Who Should Vote And What Should Their Vote Be Worth



Annette Sykes, Partner, Rangitauira & Co






I am finding it very difficult to participate in this very structured hui without perhaps giving my views on the past and what are some of the challenges for the future. So if you will bear with me I would like to do a kind of PowerPoint presentation of where I think the issues are for us in Maori organisations before we consider the specific detail that this session has asked us to contemplate this afternoon.


Contrary to what Pakeha would have us believe, our people have evolved organisational systems for over thousands of years yet as we all know in the mid 1800's because of the processes of colonisation and the failure to honour the guarantees of the Treaty of Waitangi, but more importantly the rights of us to have authority in this land, we were denied that mana and the ability to determine our organisational frameworks at least for the last 150 years or so.  And that process of colonisation began then and continues in many guises even now.  We have seen through that process the theft of our resources but more fundamentally it is not just about taking away things that can make money it has been about the systematic breakdown of our cultural, political and economic system.


I want to use a tree as a symbol of organisation and as you see this is a very healthy tree. I want us to be conscious that with all things in te ao or tane mahuta the roots are the most important part that gives strength nourishment sustainability and life to those taonga of tane.


I want us to look at the roots and ask us to symbolise those as the value and principles of our world, not the western world, but our world. I want us to remember that the trunk represents the relationships that bind us together because in the Maori world things like whakapapa should not be used to divide but are seen as relationships that are there to unite us, relationships that protect rangi and papa together in the greatest spiritual sense but more fundamentally in the natural world: in the world of humankind-relationships that preserve our fundamental uniqueness and relationships that bind us together.


I want us to look at the branches of that tree to represent the diversity of our whanau hapu and iwi and in the modern context the many different kinds of Maori organisation that have emerged particularly since the urbanisation trends of the 1960's.  We must legitimate those organisations. I pay tribute at the moment that the Maori women's national collective are meeting, that's one of the most powerful Maori organisations in this country working as it does to protect and guarantee the rights of Maori women that are suffering at the greatest of the affects of colonisation.  Then there are the other urban Maori organisations that operate very much in accordance with the Maori world view, caring about the families that are dislocated from there kainga and looking at ways and means of providing a framework that support those Maori values that give us strength.


Back to the tree where its leaves are of course important because they represent us the people (nga tangata o te ao) but the reality is, in the past 150 years we don't have a healthy tree at all.  What we have is this picture (and it is very important) it's a tree with many branches of organisations that exist notionally but a lot of those are covered in the white colonisers snow, the white colonisers thinking, the white colonisers practices and the roots. The values, are even being submerged by values that are foreign to us. As a consequence we know that our organisations, our political and economic systems, our very being as Maori, are under threat.


So while the branches of Maori organisations still exist, (and no disrespect to the iwi fundamentalists) we can all say with pride we are Ngati Pikiao, we are Nga Puhi, we are Ngati Kahu we are Ngati Kahungungu. The people have become disconnected from the structures that once supported us and that is the fundamental problem that faces all of us, this notional claim of representation, (for instance) in Te Arawa.  66,000 Te Arawa people and our trust boards and our tribal structures and our trusts and incorporations claim that they represent them but the essential question is…do they?  Do they when 40,000 of our people don't live within our rohe? 20,000 of our people now live in Australia and many, many more have become so dislocated from their people they have lost the ability to connect to those branches.


I would like to look at the image of falling leaves as a reflection of how separated we have become. I think if you look at the colour of those leaves the colours are more about the Balmain Tigers or the Silver Ferns or about an affiliation to a sporting body than to any cultural or social obligation. That is identity which roots us to papatuanuku. We are the statistics that show that our people are suffering abject poverty at this time notwithstanding the hype of those of us who work within the government. We have become so separated that many of our people live alone and in situations I am ashamed to say are parallel to what our tupuna saw last century when there was at least a stated policy of extermination of us as Maori.


