Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mike Butler: Sharples’ separatist dream

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples put his spin on history, the Treaty of Waitangi and progress towards his goal of “Maori control of all things Maori” in a speech to the World Christian Gathering last Saturday, January 15, 2011. While he stressed that his speech was a personal vision for the future, what he said could not go without comment.

Sharples believes his pre-European ancestors were confident, secure, autonomous and generous tangata whenua” who had “well-regulated societies, effective leadership and political organisation, systems of justice and dispute resolution, sustainable environmental protection and resource management regimes.”

He did not say that the “generous tangata whenua” resolved disputes through a series of 500 or more battles, known as the Musket Wars, between 1807 and 1839. Northern tribes such as the rivals Ngapuhi and Ngati Whatua were the first to obtain firearms, and inflicted heavy casualties upon each other and on neighbouring tribes, some of whom had never seen muskets. The wars were characterised by their brutality and ruthlessness - with treachery, burning villages, killing prisoners, torture, slavery, and cannibalism.

Neither did he say that “sustainable environmental protection and resource management regimes” included setting fire to vast tracts of native bush to flush out moa, and promote the re-growth of edible plants.

Sharples said “the treaty clearly foreshadowed a plural society . . . in which the various autonomous hapu would work in partnership with the Crown for the benefit of all citizens of the new nation”. He is unconcerned that the four-sentence three-paragraph treaty has no mention of “autonomous hapu”, “partnership”, or “a plural society”.

“As the realities of colonisation became clear”, Sharples said, “Maori resisted the Crown’s demands, especially the pressure for extensive sale of lands”. He did not say that while some Maori resisted, many more were eager to sell land to benefit from the new economy. Numerous pro-government Maori fought with colonial troops against some anti-government Maori who aimed to drive pakeha colonists into the sea.

Sharples talks of the exodus of the 1960s from the country to the city, where, away from their traditional guidance and support networks, young Maori families struggled with drinking and family violence, unemployment and poverty, truancy and petty crime, unpaid bills and evictions.

He overlooks the fact that these problems are not unique to Maori. No one forces anyone to drink liquor, beat up his wife, live in poverty, skip school, and not pay bills. The problems he cites are more characteristic of dependence on welfare. He also over looks the fact that while 88,500 or 29 percent of working-age Maori (aged 18-64 years) received a benefit in 2006, 71 percent of Maori were not receiving a benefit.

Sharples boasts 40 years of what he calls progress in terms of urban marae, a separate Maori health system, separate iwi social services, recognition of te reo as an official language, Maori broadcasting, and the reconstruction of iwi and hapu, runanga and traditional leadership to extract money from the government in the form of the administration of separate welfare, as well as bloated treaty settlements.

The question is whether these steps have increased or decreased Maori dependence on the state. The answer is clear … without the continuous flow of money from the government, all of what Sharples claims as progress would not exist, and those who sign up to this vision have become more dependent than ever. Hence the current exodus of Maori to Australia . . . no amount of tribal welfare and separate social services is going to provide the jobs, businesses, and the hope for the future, which most people, regardless of race, yearn for.

In his address to the World Christian Gathering, he closed by saying “how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”. He does not see that his goal of “rangatiratanga”, or Maori control of all things Maori, is steadily creating a parasitic state within a state. Despite his charming reasoned eloquence, he is just as much of a firebrand as other mixed-race pakeha-bashing zealots.

Yes, he is creating division, not unity. In-fighting between Hone Harawira and other Maori Party MPs show that it is the party of division. Sharples continues to attract disproportionate publicity for his views that have miniscule support, considering the Maori Party gained only 56,000 votes, or 2.4 percent of the party vote, in the 2008 election.

