“We have no choice but to fight”. These are the words of Rahui Papa, the Chair for Ngati Koroki Kahukura of the Cambridge area.
Rahui was one of the 50 plus Iwi Chairs who attended the National Iwi Chairs Forum in Kerikeri yesterday where the unanimous decision from the Iwi was to fight what they see as the governments continued sustained attack on Maori.
“We attended and heard the korero at Turangawaewae and also Ratana. We support the outcomes. Our people want to know that we care about how they are feeling. They want to see action, and we support” said Jamie Tuuta the Chair for Ngati Mutunga of the Taranaki area.
The National Iwi Chairs Forum agreed to a range of options for fighting the different issues. This includes supporting existing legal action; filing new legal actions; submitting complaints with the Human Rights Commission; submitting challenges to the United Nations; carrying out targeted protest and taking other measures on specific policies covered in the Coalitions Governments agreements and 100 day plan.
“The attacks by this government is on a range of fronts affecting Maori. From unilaterally redefining Te Tiriti o Waitangi through to belittling Te Reo Maori to removing protections for our mokopuna in Oranga Tamariki through to the dismantling of the Maori Health Authority which was based on detailed research and determinations of the Waitangi Tribunal – which is also under attack” said Papa.
The National Iwi Chairs Forum is meeting with the Prime Minister together with a number of Cabinet Ministers including Ministers Willis, Reti, Bishop, Upston, Mitchell, Goldsmith, Potaka, Simmonds, Watts, Penk, Jones, Seymour, McKee and van Velden.
“There are clear areas that we are not going to work with the government on because they have locked down their position and will inevitably double down. But there are also a number of issues that we will work with the government. This includes issues from social development to economic development. Housing and the review of Kainga Ora are issues that we must work on together” said Tuuta.
“We will fight for as long as it takes to stop this government from thinking that it is ok to attack Maori – their Tiriti partner” said Papa.