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Hone Harawira: No prestige in iwi leaders trying to hide poverty

Written By: - Date published: 6:24 am, April 3rd, 2014 - 50 comments
Categories: child welfare, mana-party, Maori Issues, poverty - Tags: ,

This was previously published at scoop.

When so-called iwi leaders condemn teachers for daring to highlight the massive failings of the New Zealand education system for Maori children in case the minister of Education might be embarrassed, then they show themselves up as a sad and pathetic group for whom the warm embrace of government has become more important than the needs of their own children and grandchildren.

Just who the hell do they think they are, trying to hide the truth of New Zealand’s failed policies just because the international community is in town?

Do these iwi leaders want to hide the fact that we have 285,000 children living in poverty in this country and that 100,000 of them are going to school hungry every single day?

Do they actually think we should be shying away from the fact that we have tens of thousands of children suffering from epidemic levels of third world diseases like rheumatic heart disease?

Do they truly believe that it reduces our prestige as a people to let the world know that things aren’t all rosy in the ‘land of the long white cloud’?

Do they not want anyone to know that it is their own children who are suffering the most, that we have thousands of Maori families living in grinding poverty, and that homelessness, joblessness and a bleak future is all many will have to wake up to tomorrow?

Do they think we should be hiding what the world already knows – that children from low income homes achieve significantly less than those from wealthier homes?

Do they think teachers should not have the right to point out what is already international proven – that child poverty and inequality are the biggest hurdles to learning success?

And honestly – do they really believe that the truth will harm the prestige of a Minister of Education just because she is Maori?

My god … have our iwi leaders become so servile and sycophantic that they would rather put on a smiley face for the world while our children are starving?

I am gutted that people who purport to represent Maori people could be so bloody selfish and blind, and I urge them to face up to the realities and demand concrete action to eliminate child poverty in this land of enormous wealth.

There may be ‘nicer’ settings for teachers to advocate for underpaid teaching support staff, and to highlight the fact that addressing poverty and inequality is absolutely critical to improving academic success, but the truth is that there is no nice time to talk about low pay and poverty, and so Mana will support the stand taken by the NZEI today during the International Summit on Education, tomorrow after
everyone has gone home, and every day after that until we have won the fight for our children to be fed, for our families to be provided with a decent living income, and for jobs for all who are able to work.

Hone Harawira
Sat 29 March 2014

authorised by Hone Harawira, 60 North Rd, Kaitaia



freedom: At the Wellington TPPA Rally on Saturday, I had the opportunity to talk with Hone Harawira and thought it an opportune time to suggest Mana contributed a guest post to The Standard.

I stated clearly that I had no authority to do so and that I did not represent The Standard in any way other than as a supporter of what The Standard is working so very hard towards, a real dialogue on politics of the left.

Mr Harawira reached into his jacket pocket and handed me the following text and said “post that” I said to him that it would be best coming directly from the Mana Party but Mr Harawira made it clear that he was comfortable with these words being sent via a third party, namely me.

lprent: My apologies about the delay in putting this up. Work has been cutting into my blogging time again.

50 comments on “Hone Harawira: No prestige in iwi leaders trying to hide poverty”

  1. Bill 1

    My god … have our iwi leaders become so servile and sycophantic that they would rather put on a smiley face for the world while our children are starving?

    Or is it simply a sign that a Maori elite (raised up on the back of capitalist frames of reference for Treaty Settlements.) are now firmly bedded in?

    • David H 1.1

      Hone, I am sorry to say, the answer to your question is a resounding. YES.

    • adam 1.2

      The elites of both conservative and liberal ilk are both bedded in Bill. The Maori party, appears for all intensive purposes to be the party of Maori Elite.

      • Tracey 1.2.1

        My sense is that they are playing the “mole within the system”. They have stood on the sidelines for so long and when labour had 9 years, they felt royally ignored… and in Turia’s case betrayed. A betrayal she has never let go.

        So, they openly say they sit at the table and feed off crumbs from the table top rather than scrambling around on the floor hoping…

        Hone sits in the barricades firing shots and marshalling the troops to go over the top.

