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.

Maori, woman, mother: #IamMetiria

I hate election year. I hate elections. They are the epitome of colonial control. A year when the height of white privilege is guaranteed to reign supreme in its effort to demean anything Māori. National elections are our constant reminder of the failure of the Crown as a Treaty partner to accept the tino rangatiratanga, the inherent sovereignty held by our hapū and iwi in Aotearoa. In fact issues of the failure to honour tino rangatiratanga, mana motuhake or Māori sovereignty is rarely even discussed in election year, unless asserted by those that the government then marginalise as ‘trouble makers’ ‘seditious’ or ‘haters and wreckers’.

In election year, anything and everything Māori is considered a target. There are the predictable issues, the Māori seats, Treaty Rights, Māori engagement with health, education, social welfare, justice. Then this year we can add the attack on Whare Wānanga by a bunch of overly entitled universities led by overly privileged white men who assume that white knowledge is the only knowledge worthy of transmission in a higher education context. We can add the ongoing attack on te reo Māori and the racist view that maintains only the colonisers language as requiring compulsory learning in schools, and the equally mono-cultural view that Māori perspectives on the colonial land wars are not important enough to be compulsory in the history curriculum and therefore we continue to graduate from our schooling system ignorant monolingual students for the next generation of Māori to have to deal with. It seems that everywhere I turn there is a upsurge of white supremacy expressed as white privilege.

But even more disturbing has been emergence in the past weeks of a kind of punitive, vindictive, mean-spirited media gang led by primarily privileged white men who have no idea what it means to live in a level of poverty that many in this country exist in every day. This is a media pack with a focus in the election year on destroying a Māori woman leader, Metiria Turei, for something she did as a young single parent mother. And like any other pack they have been driven to collectively hunt and devour. These entitled white male journalists have been relentless in their desire to affirm their pack behaviour and to prove that they are rightfully engaging in acts of journalism. They are asking questions, they are probing, they are seeking answers. And some of them even speak with lulled voices that give an illusion that they give a shit. When they don’t.

I don’t expect everyone, or anyone particularly, to agree with this view. But let me say this, when a major newspaper like the NZ Herald prints an article titled – ‘Fact or fiction: Do Green co-leader Metiria Turei’s sins compare with Bill English and John Key?’ (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11900227) that seeks to position itself as undertaking equitable reporting then we have to ask some serious questions about if that is really the case. One may conclude that the NZ Herald does ‘protest too much’. This type of self-validation on the part of mainstream media should have us all concerned. Lets look, as an example, at one of the claims and conclusions that the Herald provides to vindicate itself.

Claim 3: That Turei was subjected to much more scrutiny than English and Key.
The Facts: English’s case was widely covered in the media in 2009 and English was the subject of attacks by Labour MPs in Parliament on the issue as well as being put through an Auditor-General inquiry. It earned him the nickname “Double Dipton” and cost him more than $30,000 as well as years of future accommodation allowances he could technically have qualified for.

A search through the archives shows the NZ Herald wrote a story in 2002 before Key entered Parliament on his plans to base his family in Parnell while buying an “electorate home” in Waimauku. A further story was written in 2005 when Key swapped his enrolment to the Epsom electorate and then Labour President Mike Williams said he would complain to the Electoral Commission about Key’s earlier enrolment in Helensville.”
Conclusion: English was subjected to as much scrutiny as Turei. Key was not, partly because he moved to address the situation and was still an Opposition MP rather than leader. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11900227)”

It is difficult at this moment to ascertain if, as the Herald states, English’s case was ‘widely covered’ but we can get some idea of the construction of the coverage when looking at some of the headlines related to Bill English’s accommodation allowance claims:
• Bill English buckles over housing allowance
• Bill English defends taxpayer cash for house
• Come clean on trust, Bill English told

Then lets look at some other headings relating to housing and in particular those related to people on benefits and the reporting related to Metiria Turei.
• Auckland emergency housing fraudsters rip off taxpayer
• Patrick Gower: Metiria Turei’s political fraud is ripping off the New Zealand public
• Metiria Turei explains silence on flatmates in fraud case

The Herald note that in English’s case it “cost him more than $30,000 as well as years of future accommodation allowances he could technically have qualified for.” So, in fact, the Herald assumes Bill English’s right to take accommodation funds by indicating that his repayment of those funds “cost him”, and then continue that assumption in regards to his “technical” ability to claim costs. This is not a 23-year-old single parent on a benefit raising a child. This is a middle class privileged white man using lawyers to defraud the system, albeit in a “technically” accepted manner, who was also the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. In regards to John Key, the Herald justifies his actions as he “moved to address the situation” and was only an “opposition MP rather than leader”. Interestingly there is no statement that Metiria Turei also “moved to address the situation” and in fact her move was to address the situation not solely for herself (as was Key’s self serving actions) but to address the issue of poverty and systemic failure to provide for all people that have to survive on a benefit.

