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Quo Vadis E nga Iwi o te motu?


July 25 2002


Quo Vadis E nga Iwi o te motu?

Press Release: Chris Webster, Independent Candidate, Te Tai Tonga

These elections are a platform for Maori to form advantageous liaisons to enable enterprise, achieve aspirations and celebrate the collective successes of e nga iwi o te motu ki Aotearoa!

Recently politicians and commentators have used Maori people and Te Tiriti o Waitangi as whipping posts’ upon which to vent their intolerances and bigotry to create unnecessary tensions. These same people confuse race relations and indigenous peoples.

As a Maori woman, I don't accept that 'indigenous issues' belong in 'the camp of race relations'. Maori as tangata whenua are not 'racial minorities' but are communities with rights of peoples everywhere including the right of self- determination.

As Maori people (influenced by active and traditional whanau, hapu and iwi connections even after 160 years of colonization) we are distinct communities, which are social and political in nature, not 'racial'.

We do not want our people to exist fruitlessly where UEB, welfare, deprivation, poverty, ill-health, depression, negative statistical recording, prevails.

We do not want a continuation of futile make-overs; of substitute policies, or poor ineffective political representation all of which result in marginalization.

We have suffered various political partnerships through a rash of shotgun marriages, where the one partner has dominated and not given much in exchange.

We now know that we can’t wait for and neither should we continue to depend upon this and future government’s for any meaningful outcomes. And many of our people haven’t. But we need to do more as a nation.

We are proud of our strengths and the fact that we continue to achieve is even more remarkable, given the historical political circumstances and political administrative shortcomings.

Maori continue to work hard at changing the political landscape and the thinking of those political representatives who view Maori as subjects. Those old-thinking political representatives need to understand that our goals of self-determination and governance are a realization of collective Maori aspirations as citizens in their own land.

In our Maori communities we continue to produce individuals who develop new ideas and who dream up business ideas that are significant departures from the past.

Our people have commercial skills and aspirations and are competing as captains of industry in tourism, as exporters, as IT visionaries, as craftspeople and artists, as writers and authors, as parents, teachers, mothers and fathers all contributing to the economy and to our communities without hesitation.

We want to combine these existing strengths to offset the present deficiencies and create powerful ventures from which the nation and we can hugely benefit. And we know that the need for such an outreach is neither a secret nor is it unattainable.

We know what we want when we enter collaborative relationships with the state – we have always had a clear eye toward what we want to gain, what we want to learn, and exactly how much we are willing to give away in the process. But the state remains blind to our needs.

Naturally we seek to have quality and reliability and be secure in our position should new economic downturns occur. The future strategy is how to do it successfully.

Those tactics involve maintaining core capabilities, separate from the political alliances and acquiring new methods, skills and strategies that will be used and sustained whether or not the alliances last.

As a people we have the vision, discipline and tenacity to achieve our goals and know that the most important elements of success are attitude and cooperation, both of which are critical factors and are at the base of new political liaisons, the opportunities of which could be enormous.

The central goal of tino rangatiratanga is for us to govern and enjoy our own resources and to participate fully in the life of our country, our nation and to advance as Maori and as citizens of the world.

As a people we must seize the initiative and take an aggressive stance in establishing beneficial relationships with each other and recognize that such alliances will not diminish the desire to further our strengths.

By voting for political independence we could begin to reap the power that is the fount within politics. We could be powerful politically, by acting in concert with each other and achieve the evolutionary goals that the Maori battalion set out to achieve, consolidating the concept of sharing, equal partnership, mana, and tino rangatiratanga, which Te Tiriti of Waitangi guarantees.

Ends.


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