Mere Tunks: What the Treaty is really about

There are many positive things happening for Maori, writes Mere Tunks. Photo / Natalie Slade
There are many positive things happening for Maori, writes Mere Tunks. Photo / Natalie Slade

In response to Treaty debate I would like to defend the view of Tariana Turia. Separatism is not the issue. It is the reality of partnership from a Maori perspective also. The aim is partnership, protection and participation as a constitutional right.

The article on Valentine's Day by the senior lecture of film studies at Massey University leaves me wondering is it potentially screening as a "comedy" or joining that of Paul Holmes as a "tragedy"?

To see what positive things are happening in so many places you have only to look around. Tariana and many others have looked at Whanau Ora. This aims at exactly what Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust has struggled as an urban Maori identity to do -- actively functioning within a Government framework to uphold the tikanga of their identity as Maori, answering the need of their people, taking responsibility for the present situation and improving the lot of themselves and their children.

Get a life Paul Holmes, in the shelter of a dominant social group you may be unaware of the hidden talents and the growing changes within the minority, but indigenous, people of Aotearoa.

I do not intend to misinterpret the comments on the article "Treaty Exaltation has gone too far". Clear political and democratic realities differ around Aotearoa. It is also an educational reality that each of us lives in a bubble that seems to be too easily pricked and popped if the sum total of our background cannot equate with the ethnic difference.

The blend referred to in the aforementioned article has nothing to do with "Treaty Rights". It is absolutely true that there is the potential of one group as a majority to "suck and absorb the other". If people are really feeling fed up as this article states then how is there such goodwill in other areas?

Where institutions have worked through and educated their Councils and Management the benefits have grown. Much of this is due to the patience and desire of those who are in those institutions and who are Maori to keep on keeping on.

The writer of the article has a whakapapa with Irish, Tuhoe and French to call on. I can challenge him with a similar whakapapa. Mr French link came when Sam Delamere chased his whale into Whanau a Apanui -- 'Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite' -- then came my Whakatohea link, my Nana had to marry a colonial to live on her confiscated land where my father was born. My mother came from early immigrant Scots (Kerrs, Borderers) and Irish (McCahons, Northern Ballamena).

Through partnership, protection and participation our whanau has happily survived. Surely this is exactly what the Treaty is all about.

* Mere Tunks is from Runanga o Te Whare Wananga o Wairaka.

- NZ Herald

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