Disappointment and Disillusionment: The Te Atiawa Settlement

June 6, 2014

Last week I wrote in full support of the recently agreed Te Atiawa settlement with the Crown – writing based on the belief that the land at the heart of our claim – the Pekapeka block in Waitara – would be returned to our iwi.  That is why yesterday’s initialing of the Deed of Settlement in Wellington should have been a joyous occasion for our iwi.   Yet, in a few short hours that sense of relief that the long road to settlement was finally over was replaced by a bitter sense of disappointment and disillusionment with our leaders.  In all their infinite wisdom they had elected not to take up the Crown, and New Plymouth District Council’s offer of including the Pekapeka lands in the final settlement.

It is beyond comprehension.  The taking of this land led to the outbreak of the Land Wars, and forced Te Atiawa into a nomadic existence for decades.  The chance to finally regain control of a part of our ancestral land at Waitara is an opportunity that should have been the bottom line of any settlement discussions – not something to throw out the window when the cash came calling.

Yes, this could all be part of an ingenious strategy to purchase the land from the Council at a reduced rate through private sale but this option is fraught with dangers.  Waitara is worth too much to gamble on.

We have been down this path before, 15 years on from our first failed settlement it is likely we will once again fail to come up with a settlement that meets the wishes and needs of Te Atiawa.  This time, it is all our own fault.

Deconstructing the Lack of Capability Myth

June 5, 2014

From Te Manu Korihi:

Chris Karamea Insley of iwi development company 37 Degrees South said the review would tidy up the structures and laws but it would not drive the development of Maori land.

He said the Maori trusts and incorporations which hold large scale assets didn’t have the capability, staffing or technical expertise to get the job done.

Mr Insley said while the review was helpful, it wouldn’t address the capability problems within trust and corporations and therefore was not a solution.

The review of Te Ture Whenua Māori 1993 is gathering pace, and it is encouraging that an important piece of the Māori economic development framework is being reworked to reflect 21 years of knowledge and experience that we have gained from operating our commercial affairs under predominately Western structures.  Yet, as the above quotation recognises, simply reviewing the legislation governing the administration of Māori land is not going to be a complete solution to the problems faced by Māori who seek to develop their land.  Te Ture Whenua Māori was never designed to solve any capability problem within Māori organisations.  It is only part of the Māori economic development framework.  An integral part all the same.

The point I want to touch on today is the idea that there is a capability problem holding back Māori organisations.  To put it briefly, and to put it bluntly – there is no capability problem within Te Ao Māori.  I am proud to be part of a highly-skilled, highly-motivated, generation of Māori.  Māori with the capability to drive our continued development.  Look inside any major corporation, industry, political movement, and iwi organisation and you will find young Māori making their mark.  And there are more and more coming out of our Universities and our Wananga each and every year.

There is no capability problems – only a mindset problem.  The mindset that says that Rangatahi Māori have to wait their turn.  The mindset that says that Kaumatua are the best people to sit on commercial boards.  The mindset that there is simply not enough talented, knowledgable, and experienced Māori to do the job correctly.  There are a multitude of issues holding back Māori land development, lack of capability is not one of them.

Wednesday Update: Welcome Back!

May 28, 2014

As you can see I have started to be more active on Ka Tōnuitanga over the past few weeks.  To say that this year has been busy would be an understatement so it has taken awhile for me to get the writing energy flowing again.  I have the ambitious aim of writing a new article every day using the following format:

Monday Quotes: In which I seek to draw inspiration from the words of our great leaders and philosophers.

Tuesday Policy: An in-depth look at an issue of public and or economic policy.

Wednesday Update: A weekly run-down of news in my life and in the life of Ka Tōnuitanga.

Thursday Development: A weekly look at issues of Māori development.

Friday Politics: A look back at the week in Māori politics.

Weekly Update

A lot has happened over the past 6 months and 2014 is shaping up to be an amazing year.  I have gone live with my Māori Business Development Programme to supplement the work I am currently involved in at Deloitte New Zealand.  In my professional life I deal with established SME’s Māori Businesses, and Iwi Organisations on a day-to-day basis – assisting them with their overall business strategy, systems design, and accounting  and taxation needs.  As a firm believer in the potential of Māori, and with a strong desire to use my talents to help drive Māori entrepreneurs and Māori business, I have developed a programme to assist Māori start-up, or grow a new, business.  By coming it at the ground floor, I aim to help those with an entrepreneurial spirit take their business idea and turn it into a viable business.

