May 8, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

The Maori Party and what if…

3 min read

We are poised at the threshold of what may be the most significant shift in Maori parliamentary politics we have seen. We know the story, so instead of mulling over the ethics of such issues we turned our attention instead to what if…

We know there are two choices that Maori Party members of Te Tai Tokerau can make.

The first option, the much simpler choice is obviously, to maintain the status quo, that both Te Tai Tokerau and Hone Harawira agree to remain part of the Maori Party, no doubt a series of rules of engagement will be drawn up as we witnessed during the last issue, with attention then turning toward how to heal these raru and focus onthe upcoming election.

But it was the second option that intrigued us, in fact fascinated us. This notion of what an independently elected Te Tai Tokerau seat might look like and importantly what the decision making process might resemble.

What spurned these thoughts came from the korero of Professor Steven Cornell when he washerein Rotorua speaking tostaff and students at Waiariki Polytech,with reference to what makes for successful economic development within autonomous tribal zones (i.e. First Nation Reservations). Professor Cornell argues thatbased on decades of evidence and experience that successful development of indigenous communities only comes when decisions are made as a result of effective, authentic and legitimate participation based representation and governance.

What if for the first time in the parliamentary politics of Aotearoa, we see one of the seven Maori seats in truly independent Maori hands? What if decisions are made in such a way as to legitimate and affirm those living in Te Tai Tokerau and not by over arching policy agendas and political relationships?

Nothing would stop this independent seat from creating partnerships with other parties or voting for and against particular legislation. It would not in any way exempt this seat from voting or working with the Maori Party, or National, or Labour, the Greens or ACT for that matter. What would be different is that the voice would represent specifically those Maori voting in the Te Tai Tokerau rohe.

So we began to wonder are we witnessing a shift away from party based politics in which Maori “had to fit”, to something more reflective of regionally based needs and aspirations, in this case of Te Tai Tokerau?

What if as result the people of Tainui-Waikato and Ikaroa-Rawhiti follow suit, not under the leadership of any one party but under some other Maori decision making framework, as authenticated by it people.

No doubt the korero in that hui will be passionate, articulate and filled with fierce love, so we at wish our whanaunga the wisdom they will no doubt need along with the blessings of their tupana, on what could be a pivotal day in the politics of Te Ao Maori.

Anyway those are just some thoughts, on a beautiful sunny day after a 13 hour journey home from Los Angeles, who knows what tomorrow will bring. Mauri ora!

1 thought on “The Maori Party and what if…

  1. Whatever… the whole Hone scenario is just a pathological repeat of why the Northerners never came to the party while most of the motu were reinforcing Orakau. If they had we probably wouldn't need be arguing about foreshore legislation now. Tail wagging the fish!

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