“Racism My Dear, Just Pure Racism”

 National  Action Plan Against Racism NAPAR

Every now and then a  mokopuna or a young student will ask “how come so many Māori die earlier than others or why do Māori fill the jails when we are only 17% of the population? Why are so many Māori adults going back to school? Why was Te Reo Māori banned in schools for over 6 generations? “ 

He Pou Theatre – we went to watch a play but instead we were confronted with awkward questions about personal experiences with racism. I had an urge to exit the room as fast as possible, but a number of students were present so I couldn’t leave.

The R word is not one I like to raise in general conversations. The R word triggers panic, dismay, discomfort and unbidden memories.  For every “incident” there is a background and a response to “harden up”.  For a long time I just wanted to focus on solving the issue and not mull over the negatives. But I have learnt if you do not expose the inequities, you may come up with an inadequate solution.  Often delays to obvious easy solutions suggested by prominent intelligent and informed Māori leaders are ignored due to arrogant disregard and bureaucratic entitlement.  So  often my answer is “Racism my dear, just pure Racism”. 

I shared an old post on Facebook from the MAI Hikoi in 1998 recently. The Multi lateral Agreement was a big deal- and if enacted It would have meant NZ would have surrendered some of its sovereign powers in the interests of big business. 

Here’s a random message from my nephew, the mokopuna of Saana Murray,

“Kia ora Auntie, I remember the MAI hikoi well Auntie.  I was arrested on the Harbour Bridge for protecting our Aunty Mereraina Uruamo. 13 years old I was at the time. We were in our vehicle crossing over the Harbour Bridge, Auckland. All of a sudden there was hundreds of policemen standing in a line on the bridge.  Then boom we were attacked. Not just my Aunty we were all attacked like we were nothing. The Mongrel police was ripping our Auntie out of her driver’s seat with her seat belt still on. We were at the back yelling at the police YOU ARE HURTING OUR AUNTIE. Police yelled back shut your fn mouth and next moment we started trying to stop the police because they were hurting our auntie viciously – it‘s hard to explain,  still hurts today when I think about it. Then I was pulled out of our vehicle and thrown to the ground and put into a paddy wagon with adult strangers. I was totally confused. I was saying to myself why are we getting attacked like this. Rapine (Dad) found me before I went inside. He said to me I’m sorry son, Kia kaha I’m coming to get you my boy. My father yelled and screamed to policemen these are only kids you are arresting, they are innocent. The Police didn’t care and then I was taken away to Auckland Central precinct, I remember being stripped to my underwear and then I was put in a cell. I had no idea what was going on, all I could hear inside was screaming and crying from other cells. It was the first time in my life I realised at a young age I’m a prisoner in our own lands. I’m still traumatised today because I was stripped of my dignity and I’ve never been the same since. Pouri. I don’t think about it much, it makes me wild. I’m almost 40, 3 more years to be exact. Racism has not changed one bit in my eyes from then to today. I’m not afraid it’s made more of a wild Māori. I find it hard to live in this Pakeha world. No love with their systems. You can use my story in your article, It’s the truth.”  

This is a typical story I hear often.  Unfortunately when people hear or suffer these stories they become fearful and Police can become the victims of future reprisals. Racism has its own whakapapa, this law or incident  begets another action.

 Aotearoa was criticised by CERD in 2014 for “lack of a coherent national strategy to eliminate racism”.  In 2014, the Police apologised for the 2007 Tuhoe Raids. In 2019 the national shame and sorrow felt as a white supremacist terrorist gunned down 51 innocent Muslim victims in a Christchurch mosque.   A recent state apology was made to Pasifika 50 years after the  Dawn Raids. The formal apologies never diminish the mamae and are a recognition that a new relationship is forged. 

Racism is an awkward subject in any company or context

Racism is an awkward subject in any company or context but often as an ordinary citizen going about our daily business , whether we want to or not we see injustices.   We can either ignore them or  dismantle them  layer by layer – for the betterment of our kids and our country.

Racism has been confirmed by the World Health Organisation in 2008 as a key determinant of ill health. Racism is responsible for the denial of Rangatiratanga, the basic human right of Māori to manage our own affairs. 

Dismantling racist systems that don’t work for Māori will save money

Planning for a Racist Free Aotearoa by 2028. 

As a long term taxpayer, I’m sure the country can save truckloads of money by 

a) dismantling racist systems that don’t work for Māori and

b)  investing in approved Kaupapa Māori led and designed programmes that reduce negative outcomes and

c) ensuring relevant monitoring of the innovative programmes to ensure positive results for Māori are being gained. 

