Friday, 17 March 2017

The Maori King's Over-Mighty Subject.

Kingmaker - Or Breaker? Buoyed, perhaps, by the growing economic power of the Iwi Leadership Group, and encouraged by the willingness of first John Key, and now Bill English, to pay lip-service to the Maori Party’s grandiose schemes for constitutional reform and post-democratic power-sharing, Tukoroirangi Morgan is intent on organising a clean-sweep of the Maori electorates and then leveraging his party’s “kingmaker” status into a full-scale revolution in Maori-Pakeha relations.
 
TUKOROIRANGI MORGAN’S AMBITIONS for his king are huge. But are the shoulders of his King, Tuheitia Paki, broad enough to carry them? The Maori Party President’s chances of success would, undoubtedly, be greater if he was able to entrust the realisation of his plans to a more experienced sovereign. But, would a more experienced Maori monarch have been as willing to put the Kingitanga in harm’s way?
 
Because the potential for the Kingitanga to be harmed by Morgan’s ambitious electoral strategy is considerable. King Tuheitia has thrown the prestige of his title behind Rahui Papa, one of his leading counsellors – and the Maori Party’s pick for the parliamentary seat currently occupied by the King’s cousin, Nanaia Mahuta.
 
The insult to Mahuta is both implicit and explicit. Not only has the King broken with his mother’s, Queen Te Ātairangikaahu’s, practice of maintaining a careful neutrality vis-à-vis party politics – to the obvious disadvantage of his kinswoman – but he has also seen fit to garnish Papa’s royal endorsement with the extraordinary charge that Mahuta no longer has any mana in Parliament.
 
This unprecedented foray into electoral politics is reckless on at least two counts. First, the King’s disparaging reference to Mahuta’s current status betrays an inadequate grasp of the intricacies of Pakeha politics. Second, it assumes a willingness to be directed on the part of the voters of Hauraki-Waikato which may not, in practice, extend anything like as far as the polling booth.
 
Mahuta’s fall in Labour’s caucus ranking reflects nothing more than the political exigencies of the 2014 leadership transition from David Cunliffe to Andrew Little. Any change of leader will, inevitably, be accompanied by a reordering of the caucus hierarchy. While the friends and allies of the former leader are eased down, the friends and allies of the new leader are eased up. That Mahuta is still to be found among the top twelve Labour MPs in 2017 is actually a tribute to her enduring mana – not proof of its loss.
 
The King, along with his chief political strategist, Morgan, may also be misreading the character of the Waikato and Maniapoto people’s relationship to the Kingitanga. Throughout his mother’s long reign, the Maori monarchy underwent a subtle but crucial shift from representing the scorched banner of colonial era resistance to symbolising the enduring dignity and resilience of New Zealand’s indigenous culture.
 
Morgan’s determination to see himself as the re-incarnation of Wiremu Tamihana, “The Kingmaker” and to conceive of his political mission as the fulfilment of Tamihana’s dream: the reconstitution and preservation of Maori sovereignty in New Zealand; moves the Kingitanga out of Dame Te Ātairangikaahu’s symbolic realm and into the all-too-real world of cut-and-thrust power politics.
 
Clearly, Morgan is convinced that the outcome of this second attempt to establish dual sovereignties within a single, unitary state will turn out very differently from the first. Moreover, he has been successful in persuading the Maori King to test his hypothesis.
 
Buoyed, perhaps, by the growing economic power of the Iwi Leadership Group, and encouraged by the willingness of first John Key, and now Bill English, to pay lip-service to the Maori Party’s grandiose schemes for constitutional reform and post-democratic power-sharing, Morgan is intent on organising a clean-sweep of the Maori electorates and then leveraging his party’s “kingmaker” status into a full-scale revolution in Maori-Pakeha relations.
 
