Last week the Regional Council set in motion a process that will culminate in a referendum in October 2022 on whether Maori should be entitled to dedicated seats on the HBRC.

Here’s the resolution that was passed:

“Instructs the Chief Executive to give notice to the Electoral Officer that a Poll on the question of whether the region should be divided into 1 or more Māori constituencies is to be held at the next election on 8 October 2022, subject to legislative change in the interim; to be preceded by robust engagement and consultation. [Italics added]

Ngati Kahungunu chair Ngahiwi Tomoana opened the ‘robust engagement’ on dedicated Maori seats on the Regional Council with this missive sent to several thousand members of the Ngati Kahungunu iwi (representing about 18,000 people in the Hawke’s Bay region).

To: <kahungunu-panui@kahungunu.iwi.nz>
Subject: [Panui ki te Iwi] A PRAYER FOR THE POWERFUL AND ALMIGHTY

20 November 2020

A message from our Chairman – Ngahiwi Tomoana

A PRAYER FOR THE POWERFUL AND ALMIGHTY

Last week Mere and I watched DJango where Django was a freed ” field nigger” as they put it and his wife Bromhilda was a still a “ house nigger”who he tries to free.   I won’t spoil the end … but here is a prayer for the powerful and almighty who think we are sub-humans.

WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO THINK WE ARE ALL BORN EQUAL UNDER GOD’S EYES BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS UNDER MAN’S EYES

WE PRAY FOR THOSE REGIONAL COUNCILLORS WHO THINK MAORI, TANGATA WHENUA ARE SUB-HUMAN AND DON’T DESERVE A VOTE EQUALLY AT THE TABLE AS THEY ARE ,  WE PRAY FOR THEM

WE PRAY FOR THOSE COUNCILLORS OF FARMING BACKGROUNDS ON STOLEN LANDS WHO DO NOT THINK MAORI COUNT IN DETERMINING THE FUTURE OF THIS REGION AND SHOULD STICK TO SHEARING AND FENCING

WE PRAY FOR THOSE COUNCILLORS FROM AN ORCHARDIST BACKGROUND WHO THINK THE MAORI COMMITTEES OF COUNCIL ARE THE” HOUSE NIGGERS” AND THE SEASONAL WORKERS FROM THE ISLANDS ARE THEIR “FIELD NIGGERS”, WE PRAY FOR THEM

WE PRAY FOR THOSE COUNCILLORS WHOS ANCESTORS WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN THE TREATY OF WAITANGI SIGNING AND HAVE A LEGACY OF BREACHING THE TREATY UP TO THIS DAY STILL WHO THINK THAT MAORI DON’T DESERVE A VOTE AT THE COUNCIL TABLE,  WE PRAY FOR THEM

WE PRAY FOR THOSE COUNCILLORS WHO SUNK BACK INTO THE COMFORTABLE CUSHION OF COLONISATION AND DID NOT VOTE FOR MAORI AT ALL

WE PRAY FOR THOSE MAORI COUNCILLORS WHO ARE STILL SUBJECT TO THE  RULE BRITTANIA CONSTITUENTS AND VOTED ACCORDINGLY

WE DON’T NEED TO PRAY FOR THOSE COUNCILLORS  THAT SUPPORTED MAORI BEING EQUAL UNDER THE TREATY AND AS FELLOW HUMANS

WE PRAY THAT THE POWERFUL AND THE MIGHTY ARE IRRELEVANT TO THE ASPIRATIONS OF MAORI IN THE FUTURE POLITICALLY ECONOMICALLY SOCIALLY AND CUTURALLY.

WE PRAY THAT THEY DISAPPEAR INTO THEIR OWN CLOUD OF POWER AND MIGHT.   BY DJANGO!!!!!

AMEN

Given that Regional Councillors have been rebuked in these remarks, BayBuzz has invited each to respond, and several have.

Rex Graham
These words reflect a deep hurt and disappointment, but are an unacceptable over-reaction.