Given its background in the 1980's, the devolution policies of the government assumed that Maori could pick up where we had left off. Then if we remember and take our minds back to that period, tribal and urban Maori authorities were created to become agents for government programmes (the years of Mana and Access programmes) but that role was soon overtaken by the government being forced by the Courts (not by any moral obligation to protect the rights of us as Maori and the indigenous rights of us in this nation) but by the Courts recognising that they needed to change the way they dealt with us. This was principally because of the small recognition of the Treaty processes. The Treaty fisheries settlement was a global settlement which asked us as Maori to assume a role greater than the delivery of social services.  Now we were moving into a political mandate requirement.


The newly formed tribal authorities then were required to deliver a political process and mandate.  The assumption being of course, that these tribal authorities, these Maori authorities had this healthy tree, this healthy political, social organisational framework. Yet I remember that this wasn't driven by any noble sense of honour it was driven by the minimalist requirements of a government that wanted to settle mana for money. They wanted to effect hasty settlements with individuals to avoid the reality of honouring what the court's (and increasingly) international obligations were pointing to, that required the return, not just of resources, to Maori control, but return to us our authority and mana, and the ways we set up governance functions in this nation.  It was also driven by the fact that Treasury recognised our structures weren't healthy trees, that they were these colonised frameworks with lots of branches but no people. Many of them floundering for want of purpose and direction.  In hindsight if we look at the last 10 years, many of those tribal and urban Maori authorities have struggled because of their lack of resourcing and their lack of infrastructure to overcome the problems of the past 150 years. Sadly those authorities have not been able to represent the needs of us Maori people in any meaningful way, not withstanding the great oratory of many of the leaders and the genuine hard work that many of those leaders untiringly put in for and on behalf of their families their hapu and their iwi.


The other major difficulty was that the process changed from “Maori Development” which was the catch cry in 1984 at the hui taumata, and of the Hikoi ki Waitangi protest marchers about developing mana motuhake for us a Maori nation and social cohesion of us as a people. The new process became one that empowered a tiny Maori elite who strive to participate in economic western models of development with no connection whatsoever to the Maori world. 


The current structure is about wealth and power. It is a structure where those at the top, the tribal leaders, the Maori lawyers, the Maori economic advisors, the Maori who access funds from the Crown Forest Rental Trust, accumulate wealth and power while the rest of us live in poverty.  It is a structure that confines decision making processes to a few, a very few men while the rest of us find out from Te Karere four weeks later what's actually happened.  In fact most times Te Karere finds out after the Pakeha news has actually told us what's going on.


And more fundamentally it's the structure that places us, that posits us, within the newest form of colonisation “globalisation”, a process which is about promoting the multi-lateral agreement on investment which gives powers to multinational corporations to restrict governments of the world, while those same governments take away the resources and rights of the indigenous peoples of the world, those peoples that they have colonised or they had wrongfully taken power from in the past 100, 200 and some countries 500 years.  It's a model too, that goes unchallenged too often by those that would participate on our behalf in international conferences that say how wonderful Maori business is doing for the rest of us.


I think what today's conference is about an attempt to ask us to examine those trends not of the last 100 years but the last 10 years and ask ourselves whether those trends are good for us as Maori people and whether in fact more appropriately we should be getting back to basics, to the organisational frameworks that we've had for thousands of years. Should we reconstruct those alternatives now as something different, something that is more solid and more true to our beginnings and roles as tangata whenua of this land.  Structures that are more about starting from a social base, structures that start from the recognition that it’s not economics or money that is the god of all of us but which start from the recognition that the roots of us as a people are in our values and our relationships and our responsibilities. Those relationships bring to us a structure that is built on whakapapa, that recognises that without people in fact you have no power and you have nothing.


