liaison, sailor and a trader. Barnett was eventually married to Amotawa, a wahine tapairu of Uawa/Tolaga Bay & Tokomaru Bay connections, which basically meant that Barnett became part of the Iwi Te Aitanga a Hauiti. He traded for them, he fought alongside them, he tilled the soil with them. He became a Pākehā Maori. So although his initial Moko was about him ‘belonging’ to an Iwi his following Moko were also about ‘belonging’ to an Iwi but as a member. And it is known that Barnett was fully Moko’ed from head to toe.

What Mark raises here is the cultural, social, spiritual and political context within which those moko were given, and carried. To not consider these things is to deny the impact of colonialism and the significance of the marginalisation and denial of te reo and tikanga Māori.

Within the wider discussion many precarious statements have been made that are grounded within ideologies that serve to undermine the place and positioning of Māori women, including the assertion that Pākehā women can be ‘more’ Māori than Māori women. In a report by Radio New Zealand it was noted;
RNZ has not yet received a response from Ms Anderson but her husband Roger Te Tai, who has a full facial moko, told TVNZ it took two years for him to consider her getting a moko kauae.
He said although she was Pākehā, she conducted her life as a Māori woman, and had a pure heart.


To advocate for or support the taking of moko kauae by Pākehā women through the undermining and demeaning of Māori women is unacceptable. Pākehā women, Pākehā people can never be ‘more Māori’ than Māori. Not matter what their circumstances. Being Māori is embedded in our whakapapa. To undermine Māori women in order to elevate Pākehā women does nothing but create more layers of trauma.

In a blog today Rhonda Tibble provided the following response to a press release by a group of wahine Māori that took the positon that moko kauae is for wahine Māori only. https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/358026/pakeha-woman-with-facial-moko-draws-backlash

Rather than engage the issues the blog was framed in a way that demeaned the voices of the Māori women who commented as if our views are somehow determined by our jobs and not by the guidance that we have each been given by our own kuia and koroua. Rhonda refers to the press release as a ‘proclamation’ stating;
What will your press statement enforce for retrospective breaches? Gee a whole industry can be created from this work. The Moko Kauae Protectorate Inc… This collaboration of wahine shows us exactly how a great use of Pākehā skills too effect change through Western Academic methodologies can be applied to changing Maori Cultural practice. Awesome work. Its irrefutable that these are Pākehā Skills used to achieve the press statement. Will we need to prove Pākehā whakapapa to use the sacred broadcasting techniques and strategies before we can safely issue a press statement?

Posted by Rhonda Tibble on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The blog continues to refer to the statements made as being a result of “western academic methodologies” with reference to “Moko Kauae Cops”. Lets be clear. We are as entitled to our view on this kaupapa as wahine Māori and as wahine mau moko kauae, as Māori women committed to the wellbeing of our taonga and who carry moko kauae every day. There is no expected universal agreement, if there was we would not be having this debate. However, it is our view that the resurgence of moko kauae is a resurgence of Mana Wahine. For others to demean such a position because we do not agree with Pākehā women taking moko kauae does little to enable open and frank debate.

These types of comments are exactly the reason why many of our wahine did not want to comment publicly, and did not want to have to deal with the deficit, demeaning replies that have come flooding into our emails and messages. The racism that underpins many of the responses that Māori women have received in the past 24 hours is another indication of the colonial imperative that we do not have the right to protect our taonga. The following posts are two examples of the racist messages our women have received, Why – because we are saying ‘no’ to colonial appropriation and cooption of our taonga.

We can have this debate without demeaning each others views. I am very clear in my position and stated that as a comment in the press release. That does not deny that others take a different position. The same may be said for the positions taken by tā moko artists who range from a place of clearly asserting moko kauae is for wahine Māori and not for Pākehā women, through to an assertion that it is for hapū and iwi to determine collectively if a Pākehā person has fulfilled their expectations in regards to receiving moko kauae or mataora. What I have not seen is any tāmoko artist saying that Pākehā have a right to moko kauae or mataora. Because they don’t. For Pākehā women to assume that they do is merely another articulation of white entitlement and white privilege. For our people to then affirm such a position through promoting deficit views about our own women and our right to our taonga and for Māori men to comment that a Pākehā woman can be more Māori than a Māori women is equally unacceptable. Such statements are yet another form of lateral violence that we do not deserve and are not going to tolerate.

On Writing a Kaupapa Māori Blog

I was asked if I could share how I write blogs with a class of Māori and Indigenous students. I enjoy the sessions where I am invited to join other Māori Faculty to work alongside students. I don’t get to teach often outside of the Kaupapa Māori and Indigenous methodologies workshops that we run as a part of our capacity building and research support work that we do at Te Kotahi Research Institute. So I said ‘yes I would love to’. But, then I had to think more about how and why I chose to write blogs and what inspires me to do so.

I have seen blogs on how to write blogs. They come across twitter and facebook feeds regularly. They appear like those ads for travel when you have just booked a flight somewhere or searched for a hotel. Usually followed by something that tells you ‘7 Best ways to lose weight’ or ‘the 10 tips on being emotionally stable’ or the ‘20 things that all successful people do’ or ‘the 12 tips on being a good parent’. Things like that just piss me off. Most have absolutely no link to being Indigenous. None take into any consideration the impact of colonial invasion, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, class oppression. You never see the ’10 best tips to return stolen land to Indigenous nations’.

I was asked recently how can Māori women have a voice in raising issues through blogs without the risk of losing their jobs or experiencing backlash in their institutions. That is always a difficult place to be in. For many of our people there are both people and systems that actively seek to silence us. Many live with the impact or consequences that come with challenging dominant groups and those that benefit from colonisation. For those that feel threatened as individual voices then a collective approach to blogs is one way of standing together in your collective voice and strength. Taking a collective position is a powerful cultural way of being that we have as a people. It is a way to voice concerns that are raised by the groups that we are a part of and is a way to ensure the wellbeing of the members of the collective. Writing a blog collectively is considered to be appropriate for a ‘weblog’ from which the term ‘blog’ originates. Building a collective blog that works is reliant on having a clear kaupapa that provides the foundation for all that contribute to the online collective voice. Kaupapa in this context refers to a philosophy or an approach to the content and analysis used by all involved. Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999) states that kaupapa “implies a way of framing and structuring how we think about those ideas and practices.” (p.188).

My first blogs I wrote with Te Wharepora Hou, a Māori women’s activist network. https://tewhareporahou.wordpress.com/about/ We are all active across a wide range of context seeking social justice for our people, and for all marginalised groups in Aotearoa. We have a clear view that we need to be a part of getting information out quickly with clarity and from a Kaupapa Māori analysis. That underpins all of our blogs. We blog as individuals and we blog as a collective. We provide space for Māori and Indigenous women to guest blog on issues that are important for our whānau, hapū, iwi and communities. We lay down challenges and we have been known to call out those that contribute to sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist and classist discourses and practices. We also work to support Indigenous global issues, as much as we are able to do from a distance, in the way that good relatives do.

The kaupapa for Te Wharepora Hou is clear, it is a Kaupapa Māori approach that affirms Mana Wahine. All voices on Te Wharepora Hou are wahine, including Māori and Pacific Nations women. It is a women’s blog that prioritises analysis of issues that impact on Māori and Indigenous Peoples and provides a space for sharing with Pacific and Indigenous wahine. As noted on the site:
“Our collective strives to be a pro-active wahine voice on relevant issues and through any channels available to us. Our primary concern is the wellbeing of whānau, hapū, iwi and our planet. We reflect on our responsibility to protect Papatūānuku and to sustain our living systems. We see ourselves as part of a global indigenous network particularly of women who are reasserting the place of women as leaders of change. We speak on a platform of indigenous solidarity worldwide.”