The Labour Leader, Andrew Little, and Labour’s Maori caucus, are betting that Maori voters on both the Maori and General electoral rolls are nowhere near ready to indulge the Maori Party President’s political fantasies to this extent. They are convinced that if the choice presented to Maori voters is between restarting the Land Wars of the Nineteenth Century, and winning improved access to employment, housing, education and health services in the Twenty-First, then they will opt, overwhelmingly, for the latter.
 
And if they do – especially if they vote that way in the Maori seat of Hauraki-Waikato – then the mana of the Maori King will be diminished to the point where abdication becomes the only remaining dignified response. His successor, if there is one, will then be faced with the challenge of reconstituting the Kingitanga to more closely correspond to the cultural aspirations of Twenty-First Century Maori.
 
King Tuheitia would be wise to familiarise himself with how the kings of old dealt with “over-mighty subjects” – because he has one.
 
This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 17 March 2017.

28 comments:

peter petterson said...

Great post Chris. What has the Maori Party actually done for the average Maori in the street, not the Iwi leadership? In short, very little!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"betrays an inadequate grasp of the intricacies of Pakeha politics"
And how many Pakeha have an adequate grasp of Maori politics?

Nick J said...

Underwear.

Bustup said...

King Tuheitia is ill-advised to get involved in the affairs of commoners.

And worse endorsing political candidates.

It could be that in the final analysis he is backing a loser which makes him no different.

It's a very slippery slope to be on for the King and the King Movement in general.

Anthony Rimell said...

"if the choice presented to Maori voters is between restarting the Land Wars of the Nineteenth Century, and winning improved access to employment, housing, education and health services in the Twenty-First, then they will opt, overwhelmingly, for the latter."

They - Labour's leadership and Maori caucus - are surely correct.

greywarbler said...

Guerilla Surgeon
Why when discussing anything with a criticism relating to other cultures does one have to have created a credit fund of good judgment? With this demand there could never be any opinion passed at all, as for sure each side is aware of the other side's many failings.

pat said...

"And how many Pakeha have an adequate grasp of Maori politics?"

are not folk folk?...or are Maori politics really any different from any other politic?

as someone well removed from this battle (geographically) it appears to me that there is quite some manipulation for personal ambition in play here....or in other words,par for the course re politics.

Unknown said...

What has Mahuta actually done in over a decade in Parliament
for the so called average Maori in the street?

In short, nothing.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"With this demand there could never be any opinion passed at all"

I said nothing about judgement, just knowledge. The two aren't quite the same. And there are far too many judgements passed in this world without an adequate grasp of anything. What essentially talking about is informed opinion, versus ignorant opinion. Again, the two are quite the same.

"are not folk folk?...or are Maori politics really any different from any other politic?"

Of course folks aren't folk except in the broadest sense. Would you say that Chinese politics are the same as New Zealand politics? except in the sense of their all a struggle for power, they operate in completely different ways.

"What has Mahuta actually done in over a decade in Parliament
for the so called average Maori in the street?"

And your evidence is? This is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about. A knee-jerk bullshit reaction without any real knowledge. "What has (insert politician's name here) done for the average (insert name here) in short nothing. Just burble.


Richard Mayson said...

Few Pakeha have been able to articulate knowledgeably the dynamics of this incredible action by King Tuheiti as you have Chris, though Tuku Morgan's manipulation for his own delusionary ends, is par for the course.

This is indeed a serious breach of Kingitanga and Turangawaewae's advisors are going to regret this big time. Nanaia's dignity and mana has been retained however by her keeping her cool despite this outrageous provocation by both the King and Morgan.

jh said...

This morning I listened to the other Morgan Speech to Waitangi Rua Rautau :
I’m not convinced that a 90 year old should have the same power at the voting booth as a 20 year old. After all the 20 year old has 70 more years of consequences to endure from today’s political decisions, the 90 year old has only a couple.

We know where the voter alienation is – it’s amongst the poor and the young. The age-based alienation can be addressed and should be. With the bulge in the population’s age profile that the Babyboomer generation has caused for instance, there is plenty of evidence that politicians’ target their pork-barrelling to that age cohort. As we age and our remaining life years fall away, that bias against the bulk of the population will only get worse.

