Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Speech: Katene - Te Hui Amorangi o Te Wai Pounamu

Te Hui Amorangi o Te Wai Pounamu
Saturday 28 March 2009
Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga


E nga mema o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, tena koutou katoa.

I am honoured to be in your company, and to be able to share part of this Te Hui Amorangi o Te Wai Pounamu.

The concept, Amorangi, conveys a special and distinctive sense of leadership, of spiritual strength, worthy of our collective respect.

You will be familiar with the saying,

Ko te Amorangi ki mua; ko te hapai o ki muri.

There are various interpretations of this whakatauaki.

It can be understood quite literally – suggesting that the emblem of the deity is in the forefront, while the bearers of food take up the rear.

I understand this as meaning that in all matters, the spiritual must come first; all of our secular beliefs can follow. If we hold our spiritual heart up high, then achievements on another level will result.

For example, every day in the House before the start of business the first thing we do as politicians is to pray for help to do what is right. Whenever we have hui on a marae the first thing we as Maori do is to karakia to thank our Father. And as the Maori Party whenever we meet the first item of business on our agenda is karakia: the spiritual always precedes the secular.

I know that my spiritual strength comes through the learnings and inspiration I follow as Mormon – giving me the sustenance to carry out all other activities.

But there is another meaning to this phrase which I want to highlight – that is that strong leaders require continuous support.

Whether we are talking of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa; Te Hahi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Niu Tireni, ki Nga Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa; or the Maori Party; the meaning remains the same.

For leadership to be secure, we need the support of our whanau, hapu and iwi; we need the support between Dioceses and Te Pihopatanga; we need the support between our members and those out front.

When I think of the incredible turn of events that led me from the Maori Law Centre to the Beehive, the true extent of ‘Ko te Amorangi ki mua; ko te hapai o ki muri’ was revealed to me.

For one of the most humbling things of this exciting political journey has been to feel the amazing momentum of a collective vision.

I remember how stunned I felt when Te Mana o Mareikura, a Maori Performing Arts Group based here in Christchurch, issued a release that they were prepared to go public with their support for me and for the Maori Party, for the next fifty years! It was one of those moments when I really felt awe-struck by the power of shared dream.

As a Christian I have spent my life devoted to the calling of serving others; hoping that in some small way, I have been able to create opportunities for others to influence change.

For example as a teacher for several years of an adult Sunday School class, I encouraged the class members to get actively involved in the community, to vote in elections and to make their voices heard.

As a member of the Maori Party, that devotion to service continues. Our vision is summarized in the three letter word, IWI: Influence with Integrity.

It is the pursuit of a strong and independent voice for Maori. It is an investment in integrity, in keeping our word, in walking the talk.

In representing iwi, I mean this in the broadest sense. The Court of Appeal in 1996 defined iwi as nation or people; while Statistics New Zealand has adopted the definition of iwi as the focal economic and political unit of the traditional Maori descent.

Whether it is iwi or koiwi – the importance of whanaungatanga, whakapapa and tangata whenua status – is critical to me in knowing who I represent as the Member for Te Tai Tonga.

And so we come back to the expression of leadership. For the five Maori Party Members of Parliament we know that our greatest strength; our most impressive asset, is the 23,500 members; and the collective voices of the constituency we represent.

And so whether it is on the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, or the Regulations Review; I am also clear that I am carrying with me the wawata of the peoples from Wairewa; from Koukourarata; from Otakou; from Motueka; from Rekohu.

Justice Taihakurei Durie, in a paper on ‘Aboriginal Autonomy’ back in 1997, put forward the proposition that in Maori society the power moves from the bottom up – from whanau to hapu to iwi – as opposed to western society where power is from the top down.

While Napoleon Bonaparte was clearly the ruler of the dynasty; and Winston Churchill mobilised the masses to fight on the seas and oceans and beaches and fields and streets; for Maori, we know our greatest hope lies in the collective strength of the people.

Here in Otautahi for instance, Kai Tahu’s vision for te reo Maori, is the aspiration that in 2025 Kai Tahu will have at least 1000 Kai Tahu families speaking te reo Maori within their homes.

In the Maori Party, our vision is of a nation of cultural diversity and richness where its unity is underpinned by the expression of tangata whenua-tanga by Mäori, te käkano i ruia mai i Rangiätea.

And so this is my greatest goal as the new MP for Te Tai Tonga. I seek to make a difference for the people of this electorate. That means all of Te Wai Pounamu; Rakiura; the Chatham Islands; Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson, Timaru, Invercargill, Queenstown, Oamaru; Petone, Eastbourne, Lower Hutt, Wellington – you name it, I’ve got it!

And that also means Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe, Waitaha, Ngati Toa Rangatira, Ngati Tama, Te Atiawa not to mention Ngati Koata, Ngati Kuia, Rangitane, and all tangata whenua living within these boundaries.

Before I came to Parliament, I was the managing solicitor at Maori Legal Services in Wellington, a Maori community law centre set up to meet the unmet legal needs of Maori and their whanau. Doing that work meant I worked extensively with whanau addressing legal issues including Maori land, housing, ACC, WINZ, family, employment and wills. It was, if you like, a unique apprenticeship for the role I would take up as a Member of Parliament.

