Ihumātao – Statement from the New Zealand Maori Council
Ihumātao – Statement from the New Zealand Maori Council / time to step back & the Police to leave
The New Zealand Maori Council respectfully asks that all parties involved in the Ihumātao dispute take a step back in order that these matters can be resolved between Maori and by Maori. The first thing I would remind everyone about is this land has significant historical value to Maori. In 1863 British and New Zealand troops evicted the people of Ihumātao, the place they had called home for more than 800 years. The New Zealand Maori Council does not want to see the New Zealand Police now doing the same thing in today’s world. I would also strongly urge all parties who are not Maori to stop interfering in Maori Affairs – our people are more than capable of resolving these types of issues in the right environment – kanohi ki te kanohi.
There are a number of claims and cross claims, degrees of complexity and long running disputes between those who claim to hold Iwi authority over the land and those who claim mana whenua. There are also issues around the historical value of the site, urupa, taonga and other things that should be considered alongside the opportunities that could be afforded by Maori from a cultural, social and economic perspective – but again, these are matters that should be resolved by Maori for Maori.
Given this matter has also now become political I also ask the politicians to withdraw and not rush to make public statements or run commentary on the situation. I would remind the Crown that their historical responsibility for what happened in 1863 should not escape their attention and, therefore, public statements are neither responsible or called for. With that in mind, respectfully, I would ask the New Zealand Police to withdraw – as I have said before the New Zealand Maori Council does not want to see more evictions occur on this site by representatives of the Crown even though they have been asked to intervene through the court system. In fact I would ask that our Maori Wardens be deployed to secure the site, keep all of our people safe and remain as a conduit until the matters can be resolved.
Finally – and again, I would ask all parties to step back and consider what might be achieved if we instigated a Maori process to resolve the matter.
Member of the National Executive
Chair of Auckland District
Te Kaunihera Māori o Aoteaora – New Zealand Māori Council