We would like a national debate initiated on whether we should introduce age-based weighting of votes and if so from what age voting power should start to taper off. The objective would clearly be to ensure no voting cohort has influence on politics that is beyond its likely contribution to society.

http://www.maoricouncil.com/2017/01/31/vuwrnz-speech-to-waitangi-rua-rautau-gareth-morgan/

Following Gareth Morgan Tariana Turia has a quote about Maori society advancing by looking back. My Great Grandmother must have known something as when she lay dying she looked back at her life and said : " I am as happy now, lying down blind in my own home, where I started twice with only four pence, as I was the first night I came here fifty three years ago, as I know my children and kind friends are round me and that my work is completed. I have no illness but must bow down to sheer old age."
....
And somehow: just somehow our much under appreciated missionaries (and Hobson) created a foundation stone. As we all learnt at Sunday School :"the wise man built his house upon the rock".
The question of identity will be managed from above: "here Johnny: step into these clothes" - "thank you oh great liberal one"

jh said...

[The Other] Morgan:

New Zealand’s constitution is unique, the presence of the Treaty of Waitangi ensures it always will be.
To ensure New Zealanders forever *empathise* with our bicultural foundations and our multicultural reality, it is critical that the understanding all New Zealanders have of the treaty is clear and durable. To that end, te reo Maori the other official language of our country needs to be afforded the same rights as English. That includes the requirement it be taught in all schools. Unless this step is taken the language will continue to be under-resourced, the connection between non-Maori New Zealanders and our cultural heritage will remain weak, the underestimation of the importance of the treaty will remain common amongst non-Maori – and most importantly we will simply not respect the duty of care that has been promised.
.........
I would go back to Johnathon Haidts Moral Foundations Theory and say thank goodness we aren't all wet liberals like Gareth Morgan. Conservatives can see that what this all means is a sort of federation: same geography but a demotion for Pakeha as just another subaltern (fruit salad country) while Maori carry a lordship role - until the year 3023.

Whereas [from The Other Morgan speech]:
The seven fundamental rights recognized by the Indian constitution are:
1. Right to equality: Which includes equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment, abolition of untouchability and abolition of titles.

pat said...

"Of course folks aren't folk except in the broadest sense."

"....theres never been a genocide thats been called off because of a lack of willing killers.....well actually in the Baltic States the majority of killers were locals.....the fact is I'm not so sure that this is telling us something about what it is to be a German as what it is to be a human being, or a certain type of human being"

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/201837174/laurence-rees-the-holocaust

Think it is both foolish and dangerous to ascribe blanket judgements on the basis of culture or ethnicity whereas a recognition that human beings as a species have common motivations and behaviours may just mean we don't find ourselves asking the question..."how the hell did that happen?"

(cite Godwin's Law if you so wish)

jh said...

Tariana Turia broaden's Maori base. All you need is one ancestor no matter how remote
http://www.maoricouncil.com/2017/01/31/2017-waitangi-rua-rautau-te-herenga-waka-marae-hon-dame-tariana-turia/

We must learn well the lessons left for us – to protect and respect the divine spark of life that will be the message we gift to future generations.

You have to be on the right exchange [Maori whakapapa] to get that divine spark and may not pick up a signal if you are outside Aotearoa.

jh said...

People like Gareth Morgan think Maori are like batteries: charge them up and they hold 12 volts. The reality is that when an ordinary person wins lotto (for instance) their head swells and the same for people who rise from nothing to a powerful position (Caesar appears from a cavity in a giant hand - Hollywood).
Johnathon Haidt talks about primates (and /or people) clobbering members who try to rise above other members and take control of the group (presumably they need to earn the right from the groups frame of reference).

Charles E said...

