Waatea News Column: What next for Ihumātao?


After Māori King Tūheitia helped build mana whenua consensus in a Māori centric decision making process that ended up agreeing that Ihumātao should be returned, what happens next?

For the Government, they desperately need the issue resolved before the end of the year, to go into election 2020 with Ihumātao still live would be a disastrous outcome. National have previously delighted in using Māori expression of sovereignty as a means to whip up Pakeha prejudice for electoral gain and Labour would not want them to do that again.

For the mana whenua whom have sacrificed so much, nothing short of total victory will be acceptable.

So what to do?

Finance Minister Grant Robertson met last week with Fletchers, what was discussed is confidential but some scenario whereby the Crown facilitates a sale to buy back the land must be on the table.

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The concern for the Government would be the political fall out such a buy back might create and the resistance that could generate within NZ First.

On this issue, the Government could point to the recent purchase of Kate Sheppard’s former home for $4.5million by the Ministry for Arts, Culture and Heritage. If Kate Sheppard’s legacy is deemed worthy of protection, surely some of the oldest land cultivated here is as well.

What the Government needs to do is find a creative means to create the sale and make Ihumātao a national park. With so many willing to engage, the solution can’t be that hard to find, the issue then becomes what precedent this might set for other land that has already been settled.

And this is actually the real problem here.

The concern by opponents of any deal is that reopening settlements will trigger a chain reaction of previously signed agreements.

In my opinion, that would be great.

What we have here is a new generation of Māori and Pakeha who see the settlement process where pittance has been paid back for land confiscation as part of the problem, not the solution.

Such unjust settlements only continue the injustice, they don’t heal it.

New Zealand needs to understand that our future is not in settling the Treaty, but in honouring it.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. Our government can also point to the 12.5 million they have in the cultural heritage funds to fix privately owned building that have heritage value this is paid out and these buildings are privately owned now is this fair nah!they just paid out for some in Petone on Jackson Street to save these buildings now if they can do this they can save Ihumatao.

    • For what ever reason Pania Newton didn’t have the fear that her elders and treaty negotiators had. Y’know Pania Newton has some interesting things to say about difficult issues that the people above her would rather shy away from. I admire what Pania has done, she’s tried to be fluent and as careful as she can and she’s managed to get an ear for people to listen and open spaces for saying what others fear to say.

      If you want a theoretical then I’m less of an anarchist than I think Pania is. I believe in organisation and I believe in a collective effort that requires an organisation. If you ask me and you didn’t, but if you did ask me what the single biggest missing element facing Iwi Māori today is, it wouldn’t be consciousness or though we need to develop that – it’s not caring or though we need to develop that – it’s not numbers because we have numbers. What Iwi Māori lack is organisation, Iwi Māori is the most disorganized political movement I know of.

      The discombobulation of Iwi Māori is the most amazing testament to the isolation, individualism, and the ideological underdevelopment of the New Zealand left that it can not make an organisation, or to put it another way – shrinks away, hesitates, sceptical, worried all the time that an organisation might tell it what to do. Even though Māori have spent several generations under colonization and being told what to do by people all the time, but when it comes time to volunteer their political activity they don’t want that.

      These are all lovely ideas but no one is going to confront the system as organised as capitalism is, by simply hugging it to death. So Iwi Māori need organisations and it’s possible to have organisations that are not oppressive or arbitrary. It’s difficult to create a descent organization but it is possible as Pania Newton has demonstrated. But if you don’t try, then you are disarming yourself both intellectually and sovereignty and then the system can afford to ignore you.

      I use to think the right was powerful but the left which I always knew was there is in many ways much deeper and more powerful than the right. Left is everywhere, they carry us, even me, these blogs are like leafs on a raging river that carries us and the river is the left and there’s loads of people there with commitment and passion and all of that. But getting together into organizations like The Woke a pride Parade??? Oh boy.

      And what ever it is about Neoliberalism that has achieved that disorganization in my opinion is the most important item for protecting Neoliberalism. It’s not the patriarchy, it’s not rape culture, it’s not colonization or some mythical trauma from a hundred years ago, it’s right here right now, it’s that disorganization that protects neoliberalism.

      It’s always that way. Russia didn’t fall apart because it was attacked, Russia was never attacked directly, Russia fell apart from the inside and that is the way Neoliberalism will end. But what is keeping neoliberalism for now is what ever it is that disorganizes the left which is absolutely crucial for the maintenance of neoliberalism and when that shifts, how ever that might happen – then watch out because if that left that’s out there congeals around a movement, candidate or party or something, then we will see what happened with the TPPA protests Y’know suddenly, out of nowhere hundreds of thousands of people show up.

      Y’know i think this is all wonderfully poetic. How would have thought that in a muddy inner city tent embassy that no one was using, Y’know you’d get these thousands of people just show up out of nowhere and if Pania was smart she would organize and figure out how to get them all together again. Y’know in that instant they all understood in away that no university grade lecture could say because they all saw it with there own eyes that they lacked organization. Now this little spark in this bizarre tent city in a muddy field was the catalyst. Who would have thought.

  2. I would like to to see Iwi develop and maintain tribal registers we can utilise these register for research and policy development we will be better of if we collect and own our own data bases for our people as we have been betrayed by the last government and previous ones.

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