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Maiden Address: Te Ururoa Flavell

Maiden Address: Te Ururoa Flavell

Madam Speaker tena koe. Kia mohio mai koe, kua pa mai te ahuatanga o te mate ki a au tonu o Ngati Rangiwewehi, kua tae ano tona ringa ki a Ngati Manawa, ki a Ngati Tuwharetoa ki etahi ano hoki o te rohe o Te Waiariki i te wiki kua hipa no reira, tukua ahau kia tangihia aku tangi. E Niho, Rihari,Te Whakapumautanga moe ra.

E te hunga kua moe, takoto mai ra e I te moenga roa, i te moenga makariri e Kei te hotuhotu ra, kei te ngau te mamae e Mo koutou te hunga mate, kua ngaro ra e Nei ra te maioha, nei hoki ko te aroha e Na koutou au i awhina, i nga tau e Kia eke mai te torangapu Maori, ki nga pakitara o whare nei e Ki tona tahu, iri ake, a tatou korero e Kua eke panuku, kua eke Tangaroa e Kua eke ki te taumata e kui ma e koro ma i te po e....!

My family, my tribe of Ngati Rangiwewehi have just these last few days buried one of our identities, the people of Ngati Manawa in Murupara last week buried one of their key speakers, and Ngati Tuwharetoa before that, farewelled one of the key speakers of the house of Te Heuheu. I bring them and the other mate of Waiariki to this house to join with those who have been mourned by us these last few weeks and in particular David Lange and Rod Donald. Haere koutou ki tua o te pae o maumahara.

In my tribal boundaries, it is acknowledged that once the speeches open, the job of the last speaker is to ensure that the mauri o te pae, the essence of the speechmaking that goes back and forth in debate, returns and stays with the tangata whenua. Pleasingly I note that Shane Jones son of the north opened the debates and I have the pleasure of closing. I am pleased that movement on "tikanga Maori" in this house is taking place, planned or otherwise. Tena tatou katoa.

I acknowledge your appointment Madam Speaker, that of Mr Clem Simich and your associates. I recognise that you are charged with assisting MPs adher to the protocols of this house and maintaining standards. My brief experience here already tells me that you have a huge task. I wish you luck. You have a commitment from the Maori Party to cooperate where we can. Where there are issues of tikanga Maori, we are more than willing to offer advice not in the sense of being arrogant but more in a spirit of goodwill and a willingness to share, as well as in recognition of the role tangata whenua can make in shaping how we do things in this country just as I am doing now. Tangata whenua do have a place in this country as Dr Pita Sharples explained, just as Pakeha/ tauiwi have, and the challenge for this house is to acknowledge that rather than contest as being too PC, or as some would say too "Pakeha Centred".

I am pleased to advise you that I today welcomed members of the various tribes of the Waiariki region, the electorate I was chosen to represent. These tribes include those of my own hapu, Ngati Rangiwewehi, and the confederation of Te Arawa, as well as the people associated with the Mataatua, Takitimu and Tainui waka who reside in the general Bay of Plenty region. Just getting here to Parliament was a huge effort on the part of our people and I thank each and every one of them for their efforts on my behalf. This is their day, not mine.

Waiariki is a land of many hapu. These hapu and iwi are associated with places as Te Kaha, Opotiki, Te Urewera, Murupara, Whakatane, Te Teko, Kaingaroa, Taupo, Tauranga, Rotorua and Maketu. The people of those tribes maintain a long and proud history that carries with it a treasure of traditions, customs, values, and beliefs. Waiariki is a land of many marae. Each is keenly autonomous, and yet is bound by bonds of history and kinship to one another.

Large numbers of my electorate give generously and freely to community service. Few groups can compare with the hours these people collectively give to maintaining their marae, their lands, their sacred places, their customs and traditions, their wananga, kura kaupapa Maori and kohanga reo, their tribal authorities, land trusts, and incorporations. This collective effort is given to maintaining the bonds of kinship through regular attendance at hui and ceremonies.

They give, not for themselves, but for their people. It is with great humility therefore, that I now pledge myself to work for them in this House with a belief in honesty and integrity. Ko au tonu tenei.

My wife and children are here as well and should I return home to Rotorua having failed to get you, the House to see that I have been right in points of order or that I have failed to get a Minister to answer my well thought out and researched questions, I am sure they will share my frustrations but also offer unconditional support when I return. Ka nui taku aroha ki a koutou tae ra ano ki a koe Moeahu.