Marama Davidson created the blog space in 2010 and has been a critical writer within the collective. Since then a number of key writers have continued voicing issues including Marama, Sina Brown Davis, Helen Te Hira, Mera Lee-Penehira and myself alongside a number of ‘guest’ writers including Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Paora Joass Moyle, Tina Ngata and Tuiloma Lina Samu.

I consider myself to be a writer. It is a key part of what I do and how I contribute to the wider aspiration for tino rangatiratanga (self-determination/sovereignty). I would like to think that I have some kind of process when I write, but that is more about my flawed assumption that I have some control over what comes. Rather I have come to realise that for me words, like thoughts, come in bursts or flashes and without any particular sense of order or structure. I have moments where words emerge in dreams, driving, while I am watching my tamariki (children) and mokopuna (grandchildren) or when I see or hear something that sparks a response. All kinds of responses. Some more controllable than others. Some more reflective than others. Some more inspirational than others. Then there are some that never emerge in my writing because they are best kept some place in my mind or heart or spleen or liver, all those places where our tupuna (ancestors) have told us we keep memories, thoughts, emotions, and feelings.

I have been working on a ‘book-to-be’. It has been in process for some time. I write and clear and weave some leaves that become pages, and clear again. In writing a ‘book-to-be’ I find myself constantly asking myself what it is I am wanting to create. Part of it is decolonising my own understandings of what constitutes a book. I love books. Truly. I collect them. Teach my children and grandchildren that our stories are precious and to be careful with them. I read them in the sunshine and spend a small fortune on purchasing them, mainly from international sites. Book sellers here in Aotearoa don’t appear to have any idea how incredible Indigenous writers are. In fact, most barely notice or support Māori authors. University Libraries here also tend to have a limited knowledge of the vast amount of Indigenous literature that is available. I encourage us all to request that our libraries purchase Indigenous writers.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by Māori artists. Sometimes when sitting with kairaranga (traditional weavers) as they speak of weaving the natural materials of our lands I make a ‘note to self’ that perhaps I am a weaver of words. Sometimes, like the weavers of harakeke that I am privileged to know, the lines are clear and precise and patterned exactly how I imagined them to be. Most of the time they need working and re-working, patterning and re-patterning. Like the harakeke plant that graces us with those immaculate long leaves that gift themselves for kete (baskets) and whāriki (woven mats) and that needs clearing and nurturing, so to do the lines and pages of what I write. A weaver would, I expect, encourage me to let the work take its shape, to begin and to have faith in the process. To use the processes of weaving that I understand as mine as I weave words and to let the tupuna do the rest. It will emerge is what I often hear.

That is in essence how I write a blog. How I wrote this blog. I hold to the kaupapa. In this context I take kaupapa to mean the take, the political issue of the moment. I position myself as a Māori woman in a Kaupapa Māori framework and I have come to trust that what I need to say will come. Our tupuna have left us understandings that we must use words carefully and one way to do that is allow ourselves to be guided in the writing. I am reminded that words have power. That our tupuna have always recognised and articulated the power of words. That there is mana and tapu, deep power and sacredness in our words. We have the power to use words in whatever form to make change and to transform our understandings and practices. Writing Kaupapa Māori blogs contribute to that wider transformative agenda in that they place into the world thoughts, critique and analysis that are distinctly ours.

Yes, Racism is Hate Speech

I want to congratulate Renae Maihi for the success of her petition “Strip racist “Sir” Bob Jones of his Knighthood” and to stand firmly with her in the raising of awareness of the vile diatribe that Bob Jones wrote in the NBR.

Jones has come out threatening to sue Renae Maihi for initiating a petition for the government to remove his knighthood after his racist column printed in the NBR and then deleted from their site.

Jones has for many years made demeaning and racist statements about Māori. This column was not different, what is different is that in this instance Jones is taking the duplicitous position of claiming that his racist rant in the NBR is “satire”, stating “For God’s sake, if anyone can take that literally, they’ve got serious problems,” and “It’s basically a mickey-take on issues of the day”. (http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/02/sir-bob-jones-threatens-legal-action-against-anti-racist-petition.html).

Interestingly the go-to commentator for the NZ Herald was again Paul Moon, who as a Pakeha man assured us all that it was not offensive, and he should know right… because he is an expert at writing about things that he clearly knows nothing about, like the wellbeing of te reo Māori for example.

So there we have it, the Pakeha male expert coming to the defence of the Pakeha male racist. Nothing particularly new about that one. It is Moon that labels the piece as satire which he states;
It goes back to Roman times you make a point about something or highlight aspects of it by coming up with something so ridiculous that people revisit everything and I don’t think that he was at all serious. But I’m guessing that, I’m not sure, but that’s my sense of it anyway.” (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11990499).

Paul Moon is supposedly adamant that he knows it is “satire” but in fact in his own words he is “guessing at that”. Meaning that he is making comment on something that he really does not know anything about. So effectively we have a Paul Moon commentary based on the ‘I’m guessing that, I’m not sure‘ position. Well done Professor Moon, you have again shown that you have no place speaking on Māori issues and you certainly don’t have any right to then tell us that we have no right to be offended. Such white man-splaining disguised as academic comment is even more problematised by the following Moon statement;
“I’m absolutely sure it’s not intended to be that at all because it’s written in a style that deliberately crosses so many borders it’s not serious and I think people who take it seriously might need to take some medication, perhaps.

In my view the person who needs to take some medication is the person who says in one line that he is “guessing” and in the next line that he is “absolutely sure”. It also needs to be noted that “satire” by definition is used to criticize and ridicule and is not solely about coming up with “with something so ridiculous that people revisit everything” as Moon expresses. Just Saying.

So now alongside Moon’s “absolutely sure” “I’m guessing” view that it is “satire”, Bob Jones then follows up with the statement “I will be issuing proceedings against this woman for defamation, because I take particular exception when she uses the word ‘hate’. I don’t hate anyone.” (http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/02/sir-bob-jones-threatens-legal-action-against-anti-racist-petition.html).

So it’s clear that Jones takes exception not with being appropriately labelled ‘racist’ but with the word ‘hate’. As if racism is not an act of hatred. Which according to the over 45,000 people that have signed the petition is in fact the case (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/101322566/tens-of-thousands-sign-petition-to-strip-sir-bob-jones-of-his-knighthood).

So what does a wealthy racist old white man do when they are called out about their racism? Well, they threaten to sue. Because it seems that in his view Renae Maihi needs to be taught a lesson. What makes it even more clear that Jones is using his wealth as a mechanism to appease his bruised ego is his admission that he does not consider the petition to be of any significance. As reported by One News (TVNZ), “He [Jones] told 1 NEWS he “didn’t care” about the petition, which he earlier described as “infantile”. But according to Jones “I won’t sue her for a lot because that would seem like I’m bullying her.”

Yes, you read correctly…. Jones is going to bully Renae Maihi by suing her for highlighting the racist hatred that he spewed but he is going to only sue for a little amount of money, as in his distorted view of bullying it is the amount of money he is asking for that determines if he is a bully and not the fact that he is using a white colonial judicial system to make himself feel more superior.
(https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/wont-sue-her-lot-because-would-seem-like-im-bullying-sir-bob-jones-explains-why-hes-suing-woman-wants-him-stripped-knighthood). One would think that his existing position of white male entitlement and superiority would already provide sufficient boost to his inflated sense of privilege, without having to drag a Māori woman through the courts as an act of self affirmation.

This blog may be considered a red flag to a bull, and yes you would be correct. Because the only way to deal with bullies is to publicly state that they are bullying. And yes, Bob Jones is acting like a bully.