You are right Chris and so are you jh. Is Morgan a Welsh name? Apologies to the Welsh.
Both Morgans are deluded, puffed up buffoons who have nearly as ludicrously high opinions of themselves as that idiot who led the Conservative Party a while back. At least he gave us a few laughs.
This Maori 'king' has no constitutional basis at all and I'm guessing most Maori would not know him from a bar of soap. People like him and the Morgans are daily ensuring that the treaty is in fact history and becoming less relevant every year. It was a fine founding document but it is not our foundation today or our future. It is undemocratic so it cannot be, as we are a parliamentary democracy now and the Morgans' propositions to corrupt it, one by rigging the selection of someone in a race based seat to do their bidding and the other by disenfranchising the old & wise are a bizarre fringe nutjob aspect of MMP which is so inclusive, we have to put up with it I guess.
I feel sorry for the average Maori with such poor pretenders claiming their leadership and the constant treaty bullshit they have to put up with. They, as all people do, want their culture respected and valued but there is always some dick like Morgan or Harawera or Jackson or Peters bringing it into disrepute. If this continues much longer, there may well come a day when the huge majority of New Zealanders decide to shrug off this treaty based bull & charade and make us a republic with rule number one as quoted above:
1. Right to equality: Which includes equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment, abolition of untouchability and abolition of titles. (With the word 'untouchability' replaced by 'the Treaty & all reference to it') I bet it would get 95% in a referendum, or will do in due course.
Then Maori will be left alone by goddamn politicians & the dead hand of the state to be themselves and have their culture free of the politics which is alienating it in the eyes of most NZers, and slowly exhausting the goodwill its recent revival has enjoyed.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"This Maori 'king' has no constitutional basis at all and I'm guessing most Maori would not know him from a bar of soap. "
First statement is irrelevant. He doesn't claim a constitutional or any other basis except among his own people. Second statement – considering he's regional/tribal, not surprising.But anything to undermine an important Maori that doesn't fit in with your prejudices right?

"I feel sorry for the average Maori "
Concern trolling. No you don't.

"Morgan or Harawera or Jackson or Peters bringing it into disrepute"
Bringing it into disrepute with Pakeha is not quite the same as bringing it into disrepute with Maori. Perhaps you could learn the difference.

"free of the politics which is alienating it in the eyes of most NZers"
No it's not. See – my bald assertion is just as good as yours.

I would reply to you JH, but you are getting increasingly incoherent, and I haven't a clue what you are going on about as so often happens these days.

Alan said...

Debates have a way of levitating into the exotic, and this is no different.

Put simply, the primary document that clearly sets out the relationship of Pakeha to Maori is the Treaty of Waitangi. That is the foundation agreement. It is abundantly clear there that the two cultures...and any later ones.. would be sheltered under one over-arching umbrella of equal citizenship before one law. One sovereignty, not two.

The utter failure to recognise this clear fact has led us all into Cuckoo Cloud Land in the last 40 or so years. It has encouraged those blinded by the prospect of personal empowerment to embrace the mad, Treaty-violating concept of separate sovereignties; people like the Maori King and the former Mayor of New Plymouth who understand little of what either the Treaty says, or what democracy means.

Good luck to the Alice-in-Wonderland Kingitanga enthusiasts.

Alan Rhodes

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"and any later ones.. would be sheltered under one over-arching umbrella of equal citizenship before one law. One sovereignty, not two."
The Maori version of the treaty is not nearly as much "clear fact" as you seem to think.
It also said that Maori would have their property protected. How did that work out?

Alan said...

It worked out GS that Maori property rights would be equally protected as Pakeha or anyone else's property rights under the one law. That cultural things bore upon property rights that were collective rather than Pakeha individual was a complication when it came to selling is not the issue.

Neither are confiscatory injustices that took place later, which are the subject of claims to the Waitangi Tribunal.

The Maori version of the Treaty GS I am given to understand in my poor knowledge of Maori accords completely with the English Treaty draft it echoed. One law for one citizenship in one sovereign nation.. something that didn't exist before 1840. Very clear!

Alan Rhodes

Alan said...

