Tikanga in action as King prepares to visit Ihumātao
President of the Māori Party, Che Wilson said “it is great to see Kīngi Tūheitia going to Ihumātao tomorrow”. It is not normal for any monarch around the world to attend protests and this is a big signal of the importance of this issue to mana whenua and to Aotearoa. “With the King attending, it increases the mana of the response by thousands over the last two weeks” says Wilson. The King attending aligns with the recommendation by the Māori Party to establish an independent Tikanga Commissioner and Office and Wilson notes “it also shows the beauty in our tikanga to resolve issues with aroha and mana”.
The Crown tend to always push issues like Ihumātao into the Treaty settlement corner so that they don’t need to deal with matter. “I have already stated this is a chance for the government to work through the Auckland City Council, so it doesn’t impact on treaty settlement and I know that the Crown has opted for similar options in the past.”
What Ihumātao has done has reminded Aotearoa that we must protect our heritage and now that wāhi tūpuna is a recent addition to our heritage categorisation, the dispute over whether the land is wāhi tapu can be mitigated. “This is our generations Lake Manapouri… and the government needs to stop dodging issues that are led by Māori and conveniently putting them in the treaty settlement space and then say their hands are tied.”
There are always options to mitigate issues and the Crown chooses to treat its Tiriti partner like an ama (outrigger) and therefore smaller rather than the partnership that is evident in a waka hourua (double-haul canoe) where both hauls are equal. The heritage pathway is a valid option as well as working with mana whenua to achieve their papa kāinga aspirations.