A bit of political howz-yer-father within the Maori Party seems to have escaped the attention of the news media. This is not surprising, because the news media seem to be under instructions to ignore anything that happens unless it involves a road accident, a drowning, a mountain climb gone wrong, or some other form of tragedy.
Maori Party co-leaders, fair to say, joined others in congratulating Tariana Turia for the damehood thing that was bestowed upon her in the New Year Honours.
But they short-changed her in the whakapapa department by overlooking the papa side of her bloodline.
Hon Tariana Turia (Ngāti Apa, Ngā Wairiki, Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Whanganui) will forever be remembered in our nation’s history as the founding co-leader of the Māori Party. The Māori Party is the only indigenous party to be elected to New Zealand’s Parliament and to operate as an independent voice both in parliament and government.
There should have been a mention of Ngati Yankee, if Alf is correct in his understanding that dear old Tariana had an American father.
But it’s fair to say it’s the Maori half of her whakapapa that has influenced her political ideas as party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell recognised in the tribute he paid:
“Tariana has been a champion of rangatiratanga (self-determination) for Māori as well as advocating strongly for disabled persons and Pasifika communities,”says Mr Flavell.
Maori Party Co-leader Marama Fox chimed in to say Tariana had made an extraordinary contribution to the lives of thousands of New Zealanders.
“In paying tribute to this amazing woman we in the Māori Party have an awesome responsibility to live up to her legacy; to continue to make the difference in the lives of whānau in such a powerful and enduring way. It is, indeed, a great honour to follow such a wahine toa of our nation.”
But who noticed the Maori Party media release “from the desk of Rangimarie Naida Glavish, ONZM, JP, president”.
The headline told it all: Retired Minister Tariana Turia Needs To Let Go
The statement said Tariana needs to remember that her decision to retire from Parliament at the last General Election carries a responsibility to leave political decisions to her successors, and not to try to interfere.
This was the response today by Rangimarie Naida Glavish, ONZM, president of the Maori Party, to criticism by Mrs Turia yesterday of her successor as Minister and co-leader of the party, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell, for a decision to change administration of funding for Maori social housing to Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) rather than unofficial Maori institutions.
“Tariana’s criticism was especially unfair on Te Ururoa, as the change was made by Hon Nick Smith as Minister of Housing, based on a Cabinet decision, in line with a recommendation by the Auditor General which called for a single point of contact for Māori who want to build housing on their land,” said Ms Glavish
“We would all hate to see Whaea Tariana detract from her own mana and spoil her distinguished record of service to our people and our party by failing to realize that it was her own decision to leave Parliament, which necessarily meant passing over the reins to her successors,” said Ms Glavish.
You can read the rest of it on the Scoop site.
But it finishes by reminding our new dame that Flavell is now calling the shots:
“As Minister in charge of both TPK and Whanau Ora, he is the one who has been saddled with accountability for the multi-millions of dollars allocated for Maori social housing. Whaea Tariana needs to remember that TPK is not just another ‘state department’, it is the agency specifically charged with responsibility for the welfare of our people, especially in the fields of Whanau Ora and social housing,” Ms Glavish concluded.
Couldn’t have said it better…