It also seems that those that hold white privilege and use it as a weapon against others through asserting that their racism is not ‘hate speech’ are also the same people that when challenged move violently to silence those that call them out. This is just more of the same.

The other thing that needs to be done in response to bullies is that we must all stand alongside the person who is being bullied. In this case it is Renae Maihi.

So to you Renae, You have taken a position against someone who has actively trampled the mana of our people. There are over 45,000 people in just a few days that stand with you. Your people are proud of your stand and your strength in standing publicly to assert mana Māori. You have my absolute support. Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.

Honouring Protectors

As Aotearoa has settled into the time of Hineraumati and we are experiencing some unusually hot summer days I have been reflecting on what the future may be for our tamariki and mokopuna as climate change and the warming of the oceans around us bring new challenges to us all. We are without doubt in a time of transition. A question we all need to ask is, what is our contribution to the care and protection of Papatūānuku, of Tangaroa, of Hinemoana, of our maunga, awa, whenua, ngahere, kararehe. As the summer, the time of Hineraumati and Tanerore emerges with more intensity each day, this is an important time to make some key choices around how we can each live in ways that support their sustenance and wellbeing.

For all in Aotearoa, enjoy this time of Hineraumati and Tane Rore and in doing so take time to support those whānau, hapū, iwi and communities that are fighting the good fight against the deep sea drilling abuse of the seas that surround us and which nurture all those living within its depths. We have much to do to ensure the wellbeing of this earth and the oceans that surround our lands. We have much to be grateful for to those that have taken the lead time and time again to protect Papatūānuku for present and future generations and who in doing so have been at the cutting edge of what it means to take on the might of colonial forces.

This year we have been graced with the power of those who have shared their stories and strength from Indigenous nations around the globe to inspire and motivate us here. I have been honoured during 2017 in Aotearoa to be a part of the hosting of our indigenous relations – Pua Case, Hāwane Rios, Nahko Bear, Sylvia McAdam, Glenn Morris, Debra Harry, Tracy Bear, Steve Newcomb, Larissa Behrendt, Jason DeSantolo, Jamee Mahealani Miller, Joanne Archibald, Tessa Evans-Campbell, Karina Walters, Michelle Johnson-Jennings, Derek Jennings (and the whānau, Koii, Alayah, Ahni & Iaya) and many others that have attended events and made connections across the seas. In the connections and sharing with these relations we have come to know more about each other and in doing so more about ourselves.

The links between Indigenous nations are critical to ensuring that our understandings of the world that we are in remain both connected and open. That is not to deny the essential focus on our own desire here in Aotearoa for te reo Māori (Māori language), for mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), for tikanga Māori (Māori values, practices and protocols), as it is these specific and local ways of being Maori that define who we are within wider Indigenous contexts. It is in that exact strength of knowing who we are that we are more able to know our place within the wider Indigenous world. It is in our strength of being Māori that we are able to locate our understanding of being a part of an Indigenous whānau and the expectations, obligations and responsibilites that we have to all of our relatives.

I want to acknowledge at this time the resistance and strength of many movements that have worked to challenge injustice in many sites, in particular – Idle No More, who as a movement led by Indigenous women has sparked a fire within many of us for the past five years; Black Lives Matter who led by Black women continues to challenge the racism and white privilege that marginalises, oppresses and kills so many Black, Indigenous and People of Colour across Turtle Island and beyond; our elder relations of Hawaii that stand in protection of Mauna Kea and in doing so stand for all of our ancestral mountains and lands; Standing Rock Sioux who inspire Indigenous Peoples and allies across the world to be true to our belief that we are both the descendants of and protectors of this great Earth and all that live alongside us. To all those that struggle against colonial imperialist heteronormative patriachal capitalist oppresssion in all its forms, we see you, we hear you, we support you, we stand with you, we are you.

This year has also brought with it a much needed change in government for us in Aotearoa and we now look forward to seeing what making ‘a change’ really means. Many of our people remain distrusting of a Labour government, and rightfully so given our experiences of the imposition of neoliberalism in the 80s at the hands of a Labour government, and the impact of the colonial confiscation of the Foreshore and Seabed in 2005 again at the hands of a Labour government. When Marama Fox stated after the elections that our people had returned “like a beaten wife to the abuser who has abused our people over and over again” I was surprised at the uproar. As she was not wrong. It is clear that since the imposition of the colonial government in Aotearoa that the State itself has been the most significant abuser of Māori people. That applies not only to Labour, but to all governments that imposed and continue to reproduce colonial rule, including the National government of the past nine years. So it is not, in my view, that our people returned to Labour, it is that we continue to trust in a system that was established to dispossess our people and has continued to do so for over 200 years. Until we see real change, until we see constitutional change, until we see a focus on honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi, rather than “settling” Treaty claims we will continue to experience the abuses of the State. So, there is much to be done if we are to see real and meaningful change. For Maori people, we live daily with the impact of historical trauma events. It is embedded in our ancestral memory. We have no choice but to tell our stories, to tell our histories, to understand the ways in which our ancestors struggled so that future generations would survive, so that we would be here to have this conversation. The telling of our stories, the sharing and teaching of our histories, the teaching of te reo and tikanga across all sites is key to having meaningful conversations about what future we want for this country and how we will transform the unequal and unjust power relationships that exist in order to get there.

The question is whether this coalition is willing and courageous enough to do it. It also means not repeating the same old same old of the past. It is about doing things differently. It is about asking the right questions in order to get answers that will inform meaningful and transformative change. It means seeking advice from those that are willing to give innovative and enduring reflection around how we can move from the domination of neoliberalism and reinvigorate collective responsibility where we will enhance and support the development of an Aotearoa that is honourable in its relationships between its Treaty partners, where one partner does not continue to deny its role in an oppressive history, where te reo and tikanga Māori are affirmed as the Indigenous ways of being in this country and where successive governments stop running away from a history that needs to be told in order for any healing to take place.

Kia hora te marino,
Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana,
Kia tere te karohirohi i mua i tō huarahi
May calm be widespread,
May the ocean glisten like greenstone,
May the shimmer of summer dance across your path.

Mā ngā atua koutou e manaaki, e tiaki, i tēnei wā o Hineraumati.

Ngā Tai o Mākiri Letter & Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust Submission Against Offshore Seismic Survey Application

This Blog is dedicated to Taranaki resistance the Application for seismic surveying off the Taranaki coast and is shared to support our relations from Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust and Ngā Tai o Mākiri Trust.

E ngā pari karangatanga maha mai i Parininihi ki Taipake, tēnā ko tātou, Taranaki nui tonu!

To all Taranaki iwi, whānau, hapū, Māori organisations and networks, we look to you to support an urgent call for this new government to end fossil fuel expansion, and start the future of Aotearoa as a zero carbon economy.

This Summer, the entire Taranaki coastline could be beset upon by the ‘Amazon Warrior’ the world’s largest seismic survey vessel set to sail this week, to begin seismic blasting 19,000 square kilometres of Taranaki moana.

They blast every 10seconds, every hour, 24hrs for months, towing air cannons and seismic arrays kilometres long, in the hunt for oil up to 4km deep in the seabed.

The previous government permitted this area prior to the world famous discovery of a blue whale habitat, and the permit area allows the blasting to within a couple of kilometre’s of the foreshore.

This seismic survey is a direct result of the the Foreshore and Seabed Act unanimously opposed by iwi Māori.

As we face the climate change emergency all over the world, the threats to our whānau, our culture and all future generations increase with every new fossil fuel exploration permit. We already feel the effects as the temperature rises; severe droughts causing wildfires, storms causing severe floods, sea level rise and erosion concerning coastal marae and communities.