So, Yeah… Nah… NZ Herald, you did not come anywhere near giving justification for the unjust and inequitable treatment of Metiria Turei over the past weeks. And you never will, just as those privileged white male pack of journalistic hounds can never justify their unbalanced and toxic reporting that dominated mainstream broadcasters reports. As Green MP Julie Anne Genter highlighted in regards to the reporting
“the media’s focus on Ms Turei’s benefit fraud and calls for her resignation are “completely disproportionate to what she actually did”.
“I think the media’s focus on what happened 25 years ago in a kind of punitive way is a distraction,” she told media on Tuesday afternoon.
“Metiria told her story voluntarily in order to be able to raise this question of our welfare system and how it’s broken and it hurts people who are living in poverty. That’s what we should be talking about.”


And it is election year. A year when all of these issues and their reporting increase in impact significantly. As those voters that are yet undecided or considering changing their vote are looking for those policies or reasons that will inform their decision there has been a dire lack of journalism that actually deals with the issues that Metiria has raised. We have to ask why there has been such an obsession with Metiria and virtually no engagement by those same reporters, in the past weeks, on the underlying issues at hand, poverty, systemic failure to care, MSD and WINZ continuing to abuse those who are most vulnerable. The continued emphasis on fraud and virtually no focus on the fact that Metiria had commenced a process to pay back. The continued digging around the past of a 23 year old Māori woman single parent and the constant raising of questions that come from unknown, unnamed sources that comment on her whānau and life, where journalists imply that you can’t possibly be in poverty if you have not turned to prostitution or drugs, would take its toll on any one. And I have to say that no amount of asking that type of question with a softly spoken tone makes that any more valid a question.

What we have is a clear attack that is grounded in the fundamental right wing ideologies of race, gender and class that serve the interests of domination and which reproduce systems of inequality and disparities. Metiria Turei embodies all of those things that white supremacy seeks to destroy. She is Māori, she is a woman, she has been on a single parent benefit and she has done all she needed to do for herself and her child to survive, to live and to flourish. For many, she has beaten the odds and in any other context she would be considered the model of what we aspire all single parents on benefits to experience. However, in this context she is a direct challenge to the existing order. Metiria Turei has for many years shown that she can lead a party that can take down this right wing neoliberal government. She has been a threat for years, and she will remain a threat for many more. She is powerful and all of those in power, and those that hold privilege, recognise that. So, Metiria Turei does not get the opportunity to pay back the benefit and keep her leadership role, the way that Bill English got to pay back the $32k he took knowingly and through a technical loophole and then become Prime Minister. Metiria Turei does not get let off for voting in an electorate she didn’t live in the way that John Key was let off for standing in an electorate he never lived in, and become Prime Minister.

Those leading the right wing media attack were always going to ensure that Metiria Turei would never be treated with any level of respect because Metiria does not look like those privileged white male journalists that have made it their duty to ensure that she doesn’t ‘get away with it’. Everything about these past few weeks should serve as a reminder that racism, sexism and classism are alive, well and thriving in this current neo-liberal economic context and that we only need to look to what is happening internationally to know that this will worsen and deepen if we do not stand up and make change.

So it is election year. And I hate election year. But this year I will vote. And I will work to ensure that everyone I know makes their vote count.And I encourage anyone who sees their experiences in the experiences of Metiria Turei to also make their vote count. If we are to ensure that we have any hope of living in a country that works for the collective well-being of all, that seeks to honour the Treaty relationship that our ancestors committed to, that cares for our environment and the well-being of this land, its mountains and waterways for current and future generations, that will stop the ongoing commodification and exploitation of our lands and seas, then we must reject this current right wing government.

At the moment the only mechanism for that is this oppressive election process. One day that may also change.

The lack of meaningful reporting that highlighted the issues at hand has thankfully being filled through blogs, opinion pieces and social media outlets. Here are some links that engage the issues raised by Metiria Turei in more depth.

The sins of Metiria, Bill and John: sense-checking the fact checkers. Simon Wilson

Metiria Turei debate: It’s all about class, Dr Claire Timperley

The morality of poverty and the poverty of morality – The Political Scientist

The importance of what Metiria has done and why we should all support her

Political Roundup: In defence of Metiria Turei – Bryce Edwards

Martyria No Right Turn

On Whited Sepulchres – Brian Edwards

Violence, Abuse and The Theft of Waitara Lands

One of the ways that abusers maintain their power and ability to continue their abusive behaviour is through silencing their victims. Ensuring the secret is kept, that the silence is maintained allows abusers to hold their power and control over those that they are victimising. Silence is a mechanism of control. It stops others from challenging or intervening in the oppressive relations that abusers perpetuate on those around them. Silence is a means by which to deny the existence of abuse. It is a veil that shrouds the abuse in order to render it invisible. In doing so it ensures that those abused are also rendered invisible and marginalised. Abusers are at their most powerful when those around them either do not know, chose not to know, or for many reasons they turn a blind eye to what is happening within their midst.

