TangataWhenua.com’s Neutrality | my thoughts on it anyway…

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(by Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule | Puerto Rican, Dutch) We just had an interesting patai come through our inbox asking the following:

“Are you supposed to be an Independent voice for Maori? If you are, please clarify for me why tangatawhenua.com designed the website for Hone Harawira’s new Mana Party? If this is the case, by association, this means that your independence [and your neutrality, as any relieable media voice would have is very much in jeopardy”.

I started thinking, that’s a bloody good question… so I fired an email in reply, most of which I’ve added here… (the following has been re-edited)

TangataWhenua.com has been a labour of love for us since 2002 (it started when Potaua’s Uncle Hirini Melbourne passed and the only news on that night was about the death of Charisma the Horse… it got us thinking that mainstream media was never going to do justice in reflecting the news that mattered to our whanau… we’ve been building this online community ever since.

So though it does generate some revenue, it’s not sustainable to say the least (sigh… one day)… about 3 years ago we finally decided to jump into the ICT sector full time and to make ends meet now create specialised indigenous focused digital communication plans (for iwi and marae), including websites, databases, facebook pages, anything digital actually.

During the time we (either Potaua or I, or both of us) have run TangataWhenua.com, we’ve worked on the ground (as opposed to cyberspace) passionately for the Maori Party (in Welly), we helped with Angeline Greensill’s 2008 campaign, mahi(ed) hard at the Waitangi Tribunal, TWOA and Waikato University (btw, not in that order). Now I currently work very part-time for Hone – well until Friday anyway (and continue to support his political endeavours fully) this is stated explicitly on our About Page.

Everyone has conflicts of interest, the key is making them known when it is relevant.

So in saying all that, I must point out that we have never pretended to be neutral (what is that anyway, like Fox News is “Fair and Balanced” right, we see the world through our experiences, our upbringing, our education, our ancestors.

Of course we’re independent, we’ve created this site to be explicitly and unashamedly pro-Maori and pro tino rangatiratanga (as we envision it), there is no neutrality to our perspective in anyway (and to think that what you might read elsewhere is neutral, is somewhat naive, sorry, just sayin’ ;).

With that said, if people disagree with our posts and our focus (and they have), they are free to include their own korero if they wish and we’ll make it freely available to our networks (which we have).

Importantly our aim has always been to provide a stream and flow of information that allows whanau, hapu, iwi and marae, wherever they are to get important panui out to the masses…

Well that is just my whakaaro… Potaua may have something else to add, we disagree on a whole range of issues (as you can imagine) LOL!

Mauri ora!

18 COMMENTS

  1. Kia Ora Nikolasa ae thanks for your imput that explains where my message is gone about my thoughts on Hone Harawira as an awesome teamplayer” when he was part of the Maori Party!

    Go Mana

  2. Tena koe Nicolasa, he tautoko tou korero i te kaupapa o tenei take. Like you said, you support the kaupapa of what Hone is talking about, as I do and that is what is most important, not the person or the party, but the cause! I've never been to this site before, but I can tell you my whanau will know about it now. Kia ora koe.

  3. I was a teenager working on a west Auckland PEP Scheme at the time of the Bastion Point occupation. My son was born in 1981 (the year of the Spring Bok tour). I went form being a self centred teenager to a father pretty much over night. I looked at the world differently, my political and community awareness began to take shape. Today I am suspicious of mainstream media. I have learned to be accepting and non judgemental of people who disagree/challenge mainstream views. I believe you treat people with respect and dignity and I like to think as I age I become wiser. I am in favour of a Labour allegiance because employment must be a priority and I beleive Labour are more likely to deliver in this area. My son and his family are in Melbourne and I am glad they are there because he has a job to go to. Maori fill up jails during periods of high unemployment. __I have never met Hone Hariwira but I like what he represented in his early years as an activist and that always bode him well in my books, having said that I have the utmost respect for Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia I understand their strategyic reasoning, they have always in my opinion done their utmost for Maori