Burning fossil fuels lies at the heart of this threat, and we know the whole world is preparing to transition away from oil, gas and coal to support new forms of sustainable energy as a matter of urgency.

In the past 9 years, the previous government developed an aggressive fossil fuel expansion programme. Many iwi, hapū and whānau Māori have been at the forefront of efforts to move beyond fossil fuels, we have celebrated successfully turning away oil companies in the waters of Te Whānau ā Apanui, Kaikoura, Te Taitokerau, Te Ikaroa/Rāwhiti and acknowledge all those working tirelessly on the ground in Taranaki to oppose intensified oil & gas exploration.

Now our new government needs us, Taranaki nui tonu, Taranaki iwi whānui, to provide the light onto a new pathway, to turn the Amazon Warrior around and begin the fossil fuel free future.

Public opposition is what gave our political leaders the courage and mandate to declare a nuclear free Aotearoa/New Zealand. We stopped nuclear warships despite tremendous odds, it’s now time we stop the Amazon Warrior. It is our time to declare Aotearoa Seas Oil Free.

Nei ngā mihi nui, mihi roa, mihi maioha,

nā mātou, Ngā Tai o Mākiri – Protecting our future

Ngā Tai o Mākiri is a new alliance of mokopuna of Taranaki Mounga who respectful acknowledge the struggle of all Taranaki kaumātua and their communities, through decades and generations to protect our tribal rivers and seas from dairy farming and oil drilling.

Ngā Tai o Mākiri references our tribal customary fishing and seafood gathering months from November to March. We note that this Summer, November to March is when we anticipate the assault will be sustained on our seas by the ‘Amazon Warrior’ seismic surveying.

The Following is the submission to NZPAM by Te Korowai o Ngaaruahine Trust.

Ngā Tai o Mākiri launched this petition : https://www.toko.org.nz/petitions/halt-seismic-testing-of-taranaki-coast

Thank you for providing Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust (TKONT) the opportunity to provide a submission on the prospecting permit application from Schlumberger New Zealand. 

TKONT is opposed to this application because the proposed area is a recognised area of ecological importance, the activity will prejudice our commercial and customary fishing interests, will impact our current Takutai Moana claim, and will have an adverse effect on, not only marine mammals, but the whole eco-chain environment of the sea. 

TKONT’s interest in this application stems from Ngāruahine iwi having a special cultural, spiritual, historical and traditional association with the area within which the activities take place. TKONT, as the post-settlement governance entity for Ngāruahine has a responsibility to ensure that the interests of Ngāruahine are safe-guarded. This includes considering the extent to which the proposed activities, may impact (potential or actual) on the environmental, cultural and spiritual interests of Ngāruahine within its’ rohe (tribal area); and those areas under statutory acknowledgement and/or Deed of Recognition (Ngāruahine Claims Settlement Act 2016); and the potential or actual risks to the physical, psychological, cultural and spiritual wellness of Ngāruahine (Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust Deed). Therefore, TKONT makes submissions to any applications within its rohe and that are relevant to its people and its role as kaitiaki. This does not prevent the affected Ngāruahine hāpu submitting on their behalf, nor should it be in any way viewed as affecting the mana motuhake of the hapū. 

The application to undertake one of the largest ever offshore surveys for oil across 19,000 kilometres of the Taranaki basin will have devastating effects on our marine ecology, commercial fishing and customary fishing. This comes at a time when, more than ever we must consider the environmental impacts of these avoidable actions and how we can shift away from the preoccupation with fossil fuels. The seismic testing emits a blast gun at a sound level of 180 – 220db – every ten seconds bouncing into the seabed. This action will continue for two and a half months, 24 hours a day. This is louder than a rock concert and a jet engine. The effects of seismic testing are far reaching, and there is evidence that shows its adverse effect on the migratory pathways for mammals and fish and the destruction and malformation of marine lavae, which ultimately affects fish stocks for commercial and customary fishing. There are also extensive biological impacts on invertebrate shell fish that become stressed and disorientated by the noise, which affects their ability to feed, breed and escape predators. are stressed and cannot easily escape predators. When the marine environment is affected the mauri/life force of the waters are negatively impacted. 

There also remain questions about the extent to which oil and gas exploration cause earthquakes, so in the face of this uncertainty it goes against logic to allow seismic testing that would encourage an activity that is yet to be proven unequivocally safe. In addition, we are concerned about having the world’s largest seismic vehicle in our waters undertaking deep sea prospecting and our ability to avert an environmental disaster in the event of a spill. 

As one of the kaitiaki of the area Ngāruahine along with our whanaunga iwi: Taranaki , Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru and Te Ātiawa (along with other statutory agencies and bodies) we have an obligation to protect the integrity of the South Taranaki coastline (within our rohe), taonga species, mahinga kai habitats, fishing grounds and other native habitats. We believe this responsibility alone is sufficient to exclude the proposed areas. However, we also remind the Department that the South Taranaki Blight has the status of an Area of Ecological Importance, and as such seismic testing should not be a permitted activity. And, we advise some of the proposed area is within Ngāruahine’s current proceedings under the Marine and Coastal Area Takutai Moana Act 2011. There is clearly a very strong case to not allow this seismic testing application to proceed. 

Māori have a special relationship with the marine environment; a relationship that cannot be delineated by boundary’s between commercial operations. The ocean is a cultural site of significance for iwi, and Māori take seriously their role as kaitiaki of the sea. It is difficult for Māori to protect the māuri of the wai, without their rights being sufficiently respected, acknowledged and responded to as part of the regulatory processes. TKONT therefore urge NZPAM to recognise the significance that Māori give to the marine environment as a whole, and to consider the cumulative effects that each single operation has to the integrity to our marine environment. This cumulative impact is particularly important in Taranaki where our region is subject to the most intensive oil and gas exploration in the country and every new permit adds pressure to eco-systems and environments that are already subject high levels of impacts that are frequently assessed as “negligible”, “minor”, “un-noticeable” or “uncertain” due to the paucity of pre-exploration data. 

TKONT’s cultural values are impacted in many ways. These are summarised in the following sections.


As part of the Māori creation story, Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) were separated by their children Tāne Mahuta (Tāne of the Forest) and his many siblings. As a result of this act, ngā roimata a Ranginui (the tears of Ranginui or rain) fell upon the earth, as the eternal expression of his grief and love for Papatūānuku. These feelings were reciprocated by Papatūānuku through the rising emotion back to Ranginui through mists and fog. For this reason, in some accounts, rain is considered tapu (sacred or pure state), only becoming wai Māori once it touches the ground. Te mana o te wai (the mana of water) then, stems largely from its direct association with these archetypal figures of Ranginui and Papatūānuku. However, upon reaching the earth, the tapu and therefore the mana of water changes as it interacts or is affected by other materials, substances or elements. From a te Ao Māori view, the greater the change of wai Māori and wai moana from its original tapu state, the more affected its mana, and therefore its efficacy, particularly in maintaining and sustaining a quality of life not just for iwi Māori, but all peoples living in Aotearoa-New Zealand. The seismic interference has a negative impact on the mana and efficacy of the waters to performs its natural functions. 

In some schools of Māori thought, for some “thing” (physical object), one (individual), group (whānau, hapū, iwi, hapori) or system (ecosystem) to have mana, it must, as a pre- requisite, have mauri. Mauri is often described as the essential quality and vitality of something, one or system. The wiriwiri (quivering hand) for example, often seen performed by members of a rōpū kapa haka Māori, indicates that one is fully present in the moment – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – for all intents and purpose it is a state of mauri ora, being fully alive. The same phenomena can also be observed for all water. From a te Ao Māori view, the mauri of wai māori and wai moana can be assessed as follows:
a) Sight: colour and flow of the water, presence of objects, materials, silt, etc., foaming, presence of aquatic and plant and animal life; 

b) Sound:sound of crashing waves,water rushing over sand and rocks,hum of insect life, cries and warbling of bird song; 

c) Taste: taste and texture of the water; 

d) Touch:the viscosity,temperature and strength of water flows;and 

e) Smell: flinty odour of rocky rivers, rich earthy odours of riverbank and riparian environments. 

