The only area the councillors and I overlooked when we work-shopped the resolutions at a briefing was our obligations to local iwi. There are existing protocols underpinning our Treaty partnership. —the Kapiti Lord Mayor K. Gurunathan

Get the facts and focus right, please

By Roger Childs

Guru-in-windbreakerIn one of his recent Kapiti News articles, the mayor, quoted above, was referring to the Martin Jenkins Independent Organisational Review. Instead of focusing on the delay in releasing the report, he chose to emphasize more separatist attention for iwi. 

Guru needs to appreciate that the only Waitangi Treaty that matters is the original one that Maori and some settlers signed on 6 February 1840.

Waitangi 1 (1)That treaty made no reference to any partnership or obligations for central and local government. In exchange for ceding sovereignty to Queen Victoria, the native chiefs (not called Maori until the late 1840s), and the settlers were guaranteed full possession of their lands, dwellings and property, and given the rights of British subjects. Simple as that — no principles or partnerships — and just one protocol: land sales were to be handled by the government.

Separatist treatment

In the current global sense, the question can be framed by whether local iwi are able to secure enough breathing space within a system dominated by a majority culture.

Guru was determined to draw the overseas “Black Lives Matter” campaign into his article. But there is no crossover between Maori in New Zealand and Blacks in the U.S.A. The African Americans are not an indigenous people and came originally from Africa, not the Pacific. Furthermore, although they were forcibly enslaved, they were not subjected to colonisation.  These realities, however, dont faze the mayor.

Guru went on to say: For decades, they [Maori] have said that in the reality of the post-colonial democratic politics they can’t breath (sic). This is a ridiculous and highly inaccurate statement. Maori get very special treatment in New Zealand which is not accorded to other ethnic groups. There are over 90 pieces of legislation which provide for Maori interests and culture; they have their own separate seven seats in parliament; they get special attention from local bodies, and every government announcement of funding provided a targeted allocation for Maori. 

Many politicians from Hobson to Ardern have said we are all one people. The actions of central government and local bodies such as the Kapiti Coast District Council should reflect this concept.