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We are holding you to account Jacinda

06 August 2019

Che Wilson, President of the Māori Party says the Government needs to do more than blow smoke at Police who continue to deploy tactics to create unrest at Ihumātao. “If the events of the last two nights at Ihumātao are a playbook for Crown Māori relations under this government, we’ve got a long way to go to live up to the promise of Te Ara Whiti.”

“The very name given to the glossy new government department Te Arawhiti suggests the building of a bridge between the Crown and Māori and yet the actions of Police are anything but that”, says Che Wilson.

“On Sunday night we saw Police attempt to block Ihumātao protectors from access to the maunga to conduct waerea, karakia and waiata. Last night reports and images show Police at Ihumātao knocking over Pania Newton who has been the embodiment of rangimārie and separating whānau from the frontline”.

“What is the state of relations between tangata whenua and the State when peaceful whenua protectors are subjected to the terror of Police bearing arms and growing in such numbers to create fear and incite unrest such as what we see at Ihumātao?”

“Where else are peaceful acts of protection by citizens in Aotearoa met by Police who claim to need to maintain peace and safety? Safety from what? All I have witnessed at Ihumātao is the showing of thousands of our people standing peacefully in solidarity to see the rightful recognition of Ihumātao as a heritage site. I am so proud of the protectors for maintaining rangimārie in the face of all that they are subjected to.”

“But what I’m not proud of is the Prime Minister’s media comments this morning justifying Police actions saying that there was a particular site that was subject to a court order that Police were concerned was going to be accessed. She also says that the solution should be a by Māori for Māori solution. That’s rich coming from her when it is the Crown that created this. How about she hold true to her word at Waitangi and take accountability for the injustices that continue to be perpetrated against our whānau at Ihumātao?”

This is history repeating itself with remnants of Parihaka and the Tuhoe raids and knowing the well documented impact this terror has had on our communities, I condemn the actions of Police. There is no place for State actions which cause intergenerational trauma on our people, and that is undoubtedly what the actions of Police at Ihumātao will do.”

“The threat of passive resistance surely cannot justify armed Police in growing numbers. Only on Saturday we were at Ihumātao when 800 Waikato Tainui joined Kīngi Tuheitia to recount the shared history of the Crown’s deliberate attempt to eliminate the people of Ihumātao and all of Tainui as staunch supporters of the Kīngitanga.”

“The question on the minds of communities throughout Aotearoa now will be what more does the State have planned at Ihumātao to subjugate the rights of our people at the expense of others?”

ENDS.

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