How can we help push a constitutional review towards this vision?
We hope whanau will have a say in what rules and guidelines this country should be governed by. We urge people to find out what the current constitutional review process is all about.
Te Wharepora Hou would like to offer the following information to start korero among whanau.
What is a constitutional review and why should I care?
Starting in 2011, the government will take a step back and look at the bigger picture of how we run this whole country. This is the constitutional review that you will hear about.
This could be very important for Maori, but it certainly wont fix everything. The governments laws and policies have always impacted on our right to live as Maori. Politics affect our day to day living; what education our tamariki can receive, what sort of healthcare is available, whether your whanau still own your tupuna land, what support is available for you when you are jobless and homeless or struggling to access basic needs, whether your land will be mined or fracked, whether your seas will be drilled for oil and many many more situations in life. As Maori, political power has often played a big part in our right to our identity and our unique place as Tangata Whenua of Aotearoa.
What do we have currently?
At the moment we do not have a single document that is our Constitution. We have a collection of different documents and laws that guide how we make laws and policies. The Treaty of Waitangi is considered to be one of those documents. This review will consider the place of the Treaty of Waitangi. The review may have an impact on how we assert ourselves as the Tangata Whenua of this land.
What is at stake?
Together as Maori we could seize this opportunity to design a set of rules according to tikanga and kawa. Our collective wisdom could offer an improved system of political power. Positive change for whanau is good for the future of all New Zealanders.
Who should keep me informed?
The government have called for this review. There is a government panel who will lead the public discussion. They are called the Constitutional Review Panel.
There is also an iwi group lead by iwi representatives Moana Jackson and Margaret Mutu. They are called the Constitutional Transformation Working Group.
How can I take part?
Both the government panel and the iwi group will be asking for your whakaaro and ideas. There will be hui held around the country in 2012.
It is important that whanau understand that this korero is not just for academics, lawyers, politicians and iwi leaders. As Maori, we have a right and also a responsibility to have our say. Our experiences in our every day lives and our ideas for how to improve our right to live as Maori is the information that we should be asking the government to value.
Your iwi are not the only way to have a say, make sure you know how to be involved no matter where you live or who you are connected to.
Who is putting out this article?
Te Wharepora Hou is a collective of wahine who are mainly Tamaki Makaurau based, but we have strong participation from wahine based elsewhere in Aotearoa and the world. We have come together to ensure a stronger voice for wahine and all those who are too often silenced. We are concerned primarily with the wellbeing of whanau, hapu, iwi and all that pertains to Papatuanuku and the sustenance of our people.
We want to ensure that whanau are well informed of important issues so you could contact us if you would like further information.
Te Wharepora Hou
021 025 88302