Maori king versus Nanaia Mahuta

King Tuheitia has endorsed one of his advisors to stand for the Maori Party in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate, which will put him up against Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta.

This is a significant challenge to Mahuta and Labour.

Stuff: King Tuheitia endorses Maori Party candidate and tells Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta to step aside

Labour MP and Maori stalwart Nanaia Mahuta says King Tuheitia’s influence over his people will be tested on election day when those in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate cast their vote.

Mahuta’s shaking off the Maori King’s criticisms of her and his endorsement of Rahui Papa – one of the King’s advisors – for the Maori Party in her seat.

Tuheitia made the rare move of endorsing Papa at Parawera Marae, south of Hamilton, on Thursday.

He called for Mahuta, his cousin, to stand aside and let someone else represent the seat because she no longer has any “mana” in parliament.

Rare? I think this is unprecedented.

Mahuta seems to be virtually invisible in Parliament. Maori MPs often do a lot of work under the media radar in their electorates, but being so openly challenged in her home patch is a major challenge for Mahuta.

Mahuta has represented the electorate for more than 20 years but says she has never been “formally endorsed” by Kingitanga, the Maori King movement, and Thursday’s events were an “odd situation”.

Quite an odd situation.

Labour versus Maori/Mana, et al

The annual political pilgrimage to Ratana is highlighting growing competitiveness between the Labour and Maori Parties, with the latter now working more closely with the Mana Party and Hone Harawira.

Audrey Young: The political dance begins at Ratana celebrations

Labour faced criticism last year from Ratana speakers telling leader Andrew Little that he could not take Ratana for granted.

Little said he had heeded that and he and the Maori caucus had worked on strengthening the relationship with Ratana.

But Little has come out swinging this year.

He described the Maori Party as “effectively the Maori branch of the National Party.”

Asked if they would “last cab off the rank” if came to coalition building after this year’s election, he said: “Certainly after Greens and New Zealand First.

There’s whole collection, Maori and United Future, if they are still there. So they are certainly down the pecking order, that’s for sure.”

What if Labour+Greens gets say 45-46% and could get over the line with Maori Party support rather than needing Winston Peters? Little kicked of his election year with an attack on Peters over Pike River.

Labour is competing with NZ First and the Maori Party in particular for votes.

In August last year, King Tuheitia criticised Labour and New Zealand First during an unscripted part of his speech at Turangawaewae coronation celebrations.

“It really hurt me when the leader of the Labour Party says ‘I’ll never work with that Maori Party.’ I’m not voting for them anymore,” Tuheitia said.

So there is a lot of tension between the Labour and Maori Parties evident at Ratana.

Stuff: Maori Party co-leaders warn the Labour Party’s grip on the Maori seats is loosening

The Maori Party has fired shots at the Labour Party saying their exclusive relationship with Ratana has come to an end.

The Maori King’s son, Whatumoana Paki, and members of Kingitanga descended on Ratana Pa, near Whanganui, on Monday where they were welcomed along with the Maori Party co-leaders and Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira.

Traditionally party leaders and Kingitanga are welcomed separately but the united front is symbolic of the Maori King Tuheitia’s abandoning of the Labour Party in a speech at the anniversary of his coronation last year, which led to him throwing his support behind the Maori Party.

Ratana has a close bond with Labour and its MP in the Te Tai Hauauru seat, Adrian Rurawhe, is the brother of the Ratana church secretary, Piri Rurawhe.

RNZ: Flavell: ‘Times have moved on’ from historic Rātana-Labour link

Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has denounced the historic political tie between Rātana and the Labour Party and is proclaiming a new unified Māori movement.

Speaking at Rātana Pā yesterday, Mr Flavell, supported by hundreds from the Kīngitanga, various Māori organisations and Mana leader Hone Harawira, made a direct and convincing play for Rātana’s political support.