I am also able to make two big announcements today.  First, I have recently been promoted within Deloitte to the role of Senior Consultant.  Since making the shift to business advisory from law a little over a year ago I have learned an incredible amount about business strategy and accounting & taxation issues.  It has been an amazing experience and I was delighted to be promoted. And even more so to be promoted alongside a number of other very talented Māori business advisors.  We are truly building a great Māori Business Advisory Team!

And finally, I have made the decision to return to University to complete my LLM next year.  This has not been an easy decision to make, but following the passing of my supervisor, Dr Nin Tomas, back in February, I am driven to finish the important work that we started several years ago.  Keep an eye out for updates on my progress over the next 18 months.

Tuesday Policy: Building an Inclusive Society

May 27, 2014

This is a post that I initially wrote a few years ago.  As part of a renewed writing effort, I will be updating some of my favourite articles from the past three years of writing on this site.  Enjoy!

Nothing is more divisive in Aotearoa / New Zealand than Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the place of Māori within our society.  It is an issue I have previously addressed in my short essay on the concept of race and nationality.   As I renew my focus on Ka Tōnuitanga, I want to delve a bit deeper into some broader areas of public policy that are important to the future of Aotearoa/New Zealand.  Today, I begin by looking at how we can go about reconciling the need to resolve the historical grievances of the past with the task at hand of building an inclusive society.

The Issue

With an election looming large we can expect to see a renewed national focus on the state of race relations in New Zealand which feeds into the ongoing debate about the place of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in contemporary New Zealand.  Most readers will know how it is we came to be where we are today so my intention is not to rehash the events at Waitangi in 1840 and the subsequent revolution which rendered Māori rights under Te Tiriti effectively null in the eyes of the Settler Government.

However, 174 years later, New Zealand would be unrecognisable to those Rangatira who signed Te Tiriti. No longer the dominant people, Māori watched and wept as boatloads of settlers from Europe arrived on our shores and proceeded to overwhelm the indigenous population and suppress their rights.  Today, dozens upon dozens of diverse ethnic groups call New Zealand home, many of them with long ties to the land.  Further still, many Pākehā are recent immigrants to New Zealand with either them or their whānau moving here long after the most heinous of Government action against Māori had come and gone.

The issue we face today is thus: How do we reconcile the genuine Māori grievances of the past while building an inclusive society into the future? To what extent (if any) are Pākehā, especially recent arrivals, responsible for the actions of the British colonisers in the 1800s? And how do we, as a nation, balance the often competing rights and interests of Māori and Pākehā?

The Framework

In analysing the issues I suggest the following tripartite analysis of the issue as defined above.  The first part is an ex post analysis of the best approach to take in order to resolve the grievances of the past.  The second part is an ex ante analysis of the best approach to take us into the future. The third, and final, part is to consider the issue from behind the veil of ignorance and ask what is the best way to build an inclusive society according to the Ka Tōnuitanga kaupapa with the assumption that in this new society I could either be Māori or Pākehā.

The ex post Analysis

In considering the best approach to resolve the grievances of the past, my initial thoughts are that the system we have in place is proving to be rather effective at the macro level.  The Waitangi Tribunal and Settlement Negotiation process allows for hapū and iwi to have their historical grievances addressed and reparation made.  Yes, there are flaws in the system, and there may be better ways of doing things. But, positively, there are a large number of people working to ensure that these processes work.  Nothing will ever fully compensate Māori for what has been taken from us, and you cannot reverse 150 years of economic deprivation in a few decades.  However, the settlements that have been reached to date have allowed those hapū and iwi to heal, and build a strong relationship with the Government. From a Kaupapa Māori perspective, the process conforms with the idea of utu (redress, restoration, and rebalancing) and seeks to restore the mana of the Government and the Hapū or Iwi.

The ex ante Analysis

This is where things starts to get complicated: What approach will provide the best outcomes in the future? And to be honest, I am not entirely sure.  I would like to see Te Tiriti officially incorporated as a founding/constitutional document of New Zealand, potentially alongside the Bill of Rights Act 1990.  The property rights guarantee in Article 2 needs to be recognised in legislation and the land and resources remaining in Māori ownership should be free from interference from the Government.  Legislative provisions ensuring that the Government acts in accordance with the principles of The Treaty of Waitangi provide adequate protection of Māori rights guaranteed under Te Tiriti, although to some this is affording special treatment to Māori and should not be allowed.  I do not disagree that such clauses do provide special recognition of Māori rights and interests. However, I am a firm believer that such special recognition is justified by Article 2 of Te Tiriti.