So, I was honoured to be asked in March 2021,  to be part of a Task Force for the National  Action Plan Against Racism ( NAPAR). Others on our Tāngata Whenua Engagement Committee   are  RaKeiti Murray on behalf of the Iwi Leaders Forum ,  ( due to ongoing security threats for people involved in anti racism mahi I have had to remove names from the article). Our Tāngata Tiriti counterparts are leading Pakeha and multicultural advocates who highlight ongoing racist attacks against ethnic and religious groups in Aotearoa. 

The NZ Government has been a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) since 1972. In 2017, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that the New Zealand Government create a national action plan against racism, to be led and owned by the government, with the Race Relations Commissioner playing a leadership role in community engagement to assist the government’s development plan.

Our brief is to provide goals to eliminate institutional racism in Aotearoa.  Collectively we provide advice to the Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon on how to improve any relevant laws, government policy or practice, civil society advocacy, as well as concrete measures to reduce and eliminate racism in the country. The Race Relations Commissioner then presents our plan to the Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Justice.

The NAPAR Taskforce is drafting a strategy plan on how best to engage with specific interest and community groups on how to build a racist free Aotearoa.  Planning  anti – racism strategies can unleash some toxic responses in the community, so I would suggest people read a few significant articles before they begin the anti racism trek. White supremacy ideologies floating within everyday practices must cease and be dismantled immediately. I will list selected readings  at the end.

Our role is similar to many other Maori led  advisory groups who provide ignored recommendations to the Government i.e. like the 1988 Te Puao o Te Atatu Report by John Te Rangi Aniwaniwa Rangihou et al outlining strategies to  reduce racist practices and to change its operations in the Social Welfare Department.   

Following on from the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2014 , another 2019 Advisory group prepared “He Puapua Report” , a useful Vision 2040 roadmap for the Government to ensure Māori achieve basic human rights outlined in UNDRIP. 

Between 2012 and 2015 Matike Mai Aotearoa convened and chaired by Moana Jackson and Dr Margaret Mutu , facilitated 252 hui and 70 rangatahi wānanga.  In 2016, the Matike Mai Report called for constitutional transformation based on acknowledgement of He Whakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Niu Tireni 1835 and Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840.  

This is an epic achievement.

I am personally and politically opposed to the notion that we allow racism to dwell uninterrupted until 2040, the 200th anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  I disagree that we Māori submit ourselves to a further 19 years waiting for white systemic racism to change. That’s one more generation too many. The majority of Kiwis are intelligent, caring and can read. We can save millions of dollars a year in court hearings and sittings if people bothered to read what has already been written about racism, racist practices, systemic failure in state departments etc and proposed solutions. 

I support the national call  for Aotearoa to gain constitutional transformation but differ that it be achieved by 2028 (rather than by 2040) as a critical measure to reducing  racism . Aotearoa should discuss the Matike Mai Report over the next six years and hold a constitutional referendum within two elections to come. 2028 should be a comfortable timeframe to achieve all this. 

The NAPAR Taskforce is drafting a strategy plan on how best to engage with specific interest and community groups on how to build a racist free Aotearoa. Planning  anti – racism strategies can unleash some toxic responses in the community, so I would suggest people read a few significant articles before they begin the anti racism trek. White supremacy ideologies lodged deeply in government systems must cease immediately. I will list selected readings  at the end to allow people to read and digest.  

I consulted  within Tai Tokerau with several Iwi , Pakeha and Pasifika leaders in many fields of work: education, anti racism practitioners, health workers, social service providers , youth workers, suicide prevention workers, road workers. I outline a summary of their feedback in four main themes to eliminate racism within Tai Tokerau and Aotearoa. 

  1. Whānau Ora – the wellbeing of Whānau.  Central to any informed decision making is the wellbeing of our tamariki and whānau short term and long term.  Tamariki must have good relevant education, a warm dry home, food , clothing, access to hapu / Iwi / Urban Māori agencies support , necessary health and parenting services, wifi connection access, career & trades opportunities for hope filled futures and an inclusive economy . 30 years ago the late Herbie Porter said we have to break the cycle of our children ending up in prison. Investing in children and relevant education will lower Māori statistics in prison and will be a good measurement of reducing racism in the justice area.  
  1. 2021-2027 An Extensive Education Awareness programme is required in Aotearoa.  

a) The Invisibility of Indigenous  Compared to international Independence Days around the world, the commemoration of The Declaration of Independence of New Zealand,  He Whakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni Oct 28 1835 (He Whakaputanga) is a non event in NZ history. He Wakaputanga was the first formal written declaration of Māori sovereignty by Rangatira Māori who signalled a preferred relationship with Britain. This pronouncement of preference effectively shooed away French and American interests from these shores. 

