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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 25, 2009

Solid turnout for super city hikoi

The Auckland Super City hikoi has brought Maori and pakeha together in a show of strength to push for Maori representation in Auckland governance.

Grey skies and occasional drizzle did not put off the 5000 Maori and Pakeha who came together to march up Queen St in support of Maori representation in Auckland governance.

Ngati Whatua led the hikoi, with other tribal groups, unionists, mayors, Labour and Maori Party MPs and a party of Pakeha treaty workers bringing up the rear.

The placard Grand Theft Auckland summed up the mood of many in the hikoi, concerned that handing control of he Queen City to a small cabal of business people would rip out its heart, soul and assets.

There were calls for Prime Minister John Key to front, but much of the ire was directed towards Locval Government Minister Rodney Hide – ubiquitous on Auckland’s streets duioring the election campain in his yellow jacket, but, as one speaker put it, too yellow to show today.


Ngati Whatua leader Grant Hawke says plans for the city are a giant insult to tangata whenua.

He says his ancestors gave almost 4000 hectares to Pakeha so they could build their city, but their descendants are told they aren't entitled to a place at the decision making table for the city.

“This is something Maori. This is something we want to do. We want to show them that irrespective, we are still mana whenua, show the strength. Along with that, show the manuhiri, they support us, they are residents and Ngati Whatua play the part to the manuhiriand we’re there to tautoko and manaaki those things,” Mr Hawkes says.

The day also marked the 31st anniversary of the end of the Bastion Point occupation spearheaded b the Hawke whanau.


Lawyer Annette Sykes from Te Arawa, who was a leader of the Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi five years ago, was out again showing that the issue goes far wider than just representation on the Auckland Super City council.

“I think we should not underestimate what is happening. The Government is moving away from collaborative strategies of participation with tangata whenua to a pick and choose strategy of who they believe they will take advice from so it doesn’t surprise me they prefer advisory groups as a mechanism for input from Maori rather than us being t the table, contributing to the way decisions are made and ensuring the perspectives we bring, which are valid and have been here for thousands of years, actually are the foundation for the way decisions are made in Auckland,” Ms Sykes says.

She says the fact that lots of pakeha and pacific islanders attended the hikoi is a sign of the maturity of New Zealand as a nation, and that they respect and understand that the future of New Zealand, has to be won from the base of Maori.


Following the super city representation hikoi which brought 5000 Maori and pakeha out onto the streets of Auckland today, Ngati Whatua chairman Grant Hawke has given an indication of where talks between the Government and Maori are at.

Prime Minister John Key meet with Ngati Whatua and Tainui leaders recently and Grant Hawke says a Maori election process model based on an electoral college is being is being looked at.

“And then Maori would be able to vote for Maori, using the Maori roll and those things in Tamaki. Once we get the seats in there, the councilors, whoever is elected by that process, would call for advisors to the Maori part of that council, so they’re looking at that now," Mr Hawke says.

Ngati Whatua and Tainui which are mana whenua tribes in Auckland expect a reply from the government in the next week to their ideas for an electoral college.

He says in spite of the talks today's hikoi was an appropriate way for Maori to demonstrate the strength and status of manu whenua.


Maori have, and will be disproportionately targeted by the police using taser weapons, says a leading human rights advocate.

Lawyer Moana Jackson says the recent budget announcement of $10 million towards providing all police districts with the 50,000 volt stun guns in the next three years was a cause for concern.

He says history showed its Maori who become subject to the use of excessive force by the police.

“What is the reason the state fells it needs these weapons. I don’t think the reasons they have given so far are justifiable. I think the risk outweigh any arguments they have used. And I think any attempt by the state and in terms of Maori, any attempts by the Crown to take excessive power and then use it against our people should be a cause of concern,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the Maori law commission will research the impact introducing tasers will have on Maori.


A study of ten thousand secondary students has revealed 90 per cent of rangatahi are happy with the relationships they have with whanau and caregivers.

Sarah Helm from Aotearoa Adolescent Health and Development says the findings are great news as it promotes positive perceptions of whanau.

“Rangatahi Maori said their parents actually care about them a lot. In fact 90 percent of young people said they felt their parents or caregivers cared about them a lot. And that is a really great statisit because it breaks a lot of stereotypes about Maori parents and Maori young people, that in actual fact the relationships are actually really good,” Ms Helm says.

The study was conducted by the Auckland University Adolescent Health Research Group and was used to devise the main kaupapa for Youth Week, Make Time for Youth.


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