Margaret Mutu might eschew a Google search, but there are oral means of learning what’s what

Professor Margaret Mutu, who can be found doing her thing academically in the Department of Māori Studies at Auckland University, has a BSc, DipTchg, MPhil and a PhD.

What she could do with is a computer.

Maybe she eschews these things, because her work on Maori rights

…draws on the oral traditions of her ancestors of Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa and Ngāti Whātua passed on to her by her elders and drawn on extensively for the successful claims against the Crown.

These oral traditions perhaps rule out working with computers.

Moreover the computer is not the product of indigenous technology.

This would explain why Maggie Mutu does not know as much about the Maori Council as Alf quickly found out simply by using Google and reading what was on the pages he found.

Alf did this on learning that Maggie has been grouching about the Maori Council, claiming it lacks accountability and should not purport to speak for all Maori.

This grouching seems to have been prompted by a series of hui being held nationwide to review the Maori Development Act, which oversees the council and Maori Wardens.

Dr Mutu says the review seems to be focused on the Maori Council, which she says lacks accountability.

She says she does not know how its members are appointed, and has no idea who is on the Tai Tokerau Maori Council or who speaks for it.

Alf was surprised by this gap in Maggie’s knowledge of what’s going on in her neck of the woods.

If she can persuade one of her pupils or friends to go on line – to spare her the need to depart from the oral tradition – she might ask them to check out this site.

Kia ora – Welcome to Te Tai Tokerau District Maori Council

Our boundaries are from Topuni Bridge on the east coast to Kaipara Harbour on the west coast and north to the North Cape, marginally north of Cape Reinga

The Te Tai Tokerau Executive are:

Chair: Sir Graham Latimer

Deputy Chair: Tame Kahiti Murray

Secretary: Lady Emily Latimer

Assistant Secretary: Merehora Taurua

Representatives: Rihari Dargaville, James Eruera

Te Tai Tokerau Contact: tetaitokerau@maoricouncil.com

And hey – did you see there’s an email address in there, too, although someone sticking to the oral tradition might not have access to it.

But Maggie – surely – is bound to bump into Sir Graham, now and again, if she knocks around the hui, tangi and so on that bring northern Maori together.

She should have a pretty good idea he is a bigwig on the Maori Council – honorary president, actually – and accordingly would be able to communicate with her orally to explain that he also plays a role on the Tai Tokerau bit of the organisation.

Or she could ask Titewhai Harawira, deputy co chair tikanga of the council. Or Rihari Dargaville, another deputy co chair tikanga.

But come to think of it, Maggie might not think any more kindly of the council once she did find out what’s what and who’s who.

Its co chair admin is Donna Huata.

Remember her?

Her CV on the Maori Council website says –

Donna studied educational psychology at Auckland University and worked for ten years as an educational psychologist. In 1996, Donna Awatere Huata was elected to parliament to represent ACT New Zealand.

Indeed, Huata did enter Parliament in 1996 after years of activism for Maori causes, including the promotion of literacy and education programmes for Maori.

Let’s see what this Herald report in September 2005 had to say about her.

The Act Party were attracted by her message that the future for Maori lay in self empowerment rather than state dependence.

However, the relationship soured when Awatere Huata refused to explain herself to the party when allegations first surfaced against her in the media.

ACT expelled her but she stayed on as an independent during a protracted legal fight which was finally resolved last year when the Supreme Court decided the party could use party hopping legislation to remove her.

The same report – for those who might have forgotten – said:

Former Act MP Donna Awatere Huata’s fall from grace was completed today when she was jailed for two years and nine months for stealing from a Maori trust set up to help under-privileged children.

Her husband Wi Huata was jailed for two years. Wi Huata’s sentence was deferred for two months to allow him to apply for home detention.

The pair were found guilty of fraud and attempting to pervert the course of justice by an Auckland District Court jury after the Serious Fraud Office said they stole more than $80,000 from the Government-funded Pipi Foundation.

And the charming Titiwhai Harawira?

A Press report here tells us –

She got nine months in jail in 1989 for assaulting a mental patient in the ill-fated Whare Paia Maori mental health unit she was in charge of, in a poorly thought- out arrangement with Auckland’s Carrington Hospital. Four staff members were also sentenced for violence against the patient, two of them sharing her surname.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Sir Graham’s record was smudged somewhat by a differences he had with the Inland Revenue Department.

At that time Winston Peters got the idea maybe Sir Graham should be stripped of his knighthood. He raised his concerns at Question Time
on August 5 1995.

6. Hon. WINSTON PETERS (Tauranga) to the Prime Minister: In the light of the conviction of Sir Graham Latimer on tax negligence charges, has he sought the advice of any of the Solicitor-General, the Herald of Arms, and his Cabinet colleagues as to whether that person should be stripped of his knighthood, and what action, if any, will he be taking on the matter?

Rt Hon. J B BOLGER (Prime Minister): The award of royal honours is part of the royal prerogative. Honours are conferred by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. Any decision on forfeiture of an award would similarly be a matter of purely prerogative discretion. Forfeiture is not automatic following a conviction. The forfeiture of any honour is a serious matter, and would be contemplated only when the holder was convicted of a serious criminal offence.

And so Graham is still Sir Graham.

And he can talk.

Maggie should try chatting with him to find out what she wants to know about the Maori Council.

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