Coupled with a body of knowledge built upon centuries of observation, working with, harvesting from, and caring for the sea, assessing the mauri of a natural resource was critical to the wellness and well-being of whānau and hapū. Without such a knowledge based on an intimate understanding of mauri, the survival of whānau, hapū and iwi would always have been in doubt.

These criteria combined with a body of knowledge developed over hundreds of years, continues to inform uri, whānau and hapū of the vitality, the health, the mauri of wai māori and the moana. The seismic testing obstructs and impedes the life force of the waters, and thus the health of all.


Whakapapa (genealogy) is the tracing of one’s genealogical descent from primordial times to the present. It establishes ones biological and kinship credentials, ones affiliation to others, and ones connection to place, both spiritually and physically. Whakapapa forms 
an important basis for the organisation, transmission and creation of new knowledge, through a sequential ordering of the creation of the universe. In doing, so whakapapa enables connections and inter-relationships to be made between the physical, social and spiritual spheres, the past, present and future.

More importantly however, it is through whakapapa, that iwi Māori understand, acknowledge and share an intimate relationship with wai māori and the moana. That relationship is based on a body of knowledge, which clearly illustrates how iwi Māori whakapapa to every aspect, manifestation and phenomena of the natural world, including wai māori and the moana. It is also on the basis of this relationship that, over the centuries, an environmental ethic unique to Aotearoa has developed, that of Kaitiakitanga. 


Kaitiakitanga is a culturally based environmental ethic, which obliges tangata whenua to protect, use and sustainably manage resources from the natural environment. This approach is informed by centuries of observation, and knowledge and familiarity of the environment around us. 

That knowledge and experience also informs the kawa (protocols), tikanga (processes) and ture (rules) developed to ensure the mauri of the natural world is maintained. While interrupted by colonisation, and the subsequent impacts of land loss and access to traditional mahinga kai, this body of knowledge and associated traditional practices are still exercised today by Ngāruahine uri. 

Kaitiakitanga then, is our way of acknowledging the aroha the whenua, ngā awa and the moana show towards us, through the selfless provision of kai and resources. It also acknowledges the extent to which the mana of the whenua, wai māori and moana has indelibly influenced Te Ao Māori – the values, concepts, philosophies, language, processes and practices. 

And this is why we are deeply concerned about the Schlumberger application. With every prospecting application the abundance and quality of our marine kai is compromised and the quality of our marine environment is affected. Each time the Government grants a permit that is invasive, and unrestrained, it lessens our mana, seeks to weaken and break our whakapapa to the sea, it affects the extent to which we can meet our obligations to Tangaroa, further harms our cultural identity, and reduces the mauri of our environment, which affects us all. For these real and valid cultural reasons, this application cannot be allowed to proceed. 

Ngāruahine hapū have an indelible relationship between the land and the sea and the domain of Tangaroa extends to the awa with which the Ngāruahine associate to the peak of Mounga Taranaki. The brief narratives introduce the connection that each of the hapā have to the whenua and awa within the rohe, and the origins from the arriving waka.



The people of Kanihi-Umutahi are the descendants of the tangata whenua tribes who landed at Te Rangatapu on the Te Rangiuamutu waka, captained by Tamatea-Rokai. The tangata whenua tribes were known as Te Kahui-Maunga, Te Kahui-Toka, Te Kahui-Rere, Te Kahui-Tuu, Te Maru-Iwi and Te Tini-o-Tai-Tawaro, Te -ahui-Ruu Te-Kahui-Po and Te- Kahui-Tawake. This hapū also claims ancestry from the Aotea Utanganui waka which was captained by Turi-te-Ariki-nui. During the fourteenth century, Turi, with his wife Rongorongo and their people, travelled south along the coast naming many places on their journey including the Waingongoro River. The eponymous tūpuna of the Kanihi- Umutahi HapŪ is the warrior chief Puawhato. The Kanihi-Umutahi people have historically resided on both the western and eastern banks of the Waingongoro River. The ancient Pā, Kanihi is located on the eastern bank of the river on a block of land known as Te Rua o Te Moko.


Okahu-Inuawai are the descendants of the tangata whenua tribes who landed at Te Rangatapu on the Te Rangiuamutu waka, captained by Tamatea-Rokai. The tangata whenua tribes were known as Te Kahui-Maunga, Te Kahui-Toka, Te Kahui-Rere, Te Kahui- Tuu, Te Maru-Iwi and Te Tini-o-Tai-Tawaro, Te -ahui-Ruu Te-Kahui-Po and Te-Kahui- Tawake. This hapū alsoclaimsancestryfromthe Aotea Utanganui waka which was captained by Turi-te-Ariki-nui. During the fourteenth century, Turi, with his wife Rongorongo and their people, travelled south along the coast naming many places as they went including the Waingongoro River. The eponymous tūpuna of the Okahu- Inuawai Hapū is Hinekoropanga. She was an important kuia not only to her hapū but she played a significant role within Ngaruahine as a whole. Her brother was Puawhato the warrior chief and tūpuna of the Kanihi-Umutahi people. Both sister and brother resided on the Waingongoro River, their pā being adjacent to one another. Okahutiti became an important Pā during the intertribal skirmishes with northern iwi. The Okahu-Inuawai Hapū has historically resided on the western and eastern banks of the Waingongoro River. 

Ngāti Manuhiakai also claims ancestry from the Aotea Utanganui waka which was captained by Turi-te-Ariki-nui. During the fourteenth century, Turi, with his wife Rongorongo and their people, travelled south along the coast naming many places as they went including the Waingongoro River. Ngateko on the Kapuni stream is one of the original landing places of the Wakaringaringa waka, captained by Mawakeroa, the other being Kaupokonui. Many of the people on that waka took up settlement here. The Kapuni stream marks the boundary between the takiwa of Ngāti Manuhiakai and Ngāti Tu Hapū. The takiwā of the Ngāti Manuhiakai extends from the tip of Maunga Taranaki into Te Moana O Tangaroa taking in Te Rere o Kapuni and Inaha Rivers. From east to west, the boundary extends from the western banks of the Waingongoro River to the eastern banks of the Raoa Stream.


Ngāti Tu also claim ancestry from the Aotea Utanganui waka which was captained by Turi- te-Ariki-nui. During the fourteenth century, Turi, with his wife Rongorongo and their people, travelled south along the coast naming many places as they went including the Kaupokonui River and Maraekura. The name of the flat lands adjacent to the Kaupokonui River and lying between Pukekohe Pa and the Taoratai kainga is Maraekura, the ‘courtyard of the precious heirloom Huna-kiko’. Turi had brought this with him from Hawaiki-Rangiatea. This cloak was used for ceremonial purposes on multiple occasions during Turi and his people’s time in Taranaki. During one of these occasions Mareakura was named. According to sources Turi and his companions who included his son Turangaimua, and the tohunga Tapo, Kauika, Tuau, Hau-pipi, and Rakeiora, constructed an altar on Maraekura and spread the cloak upon it. The name therefore refers to this ceremony and the spreading of this ‘precious heirloom’ which represented the mana of Turi. Ngateko on the Kapuni Stream was one of the original landing places of the Wakaringaringa waka captained by Mawakeroa, the other being Kaupokonui. Many of the people on that waka took up settlement there with the Kapuni stream acting as a marker between for the boundary between the takiwā of NGĀTI MANUHIAKAI AND NGāTI TU HAPŪ. 


