May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Stop the drilling | Morgan Godfery Maui Street Blog

4 min read

This is reassuring. From Waatea News:

Te Whanau a Apanui has put out the call for a water-borne protest against Brazilian oil giant Petrobras’s plans to prospect in the Raukumara basin.

Spokesperson Dayle Takitimu says vessels with links to the Nuclear Free Flotilla, Greenpeace, Forest and Bird, and Coromandel Watchdog are expected to be part of a flotilla leaving Auckland for Cape Runaway on Sunday in the hope of encountering Petrobras survey boats.

She says unlike some other iwi, Te Whanau a Apanui isn’t interested in deals with miners.

It’s not about the money or greater ability to invest or joint venture with these companies. Whanau a Apanui just dont want this activity occurring on our back doorstep when there is so much risk involved, Ms Takitimu says.

Unlike some other iwi, Te Whanau a Apanui appears to be in touch with what the people want. This, in my opinion, comes down to the fact that Te Whanau a Apanui does not operate under the imposed Runanga model. Te Whanau a Apanuis governance model shares more in common with traditional approaches rather than the typical western approach that the contemporary Runanga framework emulates. Maori customary practice, I hesitate to call it law, tends to place greater value on absolute consensus.

Whereas under the contemporary Runanga framework decisions can be given effect at the whim of the majority. In some cases, Im thinking of you Tuku Morgan, decisions can be simply imposed. Of course this is not to say that the traditional Maori approach is superior, I actually feel that the opposite is true, it is more accurate to say that the Runanga framework is flawed and some corrupt and misguided individuals are, for want of a better term, working the system.

Some iwi, Tainui and Ngai Tahu in particular, blindly adhere to notions of economic growth. Cultural considerations are paid lip service while consultation is, for the most part, nonexistent. It appears Te Whanau a Apanui is considering cultural imperatives, e.g. kaitiakitanga, as well as the broader consideration of risk. This is a sensible, and indeed very Maori, approach that I wish other iwi would follow. Sadly, the self proclaimed iwi leaders are captured by a corporate agenda and see nothing beyond power and return.

I am very familiar with the East Coast and I feel personally connected to this issue. I feel that it is entirely understandable that the locals do not want to shoulder the considerable risk. Yes, returns will probably be substantial. But in the case of a disaster, the loss will be significantly greater than any alleged returns. Consider this from Gordon Campbell:

New Zealand has almost no capacity to cope with the impact of a major oil spill, or any adequate and enforceable means of compensation. Given the degree of uncertainty, do we have any way of telling whether the returns will justify the risk.

Putting aside local opposition, the government should be looking at implementing mechanisms to cope with a worst case scenario, as opposed to diving in head first. As far as I am aware the government has not consulted local iwi with regard to the exact nature and extent of activities occurring off their coast, the possible returns they may receive and the risks oil exploration, and consequently extraction of course, would pose. This isnt good enough, but what we have come to expect from National.
As usual the Maori Party is nowhere to be seen on this issue.

Why? Because there is a clash between the flaxroot and the good little indigenous corporates. The Maori Party cannot be seen to be taking sides. Hone is siding with the flaxroot. If the Maori Party were to follow suit then that is an acknowledgment that Hone is right. Furthermore, the self proclaimed iwi leaders, as I have pointed out numerous times, exercise an enormous amount of control over the policy development and the day to day direction the party takes.

I will try and keep on top of this issue and I will blog if there are any developments. This is a big issue and as such it requires a big discussion. Pity we didnt get one though.

About the Maui Street Blog

Maui Street is an attempt to address the shortage of Maori voices in the blogosphere. As an ardent reader of many left leaning blogs and an occasional visitor to some right leaning blogs I was, and continue to be, struck by the shortage of Maori bloggers and the poor coverage Maori issues receive, having said that there are a number of notable exceptions. Therefore, I believe Maui Street fills a very important niche.

Maui Street will deal, for the most part but not exclusively, with Maori political issues. I will do my best to post at the very least weekly. With study commitments and life in general my posting habits may become erratic.

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