But how much of this do we see in the programmes being developed; delivery programmes that start at the social base? I really felt sorry for Ngatata Love yesterday he got criticised for building houses for god's sake, for our people.  That's fundamental, shelter for us is the most fundamental right for us a Maori. If we don't have shelter we don't survive, and he gets criticised because he doesn't follow an economic framework that enables them to get money from.  These are economic development funds that do not accord with a housing priority they are the kinds of programmes and policy frameworks that are being imposed on us from government. They are nonsensical and must be examined and questioned.  Similarly the Fisheries Commission models for allocation where's the social development in their outcomes its about giving money and quota out without any regard for the good of the people. In fact they are quite happy if they give $100,000 to one of their commissioners every year knowing that most of our people are starving living on $12,000 a year.  Where is the sense in that kind of approach?  I can’t emphasis this enough, we've got to stop getting away from this economic fundamentalism and back to basics, that the key is us as people that the key for us is social cohesion, understanding our relationships, caring about brothers and sisters and cousins and relations and those that we don't know.


And then we have to develop political structures that give force to that social cohesion not the other way round, not going to a lawyer and saying kare to get the money from the Crown Forest Rental Trust I have to set up a legal body can you do that for me?  Well yeah okay kare but how many are there in your body?  Well there's three of us at the moment, but we are going to represent the 25,000 from our hapu so kia ora can you help me do that?  Well you've got it back to front. Isn't it more important that you go and find where the 25,000 are and the 25,000 then determine what kind of structures (not one structure) what kind of kaupapa they want to develop?  At the moment lawyers are paid very well to allow individuals the power to construct empty vessels because those vessels have no substance or frameworks for social development.


And then out of that comes economic development.  I'm not naive enough to believe that we don't have economic development but what I am telling us is that we must avoid economic development imperatives and western consumer models of capitalism determining our social or political well being. To do so, we must ask ourselves some very fundamental questions about the kinds of things that we are doing, the processes that we use to give effect to that, but more fundamentally what we want to achieve out of those processes.  If we are going to make half a billion dollars out of fish for ten individuals to become millionaires well kai ora, I don't want that.  If however we are going to have a billion dollars worth of an asset that's harnessed to provide education, social development, even Maori television for us, then perhaps we are starting to move towards a complement of social development. That is more akin to the values of our tupuna than the capitalist values that seem to be coercively pushed onto us by the so called elite leadership that we are being subjected to by at the moment.  Titewhai calls them the “brown table” I think that there is certainly a lot of them but the other thing I'm worried about too Titewhai is that a lot of the women are being co-opted into the philosophies of that male domain at the moment as well.


So the key issues that I think need to be considered today are not so much about how we vote, is it tribal or hapu national registers or who should be the people permitted to vote. The simple answer for me is all Maori should be on a register, all Maori who is Ngati Pikiao whether you are a half caste Ngati Pikiao/Ngati Porou or a half cast Tuhoe/Kahungungu you can as of entitlement by whakapapa affiliate to all of those. To do otherwise would be to avoid the most fundamental right that you have as a human being and that is the right to identify with your ancestor.  But we need to be very careful as the processes that we are being pushed into by government agents (and many of you who are sitting amongst us here today are those people) it is about reform and participation in the models of power that the coloniser has constructed for us, both internationally and nationally.


And for those of you that work in government many of you subscribe to this because you say the current system is not good for Maori, because Maori are at the bottom of the heap. All it requires is a bit of tinkering; and if we have a few more Maori up there at the top she’ll be right Well fundamentally that model is wrong as I've said. It is about accumulating wealth and power in the hands of a few, while the rest of us Maori are in abject poverty. It’s not a policy, it’s not a framework it’s not a process we should be subscribing to. In fact, we should be using our energies to demolish this kind of process and get back to the model of development of our tupuna.


