Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What we have really lost

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  • Stephen Judd,

    The Crown appears to be neglecting the land; Tuhoe would surely treasure it

    A little whine about this.

    One of the justifications often offered in the past for the alienation of Māori land is that the owners weren't cultivating it, or were letting it go to ruin, or whatever.

    This is a very poor argument. If I own something, I own it whether or not you think you can make better use of it. It's conceivable that Tūhoe might want to clear-cut the whole park for timber and then farm it; or encourage deer and game in the bush for hunting; or some other activity that would offend the sensibilities of right-thinking people. That shouldn't affect their claim to ownership one bit.

    The idea that they deserve to have their claims honoured because they would act better than the Crown is just other side of this kind of argument. It's appealing, but to allow this argument when it runs in Tūhoe's favour would be to justify expropriating or withholding land from Māori owners (or any others, for that matter) when we feel owners are neglecting their property.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2947 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    We shouldn't give our conservation lands to Maori. All New Zealanders would continue to have full rights of access but would still feel as though they were crossing someone else's property.
    I think that Tuhoe want to be their own sovereign nation with all others excluded and I think that allowing that would be a backward step in our growth as a nation. My kids shouldn't be made to feel like outsiders anywhere in NZ and if they are it shouldn't be by government decree. Just as Maori should never be made to feel like outsiders in our own country.
    And the terror raids just sound sickening - the police state creeps ever closer...

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 274 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    We shouldn't give our conservation lands to Maori.

    I'm uncomfortable describing this particular park as "our" land, given the way it was obtained, and Tuhoe's strong moral claim to it.

    And the terror raids just sound sickening - the police state creeps ever closer...

    And I remain of the view that the police were obliged to do something before those dickheads actually hurt someone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I think the angle from Tuhoe nationalists is that when you say "our growth as a nation", they would say they never belonged to that nation, and that their turf was never part of NZ, and that when you say "our lands", that's assuming something they dispute. Hence it's not ours to give, but theirs to hold.

    It's good to have sovereignty back in the national conversation without the backdrop of violence.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2947 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    We shouldn't give our conservation lands to Maori.

    But they gave their lands as gifts to conservation.

    The point seems to be that whether we define that land as conservation land now or whether we intensively use it for farming or forestry or whatever, that land was never ours (the government's) in the first place.

    As for splitting Tuhoe off into a separate nation, I'd be really disappointed if we ever went that way. I'd like to hope that all New Zealanders can agree to be one nation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3311 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It's good to have sovereignty back in the national conversation without the backdrop of violence.

    That's my feeling.

    I also don't think this is so different to a previous National's government's vesting of the bed of Lake Ellesmere /with Ngai Tahu and the 1992 transfer of the bed of Lake Taupo to the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board to be held "in trust for the common use and benefit of all the peoples of New Zealand."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Well, at least the word "Tuhoe" has been heard around the world, thanks to the John Key Comedy Festival.

    The Prime Minister has even won an award from the San Francisco Examiner: Dim Bulb of the week.

    That's quite an accolade for Aotearoa, given the competition in the States.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Just as Maori should never be made to feel like outsiders in our own country.

    Too late.

    Also, not too long ago, and maybe still, there has been fairly heavy intimidation going on around some entrances to Te Urewera. This move may only serve to increase the likelihood if this happening.

    As mentioned, 95% of New Zealanders probably don't venture into that territory. I grew up near it, and spent a lot of time tramping around it on school camps and so on. It seemed in good hands.

    I also disagree that we would feel like trespassers, as once these issues are clearly defined, and we know on what basis we have access, then mutual respect is possible.

    In the current context, and especially after the way this was done, there is very little mutual respect involved. [redacted]

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    It's crossing a line and we had no control over events 100 years ago. Parts of Urewera maybe could be returned such as Maungapohatu (if it's not already in Tuhoe ownership) and the fertile lands taken by the government in 1865. Lakes Waikaremoana and Waikareiti are treasures of the nation as well as Tuhoe. Two-thirds of the troops that fought Tuhoe 150 years ago were Maori.
    There must be other ways to settle treaty claims than through diminishing our conservation estate. Most of their original fertile lands are probably now in private hands. Wouldn't it make more sense to purchase it back if we really want to set things completely right? It was the loss of their fertile lands that apparently caused the famine etc.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 274 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'm uncomfortable describing this particular park as "our" land, given the way it was obtained, and Tuhoe's strong moral claim to it.

    Well, Russell, just to play devil's advocate I suspect Ngati Whatua would have (several) points of view on whether Auckland is situated on the moral high ground either. Which is a shit storm I don't really want to walk into until my hazmat suit comes back from the cleaners... :)

    But, in the end, whether or not you think the history of New Zealand is little more than rank piracy, I think we can all grant that you don't say "nah, take it back" at the eleventh hour. Unless you're in primary school.

    And would anyone else love to be a fly on the Cabinet Room wall, because I've heard whispers that Chris Finalyson is not a happy camper (and, if true, I wouldn't blame him). I know from experience, he's not a toy thrower but knows how to make his displeasure register.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11902 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Trial date has to wait until August next year because that's the first time that a court room of sufficient size for 18 defendants is available for 12 weeks.

    Will be pushed forward if the court case or number of defendants shortens.