Hinewai Ormsby
What a disappointing reaction coming from an Iwi Chairperson. He will be invited to face our hapū in due course on this matter because that is our tikanga.

The ultimate disappointment I have all round is that this forced process was executed so inadequately that it has lead an Iwi Chair to a dark place of unwarranted and distasteful accusations. Absolutely unacceptable.

Neil Kirton
These outrageous, confrontational comments are an indictment Ngahiwi’s leadership. They will set back relationships for years.

Will Foley

We are fully immersed in this process & fallout now instead of getting on with ensuring HBRC is fufilling its obligations to protecting & enhancing our environment. There is so much to do. Meanwhile the environment, plan change 6 implementation, Upper Tukituki gravel scheme, water security & all core role work for council has all had to take a backward step. Realistically the rest of this year is a write off in terms of achieving anything around the table. I can only hope we start the new year fresh & get back to what we all stood for. For the sake of our environment & ratepayers.

Martin Williams
By way of brief summary of what I would like to say on the matter, please note as follows to the point that “Those Councillors whose ancestors were instrumental in the Treaty of Waitangi signing and have a legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day”, and assuming this to be a reference to myself (and my ancestors who cannot speak for themselves), I respond:

  • Would a carving of Henry Williams (karuwha) stand at the base of the central Pou of Te Tii Marae at Waitangi, if the ancestors referred to had a legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day?
  • Would Henry and his son Edward have intervened to ensure that the Te Tii Marae land remains in  possession of the local  iwi (Ngati Rahiri), if the ancestors referred to had a legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day?
  • Would Archdeacon Samuel Williams have protested to the Government of the day in 1860, pleading with them not to survey, purchase, and if necessary use force to take land at Waitara, thereby triggering the Māori Land Wars, if this family had a legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day?
  • Would Rev Samuel Williams have  established Te Aute in 1855, and built it despite withdrawal of long promised Government funding, if this family had a legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day??
  • Would the daughters of my great great great grandfather William Williams, a missionary for much of his life near Gisborne, first Bishop of Waiapu based in Napier, and author of the first dictionary recording Te Reo ever printed (still bearing his name under later editions),  have established Hukarere School for girls,  as part of a legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day?
  • Would Apirana Ngata on the passing of William’s son James Nelson have pronounced in Parliament in 1915 that “no family in this country, I doubt whether any family in any country in the world has done so much for any group of people as the Williams family has done for the Maoris of Waiapu County”?
  • Would Samuel have established a Trust which to this day provides substantial funding to Anglican mission and education directly targeted for the benefit of Māori communities, and would I be serving as a trustee of that Trust today, as part of the continued legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day?
  • Would I have served for five years as Chair of the Napier Pilot City Trust with an express purpose/kaupapa of promoting a bicultural approach to community development within Napier, as part of the continued legacy of breaching the Treaty?
  • Would I have completed a course run by Robert Consedine of Waitangi Associates (in 2013) centred on the text Healing our History, to ensure I had a deeper and clearer understanding of the  Treaty and its implications, as part of the continued legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day?
  • Would I have formed and be Chair of an Incorporated Society with the express purpose of increasing public understanding of the formative Pakeha-Maori relationships established at Paihia through the work of my tipuna as missionaries, contributing thereby to a shared understanding of the meaning, significance and importance of the Treaty, and the context in which it was created, as part of a continued legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day?
  • Would I have completed my third semester learning Te Reo at EIT, witnessing to my fellow students that I did so out of respect for Tangata Whenua, as part of a continued legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day?
  • Would I have expressed my strong support for Māori seats at the Regional Council table in fulfilment of the promise of Article 2 of Ti Tiriti, both at the meeting on 18 November, and as reported in the Hawke’s Bay Today on 25 November 2020, as part of a continued legacy of breaching the Treaty up to this day?

The legacy speaks for itself and is not as presented in what is framed as a “prayer” from Ngahiwi Tomoana.

My prayer is for all Māori, not only within Hawke’s Bay but across the nation, that this generation and those to come live in a society in which the promise of Article 2 is fulfilled.