Well versed in Te Reo Māori and speaking on the paepae, Te Ururoa Flavell paused, pointed to the sky, and told the crowds the agreement made by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana and the Labour Party all those years ago was in his opinion, over.

“Well I think it’s finished. At the end of the day, as many speakers have said, that was made for a place and a time. Times have moved on, the political environment is totally different,” he said.

Mr Flavell said he was ready for a new unified Māori movement.

“Now is the time for us to make that a reality. One political movement under a Māori Party banner, which will pull back those seats from Labour and stay in kaupapa Māori hands forever.”

Patrick Gower: Hone’s back with a Mana-Maori deal

The new Mana-Maori Party alliance had its first formal outing at Ratana today, meaning Mr Harawira is back from the political dead.

After years of fighting, the Mana Party and the Maori Party are making the pilgrimage to Ratana Pa together – not as enemies but as friends.

“It means Mana and Maori walking alongside one another together,” said Mr Harawira.

There is also competition from the Greens. From Stuff:

Labour’s attempts to hold on to the Maori seats could also be tested by the Greens’ new push for the Maori vote.

Co-leader Metiria Turei confirmed yesterday that she would run in Te Tai Tonga after previously running in non-Maori electorates. The party is also hoping to run in all seven Maori seats.

Curious timing for that confirmation, I thought a done deal had been announced last year.

It will be interesting to see how Labour approaches their turn at Ratana today.

NZ Herald: Andrew Little to visit Ratana Pa as Labour Party woos voter

The Labour Party will arrive at Ratana Pa today under pressure to show it deserves to maintain its hold on the Maori seats at this year’s election.

Ahead of his visit to the pa near Whanganui today, Labour leader Andrew Little said he had worked to rebuild ties with Ratana after being criticised at last year’s event.

It is understood he will make an election promise today – the first day of the political year – to build or upgrade housing in the small Ratana settlement near Whanganui.

The first day of the political year? There was a lot of politics evident at Ratana yesterday, and David Seymour delivered his ‘state of the nation’ speech. Last week Labour and NZ First did their Pike River promising.

And now Little is trying a wee bribe at Ratana? Is he going to do similar in Maori areas around the country?

Labour versus Maori/Mana is going to be a fascinating aspect of this year’s election campaign. Alongside Labour versus NZ First. And Labour versus Greens – despite their ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ they will be competing for similar vote pools.

With all these small battles Labour have a much larger challenge, in being seen as competitive with National.

Today Andrew Little has to try try and impress the gathering at Ratana.

Tainui told to get mandate

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has told Waikato-Tainui to get a mandate and to specify their claims after King Tuheitia followed up by Tukoroirangi Morgan indicated they would make claims reaching up to Auckland.

Can different Iwi make claims over the same area?  And why now? Waikato-Tainui settled some claims at least in 1995.

NZ Herald reports in Tainui told get mandate and spell out claims.

Mr Morgan, the spokesman for King Tuheitia, has been elaborating on a reference to Auckland claims that the king made in a speech on Friday at coronation anniversary celebrations at Turangawaewae.

King Tuheitia talked about a new era of rights and claims and of defending the stature of the Kingitanga – the Maori King movement established in the 1850s to prevent more land confiscations.

“We will start with the Kingitanga claims in Tamaki.”

He also wanted further to address “the question of sovereignty of the Kingitanga with the Government and the Crown.”

King Tuheitia talked about his struggle with health – he has diabetes – and said he wanted to “leave a legacy for the next one to continue.”

The Kingitanga seems to be striving for relevancy. How important is the King in Waikato-Tainui?

Mr Morgan told the Herald that Tainui had a claim over the Auckland area which had been filed in 1993 by Huakina on behalf of Tainui.

The first Maori King, Potatau Te Wherowhero, had lived in Mangere, and had other houses at Howick and a summer home in what is now the domain, and he had mana over the Auckland area.

