From GO to FRO – The Dynamics between Government Organisations and
Flax Roots Organisations
Kym Hamilton - Ngati Kahungunu, Nga Rauru, Ngati Raukawa,
manager and mother of two beautiful tamariki
This jointly presented paper presents a view of the organisational and
personal struggles associated with living and working in a 'white
supremacist capitalist patriarchy' as defined by bell hooks and the culture
of silence and oppression of working with 'our' people who act as
'oppressors of the oppressed' as represented by Paolo Freire. We
recognise without hope there is hopelessness.
As university graduates and women committed to the advancement of kaupapa
Maori futures for our tamariki, Kym and Marama discuss frankly the
ideological and philosophical dilemmas facing our people and structures in
creating spaces and positive change for our tamariki and whanau. These have
been personal and evolutionary journeys created through education and life
Maori development in every shape and form is often romanticised and
protected as sacrosanct at the risk of providing fodder for media and
political exploitation. Our people who have pure and laudable intentions
are often disempowered and sacrificed to the cause. This paper takes off
the 'rose tinted' glasses and attempts to provide understanding and a
framework for thought and action that is as simple as asking the question
and providing the answers about 'whose interests are being served' in the
work that we do, government contracts, regulations and legislations and
structures we replicate and emulate.
Case studies from working for government, working in Maori development and
education illustrate the lessons and the difficulties in staying true to the
kaupapa and the small contributions we can all make to the kaupapa.
This paper provides a challenge for a unified whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori
response to the divide and conquer techniques of the crown and our own
people to create a critical mass that will support a positive future for our
tamariki where they don't have to be warriors because we have done that mahi
already. The HIKOI has provided an example, platform and metaphor for
whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori development, unity and strength that we need to
replicate to address the barrage of issues facing our people today.
Kaiwhakahaere Matauranga , Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated
Ko Pakiaka te maunga, Ko Waiau to Awa, Ko Ngai Tama Te Rangi, Ngati Hine Manuhiri me Ngati Whaita nga Hapu. Ko Ngati Kahungunu, Nga Rauru me Ngati Raukawa nga Iwi
people are very polite
they only kill you with words
I have to be very good
and you will have to be 'nice as pie' too.
If I raise my voice (God forbid a fist!)
then I will be considered another emotional native,
out of control, not rational.
A woman without facts
is a very vulnerable woman indeed
in this place, these times.
(excerpt from Stolen
Dreams, a poem by Roma Potiki)
This presentation is
inspired by the desire to share some of the ways I have experienced Crown-Maori
dynamics and power relations both as a public servant and as an iwi education
worker. For me these issues
highlight the challenges that face us in realising and creating a society of
tino rangatiratanga. Everyone has
stories to share that can help us provide better and more insightful leadership
practices and support in all avenues of work..
When I first spoke to Marama about presenting at this conference we
agreed that it was far better for us to present information that was rooted in
our experiences, rather than the knowledge created by others.
I consider myself to be quite ordinary, but fortunate in both my life and
work. I have whanau and friends who
I love and who love me. I find hard
research interesting, but less often inspiring.
It is the stories, the experiences and the observations that spark a
debate or conversation, thought or idea or challenge a belief.
These are the times and things we wanted, to bring to this conference.
Marama Ngawhika, who is unable be here today has been instrumental in
giving me the simplest frame of reference for analysing decisions and behaviour.
She received this wisdom from a kuia.
This framework is the question “Whose interests are being served?”.
I am grateful to my whanaunga Charlie Ropitini who agreed to present his
whakaaro on leadership as someone who like me has travelled overseas and who is
embarking on the intellectual journey through university. I know that Charlie is destined for greatness and has already
achieved so much in his life, providing leadership and inspiration to students
he has taught overseas and to his whanau at home.
I want to share some
personal stuff with those of you who don’t know me in an attempt to help you
understand where I am coming from.
I am the eldest
daughter of Bill and Phillipa Hamilton who have both had a long association with
education as teachers, principals and as teachers’ union workers.
