What a fucking week right? I'm writing this on Thursday, hereafter known as TPPday, and publishing this on Friday a.k.a. the day before Waitangi Day 2016. As a Māori person with an interest in history, Māori things, this country, and its people, this is some time to be alive. And to be honest, its not a great time for tino rangatiratanga. With such a hectic couple of days behind us, and more to come I thought it pertinent to stop, educate and listen. The history of Waitangi is long and fraught but as more and more iwi enter the post-settlement phase, there is more to come. For now though, let us look at what has ground my gears over the last couple of days before ending on my stubbornly optimistic note. (And there are six today because of 6 Feb).
It's particularly interesting that a senior National MP finds it disappointing that tangata whenua don't want to provide a pōwhiri to visiting delegates for a trade agreement that involved little (i.e. none) consultation with iwi Māori. Giving an example of travelling kapa haka groups who attend trade signings with NZ delegates is completely different to expecting an iwi to welcome you onto their whenua where you will then sign an agreement which affects them without actually engaging with them. There is no sense in this rationale and yet it is the tip of the iceberg. For an interpretation into how the TPP could affect Treaty of Waitangi principles, I would suggest reading this article from Carwyn Jones, Senior Law Lecturer at Victoria University. And as always, avoid the comments section if you don't want to lose all faith in your fellow Aotearoans. For a lol, I saw this doing the rounds on Facebook:
2. Cartoon Genius
The irony of the timing of the signing of the TPP escaped no one as this brilliant cartoon depicted:
3. Having a tangi about not being "gagged" at Waitangi
In classic PM fashion, John Key has blamed his decision to not attend Waitangi on various slights from the hosting iwi Ngāpuhi and those pesky, ever-present protesters (they are either a rent-a-protest or a threatening mob when it suits him). How dare they tell him he can't talk about the TPP on their marae? How dare these elders encourage violence on their marae where he is to visit? Wait. What. Did he just accuse them of encouraging violence? Haven't seen that mentioned elsewhere. Funny that. Insert some fumbling ideas of what Key thinks tikanga means when it suits him and you have the PM's justification of why he won't attend Waitangi. For a Māori reporting perspective, I would suggest the unsurpassed Mihingarangi Forbes' interview on Checkpoint with Rahiri Dargaville.
4. Fuck Stuff (my new mantra)
And so it goes on. Every year as Waitangi Day approaches my skin starts to tighten as I feel the media start to intensely scrutinise all things Māori-related. One choice hint that Waitangi is approaching is that "journalism" outfit Stuff.co.nz ramps up its divisive articles relating to Māori and opens up said articles to the commentariat who proceed to tear Māori apart. This year's open-season article was written by a Pākehā who had spent a lot of time with Māori and decided to learn te reo as a pathway to forging profound relationships with Māori. In the spirit of te Tiriti o Waitangi, commenters tore this idea apart on the premise that te reo had never been of any use to them so should probably die out. Obviously. Great lesson in rational thinking right there. No links provided because fuck Stuff.
5. Author of seminal Waitangi publication
Media would have you believe that Waitangi is circus of angry Māori and heated debates. Not saying this isn't true, but it isn't a full representation. Perhaps an interview with Treaty of Waitangi expert Dame Claudia Orange will provide a more well-rounded, well-versed version of events. A reminder that there is much to be gained by listening. Also, a plug for the museum that will be opening and the taonga that will be on display.
6. Ngā Taonga and Ngata
For a historical perspective, and one that utilises Ngā Taonga's recently rejuvenated website, I would suggest a listen to this recording of Sir Apirana Ngata speaking at the centenary of the signing of te Tiriti. Ka whawhai tonu mātou!
To end on a positive note, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage administers the Commemorating Waitangi Day Fund which is a contestable fund that iwi and community groups can apply for to help finance events that commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. A list of the successful applicants can be found here and I would suggest checking out the list for ideas on how to spend your Waitangi Saturday.
The fire in my belly is lit, and it will remain so. Aotearoa is beautiful, and it's worth remembering that. On that note, listen to some chill sounds that emanate patriotic posivibes better than any fugly flags or divisive diatribes:
Ohmygod, OG Trinity Roots get me every time. I forgot about that. Kia piki te ora!