A week is a long time in politics, or so the cliché goes. With that in mind I won’t attempt to deal with all the goings on in Maori politics that I’ve missed over the past week or so. A few things cannot pass without comment though.
Firstly, I want to pay tribute to Sir Paul Reeves – the first Maori Governor-General, former Archbishop of New Zealand and more recently Chancellor of Auckland University of Technology. Sir Paul will be remembered primarily as the first Maori Governor-General. During his tenure Sir Paul expressed public disapproval with Rogernomics stating that “the spirit of the market steals life from the vulnerable but the spirit of God gives life to all”. Sir Paul’s appointment was met with some disdain as many New Zealanders felt that his previous political involvement tainted his occupation of the apolitical Office of the Governor-General. As a man of God, sympathetic Labour Party supporter and tino rangatiratanga advocate Sir Paul was seen as compromised. However, upon taking Office Sir Paul allayed these fears and performed his duties with passion and impartiality.
Sir Paul whakapapas to Te Atiawa in the Taranaki. His hapu is Puketapu. Although Sir Paul was raised Pakeha, or in a Pakeha world, this did not alter his sense of identity as a Maori nor did it ever stop him discovering and embracing his whakapapa. I think history will remember Sir Paul as a man of humanity. I will remember Sir Paul for his aroha for all people and all things. Sir Paul possessed an acute sense of the world. Moe mai ra e te rangatira.
On a brighter note, the Maori Party have dropped Solomon Tipene and selected Waihoroi Shortland as the Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau. The Maori Party are not ones to entertain strategic thoughts, or at least they never appear to think beyond the short term, however selecting Waihoroi signals that the party has finally developed a strategic approach to politics. Waihoroi is not going to win, bar some catastrophe, but he will erode Hone’s vote. Whether Waihoroi erodes it enough to hand Kelvin a win is unlikely, but plausible to an optimistic mind. The tide is going out on the Maori Party and rising on the Mana Party, if the Maori Party want to stem the flow then they need to eliminate Mana. They know this, Mana knows this and it is obvious to anyone that takes a cursory interest in politics.
Where Solomon Tipene was inarticulate and hesitant, Waihoroi is eloquent and assured (in both Maori and English may I add). He retains some youthful vigour, but also comes across as a wise Kaumatua. On personal characteristics Waihoroi is hard to beat. However, what he possesses in charisma he lacks in campaign experience, campaign support and political nous. The Maori Party remains broken in TTT, the leadership is tied down with the business of government and the party’s brains have left the building. The Maori Party is a shadow of its former self. Waihoroi can’t campaign alone, but should the Maori Party continue their current trajectory he, for all intents and purposes, will be.
Labour will be the passive beneficiaries of the battle between Maori and Mana in most other electorates, but not in TTT. Hone will eat Waihoroi and Kelvin for breakfast and then, if I may be so crude, shit them out the next day. Mana is a flaxroots movement with mass ground support and support from a number of brilliant political minds who shall remain nameless. So long as Mana remains the “movement of the people” Hone will remain untouchable and the other Maori electorates will fall to Mana in time.
A Ministerial Inquiry has been launched into the use of foreign fishing vessels in New Zealand waters. I will not pretend to fully understand the issues at stake – I have been incredibly slack when it comes to following this story – suffice to say I welcome the inquiry and so should Maori. The allegations of poor conditions (and I believe the term “slave labour” has been used) on vessels fishing under Maori quotas is worrying. I look forward to the day that Iwi have the capital to invest in their own ships and, consequently, employ New Zealanders onboard.
Excellent news for my Iwi Ngati Awa:
Ngāti Awa is looking towards September 17, 2011 with great anticipation as we prepare for what is certain to be among the most significant days in the modern history of the iwi.
After a wait of over 130 years, the treasured Mātaatua Wharenui will stand once again as a powerful symbol of the resilient strength, pride and unity of Ngāti Awa. The house will take centre stage on the new Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae.
One of the carvings in the Wharenui is of my tipuna, Te Rangikawehea, naturally I am excited to see it.
I thought it would be interesting to post this photo of Rino Tirikatene’s campaign van. Give him a toot if you see him around or stop for a korero.
|Rino Tirikatene's campaign van|