He Whakaputanga was historically invisible in law books and statutes for 179 years. Kaumātua, kuia and elders, many no longer with us,  won recognition in  2014  when the the Waitangi Tribunal ( Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu Claim Wai 1040)  affirmed “Ngāpuhi never ceded sovereignty in the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”  2035 will mark the 200th anniversary of He Whakaputanga and 2040 will mark the bicentenary of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

b) The proposed six models  of rangatiratanga,  kawanatanga and interdependence outlined in Matike Mai need discussion. Government resourcing is needed to support sharing information and to ensure meaningful conversations are led by appropriate facilitators. 

c) Know the rohe, histories and mana whakahaere of your local Iwi and hapu. Know the roles and responsibilities of supporting tangata whenua meaningfully in your area. How to Tautoko?  Share your skills if needed to help implement hapu and Iwi visions. Stay out of the decision making process.

d) Encourage and support decolonisation wānanga/programmes that provide the tools for both Māori and non-Māori to free themselves of colonisation of the mind. Consider the pursuit of international recognition of decolonisation.

e) Repudiate (reject) the Doctrine of Discovery which has authorised white Christians since the 1400s to take over the territories non-white, non-Christian and massacre and enslave Indigenous Peoples. The Doctrine of Discovery forms the basis of the NZ legal system (see, for example, https://escholarship.org/content/qt3cj6w4mj/qt3cj6w4mj.pdf?t=po79hi) and all laws deriving from it must be repealed.

3. Rangatiratanga, Self-determination for Māori:

Patu Hakaraia 1990 – 150th Commemoration of Te Tiriti o Waitangi

a)There are many levels of self determination- full independence, nation within a nation, dual management, limited autonomy in agreed areas ( ie separate healthcare services and education systems). 

b) Normalise being and speaking Māori  in this country. Te Reo Māori was reinstated as an official language in 1987. North of Mangamuka, Māori are 80% of the residents and Kura Kaupapa students are 12% of the student population. Tai Tokerau wide there is a growing demand for more bilingual classes, transition classes from either Kohanga reo to kura or mainstream to immersion classes; establishment of more kura kaupapa/ Kura a Iwi/ Kura Reo Māori and the rise of Matauranga Māori in local curricula, adult classes and meaningful trade and career training. 

c) 2021 Stop the state and local government dictating to and making decisions for and about Māori. Ensure that Māori make our own decisions about our own lives, lands, resources and territories in a timely fashion (as per Matike Mai Aotearoa). Furthermore, no actions affecting Māori can take place without the full, prior and informed consent of Māori. During Covid 2020 some Māori health and Iwi organisations, schools and others in the community stepped up to help alleviate distress and meet physical, social, mental and spiritual needs within their communities.

4)      Kawanatanga Decolonisation Agenda 

a) 2021 End Tiriti breaches : Appoint a Tiriti Commissioner with binding powers to ensure that the state adheres to He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti and that all breaches cease. Any new proposed law will require approval of the Tiriti Commissioner and will save the country money instead of going through lengthy  submissions writing, expensive and prolonged  court hearings . 

b) 2022 Appoint an Indigenous Rights Commissioner with binding powers – responsible for ensuring that the human rights of Māori are protected and upheld as per the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples ( as signed by the NZ Government 2010).  Items  4a and 4b could be one role and must be resourced with support staffing.   

c) Constitutional transformation 2028 The Government – reinstate He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu TIreni, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and tikanga as the constitutional foundations of the country that are underpinned by agreed values as listed in the Matike Mai report. Governments can assist and support the dissemination of information and conversations. It will be up to the citizens of Aotearoa to decide by referendum which of the 6 preferred models is desirable ie how Rangatiratanga and Kawanatanga can work interdependently.  

d) Settling Colonisation: The state must reach agreement with Māori on how to remediate the damage done by British colonisation in order to strip the racism out of the current treaty claims settlement policy and process. The policy must instead focus on returning all lands and resources stolen from Māori to those it was stolen from, removing the suffocating and racist structures imposed on those who have settled so the whānau and hapū can be empowered to manage their own lives, and ensuring that all government support provided for education, health, housing, marae infrastructure, food sovereignty, local and central government services, the justice system, commercial development, representation etc., etc., meets international human rights standards (as per United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples)   and stops discriminating against Māori.

e)Dismantle racist institutions, frameworks, programmes and policies that perpetuate misery for Māori. Māori are capable of providing sustainable services to uplift Māori communities and others within the communities.