When I look at the Treaty settlement process imposed through the Fiscal Envelope process of the mid 1990’s I see silence and abuse at its core. The Crown in its so-called negotiation process is the most powerful abuser in Aotearoa. Through it’s representative negotiating agency, the Office of Treaty Settlements (OTS), the Crown (which includes successive right wing and left wing governments) continues to abuse whānau, hapū and iwi. Silence as power, and silence as abuse, is reproduced through demands by OTS for ‘confidentiality’. In the context of the Treaty Settlement process the imposed process of confidentiality has enabled the Crown to abuse and re-abuse our people for over 25 years of Treaty settlements. The notion itself of settlement is a breach of the fundamental premise of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Moana Jackson reminds us constantly that “treaties are not made to be settled. Treaties are made to be honoured”. Since the instigation of the Fiscal Envelope process we have seen consistent moves by the Crown to invalidate the treaty. It is evident throughout government policies of removing fundamental treaty rights from legislation; placing deadlines on the right of our people to lodge treaty claims; whitestreaming of Māori specialist or dedicated roles across sectors to name but a few examples. The abusive power of the Crown may have changed form over 200 years, however it remains exactly that – State abuse. Graham Smith has talked of this as the new formation of colonisation. That is, it is colonisation under a different guise, in a different shape, but nonetheless Colonisation it remains. The silence that is confidentiality in the Treaty settlement process is reflective of the silencing imposed by an abuser that seeks to maintain their power and control. That is the nature of the current Crown – Māori relationship, it is a deeply embedded abusive and oppressive one.

This takes me to a key process that impacts directly upon the whānau, hapū and iwi of our lands, the Pekapeka Block in Waitara. The abuse relationship upon the whānau, hapū and iwi of Waitara is one that the Crown began in the 1860s. We remember, the history of the lands in Waitara, the theft and confiscation as a result of the Crown creating legislation to empower itself to steal the lands of Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū of Te Ātiawa iwi. The Crown later passed the lands to its colonial cousins that are now known as the New Plymouth District Council and Taranaki Regional Council. This makes it an intergenerational abuse as it continues to abuse the descendants of those that the Crown abused, imprisoned and murdered in the 19th century. This abuse was described by Awhina Cameron as follows, in relation to Taranaki, and in particular events surrounding the Waitara lands –

“When I sat down to write my korero today, I was struck by the glaringly obvious parallels between what I do, the work we do on an organisation level and what is currently going-on on a community and collective level between hapu, iwi and the various governing bodies of this land…
Violence is not ok, the further marginalisation of victims is not ok, interpersonal intentional harm is not ok, be it on a physical, psychological, emotional, financial or spiritual level, it is not ok. The dehumanising of the victim, the minimising of the harm, the rationalising of the violence is not ok. Nor is it ok for someone to use for their benefit the rewards of the harm of other, intentionally benefiting from that trauma, because this further victimises the victim and reinforces the perpetrators actions…
What I would say to you all here today, is that what is true on an individual level should also be true on a group and collective level. I would like to explore how our approach to intentional group collective harm has up to this day, minimised, dehumanised, marginalised and in no way resembles a meaningful restorative or healing approach to harm and the impacts and effects of that harm.”

There has been much debate about what “to do” with the Pekapeka Block that the Crown and Councils refer to within the generalised term ‘Waitara Endowed Lands’. The constant denial of the abusive parties to refer to specific lands as ‘Pekapeka’ is another process of marginalising the history and the oppressive actions that lead to Waitara being then passed on by the Crown to the two Council bodies, The New Plymouth District Council and the Taranaki Regional Council. “Endowed lands” creates a sense that the land was “gifted” “bestowed” or “donated” when in fact the lands were stolen and illegally confiscated. There was no act of endowment or gifting, there were acts of abuse and theft. This is not debatable, this is an historical fact. We now see, those acts of violence against the hapū and iwi being repeated today in 2017 with the current assertion of the NP District Council and the Taranaki Regional Council that they now have some right to sell “their gift”. That is very clearly an act of intergenerational violence and abuse.

Let me return, for a moment, to the notion of abusers, secrets and silence. For many generations these councils have forced whānau, hapū and iwi of Waitara to not only live watching these abusive institutions control the lands, they have also forced us to pay leases to live on the Pekapeka block. Throughout those years the councils have served their own interests in regards to the use of lease funds and in many instances have sold (and made freehold) sections of the Pekapeka block, and other confiscated lands in Waitara, with no indication to the hapū and iwi that they were doing so. It was their secret.

Silence through confidentiality continues to be imposed by the Crown agency, The Office of Treaty Settlements. OTS has a reputation of being the Crowns bully and there is no doubt that is the case in regards to Waitara. One of the most detrimental processes related to the Pekapeka block and other hapū lands in Waitara is silence being presented as confidentiality. Abuse relies on the secret and silence. We have seen this for over 200 years in Aotearoa. If we are to resolve the historical trauma that has impacted upon whānau, hapū and iwi within Waitara then we must ensure that all discussions are open and that the Crown and Councils do not impose their processes of secrecy to deny meaningful engagement.

None of the abusers in this scenario want to relinquish their power. The Crown, NP District council and the Taranaki Regional council want to place some part of the responsibility of this issue at the feet of the Iwi and the existing Te Atiawa treaty settlement. It is also clear that the Taranaki Regional Council have sat in arrogance throughout this process and have positioned themselves actively against the return of any lands.