Mr Morgan said the Huakina claim covered a region from the upper reaches of Waikato across to the Firth of Thames, up as far as Mahurangi, across to Piha and down to the Manukau Harbour.

Finlayson has responded and disputed some claims.

Mr Morgan said that at a meeting about five weeks ago between himself and Mr Finlayson and Housing Minister Nick Smith, Mr Finlayson had agreed they could begin to draw up terms of negotiation.

Mr Finlayson disputes that – and said he was not aware of a Huakina claim.

He also cited a letter dated August 15, 2013, to Tom Roa, interim negotiator for Waikato-Tainui, stating: “I have previously invited Waikato-Tainui to clarify the nature of any outstanding claims it considers it may have in [Auckland] and urge you to do so.

Finlayson has one message for Waikato-Tainui if it wants to begin negotiating a claim over parts of Auckland – get a mandate and specify your claims.

He said he had given Tukoroirangi Morgan the same message about five times in the past.

“He nods and then nothing happens,” Mr Finlayson told the Herald.

“Mandates don’t last forever.”

Mr Finlayson said he had also formally written to Waikato-Tainui two years ago setting out what needed to be done if it had a claim to parts of Auckland.

So the King needs to demonstrate he has a mandate amongst Waikato-Tainui.

And then show that they can make claims over territory north of the Waikato.

Maori resisting King Tuheitia rule?

King Tuheitia arranged the recent water hui, where in the closing speech he expressed strong views on water ownership. According to NZ Herald (in Iwi tries to fix split on water) this was a major change:

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.

Since the hui there have been obvious differences amongst Maori – different views and different approaches to dealing with the water issue. The King’s spokesman is trying to enforce unity:

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.”

This seems to be an attempt to change the way Maori do things, and there has been resistance to this.

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 now seems apparent that the water hui was an attempt to promote a specific view on water rights (the King’s view) and to get all Maori to join in and follow the King’s initiative.

If Waikato-Tainui won’t give up their autonomy and follow the (Waikato based) King there’s little chance of more distant iwi becoming subjects of the King.

Who’s water hui?

A ‘national’ water hui has been called for:

King Tuheitia has convened a national hui on water rights after the Government ruled out responding to a Waitangi Tribunal request for it to do so.

(Key Government won’t go to hui)

There has been controversy over whether Maori Party MPs would attend, mostly generated by Hone Harawira. But it seems like there was never any intent to invite them:

The hui will be held at the Turangawaewae Marae at Ngaruawahia next week and spokesman Tuku Morgan today said King Tuheitia never intended to invite the Government.

“This was always going to be our time. The Government have their own agenda. They have decided to be selective about who they talk to. The issue of water impacts on Maori across this country and it is not the sole prerogative of small cluster of iwi.”

(Hone Harawira launches N-bomb)

But it doesn’t sound like this hui is intended to be representative of ‘maori across the country’.

A number of Maori MPs from various parties had rung and indicated they would like to attend and the hui would welcome them, he said.

But  only some Maori MPs would be welcome. That means it isn’t a ‘national’ hui. And it contradicts a previous statement:

King Tuheitia spokesman Tuku Morgan today said next week’s hui would unite all Maori.

“This national summit is for everyone, to enable all Maori across the political landscape, across the tribal landscape, to come together so we can have a significant discussion about how we expect to resolve in a cohesive way, the issue of the ownership of water,” he told Radio New Zealand.

(National water rights hui called)

It certainly doesn’t seem to be uniting very well.

It seems more like a politically motivated, politically aligned hui that specificaly excludes some Maori (and all non-Maori who might also have an interest in water rights).

Is Hone Harawira pushing divisiveness on behalf of the organisers? Or is he trying his own Maori splitting agenda to suit his political purposes?

Why is King Tuheitia organising it as a national hui? He represents some Maori in one region –  “A number of tribes supported the movement, but it became centred on the Waikato region and people.”

National hui? Or one-sided political hooey?

Who’s water hui? Who’s water?