Waatea News column: Ihumātao, Oranga Tamariki & Justice/Health/Mental health racism – something has got to give


Never before have such a wide range of issues with Māori at their centre erupted all at the same time, and in each case the rotten unfulfilled promises of the sovereignty promised under the Treaty is the root disease for each symptom.

The shocking Oranga Tamariki uplifts spawning the next stolen generation have angered Māoridom like few other issues, but that rage has opened doors to a range of issues.

The latest Justice report showing outrageous racism in the prison system, the latest health report showing the same thing and the most recent inquiry into mental health that saw many Māori voices censored in the final report.

Add to this avalanche of injustice, the painful reminder of the pittance Māori receive for land confiscation erupting at a site with as much significance as Ihumātao. Here Māori who haven’t been included in the negotiation process are rebelling at the tiny amount secured by those who were picked by the Crown to represent it.

In each case the fundamental problem of being denied the agency to realise the promise of sovereignty under the Treaty is the wound and the cure. Māori need to be at the centre of Māori child uplifts, Māori need to be at the centre of Māori justice, health and mental health issues and Māori won’t accept compensation from a colonialism that is weighted against them.

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For sovereignty to mean anything, Māori must have agency, and to have agency, they require real resource. The money endlessly poured into Wellington bureaucrat public services which merely punish the most vulnerable is no longer acceptable.

Māori have waited long enough, the list of injustices continue to stack up. When is the rest of New Zealand brave enough to listen?

First published on Waatea News.


  1. yes Martryn people need to listen but will they, as we are very much a divided country now mostly to do with money who has it and who doesn’t

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