What I am sure of is that there is currently a huge disconnect between Māori and Pākehā on issues of Te Tiriti and Māori rights.  The future of New Zealand depends on a strong relationship not only between Māori and Pākehā, but also between all the diverse groups of people who call New Zealand home.

From Behind the Veil of Ignorance

Consider yourself as a child who is about to be born in New Zealand.  You, and you alone, have been given the responsibility for designing what New Zealand would look like: issues such as the recognition and statutory incorporation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the position of Māori and other minority groups within our representative system, and the manner in which democracy is conducted in a colonised nation.  The only catch is this: you do not know whether you will be born as a Māori or as a Pākehā.

In such a situation, you would want to design a society which upholds the importance of democracy, equality and the rule of law; while at the same time recognising Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding constitutional document of New Zealand with tangible rights and obligations.   When you realise that who you are, where you are born, and what ethnicity you are is entirely a matter of chance you will begin to see the world in an entirely different light.

Next Step

How would you approach the above tripartite analysis?  Let me know in the comments below.  I want to know how you would respond to the three questions as posed as we work together to build an inclusive, forward-looking society.

Monday Quote: The Shane Jones Valedictory Speech

May 26, 2014

He Reo Māori i te tuatahi. Hūtia te rito o te harakeke, kei hea te kōmako, e kō? Māhau e ui mai ki a au, he aha kē te mea nui o te ao, māku e kī atu, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. Kāti, tātou e te Whare e hui nei, a koutou kua whakamine mai nei ki te whakahōnore i ahau i tēnei rangi whakamutunga ōku, tēnā koutou e ōku piri, tēnā koutou e ōku tūāhine, tēnā koutou e ōku tūākana. Tēnei ahau te tū i te aroaro ō tātou ngā kaitōrangapū, me te aroaro o te iti me te rahi kua tatū iho ki konei.

Kotahi anake te tangata mō te āhuatanga ki te hunga kua whetūrangitia, hei mihinga māku, ko te toa o Hikurangi Maunga, a Parekura Horomia. Kia mihi atu ahau ki a Parekura i mate i roto i te tau kotahi ka pahemo tata ake nei me ngā rau mahara e iri nei i te wā pātū o tēnei Whare. Rātou ki a rātou, tātou ki a tātou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

And so commenced the beginning of the end of Shane Jones’ rather colourful Parliamentary career.  A career that promised so much, but ultimately ended in inglorious failure.  His challenge for the Labour leadership, and subsequent retreat back into the wilderness, sums up all too perfectly the possibility and the flaws of Shane Jones.  He was no hero, he was no great saviour of Māori. But he was tangible.  An orator, an often times b/s artist, but most of what he did – he did with our best interests at heart.

But you when strip away the oratory, the scandal, and the persistent criticism that Shane Jones was all talk and no work, you are left with a man who believed in the future of Māori and who fought every day to make this country a better place for all of us.  And that is something we can all inspire to.

In the time left I will say that I sat School Certificate in 1975. I was a lad of 15 years at St Stephen’s School when my teacher was Tony Ross. He introduced us to what has stayed with me—a love of literature. He introduced us to a taonga from our side of Te Ao Māori, from Hone Tūwhare. The poem is:

Where are the men of mettle?

are there old scores

left to settle?

when will the canoes leap

to the stab and kick

the sea-wet flourish

of pointed paddles?

will the sun play again

to the skip of muscles

on curved backs bared

to the rain’s lash

the seas punch?

to War! to War!

That was the cry to come to battle. That was the cry to take up arms that motivated me and my generation to fight for our language, to fight for our rights, to fight to ensure that Māori were not only an inclusive but an indelible part of Aotearoa. I am proud to have fought for the bicultural narrative that underpins our nation State. I acknowledge that there is enormous change happening to our ethnic make-up, but I implore us as parliamentarians: do not untether our waka from that essential narrative entered into in the Treaty of Waitangi.

I wanted to be a champion for industry. I have been well supported by fisheries and by forestry folk, and that has enabled me to bring their ideas forward.

I am a firm believer in trade. I admired, as a junior Minister, Phil Goff and the China free-trade deal. I will totally resist any suggestion that my country will grow richer by turning our back upon the essential importance of international trade. But industry has to lead, as well. If I have been disappointed, it is because I have felt that those in industry are lions in the boardroom but lambs in public. They mistakenly think that when a void emerges, it will not be occupied by those with clay feet. They mistakenly think that climate change, for example, is the political province of lotus-eaters. They make that error and imperil their long-term profitability.

