Waatea News Column: The political calculations at Ihumatao


Activists who have bravely protested the obscenity at Ihumatao are frustrated and angry at the lack of public process.

The frustration is understandable but short-sighted.

Judith Collins continued attack on any suggestion that sees the State step in and buy the land back alongside her demands for that solution to be made public before the election should all be red flags to everyone who wants a just outcome.

Judith’s ability to understand the lesser angels of our nature and manipulate them to dark outcomes are as well-honed as Don Brash’s when he launched his infamous ‘Orewa Speech’.

Judith has already established her talking points that any solution risks undermining previous agreements and this argument could spook voters into another Orewa Speech stampede if the perception of angry Māori taking back stolen land gets sown into the publics short term memory.

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The reality is that a new generation of activist sees the pittance paid out in the treaty process as exacerbating the original injustice, not healing it. Honouring the treaty isn’t about paying lipservice to stolen land of the past, it is a living breathing ongoing relationship and that interpretation terrifies National voters.

And some Labour voters.

I believe Jacinda when she says she wants a solution to Ihumātao, but in my opinion, the smart political calculation here is to announce it after the election, not hand Judith the ammunition she will use to block it.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. After all the decades, and in terms of the recent struggle at Ihumatāo, years, waiting for a just outcome it would be tactically wise to wait till after September 19 to finalise this. But that is easy to say for those of us not in the centre of it all. As I said a day or two back on TDB, Pania Newton has erred several times by going to the media to try and pressure people who have obviously made positive noises behind the scenes, to walk their talk. But there will be counter pressure too–after all while Māori are overwhelming working class there are others in their ranks–Iwi elites happy to deal with the likes of Fletchers, which is partly what instituted the latest Ihumatāo situation, aided of course by Supercity miss handling.

    Just a little mention of Ihumatāo in the media last week, was enough to provoke a torrent of online filthy racism and property owners fear and loathing.

    • Tiger Mountain: “….while Māori are overwhelming working class there are others in their ranks–Iwi elites happy to deal with the likes of Fletchers, which is partly what instituted the latest Ihumatāo situation….”

      It has already been pointed out that this is a classic class conflict. In fact, this is the entire story.

      The stonefields area is already a reserve, designated as such by Auckland city some years ago. The remainder of the land is privately-owned: both parties to the original agreement know its status, and that for this reason it cannot be returned to the descendants of the Maori from whom it was originally confiscated.

      The government cannot buy the land. Ardern should never have got involved in the first place. I’m sure that was the advice she received, but it appears that she ignored it. Now her government finds itself between the devil and the deep blue sea, as the saying goes. A tragic mistake on her part.

      “…..aided of course by Supercity miss handling.”

      I’ve not seen anything to suggest mishandling by Auckland city. Can you tell us, please, what you refer to?


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