So this is a message to the Crown, NP District council and the Taranaki Regional council – NO WE DO NOT ACCEPT THAT. We do not accept that the Iwi should ever have to buy back lands that were stolen from our ancestors.
You stole the lands, you took Waitara through illegal acts of violence and confiscation, you have all benefited millions of times over through financial and economic advantage from the theft of those lands. You do not deserve one cent more, NOT one cent more should be extracted from the lands of Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū.

The colonial government commenced the colonial land wars in Waitara. Successive governments and councils have never done right by the whānau, hapū and iwi of Waitara. They have constantly abused, oppressed and bullied those of Waitara. It is time for this government to call the Office of Treaty Settlements to heel and to take the time that is needed for the hapū and iwi of Waitara to take the time needed to ensure that these historical atrocities are dealt with in ways that meet the aspirations of their people. This can not be rushed to meet an election date, to do so would merely create yet another issue that the next generation will be left to deal with. Only then will there be meaningful negotiations to ensure the return of Waitara lands to their rightful guardians. It is time to make this right.

Excerpts from Submissions to the Māori Select Committee

Manukorihi Hapu o Waitara Submission
We oppose the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill in its entirety and would like all the Lands be returned to the Hapu o Whaitara at no cost and with no strings attached. We request that this Bill not be reported back to the House. Our main concern in relation to the Bill: The land was stolen: Hoki mai Te Whenua, therefore return it. At a recent hui, a question was asked, what do you do when you steal something? A child replied, “You give it back”. Do the right thing: Give the land back.

Patsy Bodger, Manukorihi Hapu oral submission
“The position of the Manukorihi hapu regarding the return of the Pekapeka block has always been clear as it was to our tupuna. We will never be distracted from that point of view. We are not interested in money. We see beyond the leases. The whenua is the most important thing. During the Treaty negotiation process we were asked, time and time again, what we wanted from the settlement. And we always responded by saying “Return the land. Hoki mai te whenua.”

Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki Oral Submission
It is not helpful to forget our past. Whaitara has been earmarked by colonial imperialist history to be marginalised and to be fragmented, lost and confused culturally, socially and economically because our Tūpuna initiated a passive resistance movement – meaning resistance to government, law etc without violence by fasting, by demonstrating, and by refusing to cooperate. The passive resistance movement of Taranaki originated from Whaitara when Te Rangitake sent the women out to pull up the survey pegs. Thus began Te Pahua Tuatahi – Te Pahua o Whaitara – the plunder of Whaitara.

Dr Leonie Pihama Submission
The Bill will remove any hope or realisation of the aspirations of our tupuna that is encapsulated in the saying ‘I riro whenua atu, me hoki whenua mai’. Many generations of those of us that have lived on the Pekapeka Block have waited patiently for the return of those lands to our people. We have watched the struggle and pain of those who have had to lease lands back from those that represent the colonial forces that confiscated the lands of our ancestors. It is critical that this Bill be halted and that the Crown, the Council and hapū and iwi representatives resume discussions in regards to the return of these lands to mana whenua.

Community Taranaki Submission
The Waitara Lands Bill before you is nowhere near an instrument of doing the right thing. It is simply the perverse result of having the same conversation again, again and again. This is the conversation that speaks of the money that is still to be made at this final leg of a very old landgrab. It speaks of deal-making and how to weigh up the various players and competing interests, and how to extract compromise from the weakest participants. And it speaks of how to continue to avoid facing our real history, and the grief and trauma that still exists as a result of that history. Our advice to this Select Committee is to stop and to step back. We need a new conversation about the Waitara Lands.

Professor David V. Williams Submission

Harbour boards and local government entities in Taranaki have benefitted hugely over many decades from endowed lands that were wrongly, unfairly and unlawfully confiscated from hapū in the 1860s. There is no good reason for local government entities to continue to reap rewards from the endowed land assets and there is even less reason for those entities to obtain unearned capital gains from the freeholding of leasehold lands over which they should never have had a legal interest in the first place. If the land was wrongly taken, then the most obvious starting point for a peace and reconciliation conversation in our own time should be to find a way to return the lands to those from whom they were taken.

Tamaki Treaty Workers Submission
In addition to retaining ownership of the land itself, the local council and the public have had over 140 years of lease payments for these lands used for the benefit of Waitara. Nowhere in the Bill is this level of generosity recognised, acknowledged or compensated for. The fact that a calculation of the amount has not been undertaken and full provenance not completed, shows that this has been taken for granted.

Tamaki Treaty Workers Oral Submission

When communicating to the public about the betterment they will receive from the funds from the sales of the stolen land, NPDC is not communicating what benefits they have already received.

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Submission
This is iconic land, where the Crown launched the New Zealand Wars, the start of a tragic period of loss and dispossession. It is crucially important that the injustices of that time are not repeated in the present day, and the opportunity should instead be taken to provide a resolution to the confiscation of land. Since the land was stolen, we believe with Manukorihi and Otaraua that it should simply be returned.