I have a younger brother and sister who have supported the NZ brain drain
by moving to Australia some years ago. I
worked for 8 years in the bar and restaurant scene to subsidise my student loan
and spent a couple of years working as a reliever in an early childhood centre.
have an incomplete Masters thesis that was to be on Maori single mothers and
education and every year my fear that my thesis would rest amongst the dust of a
university library grows fainter. The
changing demographics of Maori households and the increasing social isolation
highlights that there is a need to address the issues for changing Maori
families. Somehow we need to ensure
that we have the faith and skills to realise our aspirations, but at this time
and for myself, I am not convinced that a thesis is best way of achieving this.
I have seen first hand how little good research influences policy and
Despite this, I
began work in the public service in 1998 starting with the Ministry of Education
as a contract co-ordinator and playing Maori policy analyst musical chairs
through Te Puni Kokiri, back to the Ministry of Education – two divisions -
and then on to the Department of Internal Affairs.
Late in 2003 I was fortunate to be selected by Ngati Kahungunu to become
their Education Manager.
I have two wonderful and
amazing children; both boys aged ten and four, to two different fathers.
I have learned a few of
things over the years.
I have learned that
when your child is being bullied for being a whitey in a Kura Kaupapa that it is
easier to change the way he deals with it than the way the school deals with it.
In this case it is easier to provide my son with skills and understanding
to deal with the pressure than change the culture of an institution.
I have learned that a
three year old can have a political education, every time my baby hears the word
“government” on the radio he tells me that they are mean because they took
our moana and we should go to Wellington and kick them in the ure.
A political education can never start too early.
I have learned that
government policy development has little to do with good advice, evidence and
research and more to do with the wishes, whims and dictates of Ministers who may
or may not know what they are talking about.
I have learned that while
public service managers may not be brighter or more informed that you, they
certainly wield a lot of power. I
am learning to accept that most people want to do the best that they can, but
also that the entrenched behaviours of organisations and individuals limit the
ability to be truly effective in creating positive change.
have had many public service friends and colleagues, support staff and managers,
who have shared similar ideologies and philosophies for change, and who have
been either completely burnt out through trying to the right thing in their work
or disillusioned by the inability of the organisation and its upper hierarchy to
provide the necessary tools and support to make effective change.
Formal Education lessons
1997 as a full time masters student I wrote a paper for a Maori education class
the topic was Tou Moemoea mo te Matauranga Maori.
Eight years ago I wrote of the yearning for Maori power and control over
education, society and our own destinies. I
subscribed to the fear that Maori medium education may be providing another tool
to a colonised reality for our tamariki with the Pakeha standards, curriculum
and regulations, impacting on what was intended to be a Kaupapa Maori
experience. An example of this was
given at a language revitalisation workshop I attended recently.
One of the speakers asked what a hanuiti was and asked us to write it
down. The case in point is that
many of us wrote that it was a sandwich, rather than he kai I waenganui.
Another challenge from this presenter, was that we have a nation of
language learners who we need to turn into speakers as quickly as possible, the
price if we don’t is that when our kaumatua generation disappears so does the
informal nature and fun of te reo Maori.
At University, I
loved the Maori education theorists including Wally Penetito, Whaea Rose Pere,
Mason Durie and Matua Rangihau. What these theories were unable to show me was the strategies
for turning back the tide of the ‘white supremacist capitalist patriarchy’-
somehow we need to be able to move beyond the control, rules and regulations of
Crown financiers and being able to deal with these power structures on an equal
footing. I believe that this is
still a path of discovery and challenge for all of us.
These teachers and theorists were the leaders who inspired me to think in
terms of tinorangatiratanga.
When I was a student
I was pretty naive or hopeful about the changes I would make to life, New
Zealand and the universe in my lifetime. I
always believed that my studies at university were providing me with the ideal
theoretical understandings to influence change.
University and other learning can be liberating in this way.
I was studying at university I had my first son.