        Sometimes having an extreme wing, allows the middle to appear even mor epalatable and make gains.

        I’m just not sure that by doing this, they have truly gained much and not much mana…

        hence my comparrison to ACT… fewer MPs, more respect and money from the top table.

  2. tc 2

    Well said, the hope is that people see the maori party and the elite iwi as extensions of this nact regime and vote them out in 2014.

    when you look at the legislation MP passed and such behaviours from iwi they seem little more than thoughers who seem focused on personal gain….whanau ora anybody.

    again the nact show what masters they are at targetting the greddy to go along for the ride.

  3. Tigger 3

    These elite run corporations and corporations, by their nature, are psychopathic. So yes, they are servile, and serving a crazy institution rather than their iwi.

  4. Jenny 4

    Every Left leader should have a speech like this in their pocket to hand to someone called freedom.

    • freedom 4.1

      I have never been shy of approaching an MP and always do so politely and with a question in mind rather than a complaint. Most have answered. One glaring exception was Nathan Guy during the last election campaign, who was out on the street in serious glad-hand mode with his “I’m a Key person” t-shirt. Yet when I asked if I could ask a question on National policy, he simply turned his back and said “no” as he walked away. (I had not even mentioned which policy btw)

      I encourage others to get MPs interacting more directly with us, the voters. If people approach the MPs they come across with similar requests, we might be able to encourage them that there are other, more responsive forms of communicating their messages than ad nauseum press releases to the MSM.

      Perhaps, closer to the election, we could try for a series of blog chats with some MPs?

      Democracy should be a dialogue.

    • Tracey 4.2

      very well said jenny

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    There is more to Hone than a lot realise, he does much work ‘behind the scenes’ trying to unite all who can be united to support the Mana Movement. This will be evident at the Mana conference in Rotorua.

    The above statement typically shows the class dimension and analysis within Mana, that Mr Harawira is not the one track Māori nationalist that the media make him out to be and bigoted pakeha need him to be.

    The Māori elite and torys have been with us for decades but certainly more so since the 80s. Many regions, industry sectors and developers seem to conjure up a new toadying iwi leaders group these days to add false ‘credibility’ to their latest scam. Wayne Brown ex Mayor of the Far North was a classic in this regard when trying to convince the Local Government Authority that one unitary authority to rule them all was required to replace three district councils in Northland. The one good thing the official? Iwi Leaders Group ever did was play a significant role in getting Talleys to backdown on the meatworks lockout.

    We will know soon enough if some type of arrangement is going to happen between Mana and TIP, and the odds seem to be shifting to a yes.

  6. vto 6

    Those iwi leaders waffled on about mana and respect……

    In our world those things must be earned, following the initial default setting of respect given. Not sure what world those iwi leaders live in …. but it sure aint mine

    Default setting lost, now no respect for them and their actions …..


    In spite of that, it would be good to get an understanding of the thinking that went into the iwi leaders call. Why did they think they deserve such? What did they think of the protest? Who are they? How have they been bestowed this ‘mana’? How has it arisen? Why did they think they could apply it in such a fashion?….. The statement they put out answered none of these types of questions – the statement they put out was a demand and, if I recall rightly, was dismissive of the protest people. Respect and mana lost in all sectors.


    And Go Hone!

  7. Not a PS Staffer 7

    It is interesting that some of the people behind this attempt to paint over the cracks in the system have been awarded knighthoods and honours: a tool for acquiring acquiescence.

    Sir Toby Curtis was bought in the 2013 New Year Honours by National.
    Sir Mark Solomon was bought in the 2013 New Year Honours by National.
    Sir Tamati Reedy was bought in the 2011 New Year Honours by National.
    Naida Glavish QSM was bought in the 2011 New Year Honours by National.
    Pem Bird QSM the Maori Party President and Ngai Tahu elder supports Charter Schools will undoubtedly achieve the prized knighthood now.

    Dr Apirana Mahuika (Ngàti Porou leader) Honorary Doctorate for contribution to positive race relations in Aotearoa, knowledge of tikanga and his leadership of Ngàti Porou and Màoridom in general.

