Ratana, TPPA, Māori women politicians

In February the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) free trade deal will take place in Aōtearoa. The Ratana celebrations on 25th January could provide a catalyst to overturn the signing of TPPA. That would be a miracle worthy of the Ratana heritage.

Founder T.W. Ratana who died in 1939 was a Māori prophet, leader, healer and visionary. Known in the early 20th century as ‘the Māori miracle man’ he asked for Māori to believe in things that had never occurred before and the people flocked to him.

His influence on Māori politics and politicians is such that the Ratana movement continues to this day. Each year on 25th January at Ratana pa (village) his adherents the Morehu celebrate his birthday with services, sports tournaments and the like. And each year NZ politicians travel to Ratana to see and be seen by Māori voters.

The Ratana movement is more than just a Māori form of western religion started by a charismatic leader. Over the years, from the early 1920’s it has been a lightning rod for Māori aspirations and they have never lost sight of pursuit of the honouring of the Treaty of Waitangi.

In 1975 Ratana village hosted the Māori Land March, in 2006 the Ratana movement (see Ratana flag pictured at NZ parliament) marched against the Foreshore and Seabed legislation of the Labour led government.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement signing is another such critical moment that the Māori nation face, not the least because Waitangi Tribunal claimants against the signing

‘..allege that the Crown has breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and that prejudice will result….’ Wai 2522

but as clearly articulated after the reading of the full TPPA terms by Māori lawyers and leaders such as Moana Jackson they attest, that TPPA will advantage non-elected corporations to make profits without the constraints of democratically elected governments. Furthermore, TPPA opponents say

‘Maori will lose intellectual property rights;…..Settlement of grievances will be prejudiced (past and future); Wai 2522

The Trans-Pacific partnership agreement is modern day piracy on a world-wide scale and divine intervention is called for to halt its signing.

We may all be skeptical that a political miracle like this could ever happen at Ratana in 2016, however T. W. Ratana in his own age challenged the status quo not just in Māori hierarchies and spirituality matters but also the NZ government. In 1924, he travelled to England to attempt to petition the English King for the Treaty of Waitangi to be honoured.

The Ratana movement has also been integral to Māori women entering NZ parliament.

In 1893 Māori got the vote unlike English women who had to wage a long and sustained militant civil disobedience war on their own government until achieving universal voting rights in 1919. See my Screen Natives movie review of the movie ‘Suffragette’ here.

Although Māori got the vote in 1893, we had to wait until 1949 for Iriaka Matiu Ratana to be the first Māori native woman to enter NZ parliament. She stood for Western Māori seat after her husband Matiu Ratana, the incumbent died suddenly. Iriaka held the seat for twenty years, despite being a solo parent to seven children and running a dairy farm.

In 1972 Whetu Tirakatene Sullivan became the first Māori woman Cabinet Minister and she was endorsed & groomed for politics by the Ratana movement and in particular, her father, Eruera Tirakatene, a Ratana stalwart and the first Ratana holder of the Southern Māori seat.

The brilliant Sandra Lee who in 1993 became the first Māori woman to win a general seat. does not have any obvious links to Ratana Pa or whanau, however, a Ratana link exists nevertheless. The late great Matiu Rata mentor of Lee and of course the 1979 founder of the Mana Motuhake Party had been a Ratana Youth leader.

In 2004 outstanding political leader Dame Tariana Turia founded and was co-leader of the Māori party. Raised in Whangaehu near Ratana, in her formative years she witnessed firsthand the results of the political work of Iriaka Ratana and Whetu Tirakatene – Sullivan on her village and at Ratana.

Politicians of all persuasions always appear at Ratana 25th celebrations. This is their photo opportunity with Māori en masse a kind of ‘cuzzie up’ before Waitangi Day in February.

An eleventh hour stand at Ratana by all Māori politicians against TPPA to overturn the signing of the agreement in February is still possible.

Now that would be a miracle worth witnessing.

 

Sources

Te Haahi Ratana

http://www.theratanachurch.org.nz/worldtour.html

Waitangi Tribunal

Wai 2522, Wai 2523, Wai 2530, Wai 2531, Wai 2532 CONCERNING the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 AND applications for urgent hearings concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement by the claimants for the Wai 2522,2523,2530,2531 and 2532 claims.

Nga Kahui Pou: Launching Maori Futures by Mason Durie, Huia Books 2004

Crossing the Floor – The Story of Tariana Turia by Helen Leahy Huia Books November 2015

Dorothy Page “The Suffragists: Women worked for the vote” Essays from the Dictionary of NZ Biography : Bridget Williams Books/Dept of Internal Affairs, Wellington: 1993

‘ Iriaka Rātana ‘, URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/people/iriaka-ratana, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage),

Angela Ballara. ‘Ratana, Iriaka Matiu’, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 14-Jan-2014
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/5r7/ratana-iriaka-matiu

Angela Ballara. ‘Tirikatene, Eruera Tihema Te Aika’, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 12-Mar-2014
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/4t18/tirikatene-eruera-tihema-te-aika

Star Wars and Māori land wars

Star Wars the Force Awakens opened up this holiday season. How like my Māori ancestors in our battle against the British colonial forces were General Leia and Jedi knights!

