Iwi tuaroa is Maori for spine

Written By: - Date published: 8:41 am, November 15th, 2009 - 13 comments
Categories: leadership, maori party - Tags: ,

maoriflag with spine 1Throughout the mana enhancing relationship between the National and Maori parties, we haven’t yet seen a lot of give and take. Well, I guess that’s only half true – we’ve seen a lot of taking for granted by National and a lot of giving concessions by the Maori Party, but none of the other way around. No, wait – to be fair I think National said the Maori Party could lead the ‘Maori flag’ issue.

Otherwise so far, when it’s come to disagreements (to name but a few: industrial relations legislation, Maori representation on the Auckland Supershity Council, Maori TV hosting the Rugby World Cup), we’ve seen the Maori Party cave time after time. Blue has prevailed over brown in every instance I can think of, but please feel free to suggest otherwise if a counter-example occurs to you.

How unfortunate then that the Maori Party should finally decide to stand on its principles when it comes to punishing their own. I can only hope that the party leadership’s anger towards Hone is not really just an outlet for all the frustration they’ve accumulated over constant thwarting by their ‘mana-enhancing’ National buddies. (Come to think of it, maybe the ‘mana-enhancing’ is just meant to refer to National?) And what a remarkable precedent to set too! Will all ill-considered outbursts of Maori Party MPs that the msm choose to misrepresent result in expulsion? Sure as hell National won’t be adopting that standard!

Regardless of what you think of him, Harawira does enjoy a lot of support amongst both his iwi and broader Maoridom – especially those who do not cede legitimacy to Maori elite to speak on their behalf. Those supporters, and even Maori who dislike Harawira, are acutely sensitive to the appallingly disproportionate response to Harawira’s mistakes when compared to the virtual non-response to English and Hide’s serious misuse of public funs as senior Ministers of the Crown. Hone’s mistreatment by the Maori Party will be seen as betrayal and do little to allay concerns about the leadership being co-opted by the interests of the privileged.

If Harawira goes it will precipitate the collapse of the Maori Party as a numerically significant political vehicle.

In truth, this isn’t really a case of the Maori Party leadership standing on principle or finally demonstrating evidence of a spine, it’s just them cynically exploiting the opportunity to get rid of someone who constantly challenges their authority. No doubt that can’t be easy to live with and Hone can be a pretty ornery bugger to deal with when he wants to be difficult. But I do doubt the mana of expulsion as a means for dealing with dissent, especially when it will cause so much damage to the interests the Maori Party is meant to serve.

13 comments on “Iwi tuaroa is Maori for spine”

  1. Tigger 1

    This should come as no surprise. The MP is not there for ‘all Maori’. To assume that one party can represent an entire race is ludicrous. They are there for ‘their supporters’ – people who believe in what they stand for, which are elite Maori principles.

  2. jcuknz 2

    In an authoritarian society you are not supposed to question authority. Ironical that the party was founded by one who stood against their party. The oldies don’t like being challenged by the young ones.

  3. There are interesting similarities between Harawira and Peters. Both are members of minority parties providing support and confidence. Both are Maori. Both are philosophically more attuned to the party in opposition than to the party they are actually supporting.

    Both have committed indiscretions, neither of which I was ever wound up about.

    National went after Peters big time. Labour are treating Harawira with a certain amount of respect, threats to line up against a wall notwithstanding.

    If National MPs were consistent they would be treating Harawira the same way they treated Peters. I wonder if this will happen?

    • not on your nelly, ms – Harawira has the capacity to very quickly explode National’s carefully manufactured ‘we love Maoridom’ line. i think they’ll stay well clear of this fight while trying to encourage Sharples and Turia to deal to him

    • gitmo 3.2

      There are also some interesting differences between Peters and Harawira.

      Winston is a professional liar and media baiter, IMO Hone just calls things as he sees them and damn the consequences.

      Winston will play the race card when he doesn’t believe a word of it just to whip up a frenzy, Hone will play the race card for a rather different agenda.

      And lastly Winnies an unmitigated, troughing, lying arse – Hone’s only done a wee bit of troughing.

      • Tigger 3.2.1

        The statements from the MP elite had the stink of blue all over them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Key had directed the party to dump Harawira or else…

        • Herodotus

          Yet again we get this dichotomy of John K, he is light wieght then he plans like H1. Which one is it?
          Nat do not do a lot for Maori, and what did Lab do?
          Most commentators here go on about Nat and how bad they are/were yet are oblivious on Labs short commings, as commented before the 3 monkey scenario. Perhaps more people should read the Art of War. Then NZ may improve and we get politicians/parties working for more than a win/loss game for us!!

          • Ari

            Labour actually had a few worthwhile policies in the pipeline both for Maori and for the general social inequality that disproportionately effects Maori. (Not that I really care to venture an opinion on which colour ink Labour’s ultimate balance against Maori is written in)

            National seems willing to offer only symbols or extremely minor policy concessions, and even then only when there is no electorate backlash. At least with Labour there was some substantial “give” along with the “take”.

            • the sprout

              cheers Ari, nicely put

            • Lew

              National’s ‘give’ should be the Foreshore and Seabed. The extent to which that makes up for the ‘take’ will be a very complex and often personal question for different tangata whenua groups. But it’s altogether too early to compare this post-post-Orewa National government with the previous Labour government, especially in such crude terms as these, which rather imply the vending machine model of democratic entitlement than any sort of partnership.

              It suits Labour and its supporters to be impatient in this case. That’s why they’ve been calling time on this coalition since about a week after it was formed. But things haven’t gotten much beyond started yet, and the early indications — symbolic though they may be — are pretty encouraging.

              As I keep saying — tangata whenua have incredible political patience. They have in the past been patient almost to the point of absurdity with Labour, although I acknowledge those were different times. While some folks seem to think that if immediate structural policy gains aren’t achieved they might as well take their toys and go home, I’d argue that that’s something of a major-party dominant-culture luxury. A year or three in which Maori might — possibly — gain some strategic advantages, or at worst return to the pre-Orewa status quo, is perfectly well within their usual timeframes for progress, and lord knows they’ve fought harder and for longer for less.


            • Herodotus

              So to change the law not to allow the ownership of the foreshore & seabed in court, not necessarily would it have been granted is a little give by Maori?
              And how did this eventuate Marlb Maori not being permitted to conduct seafarming/harvesting of muscles (As I am led to believe)
              Except for 1 term NZ 1 and the Owngoal by Lab re Foreshore that est The Maori party the unabided loyality given to Lab by Maori warrrents something that may have happened in the 4th term?
              History portarys to me that Lab since the Rata movement have not recipicated this loyality to the same extent as other groups have benefited from lab for their support. Look at the health & education outcomes & there associated consequences over the last 40 years of Maori. Nat did allow for grievances to be compensated re Waitangi Treaty Claims.
              Maui 3 monkeys , see,hear & speak no evil.

            • jcuknz

              I thought that was Labour’s problem … all promises and no substance. National may be small but at least they are there.

  4. Maui 4

    Herodotus, could you please repeat that in plain english ?
    Regards, Maui.

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