Bi-culturalism. This is the other myth that a lot of us fall into. Let’s go in and develop parallel models: it’s an optical illusion, many of us think if we develop parallel models they'll go from the bottom up instead of the top down and everything will be all right. But as you will see from this diagram they spin in the same direction and we are being asked to develop parallel systems which aren't about our own mana and authority but are about us participating within the existing system and so we are tolerated as long as we are within the constraints of that which is being prescribed for us.


What we end up doing is mirroring the same pyramidical structures, the same power structures that they do. As Titewhai highlighted they had the “roundtable” we have the “brown table” They have government, we have tribal trust boards and runanga they have their elite advisors we have our elite advisors and who’s at the bottom of the heap? The vast majority of our people, something like 60% of us who earn less than $20,000 a year.


The final model which is one that I challenge this hui to think about is an evolutionary model, it recognises the dynamism of human development it recognises that society is evolving, and that while we as Maori may have had hapu and iwi structures in 1840 in 1990 that iwi and hapu structure may need to be evolved to greater regional models of development and representation to recognise the reality of our social living conditions.  Its about transforming our society while holding fast to the fundamental essence of the society if I take us back to the tree to the values and principles of our tupuna.


So I ask us today when we are considering these questions to look at the real issues that come out of this.


What are the national issues that we come together as a people for, and there are many.  For instance the draft declaration of indigenous rights is a world document that affects indigenous peoples around the world. We should be having national hui about that - all of us and developing accords and processes that give affect to that. Perhaps nationally we should also be looking at some of the Treaty settlements like the language.  That was a neutral claim. Everybody came together and united because our language was under threat. So why don't we develop national bodies, national processes that are about protection and enhancement of those things?  We need to look at the development of regional issues, and for many of us we have to work with each other on ecological and environmental issues in respect to local government agencies like the regional councils and the environmental agencies within you communities.  You may therefore need regional frameworks, regional structures that aren't just tribal, that actually have waka or other affiliations, that work collectively to protect an environmental kaupapa about that whole region.


Then there are issues that are the particular domain of an iwi but those iwi issues may also not be exclusive to them. They may require some hapu structure and input and there may be some issues which may be whanau issues. I know for instance a lot of people have real difficulty in family disputes or about child arrangements going beyond the whanau's resolution process. Of course there may be individual rights and issues that need to be considered in this process of reconstruction that we are undertaking.


Fundamentally though we must ask ourselves: are we going to participate in that or are we going to seek constitutional change ? Is it premature to develop any structures that are about rights and entitlements before we work out whether or not those rights and entitlements are going to challenge the very power structures that oppress us.  We need to look at the questions of roles, responsibilities, and powers, and clearly many of our leaders ringakaha may mean that sometimes need to be brought back to wake you up and smack you around the head with some of the stupid things you are doing.  You know people think they can get away with blue murder now without any fear of come back because you won’t take me to court. That's where you get the bash now. They don't even come to marae to be accountable to their people for the elitist decision making powers that they make without regard for the people they represent. We need to look at models of governance one size does not fit all. Nga Puhi is as different in its tribal reconstruction as Ngati Porou. So the fundamentalism of the Fisheries Commission where there is one framework for allocation goes against the diversity of human organisation that our tupuna respected and it’ as simple as understanding the nature of kawa and tapu and its tribal variation.


Finally, questions of representation. We need to question whether or not the kawa which had denied women to assume new roles for example which kawa  should be maintained in the 21st century and which should be reviewed and modified?.  We need to question amongst ourselves whether or not it should be just tuakana or teina representation as is being the constraints of the past kawa that we have had in our communities.  Recognising that dynamism and evolution that we have all had as part of the human development we have been part of for the past so many years


And finally we need to look at questions of mandate. Where mandates been given, honour that. Kupu mana. Where has that gone in this day and age? How many of us go to huis where 4,000 people give their mandate then another 2 will have a hui down the road next week and tell you you haven't got that mandate We need to start bringing back some fundamental values to guide us in those things that are important to us and we need to participate. We've got to stop having those kinds of huis and saying we are making decisions for the 500,000 Maori who aren't here. If there is no Maori at a hui you can’t be making decisions for them because without their participation you are actually being a new colonise. This is a new form of colonisation or raupatu. You are taking away their rights to represent themselves.


