Wairarapa News : April 10th 2013
13 WAIRARAPA NEWS, APRIL 10, 2013 OPINION 4981199AC a a a a a al l llllo on n ng g g ttto ot tth he eT T TTu uiii BBB Brewe erry y, , TThhu urr 1 11 1 1tth h AApprii ill l 112 2-- --5 5 5p pm m r rs sd da ayy I I I I I I I IIff f f f f f f f f f ffy yo ou ua ar re e iiin n n ttthhhe e e AAA Ag g g gr r r riiiic c c cu u u ullllt tttu u urrall IIn n a a a an n n nd dda a arre e e afffff f fec ctte edd db b byyy ttth h he e e dddrrro o o ou u u ug g g gh h h nddu us sttrryy h h h httt t, , ,c c c co o o om m m me e e e www.bakerag.co.nz CHANGES MediSpa 5203504AF 06 370 1971 15 Titoki St Masterton www.changesmedispa.co.nz Really treat mum this mother's day with a beautiful Spa Experience from .. Spend Over $100 and receive a $25 GIFT VOUCHER m.. m.. Mother's Day Sunday 12th May CHANGES Medi-Spa 4232131AC Read your Wairarapa News online Go to www.wairarapanews.co.nz Click on the wording next to the computer icon and register for free Cultural awareness onesided NELSON'S COLUMN NELSON RANGI As a schoolboy I learnt quite a bit of English history -- the order of kings, success- ive invasions, stories of derring- do. Strangely though, the story of New Zealand -- my own country -- was given very cursory treatment. New Zealand history, according to the School Journal, started in the 1820s, with a brief introduc- tion on Captain Cook. It was all quite remote, some Maori rebels, the first refrigerated ship, the main-trunk railway. And the benign and paternal govern- ments that shaped the country through its first 100 years. It wasn't until I moved to the Bay of Plenty in 1956 that I stepped into a history that had been so glossed over in the cur- riculum. Over the years I met many of the people whose ancestors had been dispossessed, I got to know a widow, survivors and families of a so-called rebel Tuhoe leader hunted down and captured by the armed constabulary. Nearly 90 years later the Armed Offenders Squad made similar arrests a few miles down- stream (fortunately no-one was shot and killed). This time the tar- get was called a terrorist. I was taken into their homes, heard their stories of deprivation and loss, tramped their tra- ditional trails. I employed many of them and was fascinated by their feelings of despair, yet with an over-riding will to reclaim their cultural heritage and gain redress for institutionalised wrongs. In 2002 I was offered the chance to take a leading role in a major Wairarapa based Maori trust. It was an opportunity to return home, meet and learn of my father's relations and how those relationships came about. Two years later I sat in on Wai- tangi Tribunal hearings through- out Wairarapa and Tararua, as far north as Dannevirke. I was absolutely astounded at what I read and saw and heard. This was not some willy-nilly par- ade of complainants, full of emo- tion and light on factual details of early injustices. Evidence came from an army of professional historians. Every word, every report, every instance had to be corroborated in writing. These came from government reports, ministerial letters, memos, court records and so on. Their evidence was supported by the claimants themselves by way of whakapapa (genealogy), land court and other records and intimate on-the- ground knowledge. What I found even more aston- ishing was not just the absolute volume of unethical, unfair, unjustified and even at times illegal practices by prime and other ministers and agents, but that the evidence showed them to be part of a planned and sustained policy by successive governments to deprive Maori of a share of civilised society'' in New Zealand. I came away with a far greater understanding of the depth of Maori feeling of despondency over the treatment of generations of tipuna, a feeling that can only be erased through reconciliation and time. Sure, there were plenty of instances of rorts, shady practices and spurious claims by unscrupu- lous Maori. One of my early rela- tions disappeared for a couple of years when dispossessed whanau threatened to do him in. Govern- ment agents actively encouraged tame'' Maori to sign land transfer deeds to which they had little or no real claim, all for a pocketful of cash. One of the biggest impediments to true settlement and forgiveness is the lack of cultural understand- ing. In fact this was the cause of ambiguity with the Treaty of Wai- tangi. Cultural understanding tends to be a bit one-sided. Maori are expected to understand and abide by western norms, but until now little thought has been given to the social and personal mores of Maori by other New Zealanders. Take ownership'' for instance. A word that is currently bandied around by politicians and media alike. The English meaning is clear, especially to Englishmen. Something that has been bought or traded or otherwise acquired to which the owner'' has title. This concept is alien to Maori thought. No one person or group owns'' anything as a personal right. As the Maori world is largely attuned to natural resources, every person has a duty of care, a responsibility for the well-being and protection of those resources within his or her sphere of influence and this is embodied in the collective whanau, hapu or iwi entity as kaitiakitanga, or guardianship. Westerners say the resource or thing belongs to them. Maori, on the other hand, belong to the resource and are its caretakers. My cultural responsibilities put me at the forefront of advocacy for mana whenua Maori advance- ment over a fairly wide area. I make no bones about using this column from time to time to gen- erate interest in this cause. In my next column I want to explore the role of Maori in local government. Nelson Rangi is chairman of Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.
April 3rd 2013
April 17th 2013