New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists Submission

Reconciliation, genuine peace and goodwill are not possible when decisions made are only based on the majority view point without dialogue with minorities, a clear understanding of their cultural perspectives, historical experiences and empathy for their suffering. We believe that the original decision made to confiscate the land, then to lease the lands and make money from them have broken the Treaty partnership and dishonoured both Pakeha and Maori in the process.

Native Affairs – Selling off Waitara

Peace For Pekapeka

Submissions to Maori Affairs Select Commiittee Against the Waitara Lands Bill http://www.taranaki.gen.nz/waitarasubmissions

Inquiry into Abuse within State Welfare Institutions Critical: A Press Release in Support of Ngā Morehu – Survivors of State Abuse

“The issue and impact of the removal of Indigenous children is on the agenda of virtually every Indigenous nation globally” states Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute, University of Waikato. “We have an opportunity in this country to take a lead and say ‘no this will not continue’ by placing the needs of tamariki and their whānau at the forefront and to do that in a meaningful way we must start with removing the silence of what has happened to many generations that were placed into the State Welfare system”.

Dr Pihama believes that it is critical that a formal inquiry be held into the abuse of children within State institutions and it must take place before any changes are made to the Investing in Children Legislative Reform outlining legislative changes to Children Young Persons and their Families Act 1989 and related legislation.

The report ‘Some Memories Never Fade: Final Report of
 The Confidential Listening and Assistance Service’ by Judge Henwood (2015) highlights that over 60% of children that enter into the State system ‘cross over’ into the Juvenille justice system. The Henwood report states:
“As many boys as girls were sexually abused. About 57% of the men we saw had been sexually abused and 57% of the women. The damage done sometimes seems to be irreparable. Many people reported that they felt helpless and enraged that there was no one to whom they could report it. Many of the children who had been abused in State care fell into anti-social and criminal behaviour and ended up in prison or psychiatric hospitals in later life. It is estimated that about 40% of prisoners grew up in state care. Their lives were set on a dangerous and damaging path during this time. There are many people who have been living on the edge ever since their experience of State care as children.” (p.12)

The 1988 report Pūao Te Ata Tū highlighted the lack of successive governments to understand these issues,
“At the heart of the issue is a profound misunderstanding or ignorance of the place of the child in Māori society and its relationship with whānau, hapū iwi structures.“ (Preface)

It has been advocated by the vast majority of organisations that presented in the Social Services Select Commmittee process that Māori children that are raised within whānau with connections to their cultural identity and strong support systems in place thrive, whereas those that the State place into contexts where they are institutionalised and disconnected from their whānau are more likely to have longer term traumatic impacts upon their lives.

The call for an Inquiry has been at the forefront of the current debate surrounding the legistative changes proposed and to be reported on by the Social Services Select Committee. The organisation ‘Ngā Morehu – The Survivors of State Abuse’ held a rally at Parliament on July 6th to call for justice for the many thousands of children that were placed by the State into institutions and homes where they experience psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

“The institutional racism and abuse within the State system must be formally investigated in order to ensure that this does not continue to happen to Māori children, that are forced into state institutions and processes through no fault of their own.“
states Associate Professor Leonie Pihama.

“The testimonies of the survivors of this system of State removal tell us over and over again that this system does not, and will never work, and it is time to hear those voices and to develop ways of caring for tamariki and mokopuna in ways that ensure their wellbeing”


Ngā Mōrehu – The Survivors

The Government should not keep refusing to deal with this appropriately and properly. Enormous damage has been done. And much of the damage is unresolved and ongoing. 100 thousand NZ children were removed from their homes and placed in state care facilities. Many suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse. Tomorrow (now today Sunday), we dedicate our programme to four former wards of the state. We call them Ngā Mōrehu – The Survivors. This is their story… #TheHui Sunday, 9:30am on Three.
Ngā Mōrehu – The Survivors

#Hands Off Our Tamariki : An Open Letter
Posted on October 9, 2016 by Te Wharepora Hou
An Open Letter to Whānau, Hapū, Iwi, Iwi Leaders Forum, Māori Members of Parliament, Māori National and Iwi Organisations

Video Clips by Paora Moyle

#Resistance 150 : In Solidarity with our First Nations Relations

“Canada 150 is just a year of revictimization. Like it wasn’t enough to colonize once, now we are going to shove it down your throat.” Romeo Saganash


Today on Turtle Island July 1 is a day that marks 150 years of the imposition of the colonial state known as Canada, and has been promoted as Canada150 with a range of ‘celebrations’ across the country. But Canada150 is not a celebration for First Nations, and as Māori we know that these colonial activities merely serve to further entrench the racism and imperialist views of colonisers on Indigenous lands. These events are constructed to do exactly that. To reinforce the hegemonic view that colonial states are on our lands legitimately, when they are not. The colonisation of Canada reflects the colonisation of other Indigenous nations including Aotearoa.

