The Maori King

November 29th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

The English got rid of the absolute power of the monarchy in 1215 when King John’s seal was attached to the Magna Carta at Runnymede. In Waikato, former MP Tukoroirangi Morgan wants to bring it back to protect the “mana” and “prestige” of the Maori king.

Mr Morgan, a central figure in the long-running dispute between King Tuheitia and sacked Waikato-Tainui parliament chairwoman Tania Martin, wants the king given the power to veto decisions made by the parliament and even to dissolve the body that represents Tainui’s 63,000 members. “We must never be able to go to court to settle our differences,” he said this week.

The parliament and Waikato Maori should reject Mr Morgan’s proposal.

The dispute between the king and tribal representatives in the parliament appears to be over control of Treaty settlement moneys that have now grown to $800 million. Those moneys were paid to Tainui by the Crown to settle the historical grievances of all Tainui, not just those of the king or the coterie of advisers who cluster about him.

Decisions about how that money is invested and how the dividends from it are spent should be made by all Tainui.

King Tuheitia’s mother, the Maori queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, was widely respected within Maoridom and outside it for the quiet dignity with which she performed her role. Behind the scenes, she knew how to work the phones but, publicly, she made a point of staying above the rough and tumble of politics.

King Tuheitia shows no such restraint. Not only has he got himself offside with the Government and alienated much of the Pakeha world by nonsensically declaring that Maori have “always owned the water”, but he has also allowed himself to be drawn into intra-tribal disputes and wrangles over the spending of Tainui money by the executive Mr Morgan once headed.

King Tuheitia seems to listen to Tuku Morgan only.

Morgan Godfery at Maui Street blogs:

 Gifting the King the power to dissolve tribal parliaments will not solve the political and structural problems in Tainui. At most, inserting the Kingitanga as the ultimate decision maker will only change the way tribal politics is played. So, rather than engage in legal plays**, ambitious tribal politicians will jostle for standing in the Kingitanga. Lobbying, not law, will be du jour. …

Here are the problems: 1) Under Tuku’s model, the King could dissolve TK and override the will of the individual iwi members. …

The troubles in Tainui are not tidy and while I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, I’m sure the answer is not to reduce democracy in favour of feudalism.

The infighting doesn’t affect me directly obviously. But I can’t see feudalism as helping the hapu and whanua of Tainui, for whom the settlements were intended to benefit.

The split in Tainui

September 25th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Meetings between two heavyweight Tainui leaders are under way to iron out internal tribal confusion around water ownership issues.

King Tuheitia’s spokesman Tuku Morgan is emphatic that all iwi leaders must stick to resolutions passed at the King’s water summit, which include working out a framework for water rights before iwi negotiate with the Crown.

Immediately after the hui this month, Mr Morgan said: “The A list of Maoridom were here, the who’s who of Maoridom were here – they are part of the decision and they are bound by the decision.”

But Tom Roa, who is chairman of the tribe’s executive board Te Arataura and on the Iwi Leaders Group for Freshwater, says the King’s “strong” position on water – that Maori own it – also reflected respect towards the individual right of iwi to go back to their people to weigh the resolutions.

“From my perspective … every iwi and every hapu has their right to their autonomy and that includes Waikato-Tainui.

“The New Zealand Maori Council will not negotiate on Waikato-Tainui’s behalf. Nor will any group. That’s our plain position and I suggest that’s the position of every iwi and hapu in the country.”

It is not unusual to have a different point of view between different Iwi. But this is a split between Tainui and their King. That is significant.

Line the two positions up and Mr Roa admits the sentiments are at odds.

“Yes. We’re having meetings to sort that through. Tuku is the spokesperson for the Kingitanga and I am the spokesperson for Waikato-Tainui,” he said.

Asked if there should be a unified position between the two, Mr Roa said: “Very clearly.”

Which is an admission, there isn’t.

What is not in doubt is that there has been a sharp evolution of the Kingitanga. In the past, spokesmen have been the voice of the movement – in part to protect the monarch from direct criticism.

King Tuheitia’s speech to 1000 Maori on such a charged issue changed that.

“In terms of Waikato-Tainui I would suggest that whatever the King says, whatever the King does, the people support,” Mr Roa said. “There is some concern for him, there is some concern for our relationships [in the tribe] and with other iwi and hapu but there is total support for the King.”

The Labour MP for Hauraki-Waikato, Nanaia Mahuta, the King’s cousin, said the move came with risks as exposure to criticism would come on any issues in the public domain.

“That is a matter for Tuheitia to weigh up as the media can be critical and sceptical of any perspective he may have. Tuheitia has his advisers and they must be accountable for the advice they give him.”

While expressed very politely, that statement by Nanaia is significant. She seems to be blaming Tuku Morgan for turning King Tuheitia into a political figure, rather than a unifying figure.