Hone Harawira Column - 19 August 2008
A column published in the Northland Age
19 August 2008
Over the past few weeks, one of the brothers from out Whangaroa has been pestering me to come out and take a look over their claim so last weekend, I jumped on a boat with some of the whanau who took me round the harbour. I’ve paddled out there on a waka ama before, but this was different.
This time I had whanau pointing out to me all the little bays and points and hills and beaches telling me the stories of the various hapu who lived there, the coming of the Pakeha and the way in which the lands had been divided up over the past two hundred years.
While I was out there I also gate-crashed ol’ Henare Tua’s 90th birthday at Matangirau. Awesome feed as you would expect and lots of laughter and recollections, ably conducted by Eric Rush who was in his element as MC making fun of everyone who got up to speak about his papa, and adding a few hilarious memories of his own.
Being a Maori MP can be a hard job, but somebody has to do it.
Last week I managed to squeeze in a few days at home, catching up on some homework, some much needed sleep and some quality time with my mokopuna. Given the hectic schedule we’re likely to have over the next couple of months, I doubt that I’ll get another 24 hours to myself, so I really appreciated the break.
While I was at home I attended a meeting at Te Rangi Aniwaniwa which included the Te Rangi Aniwaniwa kura, Far North District Council, Far North Holdings (who manage council assets including Kaitaia Airport), the Ministry of Education, Ngati Kahu and Ngaitakoto. Aniwaniwa are wanting to build a three-court basketball gymnasium come auditorium, and the purpose of the meeting was to help everyone understand each other’s expectations, and reduce any points of conflict as the gym construction gets underway. Turned out to be a very good meeting, and a good pointer on how iwi and council should be looking to do business with one another in the future.
I also attended a celebration of Moerewa Primary School’s successful three year struggle to become a Yr1-Yr10 school. Moerewa is a very Maori community, fiercely proud of its school, and like everywhere else, wanting the best for its kids. They are fortunate to have a very good principal in Keri Hulme-Ihimaera who in a very short time has built an excellent team that has the full support of its board. Good schools have good procedures, but great schools have great leaders. Congratulations Moerewa – you’ve done yourselves proud.