    Sonny Tau, the Ngapuhi Leader in negotiations with National, will undoubtedly achieve the prized knighthood now.

    Tiwha Puketapu, chairman of the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board in negotiations with National, will undoubtedly achieve the prized knighthood now.

    This one will probably not get a gong for a while:
    Willie Te Aho, Te Aitanga a Mahakiwho (Gisborne) lead negotiator has interesting friends and approaches: “It is understood that at one stage Ohia asked for as much as $750,000 in severance pay, but an email from Te Aho shows he eventually demanded $250,000 to resolve the personal grievance and $60,000 for legal costs.The emails also show Ohia tried to avoid an Employment Relations Authority hearing in favour of a “hou hou i te rongo” or reconciliation process…” http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8972867/Severance-of-300k-demanded

    read the responses in Homepaddock

    • karol 7.1

      Haha – homepaddock says the NZEI demos were not about attacking poverty but about playing politics – ie attacking the Minister. Such a twisted explanation.

    • bad12 7.2

      A small correction, Pem Bird is of Nagti Manawa/Te Awara descent, and, is no longer the President of the Maori Party,

      Professor Whatarangi Winitana is the current President of that organization…

  8. vto 8

    The link this possibly shows between the tory capitalist world and the maori world is interesting. One of those leaders was Mark Solomon from Ngai Tahu. Ngai Tahu are currently going full tit at dairy and intensive farm expansion in regions that are already overloaded and easily further overloaded.

    In the Hurunui they are applying for very large scale intensive dairying on some of the boneyist, stoney land in the Hurunui and right beside the Hurunui River. This river is already polluted and unusable in many sections. Ngai Tahu are charging in like the ignorant capitalists they have become.

    Similarly, the dam proposal on the Ruataniwha River in Hawkes Bay. One of the main investors. Check the facts on this scheme and the land in which it sits. Though I understand Ngai Tahu may be pulling out from this, the reason is nought to do with good practice and all to do with the financial return expected.

    Ngai Tahu – corporate capitalists extraordinaire

    How can this sit with their other world? Eh? Ngai Tahu, how do you explain your actions? Methinks you do not take the public with you on your journey ……

    • weka 8.1

      “Ngai Tahu – corporate capitalists extraordinaire”

      I think it is more complex than you present vto. Here’s how I understand it, bearing in mind that this is a Pākehā view from outside the iwi. Ngāi Tahu are an iwi. That iwi was required to form certain legal structures as part of the Treaty settlements. Afaik, they didn’t have a choice about that. One of the things that happened consequently was the setting up of the business corporation Ngāi Tahu Holdings.

      The rūnaka and the corporation are not the same thing, and I think it serves understanding better to not conflate the two by using the term ‘Ngāi Tahu’ ambiguously i.e. state whether you are talking about the iwi or the corporation.

      It’s then useful to look at the relationship between the rūnaka and NTH. Here there are challenges for Pākehā, because we generally don’t have a very good understanding of te Ao Māori, either traditionally or contemporarily, let alone how things actually work at the iwi or local rūnaka levels. But I think this is where the answer lies to some of your questions. Best approach without the criticisms on your tongue though.

      NT as an iwi are IMO highly adaptive, and very good at making best use of the circumstances they find themselves in and moving forward from that. Given their history since colonisation, mostly I just think good on them for figuring out how to do the best for their people.

      I do have concerns about the dairying. A while back Adele wrote some comments about the positive aspects of what is being done eg the shift to less damaging ways of dairying. That’s good. But I tend to agree with you that in many case NT are just doing things that shouldn’t be being done by anyone, but are being done by lots of people. In order to have a deeper valid opinion on that I think we need to have a much better understanding of how NT works, who they are as a people, what their needs and aspirations are etc. It’s not enough to stand outside the iwi and point fingers and say ‘see, just as bad as pakeha’ or ‘see, evil corporate capitalists’, esp on the back of x decades of promoting Māori in a negative light.