It worked out GS that Maori property rights would be equally protected as Pakeha or anyone else's property rights under the one law. That cultural things bore upon property rights that were collective rather than Pakeha individual was a complication when it came to selling is not the issue.

Neither are confiscatory injustices that took place later, which are the subject of claims to the Waitangi Tribunal.

The Maori version of the Treaty GS I am given to understand in my poor knowledge of Maori accords completely with the English Treaty draft it echoed. One law for one citizenship in one sovereign nation.. something that didn't exist before 1840. Very clear!

Alan Rhodes

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"It worked out GS that Maori property rights would be equally protected as Pakeha or anyone else's property rights under the one law. That cultural things bore upon property rights that were collective rather than Pakeha individual was a complication when it came to selling is not the issue."
They were exactly the issue. Otherwise why did the Pakeha government insist on getting rid of collective property rights?
"The Maori version of the Treaty GS I am given to understand in my poor knowledge of Maori accords completely with the English Treaty draft it echoed. "
Completely wrong. Are you reading some sort of alternative history or something?

Alan said...

Well yes GS.

If you have one lot wanting to sell land and the other wanting to buy land then you really want to know who properly owns it... a group, or an individual. Pretty obviously a problem needing sorting..

And no and no GS. Aside from a war on semantics around understood meanings of 'rangatiratanga' (possession) and the Treaty 'kawanatanga' (sovereignty) Articles One and Three of the Treaty are perfectly clear in intent. In order to obtain peace in a disrupted frontier land all would become subjects of Queen Victoria under one law.This is what was offered and accepted by most. This is what Hobson meant when he said at the conclusion 'Now we are One.'

There are no 'alternative facts' here.

Alan Rhodes

Guerilla Surgeon said...

The problem is that those semantics with the crux of the whole matter. And the rather haphazard translation has led to many of the problems we have today. And then there is the 1865 Act of course, which essentially abolished collective ownership, about which you don't seem to know anything at all. None of the 'buyers' were interested in buying from a group. So titles were forcibly individualised.

Alan said...

It just isn't the issue GS. It was a post-Treaty problem, one of many. The real issue is the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi: articles One and Three that unambiguously established one universal sovereignty under one rule of law.

Just perhaps you wouldn't deny Sir Apirana Ngata's scholarly opinion and illustrious place in post 1840 history.... would you? Perhaps I assume too much.

'The main (Treaty) purport was the transferring of authority of the Maori Chiefs for making laws (even of life or death) for their respective tribes and sub-tribes under the Treaty of Waitangi to the Queen of England for ever.'

Ngata's words. Argue with him!

Alan Rhodes

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I know that Ngata became disillusioned with the treaty and its results after he had written his explanation of it.
He was particularly critical of the 1865 compulsory individualisation of title.
As far as your "post treaty problem" is concerned, you're the one that brought it up not me.

Chris Trotter said...

It strikes me GS, that if you're going to correct other commentators contributions on the grounds of superior erudition, then you really ought to start thinking seriously about doing so under your actual name. That way we will all be able to verify that our comments are, indeed, being critiqued by someone academically qualified to do so.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Why on earth should I need to be any more qualified than anyone else who can read? Would you like to specify where, as opposed to Alan, that I claim superior erudition? I'm simply arguing a position from knowledge. Not necessarily superior except it's implied in my argument that I think Alan is incorrect. All of the information with which I argue is freely available on the net.
And who is he? Is he not arguing from a position of greater erudition? (I don't in fact think so, but then I don't think I am either.) I can find any number of people with his name on the Internet, from potters through graphic artists to actors. I think I have mentioned that I once worked in Treaty research, but it doesn't give me any special insight into Treaty interpretation. I don't think my name would mean a great deal, and I think I've mentioned the reasons why I have always written under this particular pseudonym. And I could claim in fact to be almost anyone though I might not necessarily get away with it, because on the Internet as they say "no one knows you're a dog."
Look, it seems to have become obvious that I seem to be annoying you more and more. Would you rather I didn't comment at all? I'm quite happy to gracefully withdraw if you would rather.