Rotorua could show where co-governance is taking us – to cities run by Maori tribal councils

Being brought up with a world view shaped by his proud British heritage, Alf has been apt to bridle every time he learns of yet another Treaty-based co-governance system being imposed on one of our communities.

Most critically, and glaringly obviously, these arrangements debase our democracy and our notions of unity.

One party to the co-governance arrangement is accountable to all the people. The other party is not. The division is racial.

As a staunch champion of democratic systems, your hard-working MP for Eketahuna North could only become seriously hot and bothered each time bloody Chris Finlayson signed off on one of these deals with a smugly self-satisfied smirk on his face.

But how far will it go?

Much further, if the indigenous people have their way. These are our special people and some of them are scheming on introducing a very special system of governance for our local authorities.

They want to get rid of city councils and run the show with tribal councils.

They have yet to get around to determining how non-Maori would be represented in the new local authority model. Of if non-Maori would be represented.

This was to be expected.

Why would our indigenous people settle for a co-governance deal when. with a bit of muscle applied in the right places and assuming they simply have to deal with the likes of Chris Finlayson, they could have 100% control?

Alf is reminded of the story of the young bull who spotted a herd of good-looking heifers in the nearby paddock.

The young bull said to the old bull: “Let’s race over there and shag some.”

The old bull said: “Let’s stroll over and shag the lot.”

Alf is further reminded that the Crown and Waikato-Tainui not too long ago signed a revised deed of settlement in relation to historical Treaty claims over the Waikato River.

The revised deed of settlement established a single co-governance entity, the Waikato River Authority.

The authority is made up of equal numbers of Crown and iwi-appointed members, including other iwi with interests along the river.

As Alf recorded subsequently, Finlayson was full of blather:

“This settlement reflects the values local iwi share with all New Zealanders,” Mr Finlayson said.

But local iwi don’t share the values of all New Zealanders when it comes to things like who owns our rivers and other resources.

Let’s not forget that Maori King Tuheitia challenged the Prime Minister’s dictum that no one owns the water at a national hui of Maori bigwigs.

Wrapping up the discussion of Maori water rights, he declared: “We have always owned the water!“

The King said:

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

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

Not much readiness to stick with co-governance, eh?


Even under a river settlement negotiated with the Government, Tainui did not have management and control over the river, or the power to allocate water, the King complained. Those functions still sat with the regional council.

“The ultimate goal is for Maori to take back these roles form the council.In the eyes of our people, Pakeha law was set up to minimise our mana and maximise their own. It has stripped from us all those things important to our wellbeing….we have never ceded our mana over the river to anyone.”

So much for the rivers.

What about our cities?

This week we learned our indigenous people aspire to run our cities on Maori lines, presumably regarding the concrete, glass and asphalt and all the other bits of our cities as taonga and something to which they have centuries of cultural association.

Here’s how it was reported by Radio NZ.

Rotorua should be run by Maori, a woman standing for election as mayor of the city says.

Janine Bosma said she would like to see Rotorua District Council replaced by a Te Arawa Tribal Council.

But she would not say how she thought Pakeha electors might be represented under that arrangement.

Alf imagines she doesn’t much care.

But she should be given credit for doing what other Maori are smart enough not to do: she has showed us her cards.

3 Responses to Rotorua could show where co-governance is taking us – to cities run by Maori tribal councils

  1. Barry says:

    Alf, why is Cactus Kate not posting on her blog these days, do you know?

    • Alf Grumble says:

      Good question. She may have found it is more expedient to tweet. But while brevity is the soul of wit, Alf prefers something more substantial when it comes to political analysis and trusts Kate returns to her blog some time soon.

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