Kia ora whānau! The first month of 2018 has come and gone and I am quietly taking stock of the big changes that have occurred over January. After two years living in London, I am back in Auckland and settling into my new job – a role which will have an impact on the type of content that you will see here and in my writing for The Spinoff for the foreseeable future. More on that later. In this month’s roundup I plan on covering three topics:
- A summary of my writing over the past several month;
- My research focus for 2018; and
- My new job and what that means for Ka Tōnuitanga and The Spinoff
Given the size of this update, I will separate it out into three different articles. Let’s dive in with an update on my published writing in November, December, and January.
I published two columns in January, both on The Spinoff. I am starting to get more consistent with my writing after a disjointed 2017. The closure of Mana Magazine in early 2017 brought an end to my bi-monthly columns on Māori economic development and a punishing travel schedule for work, not to mention being half way around the world and divorced from what was happening back home in Aotearoa, meant that my writing efforts were scarce last year. The return to New Zealand, alongside the launch of my fortnightly column with The Spinoff back in October, has reinvigorated my writing process.
My first column this month was on an issue that has dominated my research and thinking over the years – proper investment in Māori development. And when I speak of development, I mean not just economic development but also investment in our social, cultural, and environmental development. These four Pou of Māori development all need to be advanced or we risk building a lop-sided house.
My second column looked at the top-up payments made to Ngāi Tahu and Waikato-Tainui under the relativity mechanisms of their respective Settlements with the Crown. Noting that while the payments are fair, legal, and been in existence for over 20 years; the relativity mechanisms are not without their problems deriving, as they do, from the horribly flawed fiscal envelope policy of the 1990s
December was a big month: I arrived back in New Zealand, went on a road trip from Auckland to Wellington via Whakatāne, Taupō, Napier, and Palmerston North with a good friend of mine, and spent time with friends and family as I looked to reconnect with Aotearoa after two years away. My first column in December profiled our largest Māori organisations as I looked over the Deloitte Top 200 list of large Māori organisations and shared a few of the success stories of the Māori economy.
My second column also celebrated Māori success, this time in the legal profession. December saw two Totara of the Māori legal profession recognised for their service: Moana Jackson with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Wellington for his work on Māori legal issues; and the elevation of Justice Joe Williams to the Court of Appeal – one of the few Māori Judges to hold the honour, and the first Te Reo speaker to do so.
And so, back to November, where my focus was well and truly on the high levels of Māori unemployment. First, a walk through the statistics and, second, a look at the potential solutions to the problem. For after 30 years of economic reform, the gap between Māori unemployment and Pākehā unemployment remains unchanged. We have institutionalised high levels of Māori unemployment in Aotearoa, and Māori are suffering as a result.