In the article “Untethering colonial rule for Canada’s 150th birthday”
Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel writes:

“Canada’s sovereignty is based on legal fictions like the Doctrine of Discovery, Terra Nullius and the Doctrine of Conquest, which have been used to justify the forceful occupation of land that has not been subject to the conqueror’s narrow definition of ‘sovereignty.’
But today, hundreds of years after some of these documents were written, Canada remains steadfast in its insistence of sovereignty over Indigenous peoples’ lands. The preamble of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — adopted unreservedly by Canada in spring 2016 — states:
“Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust…”
Canada must today repudiate these racist doctrines instead playing a waiting game that will leave it to another generation of politicians.”


The celebration of colonial days such as Canada150 work to conceal this history, not to reveal it, and in doing so the ongoing oppression of Indigenous Peoples remains at the center of the colonial project. The obsession with having a national party to celebrate colonial oppression is well entrenched across the world. They are parties that we are invited to as Indigenous nations, only if we play the party game, which means leaving any unresolved issues of colonial oppression outside the gate. We are constantly reminded that this is a party to celebrate “how far we have come” and “to look forward to the future with hope”, based on 150 years of “progress”. We know these kind of parties, because we are about to have one thrown here as well, Cook250, where we, as Māori, will also be told that if we want to be invited then we will need to behave. That is the colonial paternalism that is Canada150 and it will be Cook250. It is an oppressive, imperialistic, misogynist, racist paternalism that remains unchanged over 150 years.

For Indigenous peoples these are parties we should not be attending, and that we must respond to when the invitations are sent, as Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel and Romeo Saganash state clearly;

“For many of us, our refusal to celebrate is not a disdain for Canadians, but rather to send a message that we as a distinct peoples, indigenous to these lands, also have a right to control our destiny through the enjoyment of our right to self-determination. From our elders who endured the terrible and horrific conditions brought on by colonial-rooted poverty, to the present generation speaking out in attempts to decolonize Canada and our communities, there are countless urgent crises signifying that we can no longer tolerate colonial and racist laws, nor the exploitation of our lands, resources and peoples.” Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel

“The real problem with Canada 150 celebrations are the stories that the state is attempting to tell itself and everyone else. Specifically, that it has legitimate authority to make laws and policies, or even imagine a future, without Indigenous partnership. Any celebration of the state, the nation with its assumed sovereignty, stories of expansion and settlement or nation-building in general, replicate settler colonial narratives and are an insult to my ancestors, to my people, to me.” Romeo Saganash

Having recently visited Vancouver I am thankful for the powerful critique and discussions that we were invited in to as Indigenous scholars. It was clearly stated that reconciliation will never take place until such time as the colonial government deal directly with the fundamental issues of the denial of First Nations sovereignty and that the lands stolen are return to enable nations to return to full self-determination. In Aotearoa we are also thankful to the powerhouse women who founded the Idle No More movement, in particular our Indigenous sister Sylvia McAdam who spent time and shared so generously with our people here in Aotearoa. (https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/being-idle-no-more-women-behind-movement)

The dominant articulation of ‘reconciliation’ within Canada is linked directly to the Canada150 party and functions to marginalise any meaningful engagement related to sovereignty and self-determination for Indigenous nations. The construct of reconciliation will always be problematic for Indigenous nations when defined, controlled and determined by the colonial state. Even if the underpinning of the concept of reconciliation is to restore relationships, to bring together groups in disagreement to a place of agreement., that can not, and never will, be accomplished in a context where the group in power, the oppressor, determines what reconciliation is, and controls the process. If reconciliation was truly a process of restoration within a colonial context then it would be defined, determined and controlled by Indigenous peoples, and the colonial state would be held accountable and would return what was stolen. Clearly in the context of Canada150 that is not the case and was never the intention.

In an article that reflects on the powerful work of Sylvia McAdam in reoccupying the land, Steve Newcomb writes on the terms reconciliation and colonization in the context of Canada150.

“Reconciliation is a false-word that makes it appear as if something positive is being done without once addressing the persistent and ongoing process that is causing the problems experienced by Original Nations of Great Turtle Island in the place now commonly called “Canada.” The question of causation leads us to the issue of the language system which has created and continues to create such horrifying and traumatic experiences for our Original Nations.
More than 60 percent of English is derived from the Roman Empire’s language of Latin. War was the raisón d’etre of the Roman Empire to expand the geographical reach of its domination, and its Latin language was designed for that purpose. The British Empire and its Crown system has followed in that very same tradition, and the history of the British Empire’s “possessions” and “provinces” on Great Turtle Island follows in that grand tradition of imperialism.
This is made clear by the fact that until the late 1960’s it was a place officially known as “The Dominion of Canada.” Drop the ‘n’ on the end and you get dominio, which indicates a place that has been “subjected” (dominated) by some power such as an empire. The word dominio is part of a large family of Latin words for domination. Together those words and the ideas that go with them constitute an overall idea-system of domination. Take for example the word domo: “to subjugate,” “to subdue,” “to force into subservience,” “to tame,” “to domesticate,” “to cultivate,” and “to till.” The Latin word for “cultivate” is colere, which also means “to colonize” and “design.”
The root of the word “colonize” is “colon” which is “a digestive tract.” Colo means “to filter out impurities in the process of mining.” Colonization is a digestive process. The invader body politic seizes, consumes, and digests. Ironically, Christopher Columbus’s Latin name was Cristobal Colón (Christ Carrier Colonizer). To colonize involves “the digestive tract of the invader body politic,” such as the British Empire, well-symbolized as a lion with the globe (Mother Earth) under its paw.”