  4. Tena koutou katoa,
    On my maori side I descend from six waka on my Pakeha, I am French, Scottish and English. So I find it quite disturbing all the prejudiced and racism that is still running rampant. Most of this is from people who don't understand. There are many injustices done to my tipuna (Maori, French and Scottish) by my English tipuna. And if people went to Raupatu Claims or Treaty of Waitangi workshops they would have an understanding where this anger comes from. Because while all this hostillity between our Kiwi brothers and sisters is happening, the government (dosen't matter who is in government) are ripping us of big time, the economy is stuffed. It's happened all around the world while people are fighting amongst themselves, the governments do what they please. I have had to come to oz to work while my family are in nz and over here Kiwis are Kiwis no maori this or Pakeha that. I was mostly pro maori and still am proud of all my Mixed blood, but over here when you talk to kiwis its the same story the nz government has made it to hard for the people to survive in nz. Government need to correct all the injustices that where done to our Maori people (and not just by Pakeha but maori too) so we can live together as one, because while all this raruraru is going on, the pakeha and maori are being ripped off. Coming over to oz I realize how much the government has to answer for.
    So people need to look at there own uniqueness and their own positive energies and share it with their brothers and sisters of all cultures and not to forget our tipuna, Rangi-e tu-iho-nei Raua ko Papatuanuku, because everything we are, touch and have in this Physical world comes from them.
    Heoi ano enei oku whakaaro anake kia tau kia rangimarie ki a koutou katoa Phil

  5. In saying that, this is not meant as an attack on this site or what our people choose to support. Just a personal opinion resulting from my own observations. Kia ora

  6. I'm in the same boat as Ripeka. I understand that your support for Hone and the Mana party is pro Maori, but to say the MAORI PARTY are any less pro Maori because of their controversial decisions is ridiculous. At the end of the day, they've done a lot and will continue with their work regardless of whether their seen as traitors or less pro Maori than other organisations. Sometimes that sense of self righteousness can come back and bite you in the ass. Just saying lol.

    But yea, this whole our party is more Maori than your party crap is getting old. And the more I see it drag on through this site, the more I'm turned off. If the articles were more about promoting your causes instead of demoting the causes of others, it wouldn't look so much like petty niggling, and I would be more inclined to keep reading. Instead I get halfway through a paragraph and see that it's just the same shit, diff day.

    The replies don't help.. petty insults from what seem to be radical supporters and drones who have no real conscious opinions of their own. Thier contibutions are repetitive mindless slander, hardly ever any substantial contribution worthy of attention.

  7. Kia ora Nikolasa,
    Actually I need a website so when you get the time can you let me know? for my marae finding it difficult in Tauranga Moana to find a Maori business for website design. Na mihi Hazel Hape ki Tauranga Moana

  8. Kia ora Ripeka raua ko Gina, thanks for sharing… ae, we have been disappointed and that sadness and frustration has gotten the better of us at times, we were with the Maori Party from the very beginning, we were at the hui at Waititi Marae when we asked Pita to stand with us, we started the first student roopu in support (the Tauira Movement at Waikato) and were at the launch in Te Tai Hauauru then shortly after celebrated Tariana's win in the by-election (we were with the ropu that stayed at Ratana Pa).

    Interesting thought that this was never an issue when only the Maori Party existed and when we staunchly supported them, no one seemed to question our "independence" – not being at all sarcastic, just a very interesting point…

    (Potaua worked for TMP in Parliament) … it's only been since the split that things have changed… BTW and to be fair, only I am contracted to work for Hone (not TW.com nor Potaua, just me personally), Potaua ultimately has editorial control (i.e. he can delete my shit, lol).

    I guess the way I see it is I wouldn't work for Hone if I didn't believe in the kaupapa he stands for, so from my perspective at least I am comfortable with my decision.

    and ae, we look very forward to the day that we can run TW.com full-time simply through the revenue it creates and have not outside contracts… one day….

  9. It doesnt happen here so much, but in the States there is a long history of newspapers explicitly endorsing a candidate. Of course NZ media frequently back a particular party, they just aren't explicit about it. Good on you for being up front about your political views!

    You can be independent without being neutral – ie Tangatawhenua.com may support the party now, but you are free to withdraw your support at any time. Having said that, to maintain credibility, it would be safer to preserve your independence by not working for, or contracting, to the party.

  10. Kia ora koe Nikolasa,
    I have always enjoyed reading ‘tangatawhenua’ up until recently. Particularly since the Hone and Te Ururoa saga. Independant while true to your interpretation is ambiguous. Your skills as a writer are great, but I have found myself disappointed at the negative light that the Maori Party have been portrayed in, even in your attempt to be balanced or not. Thanks for your response to an excellent question.

  11. kao e e hoa ma… it is I who am continually humbled by your people, your stories, your songs, your history, your determination, your strength and your humility. Ka mau te wehi, aue!! ka whawhai…

  12. tena koe mo to manaranarangatira mo oku nei whanau whanui o aotearoa ki te aomarama …..ka tautoko e au mo to tino mahi tahi kite ao maori …tino pai rawa atu

    i love your work
    i appreciate all your sharing
    i hold yous in the highest regard for your stance and delivery
    so proud of you keep it up

  13. Really appreciate yr work both with Tangatawhenua.com and yr web work. keep up the good work and i hope I dont get criticised for supporting you. LOL. peter R

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