Ngāpuhi, Aotearoa’s largest iwi, has just elected the country’s youngest iwi chairman, and he has fired a shot at the new coalition government, warning the iwi is not a fan of moves to do away with ‘Treaty principles’ in legislation.
Mane Tahere, trustee of Ngāpuhi’s Hauāuru takiwā was elected rūnanga chairman on Friday, and, unsurprisingly, has a focus on the wellbeing of Ngāpuhi tai tamariki, at the same time as enhancing the place of Ngāpuhi’s Rōpū Kaumātua Kuia.
“He ra anō. We have recently faced some serious challenges, and the leadership of our kaumātua kuia has come to the fore. They are the guardians of our tikanga, and we will continue to look to their guidance”, he said.
“At the same time, Ngāpuhi tai tamariki and whānau are at the heart of everything that we do.”
Referring to the well-used saying that our children are the leaders of tomorrow, Tahere said: ‘’Actually, they are our leaders of today. We need to wrap them in love and support and give them opportunities to participate in whānau, hapū and iwi affairs.” Mane sees his appointment as a signal that Ngāpuhi’s next generations are ready to level up for their Iwi and Runanga with hapū at the heart.’’
Tahere has a Master’s degree in business and finance, and is preparing to take up a doctoral programme of study in iwi development. He said strengthening the Ngāpuhi Rūnanga Group was a priority moving forward. The group comprises the Ngāpuhi Asset Holding Company, along with Te Hauora o Ngāpuhi and Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services.
On the matter of Treaty, he said the rūnanga’s role was to support and assist hapū preparedness to achieve Te Tiriti o Waitangi redress. Having played an active role within his own hapū and marae affairs in recent years, he has seen the beautiful and ongoing hard work our hapū and marae do every day.
“Ngāpuhi is a confederation of hapū, the rūnanga’s purpose is to uphold the tino rangatiratanga of Ngāpuhi hapū, not to replace or usurp it”.
Central to all of this are He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Tahere said. He warned the government that its recently announced attempts to define “Treaty principles” in ignorance will not get them anywhere close to redress with Ngāpuhi.
‘’It is wonderful to be Māori, It is great to be Ngāpuhi and that’s all we have to be as uri is ourselves, the coalition government’s rhetoric around attacking Te Tiriti o Waitangi does not affect our inherent role as kaitiaki of these two tupuna kawenata, however, it is a step backwards from all the progress done by our tupuna, heoi kia u tatou katoa a Ngāpuhi.’’
He replaces Wayne Wharerau.