Maori Party responses to the Prime Minister's opening address

It’s been a busy first week back in Parliament. Our MPs replied to the Prime Minister’s address in the house and reminded us all about the importance of the Treaty as the constitutional pou upon which any discussion of nationhood should emerge. Tariana also raised issues about the lack of cultural competency in government departments and the on-going challenge for us all about how to best protect, preserve and achieve the survival of Maori as a people.

In his speech, Pita reminded us all about the kaupapa of the Maori Party including manaakitanga, rangatiratanga and kaitiakatanga. He also reflected on our achievements over the past 12 months including trade training and cadetships, a Maori Economic Growth Partnership strategy, Whanau Ora and our fight against the tobacco and pokies industries to name a few.

Te Ururoa reiterated our identity as a kaupapa party – not a left, centre or right positioned party but rather a tikanga party based on building relationships between people, the natural environment, the past, the present and the future.

Mihi to the new speaker

Tariana congratulated MP David Carter for his new role as Speaker of the House as well as Dr Lockwood Smith for his years of service as an MP, a Minister and most recently as the Speaker.

Art from the inside out

On Thursday Pita closed an exhibition at Parliament of kete, paintings, tivaevae-style quilting, carved taiaha and pukaea and Pacific-style costumes, all created by prisoners. The exhibition was co-ordinated by Arts Access Aotearoa and Parliament’s Collections and Displays staff, with support from the Corrections Department. Pita spoke about the importance of rehabilitating and reintegrating prisoners with whanau and community, and the value of arts in helping prisoners to understand themselves and express their feelings, hopes and dreams. He was really impressed by the excellent work of the artists, and he thanked all the volunteers and administrators who support art programmes in prisons.

Tino rangatiratanga goes global

After many years of work, the indigenous Ainu people of Japan finally have a party to call their own.  This political movement aims to gain tino rangatiratanga for tangata whenua of Japan – it is a movement that has in part been inspired and helped along by the work of tangata whenua here in Aotearoa. A delegation of Ainu is currently in New Zealand and were hosted by Te Ururoa at Parliament. Te Ururoa also lead the Ainu manuhiri on to Rātana Pā last week.  The Ainu have a historical relationship with the Rātana movement – Wiremu Tahupōtiki Rātana was in Japan when he met Ainu Bishop Juji Nakada.  Accounts tell that it was this Bishop who opened the temple at Rātana.

The programme for the delegation’s visit is centred on a study of tino rangatiratanga – investigating Māori genealogy, language, schools, arts, customs and economic development.  They have come to witness our passion for our self-determination – how we express ourselves and our right to be Māori.  It is awesome to see other groups of tangata whenua seeking out their rangatiratanga and we will continue to support our indigenous whanaunga all the way.

Ratana

Our MPs along with members of the Maori Party attended the 140th Ratana celebrations this year in recognition of the importance of the movement and its place in the Maori world. As tangata whenua Tariana has been participating in the Ratana celebrations for a long time and recalls the earlier years of celebrations. Tariana says the marae was once flooded with rangatahi who participated in music, sports and cultural activities. Today it has become an opportunity for politicians to pontificate about what they will do for the future of Maori.

Back to school

Our tamariki have started returning to kura over the last week, and today Pita attended the powhiri for new students at Hato Petera College in Auckland. This school, based in the North Shore, has turned out some of our great leaders, and it is this legacy of leadership, whanaungatanga and educational excellence that we support. Last year Pita announced new leadership scholarships for Maori boarding schools called Te Puawaitanga, and the first round of scholarships will be awarded to students who attend these schools in 2014. There are ninety scholarships in total, with each school getting a maximum of 15 to provide full cover for fees and a putea for educational expenses.

Radio Live

Tune in to Radio Live this Sunday as Tariana will feature on the Wallace Chapman programme at 9am talking about her career including time as a Labour Minister and about former Party President Whatarangi Winiata and his commitment to te ao Maori and the Maori Party.

NZMC in Supreme Court

Just across the road from our offices in Wellington, Maori from around the country have gathered at the hearing of the New Zealand Maori Council versus the Crown over the issue of water rights in the sale of state owned assets. The Maori Party has always supported tangata whenua to use every avenue they wish to use to pursue their rights – and so we are absolutely supportive of the mahi that is being done by the Council, and our hapu and iwi. Water is a major issue for us, and we want to ensure that tangata whenua’s rights are protected across the whole spectrum of commercial, cultural, environmental and social interests.

The Māori Party welcomes your feedback: [email protected]

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