The amazing Arthur Manuel wrote of reconciliation as a flawed notion in January 2017:
“The first step is to repudiate the concepts behind the Colonial Doctrines of Discovery and recognize that every Indigenous nation in Canada has underlying title to their entire territory. Plus recognize we have exclusive rights to a land base starting from 3-to-5 million acres so we can protect our language, culture, laws and economy…
I believe that under the existing colonial system in Canada, Indigenous Peoples are not Canadian because of the systemic impoverishment we are forced live in because we are alienated from our traditional territories. If we accept colonization as a foundation of our relationship to Canada we are endorsing our own impoverishment. You cannot have reconciliation under the colonial 0.2 per cent Indian Reserve System. It is impossible. Nothing can justify that kind of human degradation. The land issue must be addressed before reconciliation can begin.”


Our connection to our lands, is our connection to ourselves and to each other. Until such time as our lands and our fundamental rights to be Indigenous are fully restored there can never be reconciliation. The return of stolen lands is central to Indigenous self-determination, sovereignty, mana motuhake, tino rangatiratanga.

“Development has been at the expense of the way of life of Indigenous peoples whose languages cultures, stories and traditional forms of governance are land based designed to strengthen our relationship with the land. Land dispossession remains a key issue as it disrupts the relationship we have with Mother Earth and all our relations. The pillars of our identity— our languages, customs, health, ceremonies, and traditional forms of governance — are all inter-related and interdependent upon the health of our environment. Our languages teach us how we approach our relations like the four-legged, the fish, the waters, our medicines, and our celestial relations in the sky. “
Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel

There is no celebration for Canada when First Nations remain the most impoverished people on their own lands, where colonial governments continue to deny the impact of historical and intergenerational trauma imposed by their genocidal and ethnocidal acts upon Indigenous nations, when First Nations peoples hold only 0.2% of traditional homelands, where successive governments continue to devastate the environment with clear cutting forests and laying pipelines, where racism in the police and associated agencies culminates in the murder of Indigenous Peoples, where thousands of Indigenous women are missing and murdered and they and their families are denied justice, where First Nations children continue to be forcibly removed by the state, where the survivors of the Residential schooling system, and their descendants, continue to be faced with the impact of that oppressive and genocidal system.

As an Indigenous woman of Aotearoa who stands with many of our people in our struggle for the return of our lands and to stand as self-determining in our own territories, this is a message of solidarity with our Indigenous relations in the call for the return of your lands and your rights as sovereign nations. We are here. We are watching. We continue to bear witness. We stand in solidarity with you, our relations.
Me whawhai tonu mātou, ake ake ake.





This year Canada is commemorating it’s 150th anniversary. But for indigenous people there’s nothing to celebrate. In honour of Art Manuel and the integrity with which he always began with the land and honoured the grassroots people, the #Unsettling150 crew are proud to launch this video filled with Art’s words, read by his daughter Kanahus Manuel, to launch the final lead-up to the national day of action, education, and reflection.


In Honour of Parihaka

I traveled home to Taranaki today reflecting on the events that are about to unfold, events that mark a significant historical moment.

This trip is to join our whanaunga of Parihaka at the He Puanga Haeata, Parihaka-Crown Reconciliation Ceremony. Parihaka Pā was a thriving Taranaki community under the guidance and leadership of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi. It is a community that developed from a position of strength and conviction to hold the whenua and to resist colonial confiscations through a committed and active peaceful resistance movement. It is a story of mana motuhake and Taranaki resistance that has deeply influenced my own understanding and commitment to justice for our people. It is also a history that we were never told as I grew up just 45 minutes away from Parihaka. It was an untold story for many generations, not only in Taranaki but within Aotearoa more broadly.

We never went to Parihaka as children, we heard little of the history, but I felt a deep sense of pain every time I heard the name mentioned by adults. It was not until I was a young adult that I first went to Parihaka. I drove there with friends and we sat inside the Pā wondering why we had never heard about what happened on those lands. I remember thinking that I should feel angry about that denial of our own history, but instead I felt firsthand an excruciating sense of pouri, a deep, deep sadness that was not only mine but was a part of an ancestral memory that sat within every ira tangata, every cellular memory within my soul, my entire being.

Tommorrow is He Puanga Haeata, the Parihaka-Crown Reconciliation Ceremony. This ceremony is over 150 years in the making since the initial establishment of Parihaka in 1866 and the invasion of the pā in 1881 by 1500 militia under the direction of John Bryce, the Minister of Native Affairs and the forced removal and imprisonment of the men of Parihaka in Otakou, Te Waipounamu ( Otago, South Island). The military occupation of Parihaka by 1500 colonial militia meant an ongoing experience of abuse and oppression for those remaining, those being 600 children, women and kaumātua.