Although I was already involved in education, as a parent, the education
of my child increased my awareness and expectations. My son was initially in mainstream early childhood education,
a centre at which I had been a reliever and I was really happy with this but
realised that what I couldn’t give him was the reo, something I regard as
central to Maori identity, so I chose kohanga reo.
decision for me to place my children in kaupapa Maori education for me has been
based in the challenge to follow tinorangatiratanga in education.
Sometimes good, sometimes bad. My
10 year old went to three kohanga and has been to one reo rumaki and two kura
kaupapa. My four year old has been
to four kohanga reo. It seems sometimes that the more you know about education the
harder it is to find institutions that can support your expectations.
New Zealand a White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy?
One of my favourite authors, a black American writer and academic, bell hooks, in describing America, claims that social hierarchy is not only based on the subordination of women, it is also white supremacist and capitalist.
This results in a society in which theoretically men are the powerful, women the powerless; capitalists the powerful, workers the powerless; white people the powerful, non-white people the powerless. Gender, class and race shape society. But in reality it is more complex than theory. Not all brothers are equally powerful and not all sisters are equally oppressed. At times, class or racial status trumps the rule of the brothers.
Bell hooks has shown me how to understand the
challenges to tino rangatiratanga for indigenous and minority peoples at a
global level. For me, she has
inspired my thinking and given voice to my frustrations with social, political,
and racial issues. I read her books
and essays about sexism, racism, class issues, capitalism and find myself
nodding, laughing, crying and generally feeling ‘right on sister!’.
Ms hooks embodies the intellectual side of the struggle to realise tino
rangatiratanga. She identifies the
ability of everyone to be able to read and write and participate in the world is
one of the most important challenges to society today.
Kawai ora, the working party report on Maori adult literacy defined Maori literacy as “Reading the world, reading the word, and being the world”. This group defined literacy in a Maori context to include being bilingual to being multi-lingual in terms of being versed in whakapapa and reading geography, tukutuku and whakaairo and understanding body language for how it relates to relationships and understanding what is not said, as much as what is said. These are things that impact on our ability to relate to others and to articulate our own identity. More than mainstream education at this time, kaupapa Maori education, wananga and whanau have the potential to provide this holistic literacy to our whanau and our tamariki.
Moana Jackson, Mereana Pitman, Annette Sykes, Mike
Smith, Ken Mair and Whaea Tariana all provide modern day leadership for me
towards rangatiratanga – I think it is shameful that it has taken many of us
Maori so long to catch up and cotton on to the programme.
As an aside, I remember in a university class I was told about a class
asked to identify 10 Activists. Half
of them were to be non-Maori.
In the end we can
all recount the ways in which NZ is a white supremacist capitalist patriarchy,
the personal ways we have felt it, the disgraceful demon-graphics attributed to
Maori in comparison to non-Maori. What does this matter? The
overarching challenge for Tinorangatiratanga is redressing the balance of
power and control to create better futures as whanau, hapu, iwi, organisations
The Art of War
The Art of War is a book has been used in corporate business planning to strategise in a competitive dog eat dog world, and I suspect also in political campaign planning. It was written more than 2000 years ago by a Chinese War Strategist - Sun Tzu. What I learned from this book was that there is a need to know your enemy in order to create change and win the war.
Tzu provided enlightenment to the pains of understanding our history, struggles,
power imbalances. He reminds us
that the enemy is not really any one individual, but the combined efforts of a
dominant mass of people and culture and the systems that sustain it.
Tzu also highlights the need for effective moral leadership that captures the
hearts and minds of followers, along with the sneaky skills required for
intelligence gathering and ways to expose the weakness of your enemy.
The creation of the
Maori party has captured the hearts and minds of many of us.
The destiny and success of this party rests on all our shoulders, their
success will be our success, their failure, ours too.
I don’t know that I can stress strongly enough how I believe that the
Maori party has provided us with unique opportunity to challenge the nature of
democracy and representation in this country.
The genesis of this party was our hopes and dreams for our mokopuna and
ourselves. This kaupapa has not
I believe that it is
useful to have Maori working for the government, providing they are in positions
making important and well informed decisions, providing policy advice, programme
funding and intelligence gathering that serves and works for Maori.
