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No raupatu in our time!

Launched on 28 October 2003, No raupatu in our time! is an ongoing campaign by Pakeha who are opposed to the government's foreshore and seabed proposals.

Today is the 168th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand, signed on 28 October 1835 at Waitangi - the first collective written statement of the existing and enduring sovereignty of the Independent Tribes of NZ; which was recognised internationally. It was initially signed by thirty-five Ariki and Rangatira representing Iwi and Hapu from the far north to the Hauraki Gulf. Later, other notable leaders added their signatures including Te Hapuku of Ngati Kahungunu and Potatau Te Wherowhero of Tainui. The text of the Declaration of Independence is available on-line here.

The unfortunate failure of successive governments to recognise that sovereignty makes today an appropriate day to release another call to action by Tauiwi who are opposed to the government’s proposals for the foreshore and seabed. Although things may seem quiet on the foreshore and seabed at present, the next month is critical as the government formulates its ‘new’ policy. It is crucial that Tauiwi opposition to the proposals is evident during this time.

Making your opposition known needn’t involve a lot of time - you could simply wear a ‘No raupatu in our time’ badge and use it as a way of getting a conversation going with people (see section 2a below for more details). If you haven’t already signed the TU MAI Foreshore and Seabed On-line Petition you can do that here. And if you do have the time and inclination, it would be extremely helpful for you to communicate your views to government Ministers and the mass media.

This alert has four parts:

  • Background information;
  • What you can do: Make the message visible, Make your views known;
  • Where you can get more information; and
  • Contact details for Ministers.

    Background Information

    Why are we using the word ‘raupatu’ in relation to the government’s foreshore and seabed plans? Raupatu - land confiscation - is a word now commonly used to describe the seizure of land by the colonial administrations of the 19th century; a word resonant with the tragic consequences of those expropriations. As but one example of its effects, The Taranaki Report (Waitangi Tribunal) stated:

    “Taranaki Maori were dispossessed of their land, leadership, means of livelihood, personal freedom, and social structure and values. As Maori, they were denied their rights of autonomy, and as British subjects, their civil rights were removed. For decades, they were subjected to sustained attacks on their property and persons.

    All were affected, even non-combatants, because everyone's land was taken, people were relocated, land tenure was changed, and a whole new social order was imposed. The losses were physical, cultural, and spiritual. In assessing the extent of consequential prejudice today, it cannot be assumed that past injuries have been forgotten over time. The dispossessed have cause for longer recall. For Maori, every nook and cranny of the land is redolent with meaning in histories passed down orally and a litany of landmarks serves as a daily reminder of their dispossession.” Excerpt from The Taranaki Report, WAI 143.

    And on the ongoing process and impact of colonisation, the Report said:

    "If war is the absence of peace, the war has never ended in Taranaki, because that essential prerequisite for peace among peoples, that each should be able to live with dignity on their own lands, is still absent and the protest over land rights continues to be made." ... "Through war, protest, and petition, the single thread that most illuminates the historical fabric of Maori and Pakeha contact has been the Maori determination to maintain Maori autonomy and the Government's desire to destroy it. The irony is that the need for mutual recognition had been seen at the very foundation of the State, when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed." Excerpts from The Taranaki Report, WAI 143.

    The current government’s foreshore and seabed proposals reflect the same kind of arrogant colonising mindset and the same determination to destroy Maori autonomy - a way of thinking and behaving which is simply not acceptable in this day and age. Indeed, the same four principles as are currently being proposed for the foreshore and seabed, can readily be applied to the raupatu of the 19th century: the Principle of Access - for settlers; the Principle of Regulation - by government agencies and Pakeha laws; the Principle of Protection - for settlers, and for Maori (oddly, in the bizarre paternalistic mindset of successive colonial administrations, ‘taking away’ equals ‘protection’); and the Principle of Certainty - for settlers. If ‘settlers’ is replaced by "all New Zealanders" as per the government’s current rhetoric, the similarity is plain to see.

    Nowhere in those principles is there recognition of mana whenua or mana moana; nowhere is there any indication of anything other than a monocultural approach, with inherent notions of superiority and inferiority; nowhere is there anything resembling justice. Instead what the government is proposing looks very much like another illegal, unjust and unjustifiable taking of land - raupatu.

    At the three national Maori hui, and at all of the government’s ‘consultation’ hui, the response of Iwi, Hapu and Whanau has been clear - unanimous statements that the foreshore and seabed have always been under the jurisdiction of Iwi and Hapu as part of the authority of tino rangatiratanga (that jurisdiction being acknowledged in Article II of the Treaty of Waitangi as part of the exclusive and undisturbed possession of lands and taonga); and unanimous rejection of the government’s proposals.