While I do not wish to single people out in case I miss someone, I want to acknowledge two key advisors. The first is Judge Heta Hingston. It was he who agreed that Maori could follow a process in law in this country to determine an ownership right over the Foreshore and Seabed. It was also he who got my wife, his relation, to get me to consider standing. Ka nui te mihi e Heta.

I wish to acknowledge my key advisor and mentor Mr Pem Bird. While he may not be a nationa sports icon, except in Murupara, or have been inducted to the Hall of Fame, except again in Murupara, I want to ensure that his name is recorded in the history of this house. As they say in Murupara, "Pem, you are awesome as... E te tuara, e te ringa raupa, tena koe.

I come here mindful of the huge responsibility our people have placed on me and the Maori Party. I feel very humbled that I was chosen to follow in the footsteps of many great Maori Leaders. I feel inspired that I am part of a movement of people who are keen and enthusiastic about the opportunities that lay ahead for this party, I feel proud to sit in this team, small as it is at present, but stunningly good looking and sharp as a tack!!! Katahi te hunga huatau.

Mokomoko of Te Whakatohea made a statement before being hanged for a crime he did not commit. He has since been pardoned. Mokomoko said, " Tangohia te taura i taku kaki, kia waiata au i taku waiata". "Take the rope from my throat so I may sing my song". This, I believe was a reference to his desire to let the world know the truth about his conviction. I feel like that today.

Here we are, the Maori Party freely able to sing our song without concern for being told to "get in behind" or be quiet. We are here unashamed of our role. Defend Maori rights and advance the aspirations of our people for the betterment of the whole country. We are here for our people, we are here for the nation.

As a party, we seek to restore to democracy its true intent, by ensuring that the government of the people is truly of the people; a government in which the voices of the tangata whenua are not compromised by a misplaced commitment to values and ideologies that are secondary to our own.

It is a special honour to so serve, as a representative for Waiariki on this historic occasion when, for the first time in over 100 years, Maori have a Party in this House that is dedicated to ensuring an independent voice for the Maori people. Throughout the last century there has not been a group of parliamentarians with an undivided loyalty to the people in providing them with political representation. I am conscious that I follow in the footsteps of others from my rohe who have served this House: Paraone Reweti, Sir Peter Tapsell, Hon Tuariki Delamere, and the two current members the Hon Georgina Te Heuheu, of the Manunui family, and Mita Ririnui. In mentioning them, I acknowledge their families and the generations that preceded them.

I cannot say that I have ever aspired to be a Parliamentarian. Yes I have taken up leadership positions, or have been thrust to the fore. It all began really when I became Bell ringer at the Ngongotaha Primary School in Rotorua!!!!

I have been fortunate to have been guided by many role models some of whom have passed on now. Hiko Hohepa, Irirangi Tiakiawa, Hohua Tutengaehe, John Tapiata, Tuaiwa Rickard, Te Hiko and Mona Riini, and many more. I cannot recall too many conversations with any of them about Te Ao Maori without a reference to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and its importance to us as Maori in affirming our rights here in Aotearoa. Those lessons have stuck with me.

Then there are those still living who continue to inspire me. There are my colleagues here. Tariana Turia descendent of Ngati Apa, continues to inspire me every day. She has triumphed the many trials of the last 18 months, and that is a huge achievement. Pita Sharples, as co leader inspires me now just as he did as my kapa haka leader some years ago. He leads from the front, he speaks from the soul, he walks the talk. Hone Harawira and I went to the famous St. Stephens School together. He has never been one to stand by when our rights as a people are being attacked. Yes, I am indeed in extraordinary company.

Coming to grips with Parliamentary life has been eventful. I realised I had actually made it when a few weeks back, I was donged on the head by a film crew sound man as they were chasing us down the corridor. You Madam Speaker reminded me on our first orientation day of the need to take seriously our service to the country. It all really sunk in when I first saw the many Maori politicians who have spoken within these walls.

I remain in absolute awe of Matangireia, where Ta Apirana Ngata, Ta Maui Pomare, Ta Te Rangihiroa Buck, Ta Timi Kara Eruera Tirikatene and Matiu Rata watch over us. These men and their achievements were celebrated in waiata and haka at my old school of St. Stephens, at Te Aute College and in their own tribal areas. They are legends. To be here tracing the footsteps of the Young Maori Party as it was, is truly an honour.

It is worth noting that Shane Jones, Hone Harawira, Mahara Okeroa, Pita Sharples and myself and some of our partners are products of the Maori Boarding Schools. What better endorsement!!! These schools have struggled in the current environment. I am convinced that the on going potential to produce leaders of tomorrow remains and they should be given the support they need to survive and even be resurrected.

