The Maori King didn’t piss around – he made plain who owns the water (and it isn’t the Crown)

Waikato-Tainui accepted a co-governance deal – but now they want the lot.

Alf must have missed something somewhere about this water malarkey.

First, he was led to believe Maori claims to water were something to do with rights, not actual ownership.

Second, he was led to believe Pita Sharples would not attend the national hui set up by that Maori king bloke in the Waikato.

Just a few weeks ago the Waitangi Tribunal – urging the Government to halt the partial sale of Mighty River Power – said the partial privatisation would affect the Government’s ability to make redress to Maori rights in water.

It called for an urgent national hui to find solutions to questions around how Maori rights over fresh water are recognised.

The Government duly delayed the Mighty River Power float until next March or April.

It said it would consult iwi associated with waterways used by Mighty River Power but rejected any pan-Maori approach to settle water claims.

But Maori obviously intend to up the ante in their campaign to control all our water before they move on to take control of the wind and the air we breath.

According to the NZ Herald account here (Alf tossed the tribunal’s report into his “too hard” tray and has relied on media sources) –

The tribunal said Maori were not claiming to own all water everywhere, but that they had residual proprietary interests in particular water bodies. It found in favour of that view but said the extent of those interests still needed to be established.

Whew. That’s a relief.

Or it was.

Today Alf has learned here about the hui at Tuarangawaewae in Ngaruawahia.

Groups including the Iwi Leaders Group, the New Zealand Maori Council, the Kingitanga, and iwi from around the nation all gathered for this occasion.

They passed a resolution calling on negotiations with the Crown to take place before the sale of shares in state-owned power companies or its negotiations with iwi and hapu on water rights.

But here’s the thing.

Maori King Tuheitia challenged the Prime Minister’s dictum that no one owns the water by ending his national hui on Maori water rights last night with the declaration, “We have always owned the water!

All of it?

Presumably so, which suggests we soon will be contributing to some sort of Maori flush fund every time we pull the chain in the dunny.

The king was in feisty form, obviously.

King Tuheitia’s strongly worded speech ended the hui attended by about 1000 people from throughout the country.

“The motto of Kingitanga is mana motuhake. We have never ceded our mana over the river to anyone,” he said.

“In the eyes of our people, Pakeha law was set up to minimise our mana and maximise their own.”

He closed the hui saying his iwi aimed to take back control of the Waikato.

So much for co-governance, eh?

And what has provoked this stroppy attitude?

He said that when his mother, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, died, his tribe had to seek permission from the regional council to take her by waka to her resting place on Taupiri mountain.

Ah, so that’s it.

They were affronted by the requirement to do what the rest of us would have to do in this circumstance and ask a council for permission.

It is not clear whether this explains the co-governance calamity that is spreading around the country. But –

The co-management settlement Waikato-Tainui has over the river was the best deal they could achieve.

“The ultimate goal is for Maori to take back these roles from the council.”

While reading the Herald account, Alf spotted the picture of Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples with other blokes at the Turangawaewae Marae.

This was a surprise.

On 5 September NZ City reporter (here) –

No government ministers will take up the Maori King’s invitation to attend a national hui on Maori water rights next week.

The last time Alf looked, Sharples was a Minister.

Alf’s beliefs were reinforced by a report (here) when Mana Party leader Hone Harawira referred to Prime Minister John Key’s “little house niggers”.

Key yesterday said he would not attend the hui because the Government wanted to settle the issue through direct negotiation with individual iwi. The Prime Minister also ruled out any of National’s Maori MPs attending.

Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples have also suggested they would not go, preferring to leave it up to iwi to discuss the matter without political involvement.

Mind you, “suggested” is a weasel word.

The “nigger” jibe rather riled dear old Pita, apparently and he was reported (here) as saying he was a likely starter at the hui.

Dr Sharples’ office today confirmed to 3 News that he’s likely to go, despite his fellow co-leader Tariana Turia saying yesterday she didn’t see any point in her party going because it’s for iwi.

The revelation comes on the back of former colleague Hone Harawira’s tirade of criticism on Facebook about the ordeal.

Mr Harawira called the Maori Party “house n****rs” in response to both the Government’s and the Maori Party’s decision not to attend the hui.

One thing is for sure.

A lot of water will have passed under the bridge before this lot is sorted out.

It’s unlikely to be sorted out to everybody’s satisfaction, which ominously means “the Crown” will come off second best.

This means (Alf supposes) that some time in the future, whenever he passes water, it won’t be his.

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