Maori king Tuheitia has been ill-advised, I believe. We can all see that the man behind - and in front of - the scenes is Tuku Morgan, apparently the king's closest counsel. I think this is a mistake - and one Tuheitia keeps making.
Ask deposed Aussie Prime Minister Tony Abbott the wisdom of being loyal to a close adviser who many people seemingly loathed. More than one public commentator said the adviser had to go, even if that meant taking Abbott down too.
In my opinion, Tuku Morgan is one of those people lacking a self-regulatory button. I believe his advice to his king to declare a Tainui claim on all of Auckland up to Wellsford is laughable and deserves our contempt.
Who acts on advice like this? Many Ngati Whatua are furious, and so are members of numerous other sub-tribes with a long history of living in the wider Auckland region. Many non-Maori New Zealanders are livid. It has played into the hands of our redneck segment.
Had Tuheitia instead declared that Tainui, with its billion dollars of assets, was claiming every young, unemployed Maori person as its challenge to give employment to, Tuheitia and indeed his adviser Tuku would be the toast of the nation.
Instead, many are either laughing or outraged at what seems to me to be naked greed and an act of poor judgment.
Tainui has done extremely well with its settlement money considering that about 20 years ago it was near broke after what I believe were foolish investments and dodgy governance. Plenty of businesses make similar mistakes and Tainui came back from the brink to now be one of the wealthiest tribes in the country.
Ngai Tahu has built its $170 million settlement to a similar billion-dollar asset.
Good on both of them. The only rider is, as charitable entities they have a business advantage over their competitors in paying no tax. Still, their efforts are to be admired.
Not so the lack of interest in flax-roots Maori from some Maori leaders. Leaders who make but rare statements on education, with apparently no ideas on how to improve the lot of Maori, who seem equally bereft of suggestions on how to fix Maoridom's many social ills, and who have not put a single plan into action that can be seen to be addressing Maori problems, in my opinion. It seems all we hear from them is another claim. Twenty-plus years ago, I predicted the claims would never stop. It's Champagne that comes from that tap, so why would they walk away? Pakeha in the same situation have done exactly the same. Sadly, most people would. Many tribal leaders receive high salaries and/or consulting fees from their tribal trusts, yet for the vast majority of Maori the problems remain the same.
You live overseas for a few years and come to realise it's quite an advantage being part-Maori.
There's the warrior bit that makes you feel pretty safe in most situations and not afraid of being mugged or attacked on some dark city street. (And anyway, it just about never happens, or not in France; they're a civilised people, the French. Booze does not give them an excuse to be violent.)
There's the musical side, and when you get a group of Maori and a guitar or two, it is quite a neat feeling all singing together at least knowing you're in tune and by French musical standards pretty damn good.
Just being an expat Kiwi feels great - our friendliness, our love of rugby, the people we know in common.
By French drinking standards, we're a bit thirstier and definitely rowdier. However, we have all embraced the behavioural code here.
But I believe being a Maori in Enzed is a more negative experience. All that compulsion to live by the myth of whanau, hapu and iwi. Ask many Maori who have moved to Australia; they'll tell you living as an individual is infinitely better. If I was a benign dictator I'd pack every Maori off out of the country so they could realise what a wonderful thing it can be to be Maori and Kiwi and individualistic at the same time.
Many of our Maori leaders have to invest in this potential and step away from the Champagne tap.