Thursday, 19 March 2009


We are used to the hurly burly of tribal politics

We have stood on the Marae and swayed a room of 500 with our thinking and yet on the ‘moro have hung our head and been humbled taking a verbal battering because we were wrong.

That makes you strong and it makes you wise.

We have written stories about the history of our tribe about how Tuhawaiki saw the potential of trade and set sail for Australia in a boat he owned and how he bought and sold goods alongside the pakeha. We have written stories about how our people argue and fight, and about the things we do, like muttonbirding and fishing and eating pigeons and weka and eels and kana kana and weaving and kapa haka because that’s what we have always done.

Ngai Tahu have elected us to the likes of the Muttonbird committee to sit in painful judgement of our whanau and draw on wisdom way beyond our years and we have sat on the runanga committee where we designed local rules for setting customary fishing permits and saw our people gain more respect in the community because they shared their bounty.

For 35 years of the 49 we have spent on this earth we have harvested muttonbirds on a small island that draws us closer to our ancestors and our family than any other place.

We have also written stories about our leaders who have made money from the “gravy train" and have seen our people weep at the deception and lies.

We have been on Marae when people have claimed bodies in the middle of the night and negotiated a way through the morass of whanau politics. We have slept beside Ngai Tahu crims in drafty wharenui and stayed at 4 star hotels with our bloated leaders.

We know Ngai Tahu and we think the Whanui have reached a turning point.

We have been vilified for stating a position – that Mark Solomon should not be our leader. We will not resile from that.

He displays none of the qualities of a leader we respect or admire. We held that view long before the Wally Stone issue. Just because he is a big man in body does not mean he is a big man in mana. Whakapapa counts for much but not all.

What we need is a humble leader who has a strong majority of support from our people, a leader who inspires, who brings together factions from different perspectives and makes them work together as a collective for all Ngai Tahu.

As yet, we see no logical successor but the question needs to be put to the people , they need to be looking at who can lead them.

That search needs to begin today if we are to have a future tomorrow.


Marty Mars said...

Nice post. I agree that succession planning needs to be well underway. No one is immune and it just makes good governance sense from an iwi point of view. Same in the office - and the successors should be Ngai Tahu whanui.

Tika said...

I tautoko that, when Te Kaea gave the pix & names of those thought to be replacing the position Wally Stone was in was is my imagination or were they not Ngai Tahu (or even maori?) There is no excuse for that as far as i am concerned.

We as a people need to put our own people in those positions especially, are they afraid that our Maori businessmen & woman are not in the same league? It saddens me to see this, we have some incredible minds out there within our own iwi. Should they not get the 1st consideration??