Monday, 21 November 2011

Find Your Voice

What future will they see?

This coming Saturday is your chance to have a say about who governs the country. It's been an interesting election period because of the short one month timeframe which has meant that political parties have not had the same amount of time (as they have in previous years) to convince you of why to vote for them.

I just wanted to take the opportunity to let you know that your vote is important, not just for you, but for your communities. Please take the time to go to the polls and vote for a better future for Aotearoa and your whanau.

I also thought I would give you a quick summary of what I see as 'the lay of the land' for consideration when casting your vote.

First of all, this election has really irritated me because of the games played by the major political parties. Labour and National are both guilty of trying to submerge the voices and the issues of the minor parties. I feel the public have been short changed, because the two major parties have not been held to account by the minor parties for issues where they both agree. There has been no opportunity to show Aotearoa how similar these two parties actually are, and that is an outrage in the age of MMP.

Secondly, I think for Maori this election has been marred by our 'in-fighting'. The fact of it is, that the aspirations of both the Maori Party and the Mana Party are the same. Our values are the same as well. What is different is our approach to how we each believe we should journey to our destination.

I am hoha of this storm in a teacup approach. I support the Maori Party because I believe that our approach is the best in terms of delivering outcomes. In my view, the journey is just as important as the destination - and if you are dividing people, hurting people, and misleading people in the process - you do not have the best interests of the people at heart.

I am also very concerned that we as Maori are allowing these Western processes to define us. Tell me why we should mirror ourselves on the behavior of non-Maori politicians? Tell me which tikanga or kaupapa misleading the people fits into? Tell me how turning our own people against their each other serves our interests in the long term? And tell me why we should be 'loyal' to Labour? Why?

We need to remember that we are Maori. We need to preserve our ways, our tikanga, and our means of participating. By allowing an election to divide whanau, we are buying into another round of colonisation and that is not on.

My challenge to you is this - think about who can deliver the change that need to move forward on our journey. Think about the strategy - if National win the election (which looks likely), would you rather sit back and let them hurt our communities, or would you want an advocate/soldier to get in there and stop them? If Labour (by some miracle) win the election do you think they have the best interests of Maori at heart?

Think about what the most important thing is to  you in this election? Is it the environment? Or is it the whanau? Or is it money? - Now think about who represents those interests, as well as the interests of the greater Maori community.

Think about your values. Think about our tikanga, our whakapapa, our matauranga and our struggle. Who has the skills to unite us again? Who has the skills to deliver the outcomes while preserving the mana of our ways and our people.

These are the questions I hope that you will ask yourself this week when you vote. Your vote is not your only chance to have a say, but it is the start of establishing the framework within which your aspirations can be achieved. Find your voice, find your courage - and look to the hearts and minds of the people that you are going to vote in.

Choose the person and the Party not based on what you want, but on what is best for our future generations, and what will preserve the legacy that our tipuna left behind.


  1. Tena koe e hine mo to tirohanga marika e pa ana ki te kowhiringa nui kei te haramai me to kaha ki te tautoko i nga kaupapa e whakarewahia e te paati maori. Ae kia mataara ai tatou te iwi Maori! Me aata whakaarohia tatou katoa, ko wai te paati hei anga whakamua ma te Maori ano. Heoi ano, ko te mea nui, me pooti tatou!

    Bayden Barber, Ngati Kurukuru, Waimarama

  2. As a Maori who has lived abroad for the past 10 years across South America and Europe looking at the Maori Party from the outside in I see people with good intentions but a lack of direction. 2011 is a year I am sure most people who are members of the Maori Party would rather forget and starting of 2012 in a similar fashion would not help either.
    If I look at the Maori Parties Home Page I see to many mixed messages, no identity of what direction the future is and how we are going to achieve it.
    No young people besides yourself i maybe wrong but everyone I see in the pictures are or a mature age. The future lies with the young and if change is to occur it starts we us, mentors with a passion will help create a movement it only takes one so far I cant see anyone doing this again i maybe wrong but I can only see from the outside.
    Change needs to happen for the Maori Party to move forward