In 1868 at Tauranga-ika in Taranaki  Aōtearoa, New Zealand, led by our own General Titokwaru and his lieutenants, my Māori ancestors were far out-numbered by the British colonial forces, yet we defeated them.

One battle victory however was not enough to stop 1.25 million acres of our Taranaki land being taken, nor did it stop the thousands of immigrants mostly from the United Kingdom who’s arrival made Māori, the minority.

In the simplistic yet great escapism of Star Wars the Force Awakens the battle of good versus evil of the First Order is clear cut.

In 2016, just over 150 years after the wrongful confiscation of 1.25 million acres of Taranaki Māori land – the new Māori land bill due to come into law is not so easy to decipher – what force will it awaken? 

Check out Screen Natives – my newly launched movie review of the actual ‘Star Wars the Force Awakens’ here.

Waiheke island 2013

I’m going to declare my interest, I am a Māori land owner.

A cursory wander thru cyber land files reveals in 2013 the NZ Law Society published their response to the bill including their concerns that the bill was being pushed thru.

The lead claimants opposing the new bill issued statements in December 2015 that the bill  is not being driven by Māori landowners, but by the government.

But surely all Māori landowners have the right to be able to raise capital against the land and use our communal land as we wish.

So what if that’s to develop and well, develop and perhaps develop? As it turns out we can already do this, as per Parininihi ki Waitōtara incorporation (PKW) ‘which was estimated to be worth approximately $5 million at establishment – is now worth $250 million’ 1

We are part of the 9000 shareholders in PKW but our yearly dividend, due to the size of our share is minuscule.  Including PKW and all our other Māori land shares we get around $50 per year in payments and that’s then divided by three, so around $17 each a year! And we’ve never lived on any of the blocks that we share.

Some of my cousins have done the trek home to our rural marae, built homes on our shared land blocks and its worked out for them. They’re actually the smart ones as with land prices in the big smoke making millionaires of all house owners in Auckland, our largest city, they’re sitting sweet. Sweeter than, sweet as.

So why do I feel uneasy about the new Māori land bill ‘unlocking the potential’ of my current $17 per year return from our land? Don’t I want my children and my children’s children to reap the potential $17.50c per year benefit that the new land reform bill promises?

Perhaps it’s finally time to get my Nanny shareholder groove on and take active interest in the various Māori land court hearings, Annual general meetings, marae kōmiti, like my kaumatua have done and continue to do so.

Just like Luke Skywalker and his troubles – on the new Māori land bill we will just have to wait and see the next instalment.

He tangata, He whenua. He Oranga. –  Our well-being is our people and land.

 

 

 

 

1 – Dion Tuuta CEO PKW Pg 11, Whenua Magazine, Issue 16, December 2015

 

 

Moana Jackson and the Force of 10

‘…..whakapapa (Family ancestry) is a series of never-ending beginnings…” Moana Jackson

Inspiring, uplifting, the ten ethics Moana Jackson presents are a powerful force for change in 2016 and beyond. Made in his speech to He Manawa Whenua Indigenous Research Conference 2013 as below on video, it’s perfect year start to ‘never-ending beginnings.’

It’s a glorious, hot, summer holiday start. We’re not a religious or overly Christmas focused whanau (family). Pressies, Santa  are for the kids, but kai (food) is for everyone!cropped-cricket-xmas-2015.jpg

 

We headed outside, on the lawn, down to the parks and beach for cricket, swimming and then MORE kai (food)!

I had made a half-pie list of all the podcasts, links, articles and books to read that I had wanted to catch up on from 2015 never actually intending to look at any of them!

So I was rapt that upon retreating indoors from the heat that the very first one on my list that I watched,  the brilliant and remarkable Moana Jackson was awesome. His speech is the antidote to all the usual ‘end of year’ palaver that gets put about.

Moana Jackson presents ten ethics as a gift, not a framework, or in any way locked in, for his audience, the indigenous researchers.

  1. The ethic of prior thought
  2. The ethic of moral or right choice
  3. The ethic of imagination
  4. The ethic of change
  5. The ethic of time
  6. The ethic of power
  7. The ethic of courage
  8. The ethic of honesty
  9. The ethic of modesty
  10. the ethic of celebration

These ethics are such a powerful force that we could ALL do with a little bit of transformative change in 2016!

An added bonus is you also get a glimpse via a somewhat lengthy introduction to the legendary Dr Ngahuia Awekōtutku Māori, feminist, takatapuhi (two-spirited) academic and activist. Thanks to, Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Director of Te Kōtahi Research Institute and her team for recording and ensuring this speech is available on-line for all to share. `

Yes, Moana’s speech is from 2013 and before you say ‘Ngāti Tūreiti!’ (latecomer!) Moana also notes very eloquently here, that rather than making being late or on ‘Māori time’ the negative western notion that it is that as indigenous holders of prior thought (Ethic #1 !!) Māori are to regard time as just like whakapapa(family ancestry),  ‘ a series of never-ending beginnings..

