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Pita Sharples' Campaign Launch Speech

Tamaki Makaurau Campaign Launch Speech –– Dr Pita Sharples

There is no doubt in my mind that there is a sustained attack on the concept of Maori being tangata whenua – of the fact that we are the first nation peoples of these islands – that we are the indigenous people of the land.

The plain fact of the matter is that we have never been high on any government’s agenda in terms of protections for te reo Maori me ona tikanga.

Lip service alone is the fare offered by government – they do not care – worse still they think they reflect the views of the average New Zealander. But they are in fact creating the view amongst the New Zeakabd public that the language, pronunciation of Maori names, customs such as powhiri, waiata, reo teaching are not only not important, but are discriminatory.

That is instead of celebrating their Maori Pacific culture as being special and essential to New Zealand’s special character in the world; instead of promoting the survival of Maori language and culture and celebrating the special nature of our New Zealand nationhood. Instead of these options this government and many other political parties are hell bent on destroying the credibility of a tangata whenua culture. Instead of supporting the Maori as an icon, as our unique feature in New Zealand they continue to promote Maori as a negative.

From one extreme to the other how did New Zealand allow us to come down this path?

From promotions to a programme of demotion. From a positive celebration of Maori to this negative discrimination.

From actually identifying and supporting Maori language and customs to actively discriminating against the culture’s survival.

Their attitute has spread to the community. This country’s courts said “Maori go to the Land Court to establish your customary land rights”. The government said NO and legislated against their own court’s findings. But then sold the legislation to the New Zealand public by threatening them – “Maori must not be allowed to stop us going to the beach!”

In order to get support for that Bill, government lied to the public by insinuating that we Maori intended to stop the public from going to the beach.

Minister Mallard and the Prime Minister have attacked the institution of the powhiri – Horomia and Winston have done the same. Explain – their view Explain – Maori view Powhiri is an ICON.

National has pledged to get rid of the Maori seats and stop direct funding to Maori initiatives.

Winston – NZ First – wants to remove all the references to the Treaty from all the Laws – He also talks about the Tribunal claims as if they are unjustified – “a gravy train”.

Labour has stolen the foreshore. With their right hand –raupatu - and with their left hand – steal takutai. They stopped their closing the gaps programmes and now they openly attack Maori institutions such as the powhiri.

This negative attack on Maori by all these parties is sewing seeds of open antagonism towards Maori. This negative propoganda is now being believed by New Zealand pakeha.

Consider this….

Alan McCulloch, President of the North Shore Grey Power has excluded Maori from participating in a recent political forum. He exudes those values and opinions promoted by parliamentarians.

He says,

“A survey nine months ago found about 92 percent of North Shore Grey Power members believed the country should stop dividing itself into Maori and non-Maori. "Our people are patently not interested in that nonsense," he says. "We really invited people to come who will be of interest to our members and say things of significance. "We have far more Koreans on the North Shore than we have Maoris." Mr McCulloch says when people keep telling kids they've been robbed and cheated and the world owes them a living they start to believe it. He says separatist attitudes are leading to an increasing number of Maori in prison.”

These generalised inaccurate statements are bad for our race relations but even worse – McCulloch actually believes them – and so the negative propoganda spreads and spreads.

There are gaps between Maori and non Maori achievement in our society. This is evident in the areas of justice, welfare, housing, education, job status and other indices. The Maori party is dedicated to reducing these gaps. Other parties like Labour and National and New Zealand First all want to improve Maori outcomes but at the cost of destroying Maori identity, Maori customs, Maori language and of Maori cultural aspirations. They want to mainstream everything in this country. They have insisted on one model – a level playing field – one size fits all.

The Maori Party supports the reconstructs of tikanga, kaupapa maori initiatives which have similar goals as mainstream programmes but the difference is kaupapa Maori, embraces Maori language, culture and Maori aspiratons. This is not discrimination. This is the proactive promotion of another model of practice for New Zealand – in fact an indigenous model. Governments should be directly funding and promoting these initiatives. Instead they have marginalised kohanga, kura, wharekura, and are openly attacking wananga.

[quote examples – kura policy – wananga attack]

Then in their international and local reports the government claims Kura and Kohanga as their own. I resent that! I knocked on government’s door….etc….etc….

No sir, Labour and National you did not create kura – you have marginalised it. The Maori people created kura and kohanga – [explain 1981/82 Hui Whakatau…]

In Singapore, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, English as an example.

In Europe – it is a bilingual and multilingual environment.

In New Zealand – the government does not even promote the correct pronunciation of Maori language.

So I say to all these parties stop scoring votes on the backs of negative statements about Maori. Stop saying that you have done great things for Maori – when such gaps still exist.

The Maori Party will close the gaps by including Maori cultural values in the solutions. You can succeed without having to sacrifice your Maoritanga. Kaupapa Maori solutions and programmes should sit equally funded and respected alongside mainstream programmes.

But i also have another message. It is this.

The continuous barrage of demeaning and minimising tikanga Maori over the past 25 years has taken a major toll on Maori aspirations and beliefs about themselves. If you keep damning a persons customs, even ignoring them then people are going to feel second class. If these parties keep on their path of negativising Maori custom and language then Maori have to give up their birthright or continue to feel victimised.

They say stop Maori being victims – I say they are causing the feeling of victimisation by ignoring Maori ideals or belittling them.

I state emphatically here that :

It is the continuing negativisation of Maori customs and of Maori aspirations that is not only doing incredible damage to our New Zealand race relations but it serving to keep Maori in a second class position within New Zealand society.

That is why Maori must vote for us. That is why Maori in Tamaki Makaurau must vote for me – being Maori is at risk!

Don’t worry about Brash or Act – the most important policy in front of us now is to save being Maori – to promote being Maori to all New Zealanders as a positive thing!

I will deliver – whether in coalition or as a Maori Party alone – whether in government or in opposition. I will deliver – the Maori Party (who already exist as a whanau) will deliver – both votes – two ticks – nothing less.

At the Labour party launch yesterday the Maori Labour Party members said they would find it hard to work with Maori Party members in parliament.

Of course they will – they found it hard to stand with their people on the Takutaimoana – so they didn’t – they stayed under the petticoats of the prime minister.

They do not represent you and i – they opted to turn their back on the Maori people, on the foreshore –

So why are we surprised that they will find it hard to work with us who have been chosed by the people to represent them.

It just confirms once and for all that Maori MPs under Labour – are dedicated to serve Labour Party wishes – not Maori wishes.

We have to wake up to this. Maori are saying they don’t want a Brash government. But what is the use of Maori MPs in Labour who don’t support Maori?

You must vote for me in Tamaki Makaurau – it is our chance to elect Maori Party Members of Parliament all over New Zealand. We are the hope and the aspirations of Maori.

© Scoop Media

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