What’s all this pap about “the Maori way”?
The expression has popped up in some media in their reports on signs of a partial reconciliation between Maori Party MPs Hone Harawira and Te Ururoa Flavell following a hui near Rotorua on Tuesday.
It looks like just another bit of political stoush to Alf, and it was triggered by comments Hone made in a newspaper article when he said voters were abandoning the Maori Party because it was coming off the rails and getting too close to National.
Dunno why anyone should complain about geting too close to National, or why that should drive sensible voters away, but that’s Hone for you, eh?
Anway, the article pissed off Flavell and next thing we know there’s talk of Hone being thrown out of the party.
Yesterday’s development was a hui at Taheke Mara.
According to Radio NZ, they emerged after five hours last night and told reporters they were pleased to have had an opportunity to talk, “but there are still issues to be faced”.
But for now no-one is saying what went on.
Maori Party president Pem Bird says there will be no official comment until the issue is dealt with at the national council and speculation will only damage the process.
Mr Flavell says the issue is in the hands of the national council and it was not for him to say if Mr Harawira should stay with the party.
The MP for Waiariki says he is disappointed that the process has taken so long, but hopes for a positive outcome.
A prolonged process, eh.
Maybe that’s the Maori way.
But Alf got the impression those who spoke of things being done in the Maori way were talking about talking.
In other words, we are supposed to believe the issue is being settled the Maori way through good old-fashioned discussion, or cow-papa Maori.
The Nelson Mail has been banging on about the Maori way, too.
An editorial recently described Hone as someone who is seen among the wider electorate as a hothead whose separatist ideals endanger New Zealand.
It also said the latest stoush between Hone and the rest of the party caucus has gone far beyond another family squabble.
Then it said –
Expressing opinions forcefully is the Maori way, and freedom of expression is a cornerstone principle of New Zealand life. As a backbench MP, Mr Harawira should be able to speak his mind on any issue he pleases.
Dunno where the mad buggers in Nelson got the idea that “expressing opinions forcefully is the Maori way”. Some Maori do, some don’t.
But some non-Maori express their opinions forecefully too.
Yep. We have freedom of expression.
And if we have any wits, we expect repercussions when we express ourselves forcefully.
If Alf made a speech in which he denounced the National Party’s leaders for taking the country in the wrong direction – and he has never had cause to do such a thing – he would expect to be disciplined.
As for this cow-papa stuff, it might be big deal for the Maori Party. But Hone falls back on it, apparently, only when it suits his wily political purposes.
The concept was mentioned by the Herald on the last occasion Hone needed a bit of disciplining. It embraces a set of principles on which the party’s policies, responses and behaviour are based and co-leader Pita Sharples was saying Hone had offended against bits of the code.
Kotahitanga is one of them, described in party literature as being demonstrated through the achievement of harmony and moving as one, and promoting harmonious relationships among all people.
Another is “manaakitanga”, described as “behaviour that acknowledges the mana of others as having equal or greater importance than one’s own, through the expression of aroha, hospitality, generosity and mutual respect”.
When asked at a press conference yesterday which kaupapa Harawira had breached, Sharples cited “manaakitanga for starters”.
The same article reminded Alf that Hone’s failure to pay due regard to party discipline is not unique and that Tariana Turia could be hard to rein in during her Labour Party days.
Turia herself, when a member of the Labour Party, had no room for obeisance to a party.
Alf recalls Winston Peters being a stroppy bugger, on occasion, when he was a member of the National Party.
Perhaps a disinclination to be disciplined when they join political parties is the Maori way.
But talking to sort out differences – dammit – is not.
What are these buggers trying to tell us?
That the non-Maori way is to shoot each other when we disagree?