Ngāti Haua claim ancestry from the Aotea Utanganui waka, captained by Turi-te-Ariki-nui. Aotea Utanganui set off from Hawaiki and travelled via Rangitahau (Kermadec Islands) and Tamaki before landing at the Aotea harbour. During the fourteenth century, Turi, with his wife Rongorongo and their people, travelled south along the coast naming many 
places as they went including the Raoa River. This hapū traces their origin to the union between the tupuna of Ngāti Haua, Te Auroa, and Hinengakau, the great ancestress of Atihaunui-a-Parangi from Whanganui. According to traditional history, Te Auroa met Hinengakau during a journey he undertook south to visit his kinfolk. Hinengakau was at the Whanganui River with her father when Te Auroa arrived there, and observed him as he dove into the Whanganui River and swam across. She was greatly impressed and asked her father to seek his hand in marriage which he solemnly did. The couple had twins, Ngāti Haua Roa and Ngāti Haua Piko, from whom Ngāti Haua derive their name. The Ngāti Haua hapū claim that their tuturu rohe extends seaward from the mouth of the Otakeho Stream following it inland to the Maunga, thence turning and following the eastern side of the Raoa Stream back to seaward, Tawhiti-nui, Hawaiki-nui, Tawhiti-roa, Hawaiki-roa, Tawhiti-pamamao, Hawaiki-pamamao. They claim that their whanaungatanga rohe extends from the western side of the Kaupokonui River of the Ngāti Tū hapū, to the eastern side of the Wahamoko Stream.

Ngāti Tamaahuroa-Titahi are the descendants of the tangata whenua tribes who landed at Te Rangatapu on the Te Rangiuamutu waka, captained by Tamatea-Rokai. The tangata whenua tribes were known as Te Kahui-Maunga, Te Kahui-Toka, Te Kahui-Rere, Te Kahui- Tuu, Te Maru-Iwi and Te Tini-o-Tai-Tawaro, Te -ahui-Ruu Te-Kahui-Po and Te-Kahui- Tawake. Ngāti Tamaahuroa-Titahi share common ancestry with Taranaki Iwi. The eponymous ancestor Rua Taranaki originated from Taupō but re-settled on the Hangaataahua River, and was the first in a long line of Taranaki rangatira. Ngāti Tamaahuroa-Titahi also claim ancestry from the Aotea Utanganui waka which was captained by Turi. The Ngati Tamaahuroa-Titahi Hapū claim that their takiwā extends from the mouth of the Taungatara Stream in the west to the mouth of the Raoa stream in the east, and thence from the moana to the Maunga. The Ngāti-Tamaahuroa-Titahi Hapū are descendants of the people who landed at Oeo on the waka captained by Whiro in the fourteenth century. The various awa that are located within the takiwa of Ngāti Tamaahuroa-Titahi have great spiritual importance and are “the blood and veins of the takutaimoana, each of them with a story to tell.” The wai that flows through these awa symbolises the link between the past and the present.

Ngāruahine Treaty Settlement Act was signed in December 2016. New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals are strongly encouraged to read the settlement documentation as a basis to understand the important cultural connection that we have to the land and waters in and around our rohe.

TKONT also highlights the 2011 WAI796 Petroleum report, and urges the Department to re-familiarise itself with the matters raised in the inquiry. Substantially the inquiry concluded that the substance of the law is biased against Māori, a statement we would affirm in this submission. The inquiry also stated that the processes for engagement are not sufficient and sometimes not genuine, and the resources required meaningfully engage in relationships are not equally held by Māori and the petroleum companies. The result is a limited power for Māori to effectively protect the environment for which it has kaitiaki, protection that serves to benefit all New Zealanders. We do not consider the processes to have adjusted sufficiently in the period since the report was released as to negate its findings. Indeed the regulatory regime feels more permissive and invasive than ever before.

Takutai Moana is another important consideration that must be taken into account as part of the decision making process. The coastal area (which includes the abutting land) is, as already stated culturally significant to us. It provides a sources of food, materials for production, places to live, to celebrate; they are places of sustenance and life. The tauranga waka (canoe launching sites) along the coastline represent landing sites of considerable historical, cultural and spiritual significance, and we must be attentive to how the activities and practices within our coastal area can compromise not only the mauri of moana, but also the adjacent land and waters. 

TKONT has an application pending with the Crown in respect of our customary rights within the Common Marine and Coastal Area, under the authority of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011. A further exploitation of the area available for prospecting and ultimately exploration impacts on the customary rights of the iwi, and our ability to protect these interests. TKONT asserts that the continued mineral prospecting and exploration that takes places around off-shore Taranaki impacts on our ability to undertake customary activities and practices. The application to seismically survey this area is incongruent with the current Takutai Maona claim and should therefore not be permitted. 

Existing literature is clear that our understanding about the effects of seismic testing is still developing, research is still in its infancy and there is a paucity in the current research (Hawkins, Pembroke, & Popper, 2015). This is perhaps in part, because the research data is held by the commercial organisations who secure the permits to prospect and explore and it is therefore not in their interests to gather and share data that may prejudice their commercial operations. If there is such certainty that the activity causes no adverse effects, why is there not unequivocal data to show this? Whilst there is a limitation with the available research, there is still sufficient evidence to assert that the precautionary principle be adopted and the permit not be approved. 

At present research data has largely focussed on the auditory effects on marine mammals, although there is increasing research about fish and to a lesser degree invertebrates. In regards to the lower order species a recent study by McCauley et al (2017) states that it is not possible to fully understand the effects that seismic surveying has on higher order species if there is an absence of data about the effects on the lower order species. What the research is telling us however is that there are effects on marine life – effects that prejudice our cultural, customary and commercial interests. Before continuing with this submission, it is important to assert this point, because the basis of the permitted status is that the applicant will comply with the Seismic Surveys Code of Conduct (2012), and this is simply not sufficient to safeguard our cultural and commercial rights, nor the marine environment. 
Alteration to acoustic communication and marine life behaviour 

Many marine organisms depend on the interpretation of acoustic information of their 
surrounding environment for their survival; noise pollution can affect marine organisms’ acoustic communication through auditory and through physiological damage of hearing systems (Peng, Zhao, & Liu, 2015). Sounds from seismic surveys are intense and research has found that blue whales called consistently more when seismic exploration took place compared to non-exploration days (Di Iorio & Clark, 2010). This increase calling was observed for the discrete, audible calls that are emitted during social encounters and feeding. The researchers proposed that the increased calls represented a compensatory behaviour to the elevated ambient noise from seismic survey operations. Clearly the noise from the surveying produces an adverse behavioural reaction towards the mammals. 

At least 800 species of fish hear and produce sounds, either while fighting or competing for food or when courting or spawning (Welch, 2011), and the increased volumes in the sea has been reported to have adverse physiological effects on marine life; effects that will result in different behavioural responses and patterns. Welch’s research highlighted that the effects of the noise varies among species, but like mammals, one visible effect was the increased auditory masking or calling to compensate. A study of cuttlefish, squid and octopus that were exposed to low frequency noise found that the animals developed physiological effects, lesions in nerve fibres within their sensory systems. The researcher noted, “What was surprising was just how massive the trauma was, and at small levels of exposure…It was the first evidence of significant harm to an invertebrate species that plays a key role in the ocean food chain” (Welch, 2011). More recent research has also presented the behavioural changes in fish species – a change in swimming patterns, swim locations (moving to the bottom of the water column), swimming in tighter groups, heightened startle responses and behaviours that increased their vulnerability to predators (Peng et al., 2015). Some research has stated that effects are temporary in nature, but as noted by Nowacek et al. (2013) scientific understanding of the prevalence and implications of these effects is limited – the precautionary principle must therefore be applied. These findings represent a snapshot of available data. TKONT strongly asserts that these findings should not be ignored, and even if they are is refuted, this should take place via the undertaking of additional independent research. At this stage NZPAM may argue that the substance of our objection is environmental, which is beyond the decision making scope, however these physical and behavioural changes affect the abundance, quality and health of our fish species.