So although I have sought to be an advocate for business culture, I shed not one doubt about taking on Countdown, because that was about respect and fairness. But that part of my career is now over. That falls now to my colleagues from both sides of the House to, yes, show that we can recollect and value our past but accept that the greatest duty we have is the responsibility to the future, and the future belongs, in a political sense, to those whom I am leaving behind.

$91mm and People Already Want Their Share

May 22, 2014

The Te Ātiawa Iwi Authority (TAIA) yesterday announced via Facebook* the value of our settlement package with the Crown will be a staggering $91 million.  This is the fifth largest settlement to date and includes $87mm commercial redress, $1mm for a cultural fund, and $3mm worth of interest accruing from December 2012.  I would also expect the remnants of the Pekapeka block (or the Waitara leasehold lands as it is commonly known today) to be included in the settlement, which will reduce the potential cash pūtea to approximately $40mm.  Overall, this is a fantastic result for TAIA and our Iwi after years of in-fighting and protracted negotiations with the Crown dating back to the release of the Taranaki Report by the Waitangi Tribunal in the mid-1990s.

One of the most important steps that the Iwi will have to undertake now is to educate the members of what this pūtea is for and how it is going to be managed.  Time and time again following settlements with the Crown you get people coming out immediately criticising the Iwi or wanting to claim their share of the fund.  Two comments on the facebook page are symptomatic of a wider mis-understanding of how Iwi manage settlement funds:

Were This $98 million going.. Once Again, How Come I Still See Iwi Members Struggling.. How Come Te Ati Awa Familys Are Still Going Hungery, Still Going To School With No Lunch.. $98 Im sure you can Buy Kids Shoes.. Once Again How Come Te Ati Awa Members are Still releying on donkey to get them threw when there’s $98 million

Hey im out of the loop here sorry, what dose this mean.. can members of the iwi individually apply for anything in Te Atiawa? money / land / food?

And if the experience of other Iwi is anything to go by, it will not be too long before TAIA start receiving phone calls from Iwi members asking when they will be receiving their cheque for their share of the settlement money.  This is not how it works and we need to be communicating that to Iwi members.

I have written previously on the key elements of a successful financial strategy to first, preserve the pūtea so that it is available to benefit future generations and second, to best meet the current needs of Iwi members.  In summary, successful organisations, in whatever form they take, all adhere to some, or all, of the guidelines listed below.

  1. Set a clear vision and strategy
  2. Establish an appropriate entity structure
  3. Separate governance and management
  4. Preserve the pūtea
  5. Distribute no more than 4% of the overall pūtea each year
  6. Invest in what you know: Invest in land; Invest in people; Invest in culture
  7. Use bankroll and percentages to make speculative investments
  8. Surround yourself with experienced advisors
  9. Be open and transparent with financial information
  10. Provide financial education to members

So, while it is great that Te Ātiawa will receive a $91mm settlement package, it will only be beneficial to the Iwi over the long-term if it is managed correctly.  It is from this position of strength that the Iwi can set its social / Iwi development goals and work towards improving the day-to-day lives of the people of Te Ātiawa.  While financial assistance is widely needed amongst Iwi members, and should form a necessary part of the Iwi’s social development programme, I am a firm believer that the best use of the funds available for social / Iwi development is to invest in raising the capacity of whānau – to increase their own skills, education, and income level.  $91mm divided amongst 14,000 Te Ātiawa people equates to a $6,500 share.  As a one-off payment.  Leveraging the pūtea to increase the earning potential of each whānau can deliver an even higher return, year on year.

The next few years will be critical for the development of Te Ātiawa.  Going from nothing to $91mm overnight requires a massive shift in mindset and thinking from our Iwi leaders and those appointed to manage operations.  Experienced business leaders are required to ensure that we do not squander the opportunities that have now become available.  The Iwi is now in a position to make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of Te Ātiawa people.  I, alongside many others, will be watching with interest – and a critical eye – to ensure that this opportunity is not wasted.

*I have been critical of the secrecy with which TAIA have operated in the past, so I readily acknowledge and applaud their recent efforts in using Facebook to communicate with Iwi members. Engagement between Iwi leaders and Iwi Members is critical to the long-term success of the Iwi.

Monday Quote: The Ideal Qualities of a Rangatira

May 19, 2014

Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikāheke

He mōhio ki te whakahaere I nga kōrero o te mahi kai, o te tangohanga whare, waka, pātaka, hereimu.

Ko te atawhai anō tētahi

Skilled in the management and arts of food production, the construction of homes, canoes, food stores, and cooking sheds; and with the ability to take care of people and offer hospitality.

How many modern day Iwi leaders are living true to the words of Te Rangikāheke?




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