Māori Party Co-Leader
Ngāruahine Claims Settlement Bill — Third Reading
29 November 2016
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E Te Whare, I will not labour the point. I have been reminded in recent times to be mana-enhancing. I am just going to say that maybe it was really lucky they had those three seats, or they might not have any Māori representation in Rotorua. So I absolutely support Māori representation as a right under the Treaty, and I will leave it there.
The aspects of this settlement have been well documented. The aspects of this settlement and grievances have been well articulated. You know better than I the pain and the heartache that have been endured by your people. So today I actually want to focus my comments on our rangatahi, on our young people. They will be the ones who inherit the future and the decisions that we make. They will be the ones to choose who takes up those seats in the future to ensure that representation and a voice for our people are never lost again. They will be the ones who carry forward into the future the stories that you have told, the histories that you have researched and brought into visual existence again.
So, I want to focus my comments on you, e te hunga rangatahi. The raukura that you wear is a symbol of many things, actually: the harmony of spirit, the physical harmony, the communal harmony, and unity of your people—a symbol of peace. Let us talk about that spiritual connection. When you, as young people, put the raukura in your hair, does your mind immediately go back to the origin? Are you immediately connected ā-wairua to your tūpuna? Do you immediately draw upon all of their knowledge—all of their ancestral knowledge, the culmination of all that was that brings you to this point? Not just in your immediate past—those 175 years ago, those 150 years ago, when your people were convicted, tortured, ferried away, enslaved, and killed. Not just that; go back to the journeys of our ancestors who crossed these oceans, and who navigated not only by the stars but by the phosphorus in the oceans, by the currents, and by the tides. You are the culmination of all of our strength and all of our greatness, and when you wear that raukura your spiritual connection brings you closer to them, as it reminds you and draws your memory back to the greatness of our people. Do not forget that as you battle the future that comes upon you and as you navigate the pathways of your youth—oh, to be young again! Ha, ha! As you navigate the pathways of your youth, do not forget that. You are a seed born of greatness, and the raukura reminds you of it.
Physical harmony—your people are about to come into monetary wealth, to have some land returned, and to have taonga returned, or to have the ability to create new taonga. Think about the reasons that your ancestors fought so hard to retain whenua, to retain taonga, to retain mana motuhaki, and to retain rangatiratanga. In the decisions that you make in the future, do not waste that effort that they have made on your behalf. You know, it is a pittance—it is a pittance—but you are born into a brightness of hope, because the thing about the future is that it is not yet determined. You have the power in your hands to determine your own pathways, to determine your own futures, to put to good use the resources that will be returned to your people today, and to put to good use the learnings and efforts of the struggle of your ancestors, the negotiators, the researchers, the nannies who turned up at the marae for all those hui, and the cooks in the kitchen who made sure everybody was fed. You know, every part of that cannot be wasted as you get to determine your future—and the future is bright, because the potential is limitless. Make the decisions wisely that enable our whānau to hold up their end.
The last thing—we talk about harmony and unity. You know, you guys know harmony better than me. I have heard you sing. Harmony is not all singing the same tune—well, actually, same tune, but different notes. Ha, ha! Harmony is not all singing the same note. It is the opportunity to embellish each other, to enhance each other, and to enrich each other's note by recognising each other's difference and working together as one. We can be different. We can have different points of view. We can have different pathways and different dress styles—just quietly. We can wear our hair differently. None of those things have to be done in isolation from each other. As young people we grow up "on the mock". We are pretty good at that: "I'm trying to be mana-enhancing. I'm holding it in." Harmony and unity mean working side by side with one another, for the mutual benefit of all of us. The raukura symbolises all of those things, and when we have those things we realise the aspirations of our tūpuna, and we move together in peace, harmony, and unity—both spiritual and physical.
E te hunga rangatahi, hold on to the words of your ancestors.
Push them forward to your future. Learn from them, grow from them, and mark your own path.
Tēnei te mihi atu ki a koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora mai tātou katoa.