Black Lives Matter Solidarity March

4) a)Outlaw White Supremacist organisations: Closely monitor the activities of white supremacists and their organisations who are currently threatening Māori and other ethnic groups and their whānau and children with a view to prosecuting and incarcerating individuals and banning their organisations. There are at least a dozen such organisations that are known to the state but about which little is being done. In the current climate, this work is super-urgent.  

4b) Deport white supremacists to white homelands– a glacier or something.

  • Selected Readings:
  • He Whakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene 1835
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) 1972
  • The Peoples’ Charter for a Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific 1983.
  • Te Hikoi ki Waitangi 1984, Waitangi Action Committee 1984
  • Hikoi ki Waitangi 1985, Waitangi Action Committee 1985
  • Puao Te Ata Tū, The Report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on a Maori Perspective for the Department of Social Welfare, 1988. 
  • Institutional Racism, Tanya Cumberland 1988ish
  • Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou- Struggle Without End, Ranginui Walker, 1990.
  • Treaty of Waitangi , Questions and Answers,  Network Waitangi 1989, 7th revised edition 2018. 
  • The Mataatua Declaration on Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Commission , 1993 
  • The Process of Liberation is Irresistible and Irreversible, H Halkyard-Harawira, 1997ish
  • ‘The Changing Images of Nineteenth Century Māori Society – From Tribes to Nation’, Dr Manuka Henare PhD thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, 2003.
  • The Woven Universe, Selected Writings of Rev Māori Marsden edited by Charles Te AhuKaramu Royal copyright the estate of Rev Maori Marsden 2003.
  • State of the Māori Nation Twenty First Century Issues in Aotearoa, Malcolm Mulholland and others 2006. 
  • The United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) 2007
  • Weeping Waters, The Treaty of Waitangi and Constitutional Change, edited by Malcolm Mulholland and Veronica Tawhai 2010. 
  • Ngāpuhi Speaks: He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni and Te Tiriti o Waitangi:  Commissioned by Kuia and Kaumātua of Ngāpuhi , Independent Report on Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu Claim, Te Kawariki Kaitaia and Network Waitangi Whangarei, 2012.
  • Matike Mai Report 2016
  • The Māori Flag- a Symbol of Liberation and Identity, Te Kawariki , 2010 online version 2018.
  • He Puapua Report 2019
  • A Civilising Mission- Perceptions and Representations of the New Zealand Native Schools System- edited by Judith Simon and Linda Tuhiwai Smith with Fiona Cram, Margie Hohepa, Stuart McNaughton & Maxine Stephenson, 2001
  • Once Were Gardeners , Moana Jackson 2009 Once were gardeners – Moana Jackson on the scientific method and the ‘warrior gene’ 
  • Waitangi Tribunal Recommendations: Wai 8, Wai 11, Wai 45, Wai 262,  Wai 1040, Wai 2336, Wai 2575, Wai 2700,  to name a few. 
  • A Seat at the Table of My Elders, by Pineaha Murray 2012. 
  • Ngāti Kahu, Portrait of a Sovereign Nation, by Dr Margaret Mutu, Lloyd Popata, Te Kani Williams, Anahera Herbert Graves, Reremoana Renata, Just Ann Cooze, Zarrah Pineaha, Tania Thomas, Te Ikanui Kingi Waiaua, Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngāti Kahu, Wackrow Williams & Davis Ltd, 2012
  • Moana Jackson — He Tohu interview 2017 Moana Jackson — He Tohu interview
  • The TurangaNui a Kiwa Declaration for Elimination of Colonial Racism in Central and Local Government, 2019.
  • The Platform- The Radical Legacy of the Polynesian Panthers by Dr Melani Anae, 2020
  • Justice and Race- Campaigns Against Racism and Abuse in Aotearoa NZ, by Oliver Sutherland 2020. 
  • Status Report Race Based Hate Crime in Aotearoa,by  Ngata, Rata & Santos 2020
  • Imagining Decolonization ●  Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Rebecca Kiddle , Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton, Amanda Thomas 2021