When I was working for TPK
or the Ministry of Maori development, the agency had two main functions.
One was to influence the policies of mainstream government agencies to
ensure they were more effective for Maori and the other was an audit function to
discover where Maori targeted funding was being spent and how effectively this
was being spent. For all its
faults and flaws, Closing the Gaps report and the audit function of TPK had a
huge effect on improving the prioritisation of government funding and the threat
or rumour of a TPK audit certainly improved the monitoring and tracking of this
money and some creative reporting on how mainstream funding was benefiting
Maori. A visiting Canadian educator
commenting on issues of continuous assessment stated that “you can’t keep
weighing the cow, you need to feed the cow”, a statement I hold true. However, if no-one cares about the cow enough to weigh it,
they are unlikely to feed it! Things
that go unmeasured, take on a low priority.
Great White Right Way?
I started writing this
paper around Waitangi day this year and have a few thoughts to share on this.
attend Waitangi to remember their tipuna and commemorate the signing of the
founding document of the Treaty relationship with Tipuna Pakeha.
And what does the Crown do today?
James Busby, Henry
Williams, Richard Taylor, John Mason, Samuel Ironside and the others must be
turning in their graves at the behaviour of their descendents and crown role
inheritors. They travelled to
places unknown (well to them!) outnumbered many times over by Tangata Whenua at
a time when Pakeha laws had no place in this land to try and establish an
agreement with the local people. Did
they leave Waitangi and turn tail back to England because they were abused and
threatened or did they cry when the natives said mean things to them in their
korero? When I went to England in
the early nineties, I was quite indignant that all those English people had
never heard of the Treaty of Waitangi. However,
I am even more indignant about the political and media advantage taken through
mainstream New Zealand’s positional ignorance.
What is really going on
between Crown and Iwi?
A paper commissioned by a
government agency and undertaken by a Maori consultancy – IC Solutions
on the relationships between iwi organisations and government organisations came
to the unsurprising conclusion that the Crown is unwilling to engage in true
report identified the need for Government agency middle managers (including
Maori managers) to undertake decolonisation.
Iwi saw these bureaucrats as gatekeepers, treating iwi as sub-ordinate
employees. It was also suggested
that often Maori public servants engaged in power struggles with iwi
organisations, because of their own fragmentation from their authentic Maori
identities and their adoption of rangatira as the pedagogy and culture of their
suggestion is rather well illustrated by the crown dictating that Maori public
servants were not to participate in the Hikoi.
There is a provocative story published by one our Native American
whanaunga who describes what it means to be a ‘good native for all seasons’
and sums up the theory by Paolo Freire on how the oppressed become the
oppressors of their own people.
The new ''good Indians'' owe their positions to the struggles of modern
Indian-rights warriors or hostiles. As soon as they are on the payroll, they try
to erase the institutional memory of those who got them there, the history of
the journey and the reasons for the struggle in the first place.
The ''good Indians'' are shameless about palming off the wisdom and
achievements of the new ''hostiles'' as their own. If non-Indians don't like any
of the ideas, the ''good Indians'' immediately condemn them as too
controversial, too political, too radical and too, well, hostile.
report on tangata whenua-crown relationships suggests that there is a fear
and/or lack of understanding of the aspirations of iwi.
To assume that white imperatives are the best frame of reference for our
development as a nation is racist and full of white privilege and smacks of the
same reasoning that caused the War on Iraq, the dropping of the Hiroshima bomb
and the creation of concentration camps during World War Two.
Concentration camp survivors talked about the most critical value being
tolerance and the importance of remembering the past or history in order to
avoid repeating it.
Maori represent the worst health, education and justice statistics, However, as
collective whanau, hapu, iwi and communities we also represent people who know
that the loss of our reo me ona tikanga (aroha, manaaki, whanaungatanga,
wairuatanga etc), the destruction of our collective capacity to practice our
tikanga will mark the end of our existence as a people.
