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Flavell Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Bill:

Te Ururoa Flavell Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Bill: Reflections from Afar

Te Ururoa Flavell, Member of Parliament for Waiariki

Friday 5 May 2006

“To Te Arawa, our lakes are at the essence of our identity, they provide the foundation for our wairua, tikanga and kawa and cultural integrity” said Te Ururoa Flavell, Member of Parliament for Waiariki, in reflecting on the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Bill.

“They have been rich in resources - indigenous flora and fauna, fisheries and aquatic life, kai to 'manaaki ki nga manuhiri'- and were an ever-bounding source for economic development, tourism, travel, hospitality and trade” continued Mr Flavell.

“The hope in both 1922 and 1955 was that an economic base would be provided. Then, as in 2006, the Government response is grossly inadequate, and all that will occur, is a diminishing of the capital amount”.

“Our lakes are also central in our whakapapa”.

“In this context, I am saddened that Labour List MP, Mita Ririnui, chose to play personality politics in criticising the Maori Party position and me personally” stated Mr Flavell.

“Our history and our future is intrinsically connected to our lakes. We must not cheapen the spiritual, cultural, economic and traditional significance of our taonga to a political insult”.

“In choosing not to vote on this Bill - in removing ourselves from the oppositional politics of a ‘for’ vote; an ‘against’ vote, or an ‘abstain’ vote - we do not shirk from the responsibility of addressing the issue, and holding the Government to account for the injustice meted out to Te Arawa”.

“The Crown as the thief and the criminal, now has the audacity to congratulate and celebrate those who have been offended against, for letting "bygones be bygones" , while at the same time the Crown pursues other alleged offenders for historical crimes. How can they have it both ways?"

"We believe that historical injustices have to be addressed in order to enable restoration and healing to begin”.

“Any spiritual impact on the mauri of our water has a huge impact on our healing and cleansing, tohi and purification, as well as placing an economic burden on our people. The pollutants that have destroyed our lakes through timber milling, farming and septic tanks have resulted in the growth of blue-green algae and weeds, waste discharge, and sewage which is of huge offence to tangata whenua”.

“Indeed, the pollution and degradation of several of our lakes is an ongoing problem - not only for the spiritual and cultural assault - but the economic burden with a projected $200m required to clean up the lakes in order to restore them to the pristine condition of their original source”.

“These matters are very much in my mind as I prepare to attend the IPU conference which will look at strategies to combat the degradation of the environment, globally, like it is at home. As they say, think global; act local".

“The financial redress of $2.7 million, is not only tragic, it is but a mere shadow of what will be necessary to bring about the enduring and sustainable health of our lakes, and of our people”.

I have been thinking about one of our Te Arawa ancestors, Tunohopu, who said, ‘He aha au te mate noa ake ai i taku pakarito ka tupu’.

"That I should die means nothing, my descendants shall survive and grow, thrive and prosper".

“It is our responsibility as the Maori Party, to look for every possibility to ensure the descendants of tangata whenua shall survive and grow, thrive and prosper” concluded Mr Flavell. “The insult handed to Te Arawa in the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Bill shall do little to guarantee a prosperous future’.


Te Ururoa Flavell is currently attending the 114th Assembly of the Interparliamentary Union in Nairobi, Kenya; with Labour MP Russell Fairbrother and National MP John Carter. The international assembly is addressing such items as:

- Peace and International Security The role of parliaments in strengthening the control of trafficking in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition

- Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade: The role of parliaments in environmental management and in combating global degradation of the environment

- Democracy and Human Rights: How parliaments can and must promote effective ways of combating violence against women in all fields


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