Māori climate activist India Logan-Riley gave a rousing speech at the opening of the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow earlier today – and had a stark warning for world leaders listening to them.’ –NZ Herald, 1 November 2021

Who is representing us in Glasgow?

By Roger Childs

The US president has been there, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the French president, the Prime Minister of India and a host of other world leaders as well, but no Jacinda Ardern.

New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister James Shaw and his entourage of nine have just arrived for the discussion phase, so did anyone speak for our country on the opening day?  

Part-Maori India Logan-Riley did – heard of her? – apparently she spoke for indigenous groups, but no doubt the distinguished listeners – some of the most powerful people on the planet – would have assumed she represented the views of our country. But what did she say? 

The messages on behalf of NZ from Logan-Riley

  • World leaders need to listen to young indigenous people and support their fight for a better future.
  • Climate change issues are rooted in colonialism and we must move away from modern-day forms of it. 
  • New Zealand indigenous activists come from a place where land was stolen by the British crown.
  • Two-hundred-fifty-two years ago invading forces sent by the ancestors of this presidency (referring to Boris Johnson) arrived at my ancestors’ territories, heralding an age of violence, murder and destruction … (By this she meant from the time of James Cook’s first voyage to New Zealand.)
  • The roots of the climate change crisis began with Western countries imperialist and colonialist policies.
  • Land was stolen in New Zealand by the British in order to extract oil and suck the land of all its nutrients while seeking to displace people.
  • And there was also the theft of the foreshore and seabed.
  • We’re keeping fossil fuels in the ground and stopping fossil fuel expansion. We’re halting infrastructure that would increase emissions and saying no to false solutions.

Ms Logan-Riley, seemingly speaking on behalf of indigenous communities around the world, concluded with: This is an invitation to you. This COP, learn our histories, listen to our stories, honour our knowledge and get in line, or get out of the way.

In line with He Puapua

This speech to world leaders was staggering in its dishonesty and deception. As readers will be aware, the government’s support for the He Puapua programme is based on carrying out the recommendations of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. (UNDRIP)

When the declaration came out, Prime Minister Helen Clark wouldn’t support it because many of its Articles were in conflict with our laws and system of government. However, her successor, John Key, had no such scruples. 

Being dependent on the Maori Party to hold power, he instructed Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples to fly off secretly to New York to sign the country up to the UNDRIP. There was no consultation with the public and scant analysis in the media of what it would mean for New Zealand.

Now we have a little known part-Maori lecturing the world’s movers and shakers about what they should do about climate change and lacing it with, an orchestrated litany of lies about New Zealand’s history. 

Why was Ms Logan-Riley there and who paid her expenses?

“We should honour our history and tell the truth about it”

These are the words of our new Governor-General, part-Maori Dame Cindy Kiro. Sadly Ms Logan-Riley didn’t get the message and followed a number of examples in recent years of serial lying about our past.

  • The He Tohu exhibition at the National Library has been telling visitors for years that …. rangatira (Maori leaders) told the world, back in 1835, that New Zealand was an independent Maori nation.
  • Last year local kaumātua, Taitimu Maipi, insisted that the statue of Captain John Hamilton be removed from the city that bears his name because it represented a murderer. But Hamilton had only a few hours in New Zealand as he came off a ship and was killed the next day at the 1864 Battle of Gate Pa.
  • Back in 2019 some Maori activists such as Arama Rata and Tina Ngata claimed that Cook was an imperialist, rapist and murderer. These views were reinforced in Robyn Kahukiwa’s Cook art exhibition at Waikanae’s Mahara Gallery last year. 

It is time for the lying to stop and for activists to tell the truth about our history — and stop blaming colonialism for all the country’s problems, including climate change.  Is honesty too much to hope for?