If the Labour Party puts up reasonable candidates for the Maori seats, the Maori Party could have a battle in the forthcoming election.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples’ speech to the World Christian Gathering may be seen at


Anonymous said...
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And so it will go on until it is too late and civil unrest shows the government the people have had enough

Ali Mac said...
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Sharples, because he has surrendered to his inner insatiable lust for power and insataible greed and towering covetousness for property that is not his, and never ever was part of his " customary title' is now on track to becoming a self-styled iwi version of a certain German dictator of the 1940;s
Sharples should also quote the passage of scripture about being a liar; not just about using "unity" so he can become the new despot of NZ . He knows full well that he has spoken lies in that speech.saying they had "systems of justice and dispute resolution".. so here it is for Sharples; "But the cowardly, unbelieving,...............murderers.....sorcerers and all LIARS shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8)

Anonymous said...
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I understand In NZ as In Australia,the non Socialists/Communists in fact the people who work for their money have starting hoarding fire arms

Anonymous said...
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You 'understand' wrongly.

Anonymous said...
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When I made my oral submission on the Marine Bill to the Maori Select Committee, I proved we had only one Treaty and it was written in Maori. When I asked for any member to quote from the Treaty text an exclusive right to only Maoris, all failed to do so. Those members were,
Hon. Tau Henare (Chairperson)- National
Hon. Simon Bridges- National
Hon. Paul Quinn- National
Hon. Parekura Horomia- Labour
Hon. Kelvin Davis- Labour
Hon. Mita Ririnui- Labour
Hon. Te Ururoa Flavell- Maori Party
Hon. John Boscawen- Act
Hon. Metiria Turei- Green

Anonymous said...
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A letter from 13 Maori chiefs asking King William for protection in 1831.

"To King William, the gracious Chief of England. King William, we, the chiefs of New Zealand assembled at this place, called the Kerikeri, write to thee, for we hear that thou art the great chief of the other side of the water, since the many ships which come to our land are from thee. We are a people without possessions. We have nothing but timber, flax, pork and potatoes. We sell these things however to your people; then we see property of the Europeans. It is only thy land, which is liberal towards us. From thee also come the missionaries who teach us to believe on Jehovah God and on Jesus Christ His Son. We have heard that the tribe of Marian [the French] is at hand, coming to take away our land. Therefore we pray thee to become our friend and the guardian of these islands, lest the teasing of other tribes should come near us, and lest strangers should come and take away our land. And if any of thy people should be troublesome and vicious towards us we pray thee to be angry with them that they may be obedient, lest the anger of the people of this land fall upon them. This letter is from us, the chief’s of the natives of New Zealand."

One New Zealand Foundation Inc.

Anonymous said...
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"In the first half of the nineteenth century, however, individual iwi considered carrying their martial culture beyond the shores of New Zealand. At least three expeditions of conquest were planned: to Samoa, to Norfolk Island, and to the Chatham Islands, which did not become part of New Zealand until 1842. All these proposed expeditions were dependent on finding transport to those places: and that meant finding a European ship's captain whose vessel was available for charter; or it meant Maori commandeering a vessel for the purpose.

In the event there were no expeditions to Norfolk Island or to Samoa because the necessary transport was not secured. But there was an invasion of the Chathams Islands. Two Taranaki tribes then based in Wellington, Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga ki Poneke, hijacked a European vessel in 1835 and had themselves—a total of 900 people—delivered to Chatham Islands. There they takahi'd or walked the land to claim it; ritually killed around 300 Chatham Moriori out of a total of around 1600, and enslaved the survivors—separating husbands from wives, parents from children, forbidding them to speak their own language or practise their own customs, and forcing them to violate the tapus of their culture, whose mana was based on the rejection of violence.

Was this a superior form of colonisation to that imposed by European on Maori? Did it respect the dignity and customs of the colonised? Did it acknowledge the mana whenua of the tchakat henu or indigenous people of the Chathams? It did not. It was what might now be called an exercise in ethnic cleansing. When Bishop Selwyn arrived in the islands in 1848, it was to discover that the Maori called Moriori "Paraiwhara" or "Blackfellas"; and it was to report that the Moriori population continued to decline at a suicidal rate as a consequence of kongenge or despair. Moriori slaves were not released and New Zealand law was not established on the islands until 1862, twenty years after they had become part of New Zealand. And it is that twenty years of neglect of fiduciary duty on the part of the Crown that is the basis for the Moriori claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, heard in 1994, but still not reported upon"

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