The study by De Soto et al. (2013) considered if noise exposure during larval 
development can cause body malformations in marine fauna. The study found high proportions of malformed larvae where they was an exposure to noise. Developmental delay emerged after 24 hours of noise exposure. The authors asserted, “The experiment provides a robust indication of the potential consequences of high level sound exposure during larval development. This is, to our knowledge, the first evidence that sound can cause growth abnormalities in larvae…We therefore conclude that if larvae in the wild are subject to intense noise exposure during development, this could reduce recruitment and so have a delayed impact on stocks of mature animals” (p. 2).They continued, “Noise exposure during critical growth intervals may also contribute to stock vulnerability, underlining the urgency to investigate potential long-term effects of acoustic pollution on marine fauna. Moreover, these results call for applying the precautionary principle when 
planning activities involving high-intensity sound sources, such as explosions, construction or seismic exploration, in spawning areas of marine invertebrates” (p. 3).

Recently released research has shown the effects that seismic testing has on zoo 
plankton. Zooplankton underpins ocean productivity; therefore impacts on their health have far reaching implications for ocean ecosystem health and all higher order species. Research conducted by McCauley et al (2017) found that zoo plankton abundance dropped with increased exposure to the seismic air gun. In terms of the effects, the authors refer to degradation of sensory ability and an orientation disability. The results showed a hole in the zooplankton 30 minutes after the air gun passed through (University of Tasmania, 2017). McCauley et al also noted that the zooplankton “may not die immediately” (p.5), however they do die. McCauley et al continued, “Given the extensive spatial scale for serious impacts on plankton observed here, combined with the repeat and sustained nature of many seismic surveys…it is highly probable that significant depletion or modification of plankton community structure is occurring on the scale of the 3D seismic surveys undertaken” (p. 5). The authors concluded with a statement that urgent research is needed to further understand the impacts on plankton and the broader marine environment, along with a need to prioritise investigations into alternative seismic testing approaches, because plankton underpin the whole ocean productivity. 


When we consider this evidence in relation to the Blue Whale population that was 
identified by Leigh Torres’ research, it is reasonable to assume that our local Blue Whale population will be negatively affected. As recently as February 2017, Torres sighted 68 different blue whale individuals in nine days in the South Taranaki Blight. Torres’s interview with the New Zealand Herald reminded the audience that the South Taranaki Blight has New Zealand’s only known blue whale foraging ground. Commenting on the sightings Torres noted that the whales looked thinner than they should be and many wore scars from collisions with vessels, and reflecting on the Trans-Tasman Resources application (regretfully supported by the EPA), Torres said that it was naïve to think that mining would not affect the Blue Whales (New Zealand Herald, 2017). On this assumption, it is equally naïve to propose that the seismic survey would not affect the blue whale population. 

The applicant has stated that they will ensure total compliance with the Seismic Surveys Code of Conduct and the Marine Mammal Guidelines. This is perhaps because this then 
allows the activity to assume the status of a permitted activity under the EEZ Act and prevents the applicant from being subject an application by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Prior to addressing the inadequacy of the Marine Mammal Guidelines, it is important to reference the Department of Conservation (author of the Guidelines), who state, “Under normal circumstances marine seismic surveys would not be planned in any sensitive, ecologically important areas or during key biological periods where species of concern are likely to be breeding, calving, resting, feeding or migrating” (Department of Conservation, 2012). The South Taranaki Blight is an area of ecological importance and this area must be excluded from any seismic testing. 

In respect of the Marine Mammal Guidelines, there is a particular limitation to relying on these guidelines alone and it unreasonable to state that a compliance with the guidelines is sufficient to afford the activity permitted activity status. Compliance with code requires the production of a Marine Mammal Impact Assessment (MMIA). In the opinion of TKONT, to date the MMIAs have fallen short of the requirements of the Code. Part of the obligations of the Code is to minimise disturbance to marine mammals and to contribute to the body of scientific knowledge on the behavioural and physical impacts of marine mammals. The MMIAs must therefore fully assess the total food chain impacts (as already set out in this submission) in order to fully assess the impacts on marine mammals. Our cursory review of the 12 assessments undertaken for operations in the south Taranaki blight proposes that no MMIA has fully assessed total food chain impacts. 

The Passive Acoustic Monitoring systems (PAM) that are used to detect marine mammals do not detect the presence of fish and vertebrates (Hawkins et al., 2015), and whilst they may be less vocal there are a large number of fish species that heat and produce sound. Therefore the current acoustic monitoring techniques are limited in their effectiveness to understand total marine environment impacts. 

In summary compliance with the Marine Mammal Guidelines does not assess total effects and does not mitigate all of the risks to the marine environment. And, a reliance on this as the basis to afford permitted activity status neglects the impact on fish, larvae and invertebrates and thus our customary and commercial fishing rights. 

A number of reports have detailed the effects of seismic testing in Australian waters on 
scallop abundance and health (ABC Premium News, 2010; Briscoe, 2012; Day, McCauley, Fitzgibbon, Hartmann, & Semmens, 2017; Ogilvie, 2010 ; Vidot, 2011). Vidot’s report noted that scallops, where no seismic testing had taken place were healthy and abundant, however where testing had taken place, 80% (24,000 tonnes) of the scallops had died. They cited the loss at equivalent to A$70million. Where scallops were still present, fisherman reported on their deteriorated condition (ABC Premium News, 2010). The exploration company cited a lack of evidence to prove a link, thus dismissing the real and visual loss of the scallops as reported by the fisherman. Had there been a requirement for the testing company to record the baseline ecological data, it would have been difficult for the seismic company to refute the claim. 

Similar commercial concerns have also been voiced in America and in early 2017, President Obama’s administration banned all seismic testing off the Atlantic coast because of the risks to tourism, recreation economies, commercial fishing and the health of the marine environment (Knapp, 2017). Knapp reported, “Fish are harmed also and have been found to have damaged hearing structures and altered behaviour responses resulting in 40 percent to 80 percent reductions in commercial fishing catch rates. Sea turtles show avoidance and alarm responses to seismic testing. Even invertebrates like squid, crabs and scallops have been found to show stress response and even development delays and body malformations”. Knapp commented that these effects are out of sight to many, therefore easy to dismiss. They call for a real life experiment – and at this point refer to New Zealand as the testing ground to observe the effects of the seismic testing, presumably because of the prolific seismic testing that is occurring in New Zealand water. New Zealand does not however want to be this test ground, because based on the current evidence, it is very likely to confirm the negative effects already seen by other research. 


TKONT requests that the entire area is removed from the permit because of the risks to the marine environment, the ;likely effect on our commercial and customary fishing interests, our Takutai Moana claim and the area being an area of ecological importance. There is a paucity of application data supplied to iwi and hapū, and whilst the company has held one conversation with us, no additional information has been forthcoming.
TKONT is happy to re-consider our position subject to the following:
The production of baseline ecological data about the marine environment in partnership with iwi; 

* The production of an MMIA that address the total cumulative effects of the seismic survey including how impacts throughout the food chain affect marine mammals, 

* Funding for the production of an independent, iwi led, Cultural Impact Assessment; 

* Information that records how the behaviour and physical risks to all marine life (fish, lavae and zoo plankton) will be avoided; 

* Receipt of information that sets out the procedures that will avoid a spill or other environmental disaster; and the processes for clean-up and remediation; and 

* Engagement by the application, with iwi, regarding the payment of a substantial financial bond to offset the losses to the marine environment and our commercial and customary fishing interests. 