In the last few weeks as we have settled into the work, I have often wondered about what Parliamentary life might have been like for those early Maori MPs. Every story I have heard of them is that they were honourable gentlemen, steeped in tikanga and Matauranga Maori and well equipped in te ao Pakeha. Yet they would have been in an environment that may well have been hostile and intolerant of a Maori view.

This is perhaps why our people over the years have refer to Parliament as: * Te Ana o te raiona - the den of the lion. * Te Mura o te ahi - a reference to the flash of the fire that comes from the battlefield * Te waha o te taniwha - the mouth of the taniwhas These references imply battle, fighting, conflict and of struggle. You see, I am here on the back of the so called "activist, radical movement" called te ao Maori.

I am here with the Sid Jacksons, the Ken Mairs, the Moana Jacksons, the Annette Sykes, the Tame Itis, the Eva Rickards, the Niko Tangaroas, the Tariana Turias. It seems to me that Maoridom has spent a huge amount of time in a struggle best captured by the call, 'honour the treaty"

I am also here with: Hone Heke Te Kooti a Rikirangi Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohukakahi Titokowaru Tahupotiki Ratana Te Puea Whina Cooper Ta Apirana Ngata ma

I am here because our people have used every possible avenue to express our reality and live as Maori. A simple request? Obviously not!!!

Petitions Delegations The gun Passive resistance Forming our own systems Prophetic movements Political alliances Land Occupations Political parties Declarations Protests

The fact that the Maori Party is here because of a protest by Tariana Turia and a hikoi 40, 000 New Zealanders tells us that Maori efforts to be heard are not just in the past, but they are of the now.

Now, I may be labelled a radical but I have yet to achieve the title "Honorable Radical" like my colleague Hone Harawira. I am working at it!!! We like to think of ourselves as pro active initiators!!!

I have sought to promote revolution by education and, along with others, have been involved in teaching workshops on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, decolonisation and this countrys history.

I believe, if we were to educate our people and indeed the whole country about our history and the rights inherent in the Tiriti o Waitangi, about why things are as they are, then perhaps we can start making positive changes for the whole country. This will remain a huge task if this Parliament continues to use Maori as the political football as outlined by Pita Sharples and Hone Harawira.

At times I have looked on in despair at what our people have had to endure over the years and wondered what is the point of even having Maori Members of Parliament. If the great Sir Apirana Ngata couldn't have our Treaty rights recognised, if Tahupotiki Ratana couldn't, what chance will a Maori Boy from Awahou have? Is there any chance of changing how our people are treated through the parliamentary process?

No, I had never considered a life as a Parliamentarian. When Tariana returned to this house last year, for just a brief moment, her people of Whanganui let out a karanga of acknowledgement. Within seconds, the speaker of the time was calling out "order, order" as if something was dramatically wrong. My immediate reaction was, " come on!!!! Give us (Maori) one little break in your tikanga. Do we not count for just a few seconds???". I wondered then why any Maori would want to come here to this place which screams nationhood yet bleats when part of that nationhood includes us, tangata whenua.

I never considered being a Parliamentarian because as a long-time teacher of the Tiriti o Waitangi and Aotearoa history, I have punished myself for years teaching about the laws made against our people over time.

Laws such as: * NZ Settlements Act 1863. The Act allowed for the Governor to declare an area that had been engaged in "rebellion" to be taken for settlement. The result of the Act was confiscation "raupatu" of up to 3 million acres of Maori land in Taranaki alone. * Native Land Purchase and Acquisitions Act 1887. This Act created the power to declare any area of Maori land suitable for settlement * The Validation of Invalid Sales Act 1894 With this Act, every bit of Maori land that had been taken whether in breach of the Treaty or not, whether validly or invalidly according to the common law, was deemed to be legitimate. * The Maori Affairs Act 1953 meant that "unoccupied or unused "Maori Land was declared waste land and taken by the Government.

Do people know what it is like to face the people of Parihaka and talk about the 1880 Maori Prisoners Act where over two hundred Taranaki people were placed in prison without trial. Or the 1881 West Coast Settlements Act that made legal the arrest of any Taranaki Maori without a warrant, with a further penalty of two years hard labour if they hindered the surveying of land. I wonder if the people of Otepoti - Dunedin realise that their harbour was built by people imprisoned without charge???

The people of Parihaka still talk about the soldiers coming into the village while the children played on the road and the women took food to the soldiers as a gesture of manaakitanga. They also talk about their people being taken away and the village burned to the ground. They remember those events through sayings like: E tu tamawhine i te wa o te kore. A reference to encourage women to stand and speak because all of the men had been taken away to prison.