    As a consequence of this united rejection of their proposals, the government appears in some disarray at this point in time. At the moment, the only clue as to where they might be going is in the ‘Memorandum on behalf of the Crown’ to the Waitangi Tribunal, 23 October 2003.

    In the Memorandum, the indicative timetable given for completion of the government’s policy is December 2003, with the likely introduction of legislation in late February or early March 2004. This time line however is dependent on the Maori Land Court and Maori Appellate Court agreeing to the government’s demand that they adjourn proceedings in relation to the foreshore and seabed in the interim - what will happen if this demand is not met is left threateningly vague.

    Interestingly, the Memorandum states: "The clear view of many Maori (and others) was that the Crown ought to take more time to develop its foreshore and seabed policy. These views were influential in the decision to continue engagement." [paragraph 6]. This is absolutely extraordinary - it is unlikely that anyone requesting the government to ‘take more time’ meant a period of four or five weeks! As we stated in a previous alert "a fair and durable resolution may take years, possibly decades, and precipitate unilateral action by the government will be disastrous" ‘Act now! Foreshore and seabed submissions’, PMA, 29 September 2003.

    What You Can Do

  • Make The Message Visible
  • Badges - wearing a ‘No raupatu in our time’ badge will not only make your views on the foreshore and seabed visible, but it can also be a useful way of getting a conversation going with people about the issues involved. The badges are $2 each (plus 50c p&p per order) - you can get yours by sending a cheque made payable to ‘Peace Movement Aotearoa’ together with your name and address, to PMA, PO Box 9314, Wellington. There is a reduced price per badge for orders of more than 20 badges, details are on this order form, or on request from PMA.

    Banners - a group of Pakeha in Wellington have taken to mysteriously appearing when Margaret Wilson and Helen Clark are out and about in public (and Michael Cullen is next on the list) to give them the message ‘Now honour the Treaty’ and ‘No raupatu in our time’. More details about this are available on this web page. It would be great if other folk around the country could join this initiative, so the message is visible to those Ministers wherever they go!

  • Make Your Views Known
  • It would very useful for you to continue to write to government Ministers and to contact your local MPs to make your views on the government’s proposals, and their likely ‘new’ policy, known. An outline summary of the objectionable aspects of the proposals is available in ‘Act now! Foreshore and seabed submissions’. As with the submissions, it is probably worthwhile to say in any correspondence that you are Pakeha / Tauiwi / a (whatever) generation New Zealander / European or however you describe yourself, to emphasise that it is not only Maori who oppose the government’s confiscation plan.

    Right now, the most important points you can raise with politicians include:

  • Slow down and really take time before doing anything - as mentioned above, the government’s idea of taking more time seems to be measured in weeks, rather than the years it may take to reach a fair and long-lasting resolution. There is absolutely no need for unseemly, ill-considered action on the foreshore and seabed - despite the alarmist messages the government has been sending to the populace at large, no-one is going to be prevented from having having their barbie on the beach this summer because of the Court of Appeal ruling. And indeed, it might be pointed out that all the scare mongering, including the infamously misleading ‘barbie on the beach’ type statements, illustrates precisely the kind of misinformation that government, and other politicians, have been putting out - very few people plan to have a barbie on the foreshore, and even less on the seabed.
  • If the government is set on doing something in the next few weeks, then they could usefully spend the time correcting their emphasis on the issue of access, and the lie implicit within it that Tangata Whenua have, or would, deny access. You could point out that your expectation of responsible government is that they behave in a way which diminishes prejudice and divisiveness, rather than creating and exacerbating it.

  • Scrap the existing proposals and start again - the process to date has been one where the government, consulting only with itself, has drawn up proposals and then presented them to Tangata Whenua at ‘consultation’ hui which have been run to the government’s inappropriate and insulting time limits. Yet if progress is to be made, the implementation of any foreshore and seabed policy has to be situated within a broad-based process of constitutional change in which the government negotiates with Tangata Whenua as equal parties to the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • As referred to above, the response of Iwi, Hapu and Whanau to the government’s proposals has been clear - unanimous statements that the foreshore and seabed have always been under the jurisdiction of Iwi and Hapu as part of the authority of tino rangatiratanga; that neither the jurisdiction nor authority have ever been given away; and that the Court of Appeal ruling merely affirmed what Tangata Whenua have always said on this matter.

    As stated by Margaret Mutu: "It is clear ... that any acceptable solution to Maori must draw on tikanga and be structured within a Treaty of Waitangi framework", Te Ope Mana a Tai Press Release, 23 October 2003.

