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Time for Maori Leaders to stand up and be counted

Monday 27 September 2004

“Time for Maori Leaders to stand up and be counted”

The Labour Government has not only made puppets out of its Maori MPs, but now it’s trying to REDEFINE Maori Culture. Speaking from Hoani Waititi Marae today Dr. Pita R Sharples Co-Leader of the Maori Party said “Maori leaders and tribal authorities have to speak out against this blatant attack on the very essence of Tikanga Maori”. He said “Tribal leaders can no longer sit quiet like the Maori MPs and allow this ongoing barrage of insults and abuse about Maori language and culture to continue”.

“It is time that our tribes showed some solidarity in collectively condemning this ethnocentric onslaught by the country’s Pakeha leaders on our Maori values and belief system”. He said, “It is unbelievable to see the lengths to which the Prime Minister and her cabinet ministers are prepared to go to in order to bring the Maori people into contempt and ridicule.”

“Last week it was Trevor Mallard saying that Maori language was the only skill you needed to take a total immersion Kaupapa Maori class and today it is the Prime Minister making value judgements about the etiquette of the Maori powhiri saying women and girls are discriminated against and relegated to supportive roles.”

“Does this government really believe that the average thinking New Zealander actually supports their arrogant intrusion into Maori cultural expertise?” “It’s a sad indictment on our country’s race relations when the Prime Minister and the Minister for Race Relations consider that they can redefine Maori Tikanga.”

“Furthermore this same Minister Mallard’s claim to be as indigenous as any Maori negates 1000 years of New Zealand history in these islands and makes a mockery of the concept of a “1st Nation’s People” as defined and upheld by the United Nations, UNESCO and the Treaty of Waitangi.”

Dr Sharples said, “What saddens me most is that after Labour was overthrown in the polls following the Brash Orewa speech they have used “Maori” as the whipping boy in order to climb back in popularity.”

“At the Hikoi the PM refused to meet with 40,000 marchers – She referred to Maori as ‘Haters and Wreckers’, something one can’t do unless one felt that way – she met with a sheep instead and told the media she’d rather meet that animal than the thousands of Maori, who have been so loyal to labour for a hundred years – She reacted to Don Brash’s speech by ‘laundering’ her policy statements on funding to Maori – but worst of all she sold the foreshore legislation to NZ on the basis that Maori will stop access to the beaches.

She ordered the legislation, she stopped due process and then made Maori look like the bad guys – John Tamihere quickly followed up by calling those opposed to the Bill as being “born again horis” – some comment from someone a bit short on the Maori language and customs himself – Then enter Trevor Mallard, to cut down Maori scholarships and the matters pertaining to language teaching, powhiri etc.”

“At a time when Maori have identified a primary aspiration as being to ensure that our grandchildren can live as Maori in the future (with language and culture in tact) it becomes apparent that Maori leadership must take a more active and vocal role in condemning this colonisation process of dismantling Maori culture.”


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