I think the challenge for us is we all have to recognise this is the corporate, globalised world that we have been forced and coerced into and we have to ask ourselves how do we reconstruct the tupuna’s world which have guided us to date. With that reconstruction we can have many visions that will guide us into a diverse 21st century.


























Who Should Vote And What Should Their Vote Be Worth



Manu Paul, Executive Chairman, New Zealand Maori Council




Kia ora tatou




So my apologies for none of the professional suave approach its not very colourful its in black and white.


We were asked to discuss these questions who should vote and what should their vote be worth. Today we have heard from Donna Hall about governance and that implied voting. We have some papers in front of us that still talk about voting. And we heard from Donna talking about a theme called inclusivity


If we consider this word inclusivity we will find that it says to you [ Maori ] giving away some of your power so you can include other people, because the moment you try to include people they help you to decide [ Maori ] and if we then talk about governance well voting goes out the door with this system and we have to ask ourselves to consider our tikanga [ Maori ] because if you believe that you are [Maori] it is your duty to [Maori] to tuku some of your mana to those who didn’t by the grace of god such an illustrious tipuna as yours. Very hard thing within families [Maori] How my times have we heard [Maori] we do it all the time forgetting [Maori] We never ever hear that never but when we do hear it is that I have so many shares and my vote is worth so much and what that tells us is that we have got a funny idea and how we got seduced when we took off about communal capitalism we are all very good individual capitalists the whole lot of us. It’s a serious question who owns it ? [Maori] and then we have to say to ourselves if nobody votes what system do we have are our people and somebody will say well be here for ten years they don’t say that at the end of the ten years the quality of our decision making is unsurpassable yet today [Maori] Everyday Pakeha media in the Herald on television I saw [ Maori] and then he says to me Manu if they really practice that  …people say it was the chief talking let the chief talk but he never talked unless he knew that what he was talking about reflected this [Maori] and so I keep hearing from people all the time wheres our mana


When we talk about mana we talk about work everyone of us has to commit ourselves to some industry of effort so industry of effort mana doesn’t come on a plate and you put it in the bank that’s money. It seems to me that we ought to investigate the area where there is a continuity of consciousness [Maori] when we [Maori] they have their values their customs their laws and their lores and when they got to Hawaii the picked up some Hawaiian lore and customs and the consciousness of the Hawaiian  …….Cook Islands [Maori ] until they got here and they brought with them the technology a language and the arts all in their consciousness and they adapted them to the environment and if you ask ourselves why do we build our whare the way they do and not like the Fijians burres or other peoples it is the environment that does it and all the way through it mana was present and mauri was present so that every animate that’s a living thing inanimate that has no life has a wairua and a mauri and that is all to do with our consciousness it is continuity of consciousness the past experiences the histories we have developed they have all come together to create through mahi and industry of effort and to maintain our mana. So mana is not the size of the vote [Maori] the size of the share [Maori] and so we have a few problems and the working relationship goes like this. Ika whenua did some research and they found out that their tribe consisted only of nineteen males [Maori] because those were the name on the title of a block of land worth $21 million [Maori] and that explains it because its got six foot of concrete and steel so that these big loaders can lift the truck ……… without collapsing through the pumps…….. we’ve  got $21 million worth of concrete and steel [Maori] we ask ourselves how come Ngati Manawa has nineteen people and they are all males …………. The whole nineteen were soldiers of Gibert Mair and Gilbert Mair  did the scorched earth policy ………….