And in song like: Piki mai Pungarehu Ka tangi mai te piukara He tohu riro nga ngonga E rere te maunawa

This verse refers to the bugle call at the army camp at Pungarehu. It signals the final stage in the process of loss. Do people know what it is like to talk with the Tuhoe people about confiscation where a line has been placed across the current to mark the confiscated area spot. To the Tuhoe people, that place is called Manemanerau.

And people wonder why our people vent their anger and shed tears?

If members believe that these sorts of stories are way back in the dim dark ages, the process used over the Seabed and Foreshore tells us that those colonial attitudes are still with us now. Know that our people hurt then and they hurt now. Know and understand that the Seabed and Foreshore legislation, driven by the Labour Government and supported by others, will live in the hearts of future generations of Maori.

Madam Speaker, I'd like to think that I am a fair minded person. I'd like to think that there are good qualities in most people and that my fellow countrymen and women are reasonable and fair-minded people as well. It is because of this that I struggle to understand how injustices that are right in front of our eyes seem to go unnoticed.

Fact. The Maori language is an "official language of this country! One would think then that having a simultaneous translation of that language to assist members of this house is a given. Besides dealing with the practical issue of allowing members to hear in real time what is being said let us just consider the messages it sends to Maori speakers, Maori and Pakeha in this country? This is about nationhood and bringing us together.

Fact. I ask you Madam Speaker and my other colleagues of the house to consider what it is like as an MP to cover an electorate that stretches from Tirau in the north to Porirua in the South, a 6-7 hour drive from top to bottom and 3-4 hours drive sideway, or from Te Rerenga Wairua in the north, to Auckland City. Worse still, half of Wellington and the whole of the South Island. One Maori Electorate MP covers an area that is filled with upward of 10 general seats with the same money and resources. This seems to me to be grossly unfair.

Some 10 or so years ago, I lead a protest at one of the many hui where the National Government of the day was told in a culturally appropriate manner where they could put their plan to settle all Maori grievances could be settled for 1 billion dollars. Perhaps they were hard of hearing because they were told around 12 times and still they didnt get it. Worse, that "fiscal envelope" remains in place.

To put this into perspective, Professor Margaret Mutu of Auckland University worked out a formula using the 1995 deal in which Pakeha landowner Alan Titford received $3.25 million in compensation for the 94 acres of Far North farmland taken off him to return to Maori. Based on that, she said, the settlements paid out at the time amounting to $581 million were 0.06 per cent of what they were worth. Ngai Tahu's $170 million was 1 per cent of $1192 billion they would have got under Professor Mutu's formula, and Tainui's $170 million was 0.4 per cent.

The Maori Language radio station in Taranaki, was required to pay for rental sites for transmission. The irony in this situation was that maunga Taranaki was prime rental land - so we were paying out to the Crown for rental on confiscated land at exorbitant market rentals. This was at a time when the Crown was supposedly investing in Maori language!!! These sorts of things that get up your nose.

I would like you Madam Speaker and fellow members to consider what would it be like to have your kuia, your koroua, your old people amongst others, called haters and wreckers by the leader of our country?

Madam Speaker, I come to this House committed to two goals.

The first is to advance the progress of the Maori people on the sure foundation of our own ancestral values, of love, respect, dignity, kinship, and integrity. Those values are enduring. It is how they are played out in a modern context that is the question.

The second, but not the least, is to advance the interests of all New Zealanders in building a society in which all can live in harmony, not in spite of the Maori presence, but because of it.

And it is because of this that we believe our connections across and between the distinctive cultural communities of Aotearoa are what binds us together.

Take for instance the concept of manaakitanga. Through manaakitanga, we seek to ensure that the relationships we cultivate and maintain, must be elevating and enhancing for all parties.

Manaakitanga is about recognising the aspirations of all people to nurture the essence of who they are.

This is a profoundly different approach to the politics of parliament.

I believe wholeheartedly that this country will grow, not through denying cultural difference, but through acknowledging it, and building on diversity as a positive way of improving our collective performance. All that is required is mutual respect and understanding. I come to this House to present a Maori perspective, not to put Maori ahead of others, but to help us to stand alongside each other.

To do so, I must first respect the contributions of others. I acknowledge the work of the Labour Party, and recall in particular the contribution of the late Matiu Rata, in promoting much needed reforms in the administration of Maori land and in making a place for the Treaty of Waitangi in law. I pay tribute to the many of the National Party who were responsible for the first major settlements of the Treaty of Waitangi claims albeit under a fiscal constraint.

