Te Pāti Māori Te Tai Tokerau MP Mariameno Kapa-Kingi has some advice for the Government.
“They should come to listen. Don’t come to talk at us about us.”
This visit from the Government to Waitangi over the past few days is particularly moving for Kapa-Kingi, as she was born and raised in Te Tai Tokerau and has committed most of her life and mahi to the growth and prosperity of her rohe. She was elected to Parliament in 2023, beating out long-time Labour MP Kelvin Davis - who has since retired from politics.
Kapa-Kingi says the Prime Minister and his entourage were spoken to in a clear and gracious manner.
“But don’t mistake that grace for weakness.
“Ignoring us at your peril is the message because if you are not listening now, we will have a lot more conversations and probably more radical than what you see today.”
Kapa-Kingi specialises in iwi and hapū health and economic growth, and has had decades of experience in iwi social services and governance. She says the solutions to these problems do not lie in the hands of those “who tell us that colonisation was a good thing”.
“Any person who talks looks like that, they have no idea, and they lack education. When you don’t know, you don’t understand and, when you don’t understand, you can’t accept it.
“The solutions are in our minds and our intellect… And it’s not like these answers are new. We have been coming up with these answers for a long time but unfortunately governments, this one and prior ones, have decided they can fill that gap with their understanding which is foolish and dangerous.”