That’s another story but he became a Land Court judge and he gave all his titles to his [Maori] nineteen of them who fought with him and that’s how. The descendants of the nineteen were asked at our hui we want to …………….[Maori] I stood up and said our share for our whanau from our tipuna with interest over the years is over $5 million [Maori]  I said you got it in one [Maori] so we decided to practice exclusivity you no longer belong to us Catholics have a good word for excommunication


What is the power of your mana and how valuable is it if you cant do the mahi and the theoretical position of this is quite simple it is impossible for a tribe to only consist of males it is impossible for a tribe to only consist of nineteen people it is impossible whilst the blood flows in the nineteen people and all te huri with the blood of the rest of the  10,000 Ngati Manawa  people. Now I don’t know what the lawyers or the Maori Land Court would say about this but we are saying [Maori] I think these are sorts of salutary lessons that we all have to search within our tribal bodies and our continuity of consciousness to get us to build [Maori]  the upside down……….[Maori] but at the end of the day what we need to do is to think of what drives us I thought that we should have a look at some of the things that drive us and look at how this thing should……… the end of the story is ……. Have all decided to keep on being members of Ngati manawas? So that is a decision made in the basis of inclusivity. Annette talked about poor old Ngata getting into trouble for trying to build some houses for out Taitokerau whanaunga if you work with the Pakeha you will always get into trouble. Work for the Pakeha [Maori] work for the Maoris sometimes {Maori} not all the time but if we are going to get rid of it and if you want to change the change ought to be exercised through tangata whenua Maori. One of the business reporters asked me what is the value of  …… to Maori I said none he said but it opens up alleyways into markets I said no it doesn’t I am a kiwifruit grower amongst other things I cant sell my kiwifruit at all except to the board Annette talked about …….. lifting the  ….. restriction imports but they marginalise you and I as Maori by not allowing you and I to sell our produce [Maori] ……the kiwifruit business protested went to the tribunal ………..they got knocked out went to the government and lobbied did everything possible because we believed we had markets and from those those markets of our produce we would never ….. …. The figures are quite simple why did you want to get away from the board well I reckon change …..kiwifruit highly successful came back with a contract to supply 100 million trays of kiwifruit per year the total production for New Zealand is 60 million trays so I said to the Chinese tai hoa in 10 years we can develop it  I went to Winston Peters who was our shining knight in New Zealand first armour and Tuariki Delamere and we said you give us the rights to market and we will get rid of all the unemployment in the Bay of Plenty because we were looking at 35,000 full time employees and 200,000 part time employees they said they were going to do it unfortunately …..up and died it didn’t happen so we are still in that position so for APEC I with a 100 million tray market and we were going to give the grower $10 a tray in the bank compared with the current market of $4-20 a tray and the reason we could do that selling at the same price as the Kiwifruit Board was we did not have a multi storey glass structure in Auckland we did not have marketers overseas at $200,000 a year each we did not have a chairman at $600,000 a year we had very little overheads and so we still cant do that they put act through only last month and they said no we are going to keep the Kiwifruit Board and the single seller market. So if you think that you can emulate the Pakeha first thing break the legal control on your right to market tell you something else you cant market is the radio spectrum ….. the right to use our rivers and waters for electricity the government says no right to sell the …..from our waiariki whatever else the government says ……… the right to sell the ……….. in Wairoa. The right to sell our coal the government says no and only Taharoa Incorporation had the right to sell the iron sands because they did a deal with the government


The message is quite simple theres your market utilise your produce whatever you are doing and you will get a profit so for me when this questions was asked for me I had this great strategy I let everybody else talk first and then I pulled them apart unfortunately within their absence I had to produce this paper and I don’t think I have done too bad at all


You need to convince everybody and the job of the majority is to say to the few [Maori] its that sort of tactic we have had to develop because if we don’t put the finger on people we are not going to get the results and at the end of the day everyone of us must commit ourselves to  communal partner with capitalism and that is simply that all our capital is shared communally because then and only then will you get all the Maori on the bottom that Annette has been talking about coming to the party and being part of the party. At the moment the party is for the exclusive including yourselves and myself.