    Crazy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • larryq,

    I’m uncertain about how I fell about all of this. I would prefer a deal was done to have Tuhoe vest the National Park back to the Crown as per other agreements. I don't think Tuhoe are so different to other dispossessed groups to get a significantly different deal.

    I get a very uneasy feeliing listening to Tamati Kruger on every media possible. What does he really want?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Trial date has to wait until August next year because that's the first time that a court room of sufficient size for 18 defendants is available for 12 weeks.

    The Lion's Hut sleeps 40. They could rent it during the off season.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Well, Russell, just to play devil's advocate I suspect Ngati Whatua would have (several) points of view on whether Auckland is situated on the moral high ground either.

    Oh sure. But both the past and present are much more complicated in Auckland. What makes the Urewera transfer seem do-able is the fact that literally 95% of the people occupying this area are Tuhoe.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Trial date has to wait until August next year because that's the first time that a court room of sufficient size for 18 defendants is available for 12 weeks.

    Can't they just build another one?

    Seriously; its not just this case which is being delayed, and when cases are delayed this much, justice is denied.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1639 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Craig, taking your point about Auckland, are you saying that it would be wrong or unjust to give land back to Tuhoe because it's harder to do the same elsewhere?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2947 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I could no more accept the government giving up the Ureweras to another country than I could accept the government giving Stewart Island to China. Most New Zealanders - mainstream ones even - will not stand for a jack up between the political and Maori elites to cede any of our sovereign territory. It is incredible that anyone would seriously put forward the idea that we as a nation could simply give away our territory to someone else to create a unitary state, and do so without a fight. It is, frankly, the very definition of treason to even advocate such a course of action.

    And anyway, what sort of nonsensical state would be created? One can hardly have any doubts that Tuhoe "sovereignty" would scarcely amount to much more than a cherry picking of what bits of the New Zealand state they would like to discard or keep; Most probably New Zealand would have to keep paying for the first world health, education and welfare expectations of Tuhoe, but obeying the laws of New Zealand? No thank you. We'll make up our own to suit ourselves.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1794 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    I just wrote and deleted about 5 paragraphs of lefty dribble...

    summed up;

    Te Urewera will always feel like Tuhoe land to locals and to most visitors to the area. the Government can't change that.

    John Key is crazy for being so Brash about this. Surely the announcement could have been along the lines of 'We need to extend the negotiations and look at some new way of wording this agreement'.

    Or just gone ahead with settlement, duh.

    As it is, it just seems like they're trying to pick a fight with people they need to reach out to, in order to not offend people who will always support National and would have gotten over it in a couple of weeks.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Tom: you seem to be conflating property ownership and sovereignty, dominium and imperium. But the latter was not on the table, and talk of sovereignty is irrelevant to this conversation.

    What was on the table was the return of the Ureweras. They would be managed by Tuhoe with full public access. While a novel solution, it would have been just, and workable, and had the support of park users. What's not to like?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1639 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    it's my understanding tuhoe accepted money from crown for lake waikaremoana 3 times, 1919, 1940 and then in the 60s or 70s.

    So where does that fit in with everything?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 472 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, taking your point about Auckland, are you saying that it would be wrong or unjust to give land back to Tuhoe because it's harder to do the same elsewhere?

    No -- because if there's every been an "easy" Treaty settlement, I've never heard of it. Just that there's something about basing the argument (or any public policy debate) on "moral claims" that makes me twitchy.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11902 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Tom: you seem to be conflating property ownership and sovereignty, dominium and imperium.

    I/S, my comments are primarily at Stephen Judd and Russell Brown, who in their little exchange above:

    It's good to have sovereignty back in the national conversation without the backdrop of violence.

    That's my feeling.

    Appear to have convinced themselves that sovereignty is back on the agenda, and that the general population would countenance such an act of treason.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1794 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    While most of us live near the shoreline, and treasure that fact, very few New Zealanders will ever venture to Te Urewera.

    The Lake Waikarimoana(sp?) track sees a lot of action. I walked it again in the summer - almost as many Kiwis as Germans.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Nimmo,

    The Lake Waikarimoana(sp?) track sees a lot of action. I walked it again in the summer - almost as many Kiwis as Germans.

    I'm pretty sure this is an illusion. New Zealanders will walk the track in three or four days, so you'll probably see them more than once, but Germans will do it in one or two at a stretch.

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Greville Whittle,

    ... seem to be conflating property ownership and sovereignty, dominium and imperium.

    Most of the more hysterical comments bandied about regarding this are all about sovereignty not ownership.So the ‘Maori separatists hates uz’ horse is first out the gate followed closely by ‘What about the access’. This is in spite of the fact that both these issues were addressed well before the all the brouhaha.

    The fact that John Key put the kibosh on the whole thing via press conference gives me the shits. Basic courtesy would suggest he tells the other parties first. It would have been better if they were told and he held the conference immediately afterwards. That lack of respect underscores the whole issue.

    I agree with Russell, all this has done is reinforce the perception that government doesn’t care and cannot be trusted so why go down that route.

    I also was interested to see that it was Tariana Turia that responded for the Maori Party and not Hone Hariwera. To me this shows how seriously pissed off they are and careful they are being with their message.

    Hamiltron • Since Oct 2008 • 37 posts Report Reply

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