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Proved wrong on Maori leader vacuum

  • July 19th, 2012

Yesterday I said

"The tragedy of New Zealand's state sponsored racism is that it has led to there being no Maori leaders who can compete for mana with the racists, by showing concern for New Zealand as a whole. Or perhaps they just lack the courage of their forebears, like modern politicians of most stripes. It would only need the iwi leaders to say publicly what they are muttering privately. They can't risk being painted within Maoridom as 'kupapa Maori' or Uncle Toms, because power in race politics depends on showing willingness to 'stick it to the man'

Today's statement by Nga Puhi's David Rankin proves me wrong, mincing no words:

“These claimants need to be honest. What they are after is a slice of the pie. This is not about culture, it is all about profit and personal gains,” says Mr. Rankin. He points to the Sealord fisheries settlement 20 years ago, and says “after two decades, the vast majority of Maori have not seen a single fish. It is only the elite few manipulating the masses who get to enjoy the money that flows from these settlements”.

In the case of the current claim over rivers, Mr. Rankin points the finger at Maanu Paul and Annette Sykes. “These two,” he says, “are silent when one of our children is bashed, silent when one of our children is raped, silent when one of our children is murdered. But put some cash before their eyes, and they jump up and down pretending to be concerned about Maori rights. It’s disgraceful.”

Mr Rankin said that the claimants obviously put cash before culture. “Traditionally, we all shared the water in rivers. There was never any sense of ownership, only a link of identity. That’s why there is the phrase: Ko wai ahau?”

Mr. Rankin also questions the mandates of Maanu Paul and Annette Sykes. “What rights do they have to speak on our behalf?” he asks. “What is their whakapapa, and who do they really represent? These are self-appointed leaders – known among Maori to be “Claytons Leaders”, that is, the leaders when you don’t want a leader.”

I'll wait, nevertheless, for something straightforward from Ngai Tahu and Tainui before withdrawing and apologising.


  • Roger Strong
  • July 19th, 2012
  • 7:59 pm

I wish that you would publish here the commenst you made on this matter this afternoon on Jim's programme on RedRadio. Right on the button. the last comment about the attitude to the present happening and the founders of the Labour Party-to which Chris Trotter agreed would be worth hearing again as well.

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