I believe it is this that gives kaha to our fight for tino
The messages we are
hearing in the media is that Maori aspirations and economic development have no
place in New Zealand society. Like most other indigenous peoples, the systematic theft and
undermining of our taonga has created a situation where Maori hereditary wealth
has been diminished in size and value to feed the Pakeha inheritance of land,
culture and economic and social opportunity.
One of our Kahungunu
kaumatua tells a story of a native American taking his son to go and see a
Western movie. When Dad asks his
son what he thought of the film his son replied sad and confused “ Dad,
don’t we ever win?”
The growth of the cultural
advisory services in government and for government has been to the detriment of
our tikanga. The dial-a-powhiri for
welcoming new senior Pakeha staff and overseas visitors, adopt a Maori second
name (Te Tahuhu o te Matauranga/Ministry of Education), karakia to bless the
building, begin our meeting have been systematically abused and misappropriated.
The intention of well meaning Maori public servants and Maori consultants
believing that they were increasing the likelihood of improved treatment of
Maori staff and clients is a falsehood come home to roost.
I have been one of those
‘good natives’ or well meaning Maori public servants, truly believing that I
could make a difference from the inside-out.
During this time I worked for four agencies, one of them twice.
I was grateful for the opportunities to earn a decent pay check and turn
my brain to negotiating inside and outside of my agency for policies, programmes
and practices that would be more effective for Maori.
I don’t know if the experience has turned me into a pessimist or a
cynic or if I was already halfway there when I was at university. The dilemma for me is that I have an expectation that the
changes that are required to really make differences that are both effective for
Maori and effective for the whole country are being stifled or stymied by
bureaucrats at ministerial and agency management levels.
It has taken me some time, but what I have grown to believe that what is
good for Maori is good for everyone.
I am justice driven and
can’t help myself getting involved in a good scrap when friends and colleagues
are treated badly.
Over the past few years I
have found myself involved in supporting Maori public servants in situations
where, generally, Pakeha Managers have had assumed Maori identity and culture
was part of what these staff members were required to give, even though none of
them were hired to a cultural advice position. Issues of white privilege and the
culture of whiteness are priority areas for greater public examination and
debate. This is a field of study
that is growing and Peggy Macintosh
highlights some of the often unseen aspects of white privilege in statements
can swear, or dress in second hand clothes or not answer letters without having
people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy
of my race
I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group
I am told about our national heritage or about civilisations, I am shown that
people of my colour made it what it is
can criticise our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and
behaviour without being seen as a cultural outsider.
Why do our politicians and
state figureheads find it so hard to see that normal white and western practices
already dominate our lives to the detriment of Maori world view practice?
Most recently, they want to encroach on the last bastion of the Maori
world, the marae and the powhiri. Treating
the powhiri like some fast food menu option, eat in or take away, the
suggestions of a new improved McDonalds powhiri is a farce.
Perhaps we as iwi and Maori should reconsider where, when and to whom we
will bestow this traditional honour.
Sometimes my focus has
been on the remedies for the injustice and the battle, rather than focussing on
how to get everyone through a situation with their mana intact, or winning the
war for justice. These are things
that I rely heavily on my mentors, friends and colleagues to help me
with. Patience is a virtue, but not
one of mine. I know that I am
bright, but I am still working on being wise.
I have a lot to learn from others, and I doubt this will ever change.
Iwi Mahi and Leadership
In working for the iwi as
an education manager, I am inspired by our mission that seeks to enhance the
mana and well-being Ngati Kahungunu whanau whanui.
I am also proud that we have a statement in our strategic vision that “we
will not compromise our principles for financial expediency”.
I am also heartened that we are seeking to serve and empower whanau as
the core of our education strategy.
When I first started in
this role I approached it a bit like Clark Kent throwing off his clothes to
become Superman. I threw off the
fetters of the public service and was righteous and flying that
tinorangtiratanga flag high in the face of bureaucracy, mostly with the
support of my board and the organisation. I
was personally affronted at some of the agency behaviours, even through I
wasn’t really surprised. An
informal paper from the states I read, titled NGO - friend or foe stated that
almost any government agency or service acts as an agent for stability or
continuity with a tendency to block or at least slow down change, whereas the
voluntary sector exists to bring about change – in individuals and in society.