      I guess at some point NT will have restored themselves sufficiently that they become on an even footing for criticism, but until te reo is no longer an endangered language or until the poverty stats for Māori change, we’re not there yet. Any criticism has to be done in the context of our own ignorances.

      There are plenty of NT who don’t agree with industrial dairying. Like many Pākeha they find themselves in a world where there is no easy solution to get the right things to be done. We could be finding ways to ally with them and support them, rather than just lumping them all in together as ‘corporate capitalists extraordinaire’.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        state whether you are talking about the iwi or the corporation.

        The iwi owns the corporation thus the corporation is only doing what the iwi tells it to.

        It’s not enough to stand outside the iwi and point fingers and say ‘see, just as bad as pakeha’ or ‘see, evil corporate capitalists’, esp on the back of x decades of promoting Māori in a negative light.

        What a load of bollocks. Don’t criticise them because they’ve already been criticised too much? Nope, don’t work. Now, Maori have been badly treated because of New Zealand’s racism, no doubt about that, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t then criticise them when they start acting like abusive capitalists.

        • weka

          “The iwi owns the corporation thus the corporation is only doing what the iwi tells it to.”

          Yes, I’m sure that’s the common Pākehā perception. I just don’t think it’s that simple when you start looking at how the iwi functions, esp in the context of vto’s comment. It’s akin to saying that NZ owns Kiwibank therefore Kiwibank is only doing what NZers tell it to do. Or something like that. I’m sure that’s not a perfect comparison. If you are more familiar with how the internal strucures of NT iwi work, legally AND culturally, I’d be interested to learn more.

          “Don’t criticise them because they’ve already been criticised too much?”

          That’s not what I meant.

          • weka

            I also didn’t say ‘don’t criticise Māori capitalists’. I said that the criticism would have more validity were we (non-Māori) to get over our ethnocentricity.

            “Now, Maori have been badly treated because of New Zealand’s racism, no doubt about that, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t then criticise them when they start acting like abusive capitalists.”

            None of the NT I know personally are abusive capitalists, so my point still stands about being able to differentiate between NT iwi and NTH. Or can I call you an abusive capitalist too, given you take part in the state that is NZ?

            • vto

              Understand the points you are making there weka and had them in mind. That is why the criticisms (in both comments) were framed in terms of questions. Explanations welcomed. (I don’t buy the separation of iwi and corporation though)

              I think it would benefit Ngai Tahu if they took the public along with them by explaining some of these and other things (e.g. their position deciding resource consents in Chch CBD rebuild, which has been raised before and is a BIG issue). An explanation on dairying and waterways etc would help too e.g. on one hand they are helping clean up Lake Ellesmere and yet just up the road they are squirting shit into the stony grounds as fast as the most rabid dairy farmer.

              The public sits here confused.

              Of course, Ngai Tahu have no obligation whatsoever to be open about these things nor to explain their actions, but this the world of reality and the effect of their continuing lack of explanation around what they are going about will, I think, backfire on them in terms of public perception. Over to them though.

              edit: also, the iwi leaders bumble on the issue the subject of this thread is a good example of this problem too.

              • “The public sits here confused.” just speak for yourself numbnuts but you are right you can’t handle an explanation – you so aren’t worth it.

                • vto

                  marty mars reply: “……. yourself ….. you ….. you …… you ….”

                  The class of the man exposed in typical fashion – all about the personal abuse and nothing about the issues.

                  Like the local referee or the school monitor – lots of knowledge but no understanding. What a lightweight. The lack of intellectual ability grates doesn’t it….

                  • woo wooooop here comes the choo choo train…

                    your first reply said it all – just a dot next to another dot – meaningless and expressive of your output.

                    You demand answers yet in the past when long detailed explanations are given to you you choose to not get it – it just zooms over your head and then you usually get upset because someone hasn’t explained it enough, even though you were not really interested in the answer and when you get it you ignore it.

                    You play your sick games and then act like the innocent – dishonest that is. So no answers for the choo choo train from me.

                    • vto

                      marty mars reply: “……. yourself ….. you ….. you …… you ….”