The Parihaka website notes:
“Over more than two weeks the constabulary arrested groups of people who were from other regions and forcibly returned them. Because no person responded the process was largely guess work. On the 22nd the last 150 men were removed leaving just 600 people (mainly kaumatua, women and children). A system of passes was put in place to stop people from outside entering Parihaka or providing it supplies. Buildings were burnt and demolished and newly planted crops were destroyed. Those who remained faced severe deprivation and ongoing abuse from an occupying force of constabulary based in a fort erected in the community to enforce riot act restrictions of movement.”

The ceremony, tomorrow, is a part of a broader reconciliation process for Parihaka. It is a part of a process to move Parihaka into a future that celebrates the power and resistance that is Parihaka. As it is noted within the Parihaka documentation it is a future where “together, we are focused on re-building a sustainable and healthy community” that is grounded upon the philosophies of Te Whiti and Tohu and that embrace a ‘Legacy of Hope’ that is described as:
“The tikanga that was established by Tohu and Te Whiti at Parihaka can be characterised by five key elements which helped give rise to the notion of the Parihaka Movement:
1. Equality: Previous status held by people of high birth or their positions of authority were put aside and all people were expected to actively participate in roles that would otherwise be previously considered menial or debasing their mana.
2. Collectivity: All the benefits of activities within the settlement were contributed toward the betterment of the collective. While individuals may own possessions and accumulate resources, they were shared freely to ensure the collective goals were achieved.
3. Identity: People in the community had a diverse range of whakapapa connections and points of identity. Parihaka did not dismiss their identity but subsumed individual identity within a collective identity of Parihaka. Iwi were able to build a marae for their people in the settlement but outward symbols of their identity such as carvings were actively discouraged. Iwi were also encouraged to form poi groups to perform waiata at events but most of the waiata were related directly to Parihaka, its principles and experiences. The waiata ‘E Rere Rā’ composed by Muaūpoko is an example.
4. Goodwill: Compassion and non-violence were core concepts repeatedly reinforced in statements, practices and waiata. Eg Pōwhiri with the hongi before speeches reflects the acceptance of people to the community regardless of their intentions or past indiscretions.
5. Self-sufficiency: Intentions in the past were for Māori in Taranaki to retain ownership and authority over their lands and resources. Parihaka held to this view and believed that over-reliance on resources from external sources placed communities at risk hence the innovation they put into place.” (Parihaka website: http://parihaka.maori.nz/)

He Puanga Haeata is a ceremony that marks another critical moment in Parihaka and Taranaki history. It is a moment in time that highlights the commitment of the current generation of Parihaka to seek a process of reconcilation that honours the tikanga that has been laid down by Te Whiti and Tohu. A part of that tikanga is also the openness through which the process has been undertaken by those involved in the negotiation process.

In a rare showing of transparency and collective accountability the Parihaka Papakainga Trust have placed all key documentation and letters between themselves and the Crown negotiators, including the Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, online for all to read and reflect upon. They also gave numerous kanohi ki te kanohi presentations and produced online video for those unable to attend in person. This aligns with the tikanga of Parihaka where Te Whiti and Tohu engaged with government agents openly in front of all gathered. This is an act of collective accountability that is rarely seen in any negotiations with the Crown, who have an obsession with operating behind closed doors and in secret under the guise of ‘confidentiality’. Those working on behalf of Parihaka have created an open, accessible archive of information and documents that I have no doubt will be the basis for the future documenting of this contemporary, and yet historical, event.

A part of the process is a Crown apology. I have never been keen on apologies by those in power when they fail to meaningfully address and honour the fundamental intention of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Apologies by the Crown in one context often does not mean changes in the ways in which they deal with our people and issues in the wider context. We know that apologies have little meaning if governments continue to act in ways that maintain the oppressive systemic and institutional racism which is a part of the fundamental ways that the existing colonial structures that dominate on our lands are constituted.

However, tomorrow, the apology of the Crown is not only about the Crown purging its guilt. The apology is an historical record for Parihaka and for Taranaki. It is a record that the acts of war, ethnocide and genocide that occurred at Parihaka were illegal and immoral acts of violence against our tupuna. That record will stand as both an apology and an admission of the act of war by the Crown on the people of Parihaka.

The process of reconciliation undertaken by our whanaunga of Parihaka stands as a model for healing of relationships that is informed by the values, practices, protocols and ceremonies of our tupuna. It provides a pathway for determining the healing journey for past, present, and future generations of our people within Taranaki. It gives a foundation for moving to a space that deals directly with the historical trauma impacts that have been experienced inter-generationally since the 1860’s. It enables pathways that honour our ancestors and that enable the dreams and aspirations for future generations.

It will be a powerful day. It will also be a day of grieving for all that our people have suffered up to this point in time. It is also a day that marks the opening of the Parihaka Puanga Kai Rau festival, a festival that celebrates movement towards the Māori New Year, a time to farewell those that have passed on, a time to celebrate new beginnings, a time of new growth and of new hope for the well-being of current and future generations.

It will be a good day to be Māori, it will be a good day to be Taranaki.