Not everything you read on the net is true, but this provides some
explanation of the tensions. This paper also highlighted a list of the common perceptions
that both parties often have about one another.
The adage ‘that you
catch more flies with honey than vinegar is as true’ as is the one that
states “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. The challenge is to make sure that in negotiating government
contracts we are working from our principles and are vigilant in ensuing
that the work that we are undertaking primarily serves our members, our people.
If our work serves both the crown and the iwi goals then we are justified
in seeking government funding. It
is not our job to do the work of government, but rather to achieve what they
In addition to seeking the
guidance of the board in decisions and dilemmas, I am fortunate in having an
amazing General Manager who is totally driven by the mission and values of Ngati
Kahungunu for the benefit of mokopuna and tamariki.
She is a true peacemaker and collaborator and works across health,
housing, fisheries and a has created a range of tangible achievements for the
iwi organisation and our people. Her
political consciousness is pretty well aligned with mine, which makes it easy to
both seek out and listen to her advice.
I tend to phone up my Dad
in Wellington when I need a bit of support or advice about iwi politics or
government agency issues – he was a negotiator in the Nga Rauru Treaty
Settlement and challenged how the term reasonable and honourable would be
included in the settlement, amongst other things.
My mother has recently
completed a negotiation and dispute resolution course and has a long history in
Education. She has been invaluable
in reigning in my often hot-headed and so-honest-it-burns approach.
For comfort, a good slap
and pono ki te kaupapa korero I rely on my friends like Marama, some of them iwi
workers and some of them government workers.
These are all people who constantly support, challenge and contribute to
my leadership beliefs and actions. I
would hope that they view this relationship as reciprocal!
I believe that good leaders are also lead by others and I think that
Whaea Tariana demonstrated this in walking away from the Labour party.
In sharp contrast to the
public service, most people who are
working for Maori, hapu, whanau and iwi are volunteers.
These are roles that we pick up because we truly want to make a
difference and feel that we have an authentic voice to give to our work.
This often comes at a huge cost to these people, personally and
financially. This cost of Maori
leadership is perfectly illustrated in one of the most interesting biographies I
have ever read. This biography on Sir Graham Latimer by Noel Harrison was
published in 2002.
provided insight into the values, behaviours and attitudes of politicians and
successive governments. It paints
clear pictures of the political football that Maori-Pakeha race relations are in
New Zealand. It is frightening
because it shows just how overwhelming the size and might of our opponent is and
how little things have changed over the decades.
It follows that while race relations in this country remain so poor, that
crown-iwi relationships will continue to be problematic.
Amongst other things, ignorant publicly displayed attitudes inferring
that Maori should both be grateful and willingly accept being continually
compromised, in terms of Crown prerogatives, will be to blame for continued
racial disharmony in Aotearoa.
A momentous inspiration in
Maori leadership was, of course, the Hikoi Takutai Moana.
It was amazing in so many ways. From
a Hauora perspective it has been cited as one of the greatest health
interventions, the hikoi through towns, the uplifting of the wairua.
As an education intervention, I believe it was notable for the number of
Maori submissions, the critical analysis, and political education and action our
people realised through participating in the hikoi.
Perhaps if the more recently formed orange ribbon protestors had joined
us on the hikoi with their tractors, the labour government may have been more
inclined to heed our cry.
The might of collective
whanau, hapu and iwi is a wonderful cause for celebration and challenge to
replicate in our dealings with the crown. As
whanau, as hapu and as iwi, as people interested in better futures for our
tamariki and our mokopuna in Aotearoa we need to pull together.
We must avoid the Crown divide and conquer techniques that have been our
downfall over centuries – I am confident that relationships between and
amongst Iwi and hapu, groups and groupings, like Treaty Tribes, can be built
upon and will give us the strength to achieve our visions and missions for our
There is a whakatauki
- Ko te Amorangi ki mua, ko te hapai o ki muri – loosely translated
this means, the front is only as good as those at the back.
