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Hone Harawira: Ae Marika!

Ae Marika!
A column by Hone Harawira
Maori Party MP for Tai Tokerau
3 October 2006

Gee – what’s with Don Brash? Every time he gets himself into trouble he tries to get out of it by bashing Maori. Sad fullah.

He reckons that Maori are not a distinct indigenous culture, and that Maori with other bloodlines can’t call themselves Maori anymore.

Does he really think Maori culture should be consigned to the dustbin? Is he hoping we’re going to just disappear because he says so?

His views would be laughable if he weren’t such a key player in Aotearoa.

But there is an upside to his comments; the more he talks like this, the faster the Maori Party membership goes up.

The fact is that Maori do exist, not just in history books, but right here, right now.

I’ve got relations who swear blonde and blue eyes that they’re Maori, and I’ve got other relations who are as black as the Ace of Spades who think they’re Maori too.

You see, they call themselves Maori because they want to be Maori.

What Don should be asking is why hundreds of thousands of Maori don’t want to be known as New Zealanders. Perhaps it’s because they don’t want to be associated with the colonialism, the land thefts, the thrashings in school, the childishness in parliament, and the racism of the Don Brashes of the world.

Mind you, we could be wrong. Maybe Don Brash would like to come on up to our marae to tell my relations they’re not Maori, or maybe, as with his snide remarks about Te Wananga o Aotearoa, he only talks tough from the safety of the footpath.

Maori have survived the “smoothing the pillow of the dying Maori race” phase when our numbers were down to 40,000 in 1900 because of the ravages of disease, murder, and colonial destruction.

We are now more than 500,000 strong, and apparently come 2050, we’re going to be nearly half the population.

So here’s a bit of advice for the old Don - lock up your mokopuna (grandchildren) mate, because their mokopuna are likely to be Maori too. And we will welcome them to the Maori Party when they grow up too !!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter from somebody asking me what the Maori Party’s position is on whakapapa (genealogy). I told him that whakapapa is a matter for whanau, hapu and iwi to determine, not political parties.

Parliament is not the place to debate ancestry - that’s what we have marae for.

My neighbour Mangu Awarau is a full-blooded Maori, and he reckons he ain’t anything special. Actually he is special, but the fact that he says he isn’t, is as much a recognition that being Maori is partly blood, but it’s also a love for a culture, a language, and a way of life that was here before Don Brash, and will be here way after the sad old fullah’s gone.

Kia tutaki anoki tatou (until we meet again).


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