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Tariana Turia Address to the NZ Maori Council

Address to the New Zealand Maori Council
Thursday 28 April 2005
Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party

I have not come here to tell you how much I have done for you in my political career. Nor have I come to offer you any things. I have come to offer a new way forward.

I was looking last night at the headlines of papers, from exactly a year ago.

¡¥Story of the week: Tariana Turia¡¦s long walk¡¦
¡§Tariana Turia gets out of the Labour Waka¡¦
¡¥Newsflash: Turia launches new political movement¡¦

As I read further, that sense of momentum was compelling. I said then:

¡§It is my belief that our people have through this issue realised that it is time for a Maori Political movement. And it is something that I believe too. I am excited¡K. I have been excited listening to our people around the country .

And here we are today, a year later, with over 13,575 members, a team nick-named the Magnificent Seven who are going to capture the Maori electorate seats, and a genuine desire to also stand Maori Party candidates in over thirty general electorate seats.

It has been one incredible year!

I am privileged to be here today, in the company of many wise leaders and mentors of Te Ao Maori. I welcome the opportunity to share some of our ideas with you, in your commitment to going forward.

Going forward for the Maori Party is preparing for the appreciable difference that the Maori partner can bring to Parliament.

We are determined in our pursuit of bringing rangatiratanga into the House. We believe that both for credibility and survival as a distinctive Maori entity in parliament; we must take rangatiratanga into the House with a clear statement from tangata whenua.

We believe the best expression of a clear tangata whenua mandate is through success in the seven Maori electorate seats, and we are later today, consolidating our campaign strategy to achieve this goal.

We believe also that the mandate of tangata whenua will also be evident through strong support of tangata whenua in the general electorate seats. Our second priority is to get Maori who are on the general roll to give their party vote to the Maori party. To this end, we hope to be announcing on 9 May, our candidates across Aotearoa in over thirty general electorate seats.

Our third priority is to attract endorsement from those to whom this land is home due to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, such as Pasifika nations, Pakeha, Asian. We expect that if we were to achieve a minimum of 15-20% of all Party votes that we would be able to say in true confidence, that the Nation recognises the Maori partner.

For the first time we will have the numbers to operate under our own kaupapa, sitting within our own cultural paradigm. We must have understanding and faith in our ability to address issues, to identify solutions that enable our people to be self-determining. We must also have the courage to recognise that our tikanga and our kaupapa can indeed provide a design for a vision for this land.

You will be familiar with the whakatauki:

Mana toa te whariki o Papatuanuku
Mana tu ko nga mea katoa.
Progress requires a solid foundation.

The whariki that we believe can be applied universally for the benefit of all New Zealanders, is our kaupapa and tikanga. These kaupapa are manaakitanga, rangatiratanga, whanaungatanga, kotahitanga, wairuatanga, mana whenua, kaitiakitanga, mana tupuna and te reo.

The nine kaupapa that drive our approach are woven across three strategic themes which reflect the world we are trying to create:
ƒ{ Caring for ourselves ¡V the whanau;
ƒ{ Caring for each other through Te Tiriti o Waitangi;
ƒ{ Caring for the nation ¡V the economy ¡V genuine and sustainable prosperity.
This whariki ¡V while seemingly uncomplicated ¡V has a level of complexity which has overwhelmed us all when it comes to our policy ideas.

Our people have consistently said to us that their key dissatisfaction with the current system of government has been the silo mentality, the way issues and portfolios drive policy reactions rather than values, or the way we live our life ¡V a whole of whanau approach, taking into account the whole being.

The scholar, Rev Maori Marsden once remarked that the Maori renaissance is about the quest for ¡¥social justice and the achievement of authentic being¡¦ .

Our quest for authenticity has resulted in an approach which is distinctive, which is compassionate, which is inclusive, which is flexible. It is also an approach which is different to the way in which we have seen policies operate in the past.

We have written our policy ideas in such a way as to be both very Maori, and inclusive of others at the same time.

If we take for one example the often controversial portfolio issue of ¡¥immigration¡¦. Our immigration policy may be best interpreted through the underlying objectives of several kaupapa.