This can be interpreted in that our leaders are only as good as those
leaders coming through. There is an
urgent need to look at the succession of young Maori leaders to these positions
and to make it appealing and remove the barriers to their participation.
I would hope that if my ten year old son chooses to participate in hapu,
iwi or national leadership in the years to come that roles, strength and
strategic discussion are far advanced from what they are today.
It is our responsibility to make sure that our children are not fighting
the same tired battles that we are today.
I also believe that there
is no place more important to be a leader than your own whanau and the beauty of
this is that there are many leadership roles to play within whanau these may be
care, matauranga and formal education, financial management, goal setting, fun
and recreation. A hui that our
whanau held earlier this year highlighted the number of goals that we had ranged
from buying a house, to buying a packet of purple gum.
We all recognised that we needed to be active and vigilant in order to
meet our goals as a whanau and need to have more whanau hui to check our
progress. My three year old felt
really empowered by telling me to write down every crazy thing he said.
Whaea Rangimarie Rose
Turuki Pere has a wonderful korero about leadership about the concept of
Rangatira – and it is that in Peacetime leaders are at the back, but when the
crunch or crisis appears they are up the front.
Her korero is that all people are leaders and have the ability to speak
with the voice of authority and there is a challenge to keep ourselves well in
every way in order to lead – ranga is to weave and tira is generations.
The word rangatira can also be broken down to Ra – the central sun,
Ngati – the living breath or iwi – meaning that we are the living breath
beginning and ending with the central sun and the divine spark.
The whakatauaki of this
conference is aligned with a real message for all leaders - mauri tu, mauri ora,
mauri noho, mauri mate - in the
eloquent words of Amster Reedy, an amazing leader and inspiration -
this is translated as Get up and go or sit around and die.
Within this there is a challenge for everyone of us to get out there
and make a difference. All of us
possess the vitality and the challenge is to honour our tipuna and celebrate our
mokopuna in the changes we all strive to make to the future of our whanau and
I hope that we are able to
come together across political parties, iwi affiliations, generations (kaumatua
and tamariki) and race to develop, articulate and achieve a vision of a
beautiful Aotearoa that would include sustainable development, more respect and
kindness towards one another, where economic development is secondary to our
social development. Where
international and national economic deals are underpinned by social development
and human rights principles. A nation where being Maori, being iwi, and being young or old
and being in Aotearoa is celebrated.
If this cannot be achieved
peacefully, then perhaps we need to look to the Basque for inspiration (I was
told that they blew up television satellites to convince the government that
their language must be broadcast on public television) or to principles of
change management to create a changed environment.
What level of instability and crisis would be necessary to effect change?
And how badly do we really want it?
In the words of a Great
Maori band UB40 I would like to conclude with an excerpt from a song that
challenges us all - Ka Tu Ka Ora.
Sing our own Song by
The great flood of tears
that we’ve cried
For our brothers and
sisters who’ve died
Over four hundred years
Has washed away our fears
And strengthened our pride
Now we turn back the tide
We will no longer
hear your command
We will seize the control
from your hand
We will fan the flame
Of our anger and pain
And you’ll feel the
For what you do in gods
We will fight for the
right to be free
We will build our own
And we will sing, we will
We will sing our own song
When the ancient drum
The voice of our
Forward Africa run
Our day of freedom has
For me and for you
We will fight for the
right to be free
We will build our own
And we will sing, we will
We will sing our own song
(1)The Moral Law – do others believe in your war and will they follow?
(2) Heaven – is this the right time, temperature, and season – how is the political climate and the ripeness of the moment.
(3) Earth – is about the location and distance in terms of chance and safety. Where will the battle take place for the best impact?
(4) The Commander is the leader and virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage.
(5) Method and discipline are about control of resources human, financial and information and making the right decisions at the right time.
The Art of War Summary - Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise: -- (a) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law? "in harmony with his subjects." (b) Which of the two generals has most ability? (c) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? (d) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
Harjo (2004) Indian Country