Feb 17, 2011

Hikoi 2.0

I remain unconvinced that a hikoi is a step forward in terms of opposition to the inadequate MCA bill. First of all, I doubt that Wikatana Popata possesses the organisational skills required to co-ordinate an effective, not to mention large scale, protest. I also doubt that he has skilled people behind him. One could argue that he proved his leadership ability and organisational skill at Waitangi, however there is a significant difference between organising a group of 200 people with whom you have personal connections and co-ordinating a protest connecting politically inactive and disparate groups across the North Island.

Secondly, the government is immovable. If anything a hikoi is a gift to the government. Hikoi are a great way to create anti-Maori sentiment. The government will appear strong and principled in the eyes of non-Maori if it refuses to shift position and offer Maori no further concessions. The government has nothing to fear from a hikoi, it’s none of their voters protesting after all. Certainly it is a golden opportunity for the government to stick it to those cry baby land grabbing Maoris. An easy PR victory.

Thirdly, the Maori Party appears immovable as well. Their logic is clear – this is the best that can be achieved at this point in time. Although I disagree with such a defeatist attitude there is a small pinch of truth to it, but that does not make it right. The party’s challenge to their people is essentially – come up with a better way forward or shut up. Therefore, I do not think a hikoi which is offering no answers will be of much interest. Unless of course that hikoi involves a significant amount of people. Which brings me to my next point.

There is not a significant amount of popular discontent with the bill. Yes, many iwi are disappointed, yes, many of the party’s members are disappointed and, yes, many Maori political commentators are disappointed. Yet disappointment among these groups has not translated to popular disappointment. In tough economic times concepts such as mana whenua are relegated to the back of people’s minds. Wages, benefits, prices and so on dominate people’s political thinking. Correcting historical injustice and delivering on the promise of the treaty is such an intangible concept. It lacks immediacy and is ultimately a secondary concern for many Maori.    

In the end I support the idea of a hikoi against the MCA bill. Whether that hikoi will result in any gains is open. I remain sceptical. Having said that I do hope to be proved wrong and The Maori Party should be very, very worried.  

Hat tip Whenua Fenua Enua Vanua


  1. Kia ora,
    I think a hikoi is good because it:

    allows new youth leaders a chance to build organising skills and voice the views of maori party youth and the maori party,

    and voice views again the pro privatisation and free trade policies that Turiana is following, which undermine maori tino rangatiratanga.

    It also allows for public opposition to the maori parties invsisable climate policies and paper only environmental policies and mahi.

    The maori party will lose Hone and its base if it continues to ignore Te Tai Tokerau and the maori communities opposed to East Coast deep sea oil drilling.

    Waitangi showed that the maori party is co opted by National and Act, and it either votes with its membership or faces a hikoi, and abandonment by its supporters.

    The foreshore and seabed is about seabed mining and selling off Aotearoa's sands and soveringty to foreign mining companies.

    The hikoi is only the beginning if Turiana shows she is not a maori leader, and sides with National and its corporate anti maori aggenda.

    I hope you join the Hikoi and support its kaupapa, as well as forming your own position on where to next.

    Kia Kaha,

    keep up the good mahi on this blog.

  2. Kia ora anon,

    All good points and I will indeed join the hikoi in Wellington. I am curious as to how the hikoi will pan out. Obviously I am sceptical but I do hope to be proved wrong.

  3. If it is not successfull in its means, then there may be another and a anti national/corporate iwi campaign would perhaps begin.

    Do not forget a lot of maori are in unions and are left work or working class, and there is always the option of the green party. The maori party needs to start being really clear on what it is about this year,

    Iwi and hapu, or asset sales and privatisation.

    One Hikoi can be something to clarify what the choice and options are, make it clear who stands where and for what.

    Will Rahui Katene support Hone and Te Tai Tokerau and raising wages and acting on climate and social issues? or stand with corporate Iwi who have the same ideological beliefs as Rodney Hide? etc

    Maori need to have their own options and path, not be always second class to Labour and National's redneck kneejeck populist free market neoliberalism. Not to say that there aren't progressives and decent people in Labour, but that Phil Goff does not represent them.

    My questions is, if Labour and National are not maori focused (outside of wanting votes and power)what to maori do to get more indepence and autonomy, like indiegenous people in Bolivia etc. What are strategies to oppose asset sales and free trade and build maori aspirations. How do maori grassroots views get more airtime, how does the rangatahi and communities get the resources they need.

    A hikoi is a good start.

  4. Kia ora anon,

    I would love to see an anti-corporate iwi/national hikoi. Half the problem with the Maori party is that they are captured by the likes of Tuku Morgan. Tuku and his mates appear to have a monopoly over maori party policy, ffs they dictated the direction the maori party would take on the ETS. The self proclaimed iwi leaders need to get the message that we, Maori, do not accept their mandate nor approve of their agenda.

    I am always instinctively opposed to hikoi because it makes the job of denigrating Maori so easy. A hikoi is a gift to the governing party. It is an automatic win for them. Unless a hikoi involved over 50,000 Maori descending upon Parliament the government of the day will easily dismiss them and do the opposite of what the hikoi is demanding and win widespread support for doing so. The government of the day will always shit on Maori given Maori electoral turnout is so low. As Maori grow as an electoral power the harder it becomes for the government of the day to ignore us.

    The way forward is to create a political establishment, either in or out of parliament, to mobilise Maori voters. Political apathy will continue to doom us for years to come. The Maori Party has failed to energise Maori so we need another vehicle.

  5. I think outside of elections there need to be more maori involvement in politics and decision making, more maori mayor's or councilors and more maori decision making or input.

    Union's perhaps should have some events in different areas from time to time, even a speaking tour to educate people on issues and what the effects are on them. Parliament can be a very insular place that a lot of people in Aotearoa do not engage with, it is called representative but a lot of people do not feel represented by it.

    Politicians selling out or doing things against their peoples wishes and interests is a big part of it, but only part.

    A hikoi needs to be part of a wider campaign to empower maori youth and people, and create more empowerment for communities.

    A hikoi is a very good place for people to korero and talk politics, when a lot of the rest of the time people are watching tv or playing sports etc or getting shallow PR from newspapers.

    Personally I think Sharple's and co should have some big public forums/hui with open debate on the direction of the maori party and maoridom, or as they prob don't want to some forum's should be organised at AUT and elsewhere and some rural ones, with visiting speakers should occur.

    A hikoi is good, but a lot of work to organise and has no guarantee of success, only sustained organising does. The Iwi Leadership knows what it wants for itself, those that oppose its neoliberal aggenda need to create and communicate a counter agenda for maori.

  6. Morena anon,

    Maori political involvement, in local and central government, ultimately depends upon Maori electoral turnout. Maori need to understand how important voting is or we will never effect electoral change.

    I too would like to see forums/tours etc. Perhaps we need an all new organisation to do so.

  7. Even tho these are hard times for Maori and low income earners and beneficiaries, we should endeavour to keep the mana whenua issues alive or we will lose big-time. When people's energies are occupied with just surviving, the corporates and Government move in! That's more or less what happened with the signing of the Treaty! We don't want to make the same mistake again. And the Govt should hui with hapu, they signed the Treaty, not iwi, not the Maori party. I also think it's time hapu identified their leaders, according to tikanga, so groups like the self appointed corporate Iwi Leaders Group are not always manipulating the agenda.



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