More background on this issue from BayBuzz here and here.

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8 Comments

  1. I actually thought we were getting somewhere with all council and HBRC being more than inclusive in dealings with local Maari iwi…I also thought Tomoana was a well-balanced leader of Kahangungu but after reading that reverse racist ,grievance industry diatribe he’s spouted above, I can only doubt whether this guy is a capable leader or perhaps should seek help . He does Maoridom no service ranting on about the movie Django and trying to invoke sacred mantras …

  2. What an appalling tirade from an individual who appears to be a legend in his own mind.
    The only land “ confiscated in Hawke’s Bay was done by the Waikato tribes when they invaded circa 150 years ago. Not only liberally killing off the local tribe but also enslaving the survivors, many of whom were then eaten. Tomoana should at least attempt to get his facts right. As a part – Maori he should be giving daily thanks for the innumerable benefits he has been blessed with since European settlement. Among them the abolition of cannibalism, the introduction of the wheel, British law and a 200% increase in life expectancy. His racist rant will do nothing for his so – called “ mana.”

  3. From this week’s Economist magazine…
    ”Identity politics, boosted by social media and partisan television and radio, has re-engaged voters. But in solving one of democracy’s problems, identity politics has created others.

    That is because a politics that reinforces immutable identities leads away from the tolerance and forbearance a democracy needs to solve social conflicts. In arguments about who gets what, people can split the difference and feel content. In arguments about who they are—over religion, race and anti-elitism, say—compromise can seem like betrayal. When ways of life are at stake the other lot are not just mistaken, they are dangerous. Having not mattered enough, elections now matter too much…… As a result, the main harm identity politics does…..comes through animosity and gridlock. Politics is supposed to resolve society’s conflicts, but democracy is generating them instead. Partly because tribes live in different information universes, matters of fact like wearing masks and climate change are transformed into disputes about people’s way of life. The result is that……politics has once again become unresponsive. It fires people up so much that it obstructs the compromises needed for society to move forward.”

  4. Kia Ora Tom, Ngahiwi’s prayer has drawn some criticism particularly from Councillor Williams. Williams raises issues about legacy while over looking the cost of their so called legacy. He does not make any comment about the cooperation of our tupuna in gifting land and preparing the way for his family to benefit using the Anglican Church to further their fragility at a time when our people were dominant. The time for Maori wards and seats can it continue to be denied.

    Likewise Councillor Flood (nee Hinewai Ormsby) is misguided. She may think her hapu think a certain way but her happy did not vote her in. She is counted as a Maori councillor whether she wants that accolade or not. Therefore she should be voicing the Maori voice which it is more and more beginning to call for change a lot louder.

    Overall I think that both councillors I have mentioned by way of responding to their comments lack courage to do right. The lack the mandate to side step the issue and instead throw it out to the public to decide. Well let me save everyone the time and energy. ’Joe public’ will not agree to Maori wards or seats. If that were so Taranaki council would have retained their Maori seats. Andrew Judd had courage. Then it got sent to the Poll. ’Joe public’ the dependable nay sayer to Maori aspirations said no. Exactly what will happen here. And people will say that’s democracy yeh right.

  5. I think it’s a useful strategy to wait till Nanaia has a chance to throw out the referendum poll – this would have led to non-Māori majority vetoing Māori seats and created even more division in my opinion. This is a partnership issue not majority rule and Councillors, hapu and community groups will hopefully now have time to educate and inform people around that.

  6. Councillor Williams, when your ancestors arrived here, it was in their best interests to establish a good relationship with Maori, so they would have protection be able to feed themselves etc. As for Te Aute College and others, they were all built on land gifted by Maori. Stop telling us how to be Maori.

  7. In view of the unimaginable…… DAILY savagery, barbarism, cannibalism and slavery, that then existed in NZ. I truly believe Cr Williams forebears, (as were others) were “brave devoted soles” who toiled their utmost to help build, the by No means perfect, NZ we are ALL fortunate to have today. Amen

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