Nā Hone Harawira

The last couple of weeks have been tough up here in the Far North, with the loss of some really key people and with them the loss of their knowledge, guidance and leadership. For their immediate whānau there is obviously a greater loss, but the people of Muriwhenua have also been dealt a heavy blow. The knowledge we lose when our kaumātua and kuia pass away cannot be measured, and unfortunately neither can it be reclaimed. The warmth, the humour, the wisdom can never be replaced. They were of a time we can never know, and we are the poorer for not learning as much about it as we could when they were alive.

Hopefully it challenges us to be more vigilant and more assertive in talking with our old people, and recording their stories, their history and the values that underpinned their lives, for the generations to come.

On a positive note though, I was really impressed with the quality of the young speakers we have coming through our kura, when I attended the tangi of Ross Gregory. Ross was a leader in the fight to reclaim the reo – he would have felt good knowing his dreams are being realised.


Labour has signed the new TPPA, saying that it’s way better than the old one. In fact the text of the new TPPA is exactly the same as the old one, except that 22 of the 1000 original TPPA provisions have been suspended in case the US wants back in – not removed, just suspended.

And one of the nastiest bits is the ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) rules which were first introduced in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993 and which still apply to the TPPA today. They allow foreign investors to challenge NZ policies and laws in offshore courts that have the power to award massive damages against our government for breaching foreign investor rights.

ISDS rules are so disliked that a lot of governments won’t include them in trade agreements. They’re so bad in fact that Jacinda Ahern called them “a dog”. She tried to get them dumped from the TPPA – she failed. She tried to get them suspended – she failed again. Those ISDS rules remain fully intact.

And as far as the Treaty of Waitangi is concerned, the brutal truth is that under the new TPPA our government’s ability to protect treaty rights has weakened, Māori have no rights in disputes regarding our resources, and Māori calls for more effective protection have been ignored.

I’ve had calls lately from people wanting action against the TPPA but who are a bit confused because they voted Labour. Dear lord, talk to these people please.

The grim reality is that all the Māori MPs in Labour have to vote for the TPPA when it comes up in the house. They don’t have a choice. If they want to stay in parliament they’ll do what they’re told. Willie Jackson bragged about how they got 13 Maori Labour MPs into government. Funny thing is they only had 6 last time and they opposed the TPPA. Now they’ve got 13 and they’re going to support it. Amazing how quickly the sniff of power can turn a man’s head …

Hone MANA Leader