An expression of manaakitanga will be that we involve all peoples in the process of rebuilding our nation, based on mutual respect and harmonious relationships. Practically this may mean that programmes are developed to encourage whanau, hapu and iwi to specifically assist approved immigrants in their adjustment to Aotearoa ¡V to extend the hand of manaaki.

Immigration policy may also be identified within the kaupapa of kotahitanga. We would expect that to achieve unity of purpose, we could promote nation-hood based upon a knowledge of a shared heritage and an understanding and celebration of cultural distinctiveness.

We must nurture the very essence of all people who live in this land, tangata whenua, and those who have come to call this place home.

We believe that our policy ideas reflect the aspirations and burning issues of the whole spectrum of political opinion demonstrated by tangata whenua.

But we also maintain that the policy whariki will connect with other New Zealanders who want the nation to move forward with Maori, rather than in spite of them.

We are committed to a pathway ahead where all individuals and groups in Aotearoa will be helped to raise their own well-being. The Maori Party is committed to this because of our kaupapa and obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

I am tired of the suggestion that the nation is divided in terms of race relations. Statisticians tell us that about half of the broad Maori ethnic group have non-Maori partners. In one household, in the haven of our significant interpersonal relationships, we are bringing together two or more worlds.

For if we are truly open to respecting and accepting the cultural identities of our parents, our spouses, our tupuna who may not be tangata whenua, I can only be hopeful that this will lead to celebrating and embracing a diversity of view, and a national maturity with respect to diversity.

One can be pro-Maori and pro-Pakeha at the same time, and the reality of our contemporary inter-marriage provides a foundation to embrace this.

Thus said, the drive for a Maori political movement as represented in the Maori Party ¡V is unashamedly absolutely positively tangata whenua ¡V and it also welcomes people of all other cultures to be involved in such a movement, if they also share the pride and warmth for things Maori.

There are many crunch decisions ahead of course ¡V and there will no doubt be areas where various ethnic communities have differing opinions. We welcome that debate, and will be open to the challenges from within.

Spanning the breadth of the political spectrum as we do, we will also relish the opportunity to debate who to go with, when we hold the balance of power come election day.

I think our people have been saying loud and clear, that both middle right parties, Labour and National, are as bad as each other ¡V and that there will be issues whatever way we turn.

Our clear commitment is that we will return to our constituency, to the membership who have supported us, before making any decision about coalition arrangements.

Although of course both middle parties are saying they won¡¦t go with us, we are confident that come crunch day, they will need our numbers, and they will need the mandate of tangata whenua.

I want to return to the theme of your meeting, the theme of Going Forward.

I have been interested in looking back over the past twenty years of Maori voting history to see that there have been clearly distinguished peaks and troughs in terms of voter turnout. It makes me wonder what motivates us to turn out to the polls ¡V and conversely to stay away.

I wonder why it is that in 1984, 84.15% of our people enrolled on the Maori roll turned out to vote in that year¡¦s general election.

And then last time around in 2002, why it was that only 57% turned out ¡V the lowest turnout since Maori voting statistics became available.

Was it apathy? Disinterest? Or anger at our issues being ignored?

I believe that it is the right time now to get out there, to move forward and to make the difference.

If everyone of us here in this room today became an enrolment advocate in our whanau, we could start the revolution today.

We need to appeal to all tangata whenua who are not enrolled to enroll on the Maori roll.

We need to appeal also to all citizens of this land to participate in the voting process. That is ¡V to stimulate and provoke the 230,000 who are not on any roll ¡V and those who have fallen off the current roll ¡V to get on board.

It¡¦ll only take Two Ticks to make the change we desire.

Two ticks for Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

It is tika to be a two ticker.

Now is the time to reinvest in ourselves, in our kaupapa, in our tikanga, as the basis for our future prosperity.

It is time to achieve social justice and authentic being.

It is time to move our nation forward, and create our tomorrow.

No reira e te Kaunihera Maori, tenei taaku, maranga ake!

Puritia ki nga taonga, ki nga tohutohu a kui ma, a koro, kia mau, kia ita, kia manawanui.


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