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Ihumatao: Real solutions needed for mana whenua

Ihumatao: Real solutions needed for mana whenua

Tonight the All Blacks play South Africa and I’m reminded of the stance against apartheid and the fight for our own rights. Between the 1940s and 1960s in this country, selectors passed over Maori players; complying with the South African apartheid regime, in order to play a game of rugby.

Too often we have double standards where Maori issues and Maori people are relegated to the back. Mana whenua are told that the system can’t produce a solution to purchase private land but it can pull money out of thin air to buy back guns or feed an underperforming bureaucracy.

On Friday, Maori Party President, Che Wilson witnessed first hand the spirit of Ihumatao that is drawing support from across the land. He noted that “This is a chance to correct the wrongs of the Crown afflicted against all mana whenua interests at Ihumatao. I urge the Prime Minister to front up and feel the wairua of Ihumatao. This is not a time to select winners and losers; to pick a corporate developer over the diverse interests of tangata whenua as they are being expressed.”

Mr Wilson was particularly disappointed at the condescending caution being issued to the rangatahi to “demonstrate respect”. “By going to Ihumātao she would understand better that there are deep-seated concerns expressed by a growing number of our young leaders across this community. A democratic society allows all the voices to be heard. It is important not to judge from the sidelines of our positions of privilege; kotahitanga only occurs when you respect the rights and provide space for the voices of all; not just the chosen few”.

Mr Wilson visited Ihumatao on Friday and was there till early hours of this morning. “The wairua reflects peace and love and our nation could learn so much from the way the whanau at Ihumatao are portraying themselves.” When the government turns up, “let’s hope they can work with all the key players to achieve real solutions for all mana whenua” states Wilson.

ENDS

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