June 30, 2015
Ngati Hine stance
01 July 2015
Ngati Hine Stance
Many people have asked me to speak up on Ngati Hine's position in the wake of recent events regarding Sonny Tau and questions about his conduct and ability to continue to lead Ngāpuhi in any capacity. Our position is no different now from that prior to his present dilemma. Sonny Tau was never a leader we empowered.
As to the present situation, We understand Ngai Tahu being aggrieved at the violation of their kaitiakitanga and their taonga. It is a massive breach of custom. We acknowledge that the mana of Tē Taitokerau has been disgraced by these events and this needs to be set right.
Sonny Tau may have to answer for his own transgression in another forum, but the shame he has brought on the very house he so righteously held up as the paragon of right and truth in the Tē Taitokerau has been shaken to its foundation and for that only the hapu of Ngāpuhi can atone.
An individual who cannot respect rāhui and the kaitiakitanga of another Iwi is not a leader that should be empowered to lead. In the case of our own taonga we need to move forward with mana and respect and a deeper understanding of our responsibilities of kaitiakitanga at home, before we look for it in others.
We must stand with and for each other. In Tē Taitokerau taonga and whenua entrusted to us by our tūpuna are themselves being plundered. Our swamp kauri and natural wildlife habitats being prime examples. We are not anti-settlement but pro-rangatiratanga of hapu. As always, we are standing against those who dictate to all and sundry that which they think should be endorsed to carry the mana of our tūpuna.
We simply ask that the government heed our call and acknowledge Ngati Hine’s right to appoint our own leaders in a manner that serves our hapu interests best.
It is beyond the living memory of anyone in Tē Taitokerau to have witnessed another time when our collective mana has come under scrutiny and we were called upon to make amends. It is about restoring the goodwill that underpins our tikanga to ensure future generations are not burdened by the indiscretions of those who went before them.
Whether Sonny Tau is required to step down from his position or not won’t indemnify the actions that have tarnished the iwi he claims to represent and brought the mana of Ngāpuhi into disrepute. Those he has offended should expect no less and those who must now set it right must be allowed to do so with dignity. It is the only pathway to edemption.
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