    Taking that into account, really the only way forward is for the government to recognise this and to move towards negotiation with Iwi and Hapu on access, regulation and so on from that basis. As pointed out by Te Ope Mana a Tai ... "recognising and protecting Maori customary rights will have negligible impact on public access to the beach but if the Government continues with its current proposals it will have a dire impact on Maori customary rights." Press Release, 23 October 2003. Indeed, not only would it have a negligible impact on public access, but in fact it would offer greater protection for access than that which has been offered by governments over the years as they have been the primary cause of blocked access by permitting exploitative commercial enterprise and private, as well as foreign, ownership. Not to mention their permitting gross pollution of foreshore and seabed in some areas by sewage discharges and industrial contaminants ...

    In ‘Act now! Foreshore and seabed submissions’, there is a section on Ways Forward, part of which is copied here as regrettably there has still been no coverage of this in the mainstream media:

    "Although the mainstream media have reported complete rejection of the government’s proposals at every one of their ‘consultation’ hui, what has not been reported is that Iwi and Hapu around the country have suggested ways to move forward in relation to the foreshore and seabed.

    As but one example, Ngati Kahungunu have said: "If as the government suggests, its main concern is the protection of access and the need to prevent sale there are clear precedents in our law and tikanga in which covenants of access and non-saleability might be negotiated in each rohe to ensure that the domain is effectively used in ways that are consistent with tikanga. In that process we would also expect the Crown to require similar covenants of access and non-saleability from Pakeha owners of lands adjoining the foreshore and seabed."

    Statements such as this provide the basis for the way forward - but only if the government moves from their current monocultural position and abandon their notions of cultural superiority and inferiority. Some Crown Ministers have began to use the phrase ‘tipuna title’ in recent weeks, and Crown acceptance of tipuna title would indeed be a remarkable step forwards. However it is not something the government can tamper with, define or regulate; it is simply not theirs. It belongs, in every sense of the word, to Iwi, Hapu and Whanau." Act now! Foreshore and seabed submissions'.

    Tangata Whenua willingness to negotiate has been made explicit - but can the government match it? As Matiu Rei said as the hui at Pipitea Marae: "But if we have a responsibility to develop alternatives, you must have a responsibility to make room for them."

  • You could additionally point out that if the government’s ‘new’ policy is substantively the same as their initial proposals, they will be perpetuating a massive injustice and creating a source of significant conflict and justified grievance into the future. Do they really want to be go down in history as the raupatu government of the 21st century?
  • In addition to contacting government Ministers and MPs, Letters to the Editor of the nationally distributed print media and local papers, and speaking out on local radio stations, would be very helpful at this time.

    Where You Can Get More Information

    Mana Magazine, due out in the next week or so, has a feature on the foreshore and seabed - you can get Mana Magazine from any good bookseller, or subscribe on-line.

    Articles and statements including those by Moana Jackson and Te Hau Tikanga / the Maori Law Commission; previous Alerts and Updates from Peace Movement Aotearoa; Media Releases from several individuals and groups; twenty-one Pakeha submissions on the government’s proposals; and assorted media reports are available on the Foreshore and Seabed information index page.

    Reports from, and submissions to, the government’s ‘consultation’ hui; statements from the national Maori hui; and Te Ope Mana a Tai proposals are available on the Te Ope Mana a Tai web site.

    Contact Details for Government Ministers

    * Helen Clark, Prime Minister, email or fax (04) 473 3579; Michael Cullen, Deputy Prime Minister, email or fax (04) 495 8442; Margaret Wilson, Attorney-General, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, email or fax (04) 495 8460; Parekura Horomia, Minister of Maori Affairs, email or fax (04) 495 8475; Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Maori Affairs, email or fax (04) 495 8472; and John Tamihere, Associate Minister of Maori Affairs, email or fax (04) 472 8032. If you are posting your letter/s, each should be addressed to the relevant politician and posted (no stamp needed) to Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

    It would be great if you could also send a copy of any letter/s to Peace Movement Aotearoa email or fax (04) 382 8173 - we would also appreciate receiving a copy of any replies you receive as they are particularly useful for our ongoing work on this issue, they can be emailed or faxed as above, or posted to PMA, Po Box 9314, Wellington.

    Please indicate if you are happy for a copy of any letters you send to be made publicly available on the PMA web site, or if it is for our information only.

    We encourage people to distribute this alert to anyone who may act on it - but please note that if you copy it off this web page, the reference urls will not be visible. If you want a text copy for forwarding, or for coding for your web site, just email and ask for it. Thank you.

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