Sunday, 20 June 2010


Maori commentator and publisher Derek Fox has a new column in the Cook Islands but it deserves another airing.

We don't agree with everything he says - ( that often makes having a drink with him a stimulating and interesting occasion) but his thoughts need a wider audience.

Here is the Cook Island column in full .

Still looking for justice
Last week I foreshadowed that I might this week talk about the Foreshore and Seabed debate here in Aotearoa. I indicated that while what MPs used their ministerial credit cards for was gaining all the headlines, the big story of the week should really have been the foreshore and seabed – and I still believe that.
It’s important for a number of reasons. Firstly it is/was a pivotal issue and cornerstone of the support agreement between National and the Maori Party; and secondly it’s one of those flax root debates between Maori and Pakeha which we need to get right – and so far we haven’t – if there is to be a peaceful path forward in this country.
It’s also important because we are at the halfway stage in the political game we call this parliamentary term, and the Maori Party doesn’t have too many meaningful points on the board as we head down now to the next general election.
The foreshore and seabed debate is about property and legal rights – something you’d think the National Party would be solid on. It’s not about access to the country’s beaches - that right – within reason – is beyond doubt.
But National is no keener than Labour to see Maori retain any of their traditional and customary rights developed over the centuries we occupied these islands prior to the arrival of the Pakeha. And that tells me this is a Maori Pakeha issue not one about law and justice and people’s inherent rights. Labour even took away the right of Maori to go to court to see if we had a right – National will restore that but will so tightly prescribe how that right may be determined that it will all but be negated.

So the foreshore and seabed that my tipuna held sway over as a result of hundreds of years of co-existence with our iwi neighbours, will be taken away by the government. On the other hand 12 and a half thousand separate parcels of foreshore and seabed – overwhelmingly held by Pakeha - which have somehow passed into ‘freehold’ title -will be sacrosanct. You won’t be able to go to those beaches and have a swim or a barbie, certainly not without permission and maybe a fee?
So once again it is Maori who have their rights legislated away.
Labour and now National both claim that one of their reasons for moving in this way is to ‘protect’ the foreshore and seabed from sale – nothing would give it greater protection that customary title - after all it’s endured for a thousand years until now.
Another looming punch-up in this process is the hoops that Maori will have to jump through to establish their limited customary right. They will be required to show ‘exclusive and continuous use and occupation’ of their foreshore and seabed rohe. If the land has been subdivided that test will fall down. But what if the only reason that hasn’t occurred is because a previous pakeha government stole the land or it was acquired by some other Treaty breach?
John Key last week joined Helen Clark in showing that he too is not able to treat fairly and justly and in good faith with Maori, the pull of his blood and the baying of his supporters is too strong.

While Fox has some harsh words for the government we think that after listening to Chris Finlayson this morning on Q and A , we are more confident that the agreement provides a good framework to allow Maori to exercise their customary rights.

We, in particular, are expecting Ngai Tahu to lodge a claim get title for the former crown muttonbird (titi) islands which are now under the guardinaship of a Trust. And the beneficial owners of the other titi ( privately owned ) islands will also be able to make a claim for theirs.

There is also a fair bet that the Waitutu and Rakiura Maori Lands Trusts will also be taking a close look at the new rules as there will be some expectation they will have a good claim as well.

Interesting times ahead.


Anonymous said...

I disagree totally.
Just because you have an ancestor who lived on some land hundreds of years ago it in no way gives you any right to that land today.
What you are supporting is in fact the handover of wealth to people who have not earned it at the expense of all the rest of the citizens of NZ.
Most obnoxious is the right to veto any developments to say access raw materials that the title the government will award does not include. That effectively means you will be able to claim a "royalty" on such anyway.
People like me are not racist nor rednecks we are simply opposed to being ripped off by people who think they have a right to unearned wealth based on who their ancestors were.

Anonymous said...

Now, I am going to tell you a story.
I have a friend who works with me who is a bit of an idiot.
He is poor and at times turns up for work hungry. I do what any normal person would do. Now when I get to discussing his poverty
with him I usually end up getting the line, "I am poor because the ****** took our land and we cannot support ourselves"
Thoughts of the fact that the thieving ****** provides him with a 3 bedroom house for less than $100 per week, provides him and his family with free education and healthcare ,provides all sorts of infrastructure for his use all of which he pays nothing for, thanks to WFF, do not enter his head.
This is the same line of argument that you use, except you are not an idiot. No, you are much worse than that.
Where is the benefit to this fellow from all the handouts to his tribe? when will he get his little package of shares? where are the free training and healthcare provided by his tribe?
Nowhere and never will be is the answer to that question.
What he will get from the likes of you is encouragement to feel angry about what the thieving ****** did.
He and folk like him get nothing but the gift of hatred while you and those like you gorge at the treaty trough.