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Maoridom gather for national hui on water


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(Yvonne Tahana and Audrey Young, NZ Herald) About 700 of Maoridom’s “A listers” as well and ordinary iwi members have gathered at Turangawaewae Marae on the banks of the Waikato River today for a national hui on water, hosted by King Tuheitia.

Hui organiser and Kingitanga spokesman Tukuroirangi Morgan said the turnout showed that “water unites us.”

The hui would design a collaborative approach to protect Maori rights and interests over water, he said.

“That’s what we’re going to do today.”

He said the Government would not be able to ignore what emerged from the hui.

As well as iwi leaders, corporations, the Maori Federation of Authorities, Kohanga Reo, the Maori Women’s Welfare League and the urban Maori authorities are attending.

“You’ve got the A listers of Maoridom.”

Sir Eddie Durie co-chairman of the Maori Council was always going to be one of the most anticipated speakers of the afternoon.

He slammed an approach which would see water claims settled at the same time as tribes sorted out their historical claims.

For Maori to go down that route was to short change themselves.But he also slammed an approach which would see water claims settled at the same time as historical claims.

“What they [the Government] give is nothing because a historic claim has a fixed quantum.”

He also warned that to settle water issues after the government sold 49 per cent of Mighty River Power wasn’t going to work either because Maori would have the added difficulty of investors who wouldn’t want to sort the issue because of the impact on their share values.

“We must settle the nature of those rights first before we can contemplate a sale.”

He didn’t mince words about the council’s unpopular position with the Government.They were “very friendly to the iwi leaders I suspect that’s because they’ve got the foot in the door. We’ve got the door in our face.”

He backed the hui’s purpose for unity over water and hoped all Maori, inlcuding iwi leaders could stand together on the issue.

There was a rumble however, when he said: “And if we have to go to court to pay up together.

Mr Morgan said there was a big turnout because of a growing and mounting fear that the Crown was going “to subvert our rights and interests and minimise our rights and interests as they have done for a long, long time.”

“There is a deep sense of urgency and a desire that we are going to talk and find a way forward collaboratively,” he told the Herald before the formal part of the hui began.

“For far too long we’ve been working in silos – the Maori Council in their own corner, iwi leaders in their own corner. All the threads have got to come together. We have got to find a much more representative, collaborative model that pulls us together.”

Several speakers including Maori Council co-chairman Sir Edward Taihukurei Durie and Tuwharetoa chief Sir Tumu te Heuehu will make short speeches, and organisers say the hui will then be turned over to the floor for two hours of debate.

Former Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata will pull together recommendations from the hui, which will then be presented and debated at a hui tomorrow of the Iwi Chairs Forum at nearby Hopuhopu.

Te Arawa’s Toby Curtis, one of five tribal heads on the powerful Iwi Leaders Group on Freshwater said he’d like a meeting with the Maori Council to sort out where there were commonalities.

Iwi leaders say a direct negotiation approach with the government is the best way forward.

Asked what he thought the Council’s role should be he said: “It’s like what it’s done – it’s to challenge the government .”

Sorting out water issues for Maori wouldn’t work if either body thought they could lead the issue alone, he said.

The hui has been called in the wake of a report by the Waitangi Tribunal saying the Government would be breaching the Treaty of Waitangi if it went ahead with its partial asset sales programme.

The tribunal recommended that the Government convene a national hui to discuss how it could recognise Maori proprietary interest in water and advanced a concept called “shares plus” – shares in the SOEs being partially floated and some form of control by iwi.

The Government has delayed the first float, of Mighty River Power, until next March or April. It will consult iwi associated with waterways used by Mighty River Power on the ”shares plus” concept but has rejected it as unworkable and has rejected any pan-Maori approach to settle water claims.

Mana leader Hone Harawira is one of a handful of politicians and former politicians at today’s hui. His supporters distributed a pamphlet setting out an ”Dear John…” open letter to Prime Minister John Key – run in the opinion pages of today’s New Zealand Herald.

It calls on him to set aside the asset sales, give the Waitangi Tribunal time to conduct a further hearing “and then I’d call everyone back to the table in 12 months and see if we could come up with a solution that works for all.

(3) Comments

  1. Mereana

    Bill English or should I say “English Bill” you have mail and it reads NOT one more acre of land, Not one more grain of sand, Not one more ocean or lake, Not one more river or stream, Nor a well or spring, To be taken, AOTEAROA is NOT 4sale

  2. Aerahoki

    Among the powers and duties with which Te Tohunga Wairua has been invested are: To ensure the preservation of the various cultures throughout the Pacific Region and to safeguard the rights of every individual. To defend and protect these same peoples and emancipate them from the fetters of repression, persecution and colonialism; To promote the attainment of spiritual qualities both individually and collectively; to do his utmost for the realization of greater cordiality and comity amongst the Pacific Nations and for the attainment of peace; and to foster that which is conducive to the enlightenment and illumination of the souls of men and the advancement and betterment of these same souls; To enact laws and ordinances; to abrogate, according to the changes and requirements of the time; to deliberate and decide upon all problems which have caused difference; to elucidate questions that are obscure; to safeguard the personal rights, freedom and initiative of individuals; and to give attention to the preservation of human honour, to the development of nations and the stability of communities; To promulgate and apply the laws and principles of Tikanga Wairua; to safeguard and enforce that rectitude of conduct which Tikanga Wairua enjoins; to be responsible for ensuring that no body or institution abuse its privileges or decline in the exercise of its rights and prerogatives. To adjudicate disputes falling within its purview; to give judgement in cases of violation of the laws of Tikanga Wairua and to pronounce sanctions for such violations; to provide for the enforcement of its decisions; to provide for the arbitration and settlement of disputes arising between peoples; and to be the exponent and guardian of, and establish the reign of law and order throughout the pacific. Te Wananga Tapu is the Supreme Institution of the Pacific Region whose authority and whose principles of operation are expressed in the attraction and cohesion of simple elements throughout all forms of existence Te Tohunga Wairua

  3. Koretake

    E Rangatira! Long forsaken have ye te arahitanga a te Tohunga thus as a result the mental health institutions are overflowing The jails are always full and still more are being built to house nga mokopuna of today The education system is found wanting and the political arena is a joke The tamariki are being murdered in their sleep or are being carried away to be abused The homeless are being assaulted the economy is wavering debts are growing the disillusioned are committing suicide and mother earth is groaning under the burden of ill-conceived policies manufactured and designed at the whim and fancy of the ignorant the corrupt and the self-serving and is clearly witnessed for all to see E hika ma! Ka kitea nga tangata in confusion Surely in the face of such compelling evidence ye would all want to vacate your positions of incompetence and employ those with capability and understanding Yet as is witnessed ye remain clinging tenaciously to thy seats and refusing to budge Even despite thy short-comings being as manifest as is the sun caught in the net of Maui.

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