* And, finally, TKONT requires that the application should be subject to a full Environmental Protection Act (EPA) application process and hearing to ensure that total cumulative effects and impacts are considered. Anything less than this will be a failure to fully address all parties’ interests and all potential effects and consequences.

The Crown has an obligation to minimise the disparity in resources between iwi and the Crown and must do everything it can to minimise the burden of responding to regulatory demands that are place upon iwi. Proper consideration and attention to the matters raised in this submission would confirm your commitment to recognising the significance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as it applies to the Crown Minerals process and demonstrate your commitment to respecting the mana whenua within the proposed areas. 

We look forward to engaging in further dialogue with you. Please contact me at policy@ngaruahine.iwi.nz for any matters of clarification.

Is stealing Waitara Lands twice not enough?

I read today the news report related to the Waitara Lands Bill ‘Call for councils to step aside on Waitara Lands Bill compensation’ published by Stuff on line. (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/98339905/call-for-councils-to-step-aside-on-waitara-lands-bill-compensation)

I am continually amazed that no matter how often media are asked to speak to appropriate people about hapū matters in Waitara they continue to ignore those requests. Where both Peter Moeau and Grant Knuckey are past iwi board members the statements made in the article do not reflect the views of many other Te Ātiawa descendants that live on the Pekapeka Block and others stolen lands in the region.

The New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill has been through the first two readings in the House and through a Select Committee process. There have, as is noted by Nanaia Mahuta in the article, been some changes to the Bill. However the current version of the Bill is not balanced, and nor does it reflect the desire of Otaraua and Manukorihi hapū and Te Ātiawa iwi that presented in the Select committee process for the return of the lands unencumbered to the hapū.

The call for the lands to be handed over to leaseholders is absurd. Where in any other contractual leasing agreement does the government then legislate for the leaseholder to be given ownership. One can only imagine the uproar that would come from wealthy property owners if that was the case, however it seems that when it comes to stolen Māori lands that this is an acceptable proposition to councils and the government.

Where I acknowledge there are issues for the leaseholders, which includes my own whānau who have paid lease on stolen lands for over 50 years, a lease is a lease. They signed a lease and did so knowing that they would be leasing on stolen lands. Stolen Māori lands. Stolen hapū lands. Stolen iwi lands. To then have the New Plymouth City Council and the Taranaki Regional Council sell the lands to those same leaseholders (or other third parties) and profit even more millions off the backs of our people is another act of confiscation and oppression. To advocate the ‘handing over’ of the land to leaseholders is another act of confiscation and oppression.

The confiscation of land in Taranaki and marginalisation of Māori control and autonomy was a deliberate act of violence against our people. The lands at Waitara were illegally, immorally and violently removed from Māori hands not once but twice (Waitangi Tribunal 1996).

With this bill we are now facing a third wave of colonial dispossession.

The initial removal of the Pekapeka Block from hapū hands resulted in armed struggle and our people suffered considerably. Then, to add further abuse the colonial government ‘returned’ the lands only to be confiscated again under the Suppression of Rebellion Act. The Taranaki Report, WAI 143 (1996) states. “The retraction, it seems to us, was simply play-acting; the fabrication of a scene to place blame on the former Governor, so that the new Governor might restart the war with a clean slate” (p.91).

The conflicts that resulted from the direct attacks by the Crown upon our people over this particular block of land are considered to be the first land wars between Māori and the colonizing forces in Aotearoa. Mururaupatu, the theft, confiscation and dispossession of our lands is a common history that stretches across Taranaki and the country. Waitara was violently taken from our people and transferred by the government to local council. It was repackaged as council lands, it was represented as private land. Hapū and iwi of Te Ātiawa have lived on and paid lease to successive town and city councils to live on our own lands.

Over time we have seen confiscated lands become re-named as the ‘Waitara Endowment Lands’ and is now considered ‘council land’ and under the current Treaty Settlement Process remains alienated. The renaming of our lands is a part of a colonial process of selective memory, it serves to deny and invisibilise the truth of what has happened on our lands. To refer to stolen lands as ‘endowment lands’ is a lie. We are the original peoples, we are the people of the land, we did not gift our lands, it was taken through violence and force. Waitara lands are not ‘endowment lands’ and no matter how often the local councils or the Crown referred to our lands in that manner, they will never be called ‘endowment lands’ by our people. The renaming of the land by colonisers serves to render its history invisible.

The current rendition of the Bill continues to make invisible this history and deny the acts of violence and illegal dispossession of the lands in Waitara. The absurdity of this Bill can be see in the overall processed of the Crown and councils which at a most fundamental level is as follows:
• Crown steals the land and wages war on hapū and iwi
• Crown gifts stolen lands to its local government allies
• Councils lease lands and profit in millions of dollars through leases and fraudulent sales of some land blocks
• The Crown and Council collude in Treaty Settlement process to proposed that iwi ‘buy back’ through Treaty settlement funds the Waitara block
• Councils in an act that is in direct opposition from hapū seek to freehold lands
• The New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill is drafted for sale of stolen Waitara lands to leaseholders
• The Bill is rejected by the hapū and vast majority of submitters
• Select committee recommend amendments to the Bill however there is no return of the Pekapeka block or other Waitara stolen lands

The idea that any outcome that does not include the return of Waitara lands to hapū is in my view unacceptable. The current version of the Bill proposes that the council sell the lands and that the funds support hapū buying other lands. So the expectation is that hapū will have to buy back lands, with funds that come from the sale of their original homelands that were taken through invasion, war and confiscation. There is much wrong with that scenario.

The use of the funds by the Councils is advocated to provide for the benefit of all in Waitara so again stolen Māori lands are being exploited for the benefit of all. Do the Councils and the Crown not understand that Pākehā and others living on stolen hapū lands have already benefited over the past 160 years? The lands were not forcibly taken from leaseholders or their descendants, the lands were taken from hapū and iwi of Waitara and our descendants. It is time for the lands to be returned for the hapū and iwi to find a means by which to re-balance our lives, to reconnect our people to our lands, to regain a grounding and basis for being self-determining on our own lands.

We need to voice to this Labour, Greens and New Zealand First government:

No, the lands should not be handed to leaseholders. Not now. Not ever.

No, the lands should not be sold for the New Plymouth and Regional councils to profit and to fund activities that they should already be funding through their illegal colonial rates system.

No, the hapū should not be forced to buy lands on the margins of their original territories while councils and others benefit from living next to our ancestral river and coastal areas. Hapū and iwi of Te Ātiawa should not be fringe dwellers on their own lands.

No, the current bill is not balanced. It is the third act of confiscation of the Pekapeka Block and Waitara lands.

This new government has an opportunity in their first 100 days to make a difference.
• To not buy into the idea that a lease is anything more than a lease.
• To not allow the New Plymouth and Taranaki Regional councils to continue with their greedy and oppressive approach to Waitara that sees only their interests served
• To not create a context for future generations of our tamariki and mokopuna of hapū and iwi of Waitara living disconnected from their tūrangawaewae
• To not create another act of oppression and trauma on our people.

This new government has an opportunity to say to the hapū and iwi of Waitara that two acts of confiscation of the lands is where it ends, and to not go down in history as the government that perpetuates a third contemporary act of confiscation on Otaraua and Manukorihi hapū and the descendants of Te Ātiawa that seek to hold to the lands of our tupuna.

This government has the opportunity to do what is just for the hapū and iwi of Waitara. Me hoki whenua mai.