Apr 15, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

#lifeinside with Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara (+links)

3 min read

RangiKemara1A Question and Answer interview with Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara

  • Shared fromhttp://aocafe.blogspot.co.nz

Tell us about Prison is it everything you thought it would be?

I had been wondering where all the Maori had gone to, assumed we were all moving abroad, turns out we are just getting locked up in droves, over and over again. For most Maori and working class people being imprisoned is like being kicked out of a burning 747 without a parachute. The system of rehabilitation in here is akin to being put through the theory part of a parachute making course while falling. Once Maori enter the prison system we rarely escape its revolving door policy. Iwi, hapu, and whanau need to custom design their own solutions to this issue. Anything has to be better that what is going on in here.

You said once or something to the effect that having hope in the State and the System undermined the effectiveness of movements for rapid social change? What are your thoughts on this issue?

Im going to have to use another metaphor, hope in that sense can be compared to a donkey chasing after a dozen carrots proverbially suspended from its head. Connected to the donkey is a cart full of freeloaders calling themselves business and political leaders. Each iwi, each hapu, each community needs to stop chasing carrots and begin determining their own future from within their own means, values and geography etc. We call this Mana Motuhake.

So you are an anarchist then?

I would say I am a Maniapoto .. Rereahu of the Rohe Potae

Among other things youve worked as a web programmer and as an avid permaculturist but you were also a professional musician and composer. What are your thoughts on the roles of artists and musicians and social change?

Tame of course is known as an artist with one of his recent paintings on the cover of National Geographic, myself and my co-accused Urs Signer are both professional musicians. In the past artists have been crucial to social change. You know your art has challenged bigotry, racism and falsities of the powerful when it comes back to bite you in some shape or form. The life sentences being handed out to electronic graffiti artists, members of the Anonymous movement are a recent example of this along with punk band Pussy Riot who got jailed in Russia for mocking Putin. A relevant local example would be the artistic enactment in Ruatoki in 2005 which had the media plastering images of Tame shooting a flag on the marae atea. This of course led to the government spy operation and lock down of Ruatoki. 18 people were arrested, many of whom were artists, musicians and creative dancers. Art that doesnt move, inspire or provoke is just fancy wallpaper really. Art and Activism can be like close cousins if the artist chooses.

Tell us about your latest projects?

Most stuff is on the hold or in planning stages for obvious reasons. The most advanced in terms of development would be the work I was doing as a part of a small collective called Te Karaka o te Waonui based in the Rereahu territory developing a modern type of native food forest. The premise being that forests should be self sustaining ecosystems providing food and medicine rather than nice places to have a picnic that sort of thing. We are endeavouring to transform a neglected park in Bennydale, eco-sourcing seedlings of food and medicine bearing native trees, bushes and vines to create a snapshot of what is possible.

  • interview held with Teanau Tuiono over the phone

This korero was taken from AoCafe.blogspot.co.nz,the support network blog for Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara who along with Tame Iti was sentenced to concurrent terms of two and a half years in prison as a part of the Urewera raids. For more info on the raids seeOctober15Solidarity

Write to Rangi:

Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara #80192504
Springhill Prison
Private bag 503
Huntly 3740

Tweets from Rangi are relayed by his support network via his twitter account @RangiKemara

3 thoughts on “#lifeinside with Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara (+links)

  1. Very interesting story and so true. In experiencing the life of a prisoner in the corrections department it angered me to see that most of the prison system was full of Maori people. It wasade apparent to me that the Programmes for Maori prisoner rehabilitation did not work hencecthe reason the reoffending rate for Maori was and is soo high. Ngawha Prison and Springhill both have. MOU with the corrections department however i see it as just a mere formaliyy to show that the Crown is in Partnership with Maori and it is sad to see that these two. hapu allow this to happen

    Upon my release in 2012 i made it my duty to devlop programmes and a rehabilitation and reintergration centre for our Maori people. A group of friends and myself worked hard on the development of ygese progrmes and policys around them. After 2 months of sleepless nights we submitted our proposal to the minister of Corrections, Courts, and Justice which was subsequantly decline due to the cost to start the centre up. $2 million was our start up cost for yhe first year which included operational and residential cost for 30 clients over a 12 month period. We were told that funding is only available to those whom have been in operation for 2year or. more so therefore we needed to find an investor to fund the first year. So whanau if there are any investors out there that wanna have a look at our kaupapa my contact email is [email protected]

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