I appreciate the response of the Act party, in the foreshore debate. As they could see, the issue was not about access to the beach. The issue was about access to the Courts to establish and protect such property interests as may be proven by legal process.

I acknowledge as well, the presence of the Honourable Winston Peters in this House. If there is one thing our people do admire, it is a fighter. He has provided his support for genuine Maori initiatives. We respect greatly the Green Party in recognising the interests of the indigenous people in environmental maintenance. That recognition is universal today, as is evident in the proceedings of a number of meetings under the banner of the United Nations, but in New Zealand, the Green Party has helped to keep us in line with international expectations.

Nonetheless, time has proven that Maori must have a truly independent voice in this House if the issues that affect us are to be raised and our rights are to be respected. It is still the case that those rights are frequently overlooked and that some old colonial attitudes continue to constrain Maori in the management and development of their own affairs.

Those rights are not hard to identify. They are set out in the Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This draft was composed in consultation with States and indigenous peoples representatives, by a select group of international law experts. It has been described as perhaps the most representative document that the United Nations has ever produced.

As we enter the second decade for indigenous people, as announced recently by the United Nations, we can expect to hear much more of this document and find the need to compare our own performance against its proposed standards. We may also be reminded of them as, on this day, the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues, Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen, is in New Zealand to consider how the rights of the indigenous Maori presently fare.

There is nothing new in many of the provisions of the draft. Some of the thoughts have been around in international law for a long time.

Consider for example, the obvious truth in the provisions that the indigenous people have * "the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures"; * "the right to autonomy or self government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs"; * "the right to have access to and prompt decision through mutually accepted and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with the State".

Consider then one of the most important matters affecting Maori today, including most especially those of my electorate. The tribes are engaged in a process of rebuilding their tribal institutions, in ways that are consistent with our culture and traditions, in order to meet Crown requirements for the settlement of Treaty claims. Maori have not had a comparable opportunity to manage our affairs through our own institutions since the State was established in 1840. It is likely to be the only chance they will get.

But, the State has set, and controls the process by which iwi representatives are selected to settle the claims and to establish the governing bodies. The State has a hands-on role in deciding who can speak for the tribe in negotiations with the State itself. It appoints the person who will conduct the selection process, whether or not the tribe has a structure or a process of its own in place. The State process can determine how the tribe should be shaped for the future management of its affairs, often having little regard for the traditional tribal policy.

Iwi were not involved in determination of the process. The record shows that it has also not been debated in any committee of this House nor in the House as a whole. Since it is not provided for by an Act of this Parliament, honest compliance with the process by officials, cannot be tested in the Courts. Maori have found to their dismay, in numerous cases, that the process is beyond the reach of justice.

I do not believe that my Pakeha friends would ever be expected to tolerate such treatment. The real concern however, is that matters like this give rise to strong feelings of injustice, of outside domination and control. Such practices are an impenetrable barrier to the improvement of Maori and Pakeha relations in this country.

Having listened to a number of the maiden speeches in this house over the last week or so, I am inspired by many. Maybe we do have that chance to build a future that does respect me, Maori. It would be amiss to single out any one in particular but if I take up the points made by the two gentleman who sit beside me in the third row, Mr Chester Burrows and Mr Mark Blumsky, and in case our Labour whanaunga say I left them out, Maryanne Street, I live in hope. I sensed a passion and honesty. It seems that all of us, Maori and Pakeha want exactly the same things. We want our children to be well educated and healthy, citizens of the world. That being the case, we should not need political parties. What is not always evident is my part in the picture. I ask you all to consider this. Tangata whenua, Maori. We are not scary, we are not crazies, we are not radicals. We do not want to throw you back into the sea!!!!

Maori now have a Party that can raise these issues without fear of compromising their party loyalty. There are many issues that have not been raised before. I hope to have the opportunity to raise them. I would do so not to put Maori ahead of any one else, but simply to ensure that the issues of justice and fair play are exposed and debated, freely and openly by us all. I believe it is only in that way that we will develop that true understanding of our respective traditions and values that will enable us to move forward as a united people, sharing common goals.

In closing, David Lange said in his maiden speech in 1977:

"I see Parliament as a talking shop where ideas are bandied about, where the Executive is held to account for its actions. I see it as a place where the nation can be inspired, where lofty ideals can be generated and disseminated. I see Parliament as a place that leads the country and moulds the country so that it goes on to better times".

That's where I want to be! Tena koutou katoa.

ENDS

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