Happy never-ending beginnings to you all!

 

 

 

 

Being Native Creatives at Xmas

native creatives

” It is unacceptable for children in New Zealand to suffer from poverty-related illness at rates much higher than other developed countries; and for particular groups – such as Māori and Pacific children – to carry the burden of poverty and illness.

Every year there are 40,000 hospitalisations linked to socio-economic status and much of this is due to poor quality housing and the inability to heat homes.

Experience over the past thirty years confirms UNICEF’s view that Government policy has the single biggest impact on child poverty rates, not economic growth alone. ”   

Open letter: Ensure an adequate standard of living l UNICEF New Zealand (9 Dec 2015) Response to Child Poverty Monitor Report New Zealand 2015

 I had been reflecting on the past year and in particular celebrating examples of the many, many Native Creatives that were working at such an amazing level from Māori Directors, Writers, Producers screening films at ImagineNative and Toronto film festivals in Canada to Rena Owen from Moerewa living and working in Hollywood, USA to the amazing longevity of our performance luminaries like George Henare, Christina Asher , Wiremu Davis, Tina Cook who have graced our stages and screens for over thirty years.

 We were collectively and individually as artists, making what we believed was a difference.
But in the wake of the release of the  NZ Children’s Commissioner annual Child Poverty Monitor report citing once again, vast numbers of mostly Māori children living in such abject poverty, it was all too easy to become overwhelmed and numbed by the pain and anguish that it represented.
Our collective Native Creatives story successes were just not enough to do anything practical for the vast numbers of Native children, here. Not in Australia, Canada, Africa, here in our lands.
Nationally, the report caused an outcry for two days and was then subsumed by the tsunami of ‘how many shopping days till Xmas?’ sales, the Oprah Winfrey visit to Ngāti Whātua marae where she said after her traditional welcome ‘I have deep respect and awe (and) regard for what just happened here’ combined with the launch of the latest ‘Star Wars – The Force Awakens’ franchise.
The report went back into the ‘to do’ lists of all the usual suspects, opposition politicians keen to bring the government down, child action poverty groups, Māori activists groups in all fields, all government agencies that deal with Children.
 I couldn’t ignore the report.  I had to take stock because Being a Native Creative is arguably;
  • not going to lead to large numbers of houses being built for families in need
  • not going to lead to provision of cheap fruit and vegetables for below the poverty line families or
  • shame politicians into doing the unthinkable and ending poverty in our nation.
So what was the point of all our struggle to be recognised as Creative Natives?
Hope. By telling our stories, whatever they may be, to the best of our hard won craft abilities, about the everyday lives of our families, children and our native worlds that we walk in,  is going to bring, HOPE.
You can’t buy hope, it can’t be faked as it’s eventually found out, and it never ever goes on a boxing day sale.
We are the bringers of HOPE. As Native Creatives we have the power to create dream worlds  in films, live theatre, games, poetry, music, literature, visual arts as if they were real possibilities.
The immediate effect of being a Native Creative and telling our stories is that Native people can get;
  • Joy of recognition of seeing others like themselves being reflected on the big, small , mobile screens.
  • Pride in hearing their native tongue, maybe for the first time being broadcast on the web, airwaves.
  • Happiness in viewing their cultural ‘norms’ and language  portrayed in the theatre
  • Excitement in native language music broadcast as popular culture
  • Understanding that some-one who looks, talks, lives and has lived just like them is a Creative and it is possible for them to be one too.

Being a Native Creative at Xmas is recognising and being confident that  through our story lens  we can envision a hope for all of us. And that is enough to eventually change the whole universe!

Ka whawhai tonu matou ake, ake, ake!

 

 

2015 IMAGES: Clockwise bottom L – R Mika Haka presents his short film Taniwha at ImagineNative Film Festival Toronto Canada, Māoriland Festival, Otaki, Dr Leonie Pihama San Francisco USA, Author Whetu Fala with Rena Owen Hollywood Los Angeles, Wiremu Davis & Tina Cook film Premiere Paramount Theatre Wellington, Māori elder actors panel Wellington.

 

 

GOING IMAGINENATIVE TORONTO

When Cynthia Lickers-Sage – one of the founders of ImagineNATIVE attended a Te Manu Aute hui at Tapu Te Ranga marae in Island Bay, circa 1995-ish she announced she would start a native film festival. Lynette Crawford Williams reminded me of this moment recently!
Sixteen years after the first festival began and after three films I’ve been involved with have screened there, I’m going to see Cynthia’s dream come true. And what a dream it’s become, now the largest international native film festival it has thru programming, goodwill and sheer hard work, carved it’s way into an enviable position as native film festivals finest. Thanks to Jason Ryle, Executive Director and Marcia Nickerson Chairman of ImagineNATIVE board for coming to Aōtearoa to meet with us face to face and for the gracious invitation.
Ka mau te wehi!