• National hui for unity an opportunity to send powerful message to government, says Ngāti Kahungunu leader

National hui for unity an opportunity to send powerful message to government, says Ngāti Kahungunu leader

A National hui for unity organised by Māori King Tuheitia for tomorrow is an opportunity to send powerful message to the Government, says Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Executive Chair Bayden Barber.

Kiingi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII called for the national hui to be held in response to the new National Party-led Government’s stance on the Treaty of Waitangi and other Māori policies. The King will host the hui, to be attended by iwi from around the country, at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaaruawaahia tomorrow.

Barber will lead a Ngāti Kahungunu delegation of a “couple of hundred” to the hui, which Barber sees as an opportunity to come together and show Kotahitanga unity.

The national hui follows one held by Ngāti Kahungunu late last year, where members of the iwi made their views on the situation quite clear. Barber says that hui at Waimarama Marae in December was an important step in the process.

“There was a lot that came out of that. And we can add that too. Every other iwi will be putting into the dialogue.”

He says that even though Māori was a minority in terms of population, it was still a “Treaty partner signed with the Queen of England 183 years ago”.

“It's important that we come together because the issues impact, not just individually, but all of us. And so we need to discuss what it means to us and what the plan is going forward. It's going to be three years with this government and we need to understand how we navigate it.”

Barber says there is anger within Māoridom over the Government’s stance towards Māori, in particular the Treaty of Waitangi, which it says it will review. The coalition agreement between the National Party, ACT and New Zealand First includes a pledge to introduce a Treaty Principles Bill.

He says that tomorrow’s hui would focus on the Treaty.

“The main thing is the intent to have a referendum around the Treaty. That's number one, number two, number three. Because everything else kind of falls off that. There's issues with the use of te ao Māori.”

“You can't have a review of the Treaty without the other Treaty partner agreeing to it. There are always different governments that come in. There's always going to be stuff that we don't like, and stuff that we would hope would be better. But we've never had a government come in and wanting to have a referendum on the Treaty.”

Barber says that Maori were ready for whatever happens.

“We are up for it. We're up for the challenge, but we need to do it together. I think that's important. “

There is an open invitation for anyone to attend the hui and it has been reported that Prime Minister Christopher Luxon won't be going, but is sending Māori Affairs Minister Tama Potaka and MP Dan Bidois.

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Ngāti Kahungunu also released its politicial strategy for the next three years this week.

NGĀTI KAHUNGUNU POLITICAL STRATEGY AND KEY STATEMENTS 2023-2026

In response to the new coalition government of National, Act and NZ First and their announcements of targeted actions and repeals that intentionally threaten and directly breach the pre-existing and enduring rights of Kahungunu hapū and iwi.

OUR RIGHTS AS KAHUNGUNU ARE INHERENT

The absolute mana and rangatiratanga of Ngāti Kahungunu over our lands, waters, taonga and ourselves precedes the arrival of Pākehā to Aotearoa. Ngāti Kahungunu has NEVER CEDED SOVEREIGNTY - not by six of our Ngāti Kahungunu rangatira signing Te Tiriti o Waitangi between 5th May and 24th June 1840, or at any time before or after.

Our history and traditions tell us that our tīpuna were politically astute and quick to assert their position and rangatiratanga when required.    Since 1840, Kahungunu has met and led resistance in ongoing ways both locally and nationally whenever our pre-existing rights and authority have been threatened, denied or disregarded – this time will be no different.

DECLARATION OF NGĀTI KAHUNGUNU RIGHTS

Between 1997-1999 the Ngāti Kahungunu Constitutional Review Committee, Dr Moana Jackson, Mereana Pitman, Mere Ruru, and Taanga Lawrence, met and spoke with 17,000 Ngāti Kahungunu descendants. Through the review process, the committee drew together a Bill of Rights that gives expression to our Ngāti Kahungunu mana and rangatiratanga. This set of fundamental rights for the descendants of Ngāti Kahungunu is titled the Declaration of Ngāti Kahungunu Rights. In 2001 this declaration was adopted at an Annual General Meeting of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated.

THE NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

The new coalition government of National, Act, and NZ First has announced an opening round of targeted actions and repeals that intentionally threaten and directly breach the pre-existing and enduring rights of Kahungunu hapū and iwi. The proposed changes announced by the government are a concentrated attack on Māori rights and several Government Acts, services, and commitments to address the many losses and ongoing inequities suffered as a result of colonisation.

In joint announcements, the Government seeks to redefine Māori rights under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and remove ratification of the United Nations Declaration Rights Indigenous Peoples. They have also indicated the removal of:

The Māori Health Authority

Te Mana o te Wai from the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020

Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 – a Tiriti o Waitangi-based provision that ensures Kahungunu tamariki-mokopuna remain in the care of their own whanau, hapū, iwi.

The use of te reo Māori in government departments

Power and authority of the Waitangi Tribunal

Māori Wards from local councils

The proposals themselves are racist in nature and will further intensify systemic oppression, and institutional and interpersonal racism. As our history and traditions teach us, Ngāti Kahungunu will continue to rise, and resist attempts to reduce or disregard our rights.

NGĀTI KAHUNGUNU IWI INC HELD FIRST OF ONGOING HUI-A-IWI

On the 16th of December 2023, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated held a hui-a-iwi at Waimarama Marae to listen to the concerns of hapū and NGĀ URI O NGĀTI KAHUNGUNU, affirm our rights and position, and discuss our response to governments proposals. The themes and priorities echoed by speakers and across the livestream and online forums included:

 Reaffirming that Kahungunu did not cede sovereignty.

Repeated declarations and statements of no confidence in this Government

That Ngāti Kahungunu:

Will determine its own strategy;

Will support the actions of other iwi/rōpū that align with our own Declaration of Kahungunu Rights;

Will work with other groups to protest the repeal of 7AA and the repeal of Smokefree Aotearoa;

Insist that councils and government continue to acknowledge and give effect to te mana o te wai, te oranga o te taiao;

Insist upon the continuation of Māori Wards; and 

Will ensure our people remain informed - and continue to support hapū and whānau through hui, education, and regular communications.

NGĀTI KAHUNGUNU STRATEGY:

Communications:

We need good communications to keep our people informed and updated on the changing political landscape so that they can coordinate and respond as quickly as possible.

Provide a system and platform for new information and communication of updates.

Comms and logistics for education wānanga and education resources for hapū to learn and understand the history, contexts and implications of Govt changes.

Closed Zoom link and invitation to future hui: for registered uri o Ngāti Kahungunu only.

Provide submission templates to accompany material or updates sent out by Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc.

Education:

Under the authority of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated a rōpū of experts, ie. educators and facilitators have been established to work directly with hapū and whānau over the next 12-18 months to:

Educate, conscientise, wānanga with our people about the impacts of any changes upon their own mana and rangatiratanga as hapū and whānau

Share resources, approaches and strategies for action - how they can respond to these attacks and to urge them to take protest action within and on behalf of their own.

Reflect: critical reflection and discussion to inform future action.