Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Tangata Whenua and Democracy

This, like all my blogs, gives my OWN opinion. It's is only my opinion.

It is open to discussion, criticism, critique and debate. This is welcome!!
Before reading on, have a read of this entry. It gives context to my beliefs in relation to all of this.


I believe in democracy. I believe in giving all people the chance to have and be empowered, this is the centre of many strong Governments across the world.

Though, not just Governments, but many organisations have decisions taken up by voting.

To have your say and for it to be heard, is what I believe Democracy is.

We need this. And this will always shape, form and stabilise Aotearoa-New Zealand as we know it.

Pure Democracy can give expression to Tino Rangatiratanga, in the form that the above blog entry espouses.

For me though, I know that Democracy as it is, has NOT always been used in the best ways for MAORI.

In fact, the very essence of Democracy, means that Maori are NOT special, because all groups can have a say.

And that for me is the rub.

Democracy is not an essential part of pre-colonisation. In those times, Democracy did NOT play a huge role in the Governance of Whanau, Hapuu and Iwi.

We were "governed" by tikanga. Or in modern terms, Natural Law determined our movements and our lives.

The height of the expression thereof, fell upon our Ariki and Rangatira.

The proof thereof, is in the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This was not a document, debated over in the public arena. Referenda were not taken on this. Votes were not cast by the whole population of Aoteroa, to give credence to that document. Rangatira signed it, and thus gave it mana.

OF COURSE, our country, our people, indeed all of us are NOT "governed" in this way today.

Democracy reigns. Choice, voting, wide discussion etc, etc.

But again I say... WHAT ABOUT MAORI?????

How can we best use Democracy? What does Democracy have to offer Maori?

Well, I want to take an international context.

In the Pacific, there's Fiji and Tonga.

In Asia, there's China, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea.

In the America's it's Cuba.

In Africa it's Swaziland.

And of course, most of the Middle East.

These are countries, where DEMOCRACY does not play a prominent role.

There are also other countries were there are varying degrees of 'democracy'. Some countries have none, in the form that we in Aotearoa-New Zealand are familiar with.


Well our entrance, our part, our governance is in the implementation and expression of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

That is our modern Foundation as a people.

Our credence, our modern racial whakapapa, our modern power, our stake in the ground, our part to play.... it ALL rests on Te Tiriti.

And so, in modern times, for our governance and for OUR MANA..... For our power, our Tino Rangatiratanga.... ALL rests in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Our interaction with and use of Democracy in the modern form MUST be informed by our foundation, Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi is our voice. And we continue to give power to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.


In Election year... let this be our frame of mind. Te Tiriti o Waitangi must guide our thinking, as we participate in Democracy.

Maori are at the heart of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

Our votes, in Election year, must always be to empower of Tiriti voice.

We are Tiriti Partners.

Let us always be SO.