To say that the Kiingitanga should be “apolitical” is to ignore the fact that the Kiingitanga was born of politics. Kiingi Mahuta, the third monarch, for example, accepted appointment to the Legislative Council and was instrumental in engineering Maui Pomare’s election to Parliament.
Subsequent monarchs may have chosen different paths, but each was a product of their time. While Kiingi Tuheitia’s comments about withdrawing his support from Labour have been described as “off-the-cuff”, the truth is he has long deliberated on these matters. It is his belief the time for change is now.
We are witnessing a fundamental shift within Maoridom. Traditional allegiances are being questioned, not just by the Maori King but throughout ‘te ao Maori’, the Maori world. We can no longer rely on Maori interests being advocated from within other political parties and be dependent on their electoral fortunes.
That’s as clear a statement as you can get. Will Ratana follow suit?
The Maori Party represents a chance to do what was not possible before the advent of MMP: the establishment of a Maori party as a permanent fixture of government. Not as a small part of one of the major parties, but independent and able to work with either.
This is true, but was also true in 2005 and 2008 when they won a majority of the Maori seats. But then Hone split off, and they started to lose seats. How do they stop this happening again?
We must use the time before next year’s election to work together to create a strong and united party. Our aim is to build significant partnerships with business and mainstream New Zealanders. We are, after all, the original “green” party that has always been committed to protecting our environment and resources, and creating meaningful employment for our young people.
What is good for Maori is good for all New Zealanders. The Maori Party is the best vehicle by which Maori aspirations can be achieved, regardless of who is in power. It was the dream of our tupuna who created the Kiingitanga movement; that Maori and non-Maori work together to end conflict and create a better future. It is now up to us to deliver on what our ancestors dreamed of – Maori united and sharing the reins of power for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
A key issue will be what does Mana do.