Sunday, September 13, 2015
Mike Butler: Domestic terrorism at Kaitaia
A 28-hour occupation of Kaitaia Airport by Ngati Kahu, which began just before lunchtime on Tuesday, ended at 3pm on Wednesday in a blaze of tyres and five arrests.
Action leader Wi Popata, nephew of former Mana Party MP Hone Harawira, said the occupation was a protest against four Treaty of Waitangi settlements that were being read for the third and final time in Parliament.
The Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill was passing into law the settlements of four of five Far North “Muriwhenua” tribes - Te Aupouri which received financial redress of $21-million,, Ngai Takoto $21-million, Te Rarawa $33.8-million, and Ngati Kuri $21-million.
Ngati Kahu, the only Te Hiku iwi to not yet settle, has an agreement in principle that includes $14 million financial redress plus $7.5 million social revitalisation funding. (2)
The Ngati Kahu agreement is the stage where the Crown and the claimants work on the fine detail of the settlement to agree a draft Deed of Settlement that can be put to the claimant community for ratification.
Although the essential elements of redress have been agreed, claimants are trying to resolve outstanding issues relating to internal representation or to cross-claims from other tribes, according to an explanation on the Office of Treaty Settlements website.(3)
The Ngati Kahu historical grievances relate to the Crown’s handling of pre-treaty land transactions, nineteenth century land purchases by the Crown, the operation and impact of the native land laws, twentieth century land administration issues and the economic, social and cultural prejudice that resulted.
No land was confiscated in the Far North. Land that changed hands was sold – before the treaty was signed, in the period from 1840 to 1862, through the Native Land Court from 1862, and so on.
Mutu said most of the occupiers were members of the Patukoraha and Ngai Tohianga hapu repossessing land that was taken from them by the government in the 1940s.(4)
However, a land claims report for October 2009 posted on the Ngati Kahu website recorded an assertion of “mana whenua” status by Te Paatu and Ngai Tohianga in Kaitaia and the surrounding areas without reference to the Kaitaia airport or any alleged events in the 1940s.(5)
Mutu, who is a Maori studies professor at Auckland University, appears to be making this up as she goes along. Her phrase “repossessed their land” appears to mean “attempted to take by force land sold by forebears”.
The Treaty of Waitangi Act and the Waitangi Tribunal was intended to get protest and other forms of direct action off the street into formal discussions.
This week’s airport takeover was a reminder that direct action never stopped even though formal negotiations have proved hugely lucrative for tribal entities throughout the nation. A total of $3.1-billion in financial redress has already been paid.
To put into context the scale of last week’s transfer of wealth to four scarcely visible Far North tribal entities, the $96-million given is around the same amount as last year’s injection into a national urban cycleways project that would benefit everyone.
Terrorism is the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
There was no doubt that the violence and intimidation we saw last week at Kaitaia was domestic terrorism.
1. Kaitaia airport protesters treaspassed, six arrested. http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/northern-news/71876802/christopher-finlayson-slams-miscreant-protesters-at-kaitaia-airport
2. Ngāti Kahu Agreement in Principle, http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/fb.asp?url=LiveArticle.asp?ArtID=-1243035403
3. Claims Progress, Office of Treaty Settlements, http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/fb.asp?url=LiveArticle.asp?ArtID=-1243035403
4. Kaitaia airport protesters trespassed, six arrested. http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/northern-news/71876802/christopher-finlayson-slams-miscreant-protesters-at-kaitaia-airport
5. Land Claims Report for October 2009, http://ngatikahu.iwi.nz/node/668
at 1:26 PM