It has been a hot summer so far. First, we send all our aroha and support to whanau in Australia who have endured storms, cyclones, flood and personal devastation. We heard that thousands of volunteers lent their hands and skills to help pick up the pieces but would still encourage all our readers to koha what you can to help with the rebuild.

Now that most of us are back at mahi and the kids have headed to school, we would like to turn your attention to a simple premise – Can Maori people be united if our house is still divided?

My Koro likes to paint simple mental pictures, like a good kapa haka roopu ought to move as a single body or when a hui is of one mind, great things can be done. It is based on his korero that the kaupapa for this korero comes up.

So, when we hear about a young Maori baby being harmed, there is a collective response of anguish, anger and grief. But often, little more can be done as the problem seems removed from our own lives and the responsibility is passed from those whanau involved to the individual who then gets put into the legal system.

The same goes for recent political debates which have emerged from within the Maori Party though the Party is working as best it can for all Maori, the vehicle, the process, the entire journey itself is being questioned. In our diverse Maori realities, it is good to know that challenge and debate are still occurring but as sides dig in for the upcoming election, how will Maori, as a whole, fair?

There will be enormous pressure on our leaders to bring the people back together, to put forward the problems each whanau, marae, hapu, iwi face and work on a series of solutions to restore balance and regain some forward momentum. Be it through education, at mahi, on the kapa haka stage or out on the field, we see signs of cohesion and encourage more involvement and interaction to help build the strong support systems we all need.

At the same time, there will be negative reporting on our situation, which brings me back to the korero – can Maori people be united if our house is all divided? Politically we are divided we have the Maori Party, the Greens, Labour, National all representing parts of our whole. Religiously we are divided, with Catholic, Presbyterian, Ratana, Muslim, Ringatu. Many of our whanau are divided. So then, how can we unite as a people if we are equally as divided as a people?

The urge to come together is there but probably, not the motivation. At the same time, if we came together, would that stop another young Maori child being hurt? Is it our challenge to face alone or do we need to be more inclusive of the wider communities in which we live? Over the next few weeks, thousands of Maori will be moving to Raggamuffin, to Waitangi Day celebrations, to Te Matatini yet in this movement, is there a focus on unity or are we merely just attendees at the same events, never really looking to work together for the greater benefit of our people and our country?

It might seem like a strange point to make but if unity could help, are we even ready to come together? To be honest, it is not a question we take lightly so will keep watch over the coming year and report back on some of the observations we experience.

If you have any comments to make, PLEASE DO as Maori unity remains an inter-generational question that remains elusive yet is so possible and very much needed.

So thanks Koro for giving some food for thought and ae, well keep you posted

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  • Amber O'Neill

    wow – so many of the same questions and wonderings that I have had – without Unity can we actually move forward? What should 'Unity' mean or be defined as? At the moment I see aspects of it but they're usually based on things that don't require alot of personal action. There's lots of k?rero but when and how will we see it in action?