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Puao-Te-Atatu-A-TuhoeLaunch - Turia Speech

Hon Tariana Turia Speech Notes

Launch And Celebration Of Puao-Te-Atatu-A-Tuhoe, Te Umuroa Marae, Ruatahuna, Urewera.

Tena koutou nga uri nga hapu o Tuhoe Potiki.

Tena tatou katoa.

It is appropriate that my friend and colleague the bro’ Parekura the Minister of Maori Affairs the Hon Parekura Horomia pave the way for us today.

It is appropriate, for man was born of women.

And while I believe that all of us here - men and women - are equal, I want to reflect on the symbolism which has made this occasion possible.

I would want to say to you of Tuhoe - that the inspirational men and women of your past and present were born from inspirational women of the past and present.
Na reira, tena koutou katoa nga wahine me nga tane o Tuhoe.

I was overwhelmed last year when approximately seventeen women of Tuhoe supported by two men of Tuhoe, approached the Government of which I am a member, with a plan for development within Tuhoe.

A plan for Tuhoe, by Tuhoe.

In their presentation they referred to another man - the late John Te Rangi-Aniwaniwa Rangihau.

What shone from them that day, were the rays of the sun, similar to those which glisten upon the bosom of Hine Tïtama -the goddess of dawn and daybreak -, it was the heralding light they said, of a new dawn.

It was, I was told by these women, the Tuhoe realisation of Puao Te Ata Tu.

We all know of course that the late Te Rangihau's light shone on many men and women.

I want to say to you today that yours is a history of resistance, of survival, of determination and of generosity.

It is little wonder then, that you have as a whakatauaki - Tuhoe moumou kai, moumou taonga, moumou tangata ki te po.

I repeat that yours has been a history of both sacrifice and giving.

How else could the many New Zealanders have enjoyed what you as a nation have given to the nations, including tauiwi within Aotearoa.

I refer to your gift, the taonga, Urewera.

A national park with which all hapu and tauiwi have the opportunity to enjoy.

Hinepukohurangi I am sure will be dancing with joy as she gazes upon this gathering.

What we have come to acknowledge is the affirming of what I believe will be an ongoing respectful and trustful relationship between you and this Labour/Alliance coalition Government.

I know that your history is similar to my history in Whanganui, and that there is much that has to be acknowledged which occurred in the past, which we are reminded of everyday and we must ensure will not be happening tomorrow.

What I mean by this is that I believe we, you and us, are capable of learning from the past and ensuring that our descendants do not suffer in the same way that our ancestors suffered.

Your descendants need to be able to wake up in the mornings and celebrate Hine Titama’s rays of light glistening on the leaves and branches of the trees and the feathers of the wings of the birds of Te Urewera.

One should not have to wake up every day to be reminded of loss, dispossession, alienation, confiscation, incarceration and dreams unfulfilled.

Life is not meant to be like that and all of us must do all that we can to ensure the structural conditions of oppression do not have a place in Aotearoa.

We therefore need to change how we view ourselves as a society.

We must not tolerate social exclusion, we must not tolerate those structures in our society including those attitudes which ensure that only some of us will participate positively in both the economic and socials activities of our country.

We must all start participating in the social, economic and political activities of our society at a national level and at a local body level.

We must participate to ensure that the rates we are expected to pay locally mean that we receive the services that all others who pay rates get,.

We need drinkable pollution free water, we need decent sewerage disposal facilities. People here need to have available to them the services that those in Whakatane get.

Maori representation on local bodies, like those here within the Mataatua waka area, rarely reflect the existence of iwi.

While up to 25 per cent of a local body area could comprise Maori, and half the land available for development is whanau, hapu and iwi land, local government representation never reflects that.

Is this the type of democracy we want?

Where Maori who are elected and who dare to speak on the issues concerning their people, will often find themselves elected out the next time around.

I also know this to be true of Pakeha people who likewise have supported and spoken out on behalf of their Maori constituents. They too lose their seats.

As whanau we need to start reaffirming that we are a good people, that we are intelligent and bright, and loving and caring.

I know that at times liberation and freedom will scare us - because too often we have been used to other people telling us what to do.

We have, for too long been the passengers in a car we did not choose to be in, with a driver we did not choose or want, and being driven along a road in a direction we do not want to go.

What we are celebrating today is having you as the drivers, driving vehicles of your choice on a road that you have tar sealed - despite others telling you that it is going nowhere!

There is no road in Tuhoe that goes 'nowhere'. In fact there is no road in any iwi boundary that goes 'nowhere'. All our roads go somewhere.

There is many a bridge we will have to cross and there are many changes that no doubt will occur.

We may fear those changes but what I need to say - is face the fear and do it - you can build a bridge and get over it on to a road, which does not remind you of raupatu.

Change is often welcomed by those who see themselves as benefiting from the change and resisted by those who feel loss as a result of the change.

It has happened in my iwi of Whanganui and I am sure it will happen here.

What I implore that we all do is accept there will be feelings of hurt on the one hand - and yet on the other - there will be celebration.

We should all try as hard as we can to create an environment where healing and reconciliation is part and parcel of every action word and deed that we may utter, or practice.

We cannot afford as whanau, to allow ourselves to be negative about each other - we all have positive contributions to make to the development of whanau, hapu and iwi.

If at times life becomes difficult, what is wrong with seeking the wisdom of those wiser than ourselves.

They may be older, but they may also be younger.

They may be men and they may be women.

But we know where wisdom can be found, when we need to find it.

What is wrong with seeking the wisdom, which resides within our whanau, hapu and iwi?

You, like many iwi, are fortunate to have in your ranks, people who have the ability to tap into the vast resource of your tikanga where I know the answers for you must lie.

Rangihau did not believe in Maoritanga. Rangihau believed in Tuhoetanga, Ngati Poroutanga and Whanganuitanga. So what does that tell us? He believed in the iwi.

He always said that his Tuhoetanga was the essence of his being. He did not carry it around in his pocket to pull out when convenient.

What pleases me most about the initiative you have taken is your insistence that the only way that things will be done within the nation of Tuhoe - is the Tuhoe way!

I also understand that you have told some of our officials - that if the Tuhoe way was not the way - then they ought take their money and to pack up and go and that they were to come and tell me what you had said!

The egos of our officials were bruised.

The fact some of those officials are here today demonstrates how kind you were to them or that they are tigers for punishment!

I know, having met some of you previously - particularly the women who first visited me - that the Tuhoe way will indeed prevail.

I can assure you and I am sure that I will be supported by my colleague and friend Parekura and by Leith at TPK that if the officials transgress – I am sure we can come up with some creative solutions to remedy the situation.

Having said that I do want to commend the work done by those officials.

You may note that I have not named any of the people who visited me in my office.

Nor do I intend to because the overwhelming feeling that I got from them was that they as individuals were less important than you as a collective!

I want to respect that. You know who they are, and they know who they are.

What more can I say than to re-emphasise that the 'wi' in iwi is more important than the 'i' in iwi, although two “i’s” do make a we.

Na reira koutou o Ngai Tuhoe - na tenei o Whanganui - tena koutou, tena koutou tena tatou katoa.


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