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Ae Marika Column - Hone Harawira

Ae Marika Column - Hone Harawira


I spent most of last week hangin’ out at the Te Rarawa Festival. I missed the Korowai evening, but I heard some awesome stories about the histories of the various cloaks, the pride of the kuia who wore them. A magical night.

I went to the Youth Awards, and was hugely impressed with all the nominees. Confident, mature, intelligent and focused, it was a privilege to mix with young people who have the talent to go far in their world.

I spent a day watching the kapahaka festival with kohanga reo, schools and marae from all round the territory. Young Tuhirangi Ratana from Rangaunu Kohanga Reo was my star of the day, belting out his waiata with all his cousins warbling alongside. But all the groups were good, Te Hapua’s hangi went down a treat, and everyone had a ball.

And then of course, I went to the Ball, where Te Rarawa’s new chairman dignified his first public appearance with a “cheeky” little story from his protest days. It was a wonderful evening, primo kai, good music, and great company.


The other day one of my whanaunga asked me why the Maori Party was talking to National.

I told him that just because two political parties talk doesn’t mean they share the same ideology; in fact it doesn’t even mean that they like each other. I said politics was a numbers game and that if he wanted us to push through our Bill to get the Foreshore back, then he had to accept our getting support from right across the spectrum.

I told him how a few months back, Labour’s Bill to microchip dogs got defeated because the Maori Party opposed it, along with the Greens, the Nats, and a couple of others.

Then not long ago, we voted with the Greens and Labour to oppose National’s 90 day Slavery Bill. That’s the reality of MMP, and the value of building support for different ideas.

In the end, my cousin agreed that we had to do our best to reverse the legislation which took away our customary rights to the foreshore, and denied us our day in court. He also saw that if we wanted to get our Bill to Repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act passed, we would have to other parties, and patch together 61 votes.

And he also realised that if Labour had stolen the Foreshore and Seabed, then we would have to go elsewhere for support to get it back.

Life is about choices, and if you want to get the kutai, you got to get your hands wet.


And while we’re talking about the foreshore and seabed, oyster farmers in the Bay of Islands would have been gutted about losing their $12 million compensation claim against the Far North District Council over the sewerage spill they say contaminated their farms. But no more so than local Maori who have been devastated by the breakdown of the sewerage lines polluting their seashore and poisoning the kaimoana.

I’ve been working with the people of Waitangi for some time now to help get their lines fixed, and it was good to be able to sit down with them and engineers last week to talk about replacement of broken lines was going. The locals aren’t planning on any fireworks until they’re convinced that the pipe replacement will do the job, and that’s a way off yet, but things are looking positive.

“Don’t shit in your own nest” is a message the Council might want to put up in it’s chambers as a reminder of it’s narrow escapes in the Bay, and a notice to future Councils that voters in the North take their seafood and the seashores seriously indeed.


I got the opportunity to come back to Dargaville last week, when I attended a hui out at Ripia Marae, a beautiful spot overlooking the Northern Wairoa.

We got Transit NZ along to talk about the problems with the bridge at Matakohe. People said vehicle speed had increased hugely, traffic was ten times what it used to be, and trucks had gone from TK Bedfords to 45 tonne tankers, but nothing had been done to replace the bridge which was creaky, old, slippery in the wet, and downright dangerous.

Transit’s response was very disappointing “we are here to listen, participate, make contact and work through issues. The bridge is on a ten year plan for consideration to look at”. I’ll be talking to John Carter and Lockwood Smith to see if we can’t put some collective pressure on Transit to do something soon before somebody gets killed.

We also talked about the possible shift of coronary services to Auckland, the impact of the Treaty being taken out of schools, and a whole range of issues about seafood – licensing, permits, confiscation of Kaimoana, and our Bill to Repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Hone Harawira

Tai Tokerau MP


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