The Mana plantation owner

There’s quite a bit more to what Hone Harawira has said than a bit of abuse. From a Newstalk ZB interview: Harawira on his ‘house n****r’ comments

Marwick: Now the attendance or non-attendance of both National Party Maori MPs and the Maori Party MPs at the hui organised by King Tuheitia seems to have ruffled your feathers somewhat. What is your objection to them not attending?

Harawira: No, actually I’m not objecting to them not attending, I’m objecting to the fact that John Key is telling them they can’t.

The fact of the matter is, people are jumping up and down about a phrase I used, right, but if people want me to stop using terms from Alabama in the 1950s then they should tell the Prime Minister to stop acting like a plantation owner from Alabama in the 1950s.

There’s a number of Maori MPs in his party, two of whom are high ranking ministers, they have their own mana, and they have their own standing in Maori society, and he should show them the respect that they deserve and allow them to make their own decision as to whether or not they’ll attend the national hui on water.

Marwick:: Do you think it was right to use such a pejorative term thought, because I know if I used it people would probably thump me and they’d be right to do so.

Harawira: Ah look Felix, you have to live with the things you say and I’m comfortable with the things I say.

My comment was about how the way in which the Prime Minister showed an appalling lack of understanding of the mana that his Maori MPs have. It’s an insult to them, (they should) make up their own mind.

What’s the point of having ministers that you want to rank highly in your cabinet, if you’re going to do all their thinking for them, particularly Maori ones.

And understand this, they’re not being invited as National Party MPs, they’re not being invited as Cabinet Ministers. It’s a national hui on water for Maori. It’s not an Iwi Leaders hui, it’s not a claimants hui, it’s not a Maori Council hui. It’s an open hui for Maori. They are Maori. They should come.

Marwick: Why should they?

Harawira: Because the issues that are going to be discussed there will probably lead to some of the most important decisions that Maoridom will make in my lifetime, and your lifetime for that matter. That’s why. It is that important.

Water, and the status of water to Maori and to the nation are at stake here, and it’s important that everybody’s point of view is heard. They bring a different point of view to the table, like everybody else. They should come, and John Key should not be telling them not to.

Marwick: What impact then do you think this hui could have on government policy, given the position that the Government’s already put out there?

Harawira: I’m really not sure. All I want to see is that Maori see water as an important issue, to make a decision on, that they set a timeframe on which that decision can be made with as wide a participation as possible from Maori people, and that they not be locked into a timeframe gerrymandered by the Prime Minister to facilitate the sale of assets that most New Zealanders are opposed to.

Aside from important issues like:

  • what 1950’s Alabama has got to do with slavery or New Zealand?
  • why “some of the most important decisions that Maoridom will make in my lifetime” will come from a hui organised at very short notice
  • if water is such an important issue for the country why is the hui so maori dominated
  • on what basis Harawira speaks for the hui
  • how representative of Maori as a whole the hui will be
  • how representative of the whole country the hui will be

…there’s a key point to take from this.

Harawira’s main objection regarding the National Party Maori MPs seems to be that “the fact that John Key is telling them they can’t“.

So he says “They should come, and John Key should not be telling them not to.

As Harawira says, “they have their own mana“. Maybe they can decide for themselves what they do and who they listen to. Why should National Party MPs take their orders from the Mana plantation owner?