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Flavell: Pastoral Association Empowering Bill

Southland Agricultural and Pastoral Association Empowering Bill Second and Third Readings; Wednesday 11 October 2006; 8.50pm

Te Ururoa Flavell, Treaty Settlements Spokesperson

Mr Speaker, the progress of this Bill has for some, been seen as a simple formality. It is as if it is no big deal. I thought it a good idea to do some research so that all of us here understand that there is a history here. Not far from here is the Alexander Turnbull library where you can spend hours to your heart's content studying Aotearoa - our history, our experiences, our people.

The Historical Atlas maps held in this library show that as a result of pre-1865 land purchases, the total percentage of Southland land in Maori ownership was one whole percent; out of a possible 34 million acres.

It was land literally available at a steal. In August 1853, the Commissoner of Crown lands, Mantell, obtained over seven million acres of land as part of the Murihiku Deed, for a mere £2600. And comparatively speaking, it was a better deal than ever before.

Some five years earlier, in June 1848, Kemp had transacted a purchase with Ngai Tahu of twenty million acres - the largest block of land ever bought by the Crown - for a bargain; snapped up at a piffling £2000. 150 years later the Waitangi Tribunal was to conclude that the purchases of Mantell, Kemp and their ilk, by any standard, was "totally inadequate". The Tribunal concluded in their 1991 Ngai Tahu report, and I quote:

"It is not stating the position too strongly to say that the effect of the Crown's niggardly allocation was to 'ghetto-ise" Ngai Tahu on small uneconomic units on which they could do little more than struggle to survive".

Forty years after Kemp's transactions, Mackay's 1886 investigation into the extent of landlessness amongst Maori in Southland, gave, and I quote: "a depressing account of poverty, listlessness and despair amongst Ngai Tahu at the time". Mr Speaker, this is the past, the present and the future into which the Southland Agricultural and Pastoral Association Empowering Bill sits.

An iwi 'ghetto-ised'. Economic arrangements from which the people could do little more than struggle to survive. A people confronted with poverty, listlessness and despair.

And yet a century and a half later, these same people were at risk of being re-ghetto-ised from the passage of legislation we are discussing today. The Hansard states that Kai Tahu o Murihiku had not been consulted with nor informed as part of the negotiations. Te Ao Marama, which encompasses expertise with iwi liaison within the rohe, had not been approached. The relevant papatipu runaka - the Tribal Councils of Kati Tahu, were not part of the feedback loop. We raised these issues at the first reading of this Bill, urging the House to recognise the importance of consultation with iwi on resource management issues. Indeed as mana whenua, it would be appropriate for the question to be put to Ngai Tahu - what do you want to be consulted on, how, when, by whom, and why?

The Maori Party wants, however, to put on record our appreciation of the way in which the sponsor of this Bill, Eric Roy, responded to the issues we raised at that first reading. I want to commend the way in which the Member for Invercargill received our advice, and indeed made a point of standing to give an explanation to the whole House.

Such generosity and genuine commitment to acknowledge the concerns of the constituency can only be positive, as we now move quickly to advance this Bill. When I last addressed the House on this Bill I spoke of the proud history the people of Murihiku have as entrepreneurs - their active role in the flax trade, the whaling industry, and in supplying food to the ships.

A contemporary example of their innovation is the Hikoi Fatigue Kete project which was developed by Oraka Aparima Health and Social Services to raise awareness among Southland Maori about the dangers of driver fatigue.

The kete is packed full of goodies on how to avoid fatigue - chocolate treats and barley sugars; first aid kits; a map of New Zealand to help plan breaks; a water bottle and ample safety information. I do wonder whether we could commission them to develop a House Fatigue Kete, Mr Speaker, to help avoid fatigue during our extended sessions - but I have been persuaded otherwise that the robust debate and stimulating inter-play we experience on a daily basis would make it redundant. Anyway, the point I was making was that Southland Maori are often required to make long trips on a regular basis.

The fatigue kete was a novel concept which meets the needs of their constituency in a practical way.

I would like, therefore, to suggest that in the long trip ahead for the Agricultural and Southland Pastoral Association, the long months and years ahead as they move to sell the property and relocate to the Ascot Park Raceway, that they might just consider mana whenua could be an enthusiastic and committed project partner.

Despite the context of colonization and land alienation; despite the hardship experienced by a predominantly landless people; despite the final insult of not being consulted at early stages in the progress of this Bill; mana whenua have been munificent to overlook these offences, and work productively for the future of Invercargill and its people.

The Maori Party is now satisfied that not only have mana whenua been actively informed of the existence of this legislation; but that the promoter of the Bill himself, Mr Eric Roy, listened to our concerns, and has taken the need for consultation into account. We are happy to support this Bill at the second reading, and finally, would recommend the ideal outcome of the parliamentary debate might be that in the further empowerment of the Southland A and P Association, they might also consider the opportunity for mana whenua to be involved.

ENDS


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