I represent the Maori Party on four select committees: finance and expenditure; regulations review; Local Government and Environment; and the Emissions Trading Scheme Review Committee.

And in addition to those committees, I have also played a key role as the Maori Party representative on the Foreshore and Seabed Review. Later in the year, I will be picking up responsibility for the constitutional review including Maori electoral participation.

Then there’s the constant schedule of Bills to read, understand, analyse and speak to; the questions we ask in question time; the issues we bring to the attention of the media; the ever-growing volume of letters from constituents to respond to; the conferences, meetings, hui, discussion groups, briefings to attend; constituents to meet and advise – you get the idea?

All of this is now part of my life, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For the calling to Parliament, just like the calling to serve, is motivated by the aspirations and challenges that my tupuna have left to me.

I am motivated by our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of this land.

I am motivated by our belief in whanau ora – knowing that our families are our greatest strength.

And I am motivated by the knowledge that we have the power and the ability to determine our own destinies. We know that it is not about what any Government can do to you, it’s about what we can do for each other.

Finally, I want to just draw your attention to the wisdom of the words on your programme, ‘the nature of your tree determines the nature of your fruit’.

There is also that thought that a lone tree in the forest is easy to bend and break.

And we know too, that a family tree will wither if nobody tends to its roots.

This, then is our greatest challenge – ourselves.

As whanau we need to start reaffirming that we are a good people, that we are intelligent and bright, and loving and caring.

Whether we promote the promise of every person in the Maori Party or in Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, the greatest contribution we can make, is to ensure the opportunities we take up will benefit not only Maori, but all those people who lay claim to this country as their homeland.

We believe we have been offered a wonderful opportunity to make a difference, to carry the strong and independent voice of Maori into key policy discussions and decisions.

We are, collectively, at a moment in time when we can and must look forward to ensure that Maori are protected against the sharp shocks of recession and have options to ensure the potential of our people is realised.

I pledge to you my determination to carry your voice, to present your petitions, to uphold your priorities in every aspect of my role in Parliament.

The leadership I can offer is our leadership – the strength of my representation is our strength.

I know that we can make the difference, together.

Tena tatou katoa.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Parliament Kicks Off: Carter Re-Elected Speaker

The 51st Parliament held its commission opening today with MPs sworn in and David Carter elected Speaker.

The day began at 11am with the three Royal Commissioners – the Chief Justice, the Court of Appeal President, and the Chief High Court Judge – declaring the new Parliament open.

After the Commissioners left the Chamber the swearing in of MPs took place in alphabetical order. Unlike some previous openings all MPs managed to swear on the bible or affirm their oath without any hiccups... More>>

 

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:


Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

TPP Leak: Intellectual Property Text Confirms Risk - Jane Kelsey

The US is continuing its assault on generic medicines through numerous proposed changes to patent laws. ‘These are bound to impact on Pharmac if they are accepted’, according to Professor Kelsey... Copyright is another area of ongoing sensitivity... More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith Plans Reform To Ease Urban Development

Newly appointed Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced Resource Management Act reform to foster urban development, where high land prices and expensive resource consents are blocking efforts to provide affordable housing. More>>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On New Zealand getting involved (again) in other people's wars

Apparently, the Key government is still pondering how New Zealand will contribute to the fight against Islamic State. Long may it ponder, given the lack of consensus among our allies as to how to fight IS, where to fight it (Syria, Iraq, or both?) and with whose ground troops, pray tell? More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On child poverty, and David Shearer’s latest outburst

The politicisation of (a) the public service and (b) the operations of the Official Information Act have been highlighted by the policy advice package on child poverty that RNZ’s resolute political editor Brent Edwards has finally prised out of the Ministry of Social Development. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On the government’s review of security laws

So the Key government is about to launch a four week review of the ability of our existing legislation to deal with “suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters, and other violent extremists.”

According to its terms of reference, the review will consider whether the SIS, GCSB and Police are sufficiently able right now to (a) investigate and monitor suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters… More>>

ALSO:

Labour Davids: Lisa Owen Interviews David Shearer

David Shearer still mulling whether to stand for Labour leadership but says his family doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Declares that it will be “incredibly divisive” for the Labour caucus if David Cunliffe returns to the role of leader. More>>

ALSO:

Taser Use & False Evidence: Timaru Officers "Failed To Follow Good Policing Practice"

The Authority found that even if Mr Reuben’s contact with the officer was deliberate it amounted to only a minor assault. While it found the use of the OC spray was justified, the use of the Taser was not a proportionate response... More>>

ALSO:

Little Surprise: Andrew Little To Contest Labour Leadership

I have decided to contest the Labour Party leadership. There are three immediate issues to deal with: creating greater cohesion across the caucus, rebuilding the relationship between caucus and the Party and, most importantly getting the process under way to listen to the voters who have abandoned us... More>>

ALSO:

Two Fewer Votes In Recount: "Positive Result" - Harawira

When I applied for a recount of the votes from the Tai Tokerau election, I made it clear that this application was not aimed at overturning the election result, but ensuring that all votes cast by Maori were treated with due respect, regardless of whether those votes are for Labour, Maori Party or MANA. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news