                      The class of the man exposed in typical fashion – all about the personal abuse and nothing about the issues.

                    • “You demand answers yet in the past when long detailed explanations are given to you you choose to not get it – it just zooms over your head and then you usually get upset because someone hasn’t explained it enough, even though you were not really interested in the answer and when you get it, you ignore it.”

                      read and respond to that – come on let’s see your big brain in action

                      out of a magnanimous spirit i will respond to your demand for answers

                      Te Ao Māori is all encompassing – the mana of the iwi is reflected in all activities and entities contained within the iwi including material things. There are the usual good, bad and ugly people within the group just like in any group. What people do who are within the group affects aspects of the mana of the group as do many other factors. The worldview of Ngāi Tahu is reflected in “Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – for us and our children after us.” And the mana of the iwi is influenced by the delivery or not, of that worldview. So the iwi is all in it together as we continually seek a place in this world. A nice book on the iwi is called “The welcome of Strangers” by Professor Atholl Anderson a noted Ngāi Tahu scholar.



                    • vto

                      Thanks. So in relation to the iwi leaders call re the protest, te ao maori sees the iwi as one, so if one of the individual iwi members steps out and makes a stand then that stand is seen as reflecting the entire iwi, not just the single member.

                      If so then the call by the iwi leaders is understandable. Though if you have some of the iwi doing one thing and the balance of the iwi doing another, then which is seen as the iwi stand? Which is the outlier – the protest or the iwi leaders call?

                      But it does raise a whole bunch of other questions about how such a system can operate effectively on today’s globe.. who gets to determine where and when it is right to protest? the leadership? what about the individuals? where do their rights start and stop? how does this work in today’s more individualistic world? How does this approach mesh with pakeha ways? I guess they are questions that iwi are well on top of.

                      The other question raised above was around how the corporate capitalist game that Ngai Tahu plays fits within te ao maori – in the context of, for example, cleaning up Lake Ellesmere while at the same time polluting Lake Ellesmere (to put it crudely). Same at Hurunui and Ruataniwha. How do Ngai Tahu place all of that together? Especially in light of your description of the iwi being seen as one and not able to be split into parts, as weka suggest above.

                    • It’s tribal – what one does is their business although in the greater context all are intertwined.

                      Their is no outlier they are both within. They are both contained within the worldview but obviously are different views.

                      Anyone can choose to protest about anything they want – and others can disagree with the protest. It’s just the same as for everyone. The difference comes in imo when the motive is understood. It is also an ongoing journey of discovery in how the old ways mesh with today’s world – but doable because of the unbroken connection.

                      I disagreed with the iwi on both of the examples you cited. I really don’t know what the tally would be comparing good verses bad stuff that the iwi has done since about an estimated 3% of the value of what was lost, was recompensed.

          • bad12

            Agree with the point you are making weka, how much influence do small shareholders in say tele-conned have over what the company does on a day to day basis,

  9. karol 9

    Hone! Jeez he is both eloquent and down-to-earth. He tells it how it is for the Kiwis struggling most in these “neoliberal” times. And he has passion, conviction, and commitment – so lacking in too many politicians these days.

    And he has some policies to counter the damaging inequalities and poverty, and pragmatic ways of making the policies work.

    • JanM 9.1

      I agree with everything you’ve said, Karol and the thing I like most is that he just says exactly what he means, straight and honest. There is no sarcasm, attempts at wit, backtracking, double-speak, or any of the other contrivances we’ve become so used to. And there is genuine passion – it’s not dead in the water, after all, just temporarily out of fashion.

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    Also, full marks to Freedom for the initiative. I would like to see more Mana contributions at the Standard, and not just because I am a supporter! Ideologically an experimental hybrid, Te Mana Movement is unusual and important in that it is activist, and operates outside of parliament regardless of the three year cycle that the other parties adhere to.

  11. Wyndham, George 11

    Where is Shane Jones on this matter? Hone connects with the young and marginalised very effectively. Jones does not cone across as someone who would attack the smug Maori ruling class.

    • Tracey 11.1

      He will probably come out and say something soon to remind people that he is ideologically in the wrong party and to show, again, that labour still has strong ties to the failed ideology of the last 40 years.

  12. Tracey 12

    Serious question

    Has anyone seen an analysis of MP achievements with national versus ACT achievements with national?

    By “achievements” I refer to stuff they got, rather than a comment about whether what they got was good,bad, or indifferent.

    It’s just when Labour is in power we hear almost daily squeals of “tails wagging dogs”…. There is almost as much silence on this phrase when Nats in power as there is silence from the former BRT when nats are in power.

  13. Populuxe1 13

    I’m glad someone’s saying it!

  14. blue leopard 14

    Good stuff Freedom,

    What an excellent thing that you did and said and am glad Harawira responded so instantly. It is good to read ‘Mana’s voice’ here.

    Apart from recent developments re the Internet Party, Mana’s message has not been hugely audible in our mainstream news sources and I have been wondering why there hasn’t been any info/dialogue from them posted here on The Standard.

    I hope Harawira recalls the conversation you and he had and decides to communicate more frequently to the readers here.

    • Tracey 14.1

      Those who believe the MSM is even handed only have to look at the difference in their coverage of Colin Craig and DotCom (in a political sense) who have NO political representation in our parliament and those who do.

      In particular the voices of opposition. I believe even the Greens, notwithstanding their representation and percentage of the vote have been marginalised during this last 6 years. Coverage from them has increased as covergae of Labour diminished. Is it really a finite pie from which the MSM cuts?

  15. coolas 15

    Lady Gardiner (Hekia Parata) is at the top of the Maori elitist pile along with her husband Sir Wira (Harawira) Gardiner and it’s not surprising the Knights of Iwi rally to her support. But as Hone so well exposes these sycophants and troughers are way out of touch with the issues facing most Maori.

  16. captain hook 16

    Its pretty ugly the way they want hide and stifle all discussion under a we know whats best for you argument.
    They know whats best for them but they have no idea about waht needs to be done for everybody else. All they can see is their own self serving grasping and jobbing.

  17. greywarbler 17

    It’s hard work pushing and pulling the levers of government to get anything worthwhile from them and Maori once started may feel that they need to persevere along that path. Which could explain why the Maori Party stays where it is. Labour disappointed and so some have gone to National, and some leaders were already there. There’s mana with a small m, in staying with National.

    Hone speaks well and Mana looks vital and sounds really in touch and is not going to fudge the truth for feel-good reasons. Good on Hone. What he says about the comfortable Maori in the elite group is very frank and it is observably true.

    Some descriptive words for their attitudes to fighting for Maori wellbeing in NZ’s economic and social fiasco facing Maori – abnegation, relinquishment, capitulation, buckling, conceding, yielding, and indulgent. Choose your weapon. The pen is mightier than the sword!

    The work that the activists strived to do in past decades, has led to many changes for the good, but as Ranginui Walker expressed it in his book Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou — Struggle Without Endit must continue, there is no room for complacency. And without someone like Hone Harawira, the aims that inspired the activists of the past may slip away and achievements be watered down.

    And I just noticed how two first names have cropped up among our political leaders, John and David. Hone is Maori for John. The Jonathan and David story from the Bible might have some parallels here if some changes could happen. Like a fairy godmother bringing some magic into 2014!
    David and Jonathan were heroic figures of the Kingdom of Israel, whose covenant was recorded favourably in the books of Samuel.
    Jonathan was the son of Saul, king of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, and David was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem and Jonathan’s presumed rival for the crown.
    David became king. The covenant the two men had formed eventually led to David graciously seating Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, a cripple, at his own royal table instead of eradicating the former king Saul’s line

    • greywarbler 18.1

      It says for me that there is a Security alert blah blah and a note from Word Online about having to have something else. Very precise I know. I’m on Opera which isn’t going well for me anyway.

      • Tony Parker 18.1.1

        Hmmm it’s not on the Stand up for Kids Facebook page now either which tells me it may have been taken down. Pressure from above maybe.

    • freedom 18.2

      have you tried google drive ? seems to be more reliable for sharing docs

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