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W. Paki: Address to World Summit 2014

Address to World Summit 2014, Seoul, Korea, August 9-13, 2014

E nga reo, e nga mana puta noa i te ao,
tena koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa.

Greetings to you all.

My father, Kiingi Tuheitia also sends his greetings and best wishes to you all and to this Summit. He is unable to be here due to illness and has asked me to present this address on his behalf and represent his interests at this Summit.

I am pleased to be able to contribute to this Summit, as Kiingitanga or the Maori King Movement, hold similar ideals and principles to those that guide the activities of this Federation. It also shares the common goal of strengthening relationships between people based on mutual respect and understanding.

The Kiingitanga or Māori King movement emerged during colonial times in response to increasing pressure by British settlers upon the sovereign rights of Maaori,the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Maaori at the time believed that a pan-tribal movement, unifying the Maaori people under one sovereign equal to the Queen of England, could bring an end to intertribal conflict and halt the disfranchisement of Maori and their alienation from their lands and economy, their customs and culture.

In England to appeal to the Crown for the return of confiscated lands – he was refused an audience with Queen Victoria – Taawhiao explained the Maaori monarchy this way:

“I am called a King, not for the purposes of separation, but in order that Maaori might be united under one race, ever acknowledging the supremacy of the Queen and claiming her protection.”

While politics played a major part in the formation of Kiingitanga in 1858, there was also a strong spiritual component.

You can see this clearly in the ‘coat of arms’ of the Kiingitanga, called ‘Te Paki o Matariki’, which roughly translates as – ‘may the calm be widespread’. The sign of the cross is prominent, as is the Pleiades constellation, which we call Matariki.

It is an important constellation to other cultures too.

I understand the Japanese name for the same constellation is Subaru. In the Maaori calendar it marks our new year and signals a time for planting, regeneration and reflection.

At the centre of the Paki is the Manawa – or heart – which my father has taken as his personal symbol of kingship.

The spiritual element is also reflected in a proverb the first Maaori King, Potatau Te Wherowhero offered to his son Taawhiao, who was to become the second Maaori King.

"There is but one eye of the needle through which the white, the black and the red thread must pass.
After me,
Hold fast to the law, hold fast to faith, hold fast to love
Forsake all else." 

This proverb illustrates the first Maaori King’s belief that Kiingitanga must remain an entity through which any race, class or creed can co-exist according to the laws of the land, the tenets of righteousness and commitment to peace and harmony.

However, despite the honourable intentions of Kiingitanga to act as the intermediary between the Crown and Maaori during this period , Kiingitanga and allied tribes territories were invaded by Crown forces in 1863, one of a series of military engagements between 1860 and 1870 that collectively are now known as the ‘New Zealand Wars’. The eventual defeat of Maaori and the unlawful confiscation of millions of acres of land left Maaori destitute and a proud race in despair.

At this point, having only been raised up to the throne in 1860, King Taawhiao could have chosen any number of courses to pursue justice. He chose peace.

In 1881 he came out of seclusion to declare to the Government:

“Listen, listen, the sky above, the earth below…The killing of men must stop, the destruction of land must stop. I shall bury my patu (weapon) in the earth and it shall not rise again. Do not allow blood to flow from this time on. War shall not come to this island. It has been outlawed.”

Successive sovereigns from the time of the second Maaori King, Kiingi Taawhiao, sought redress for the wrongs done to their people.

Like his father, Kiingi Taawhiao bequeathed various proverbs and prophecies of hope and belief that the injustices of the past would be redressed.

One such prophecy was:

"E kore tenei whakaoranga e huri ki tua o aku mokopuna"
This quest for salvation shall not go beyond my grandchildren. 

"Kei te haramai te wa, ka puta mai i taku pito ake, he wahine, he urukehu.
Maana hei whakatutuki i tenei oranga."
The time is coming when from my loins a woman will come of fair complexion. She will pave the way to the fulfillment of this salvation.

Many of my people believe that my grandmother – the first Maaori Queen Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu – was the fulfillment of that prophecy.

For, as foretold by Taawhiao a hundred years and four monarchs earlier, a historic settlement for past wrongs and injustices was signed by Queen Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu – the sixth monarch of the Te Wherowhero dynasty – in 1995.

Importantly for my people, the settlement also included an apology from Queen Elizabeth II, for the unlawful invasion and confiscation of Maaori land and the subsequent detrimental impact of that act on Maaori freedom, culture, prosperity and welfare.

The Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Settlement Act ushered in the first comprehensive Treaty of Waitangi settlement between the Crown and Maaori, and paved the way for significant progress in the cause of reconciliation, of mending fractured relationships between the Crown and non-Maaori in New Zealand.

As an aside, the Treaty of Waitangi was New Zealand’s founding document, signed by representatives of the British Crown and many chiefs, at the small northern settlement of Waitangi.

Other Maaori tribes followed Waikato’s lead and entered into their own direct negotiations with the Crown, which resulted in them receiving comparable Treaty settlements. Slowly but surely, Maaori tribes are beginning the process of rebuilding their infrastructures to enable their tribal members to once again stand tall and prosper.

As a noted Maaori leader stated at the time of the settlement:

'The time of grieving is over.
It is now time to focus on building a prosperous future for our people.' 

I would like to conclude this address by pointing to a number of characteristics inherent in our journey as Maaori that have relevance to this Summit.

Advocacy - Every cause requires committed advocacy: Someone to speak on behalf of the marginalized and disenfranchised. As Maaori became more and more marginalized from the benefits of New Zealand citizenship – something that was actually ‘guaranteed’ under Article 3 of the Treaty of Waitangi – the Kingitanga Movement remained constant in its role of advocacy for justice and redress.

Patience -  The fight for redress was played out over generations with each successive leadership taking up the mantle from the previous one.

Courage - Reconciliation requires both parties to be courageous: To make the hard decisions that previous generations wrestled with and could not make, or chose to leave for the next generation to take up.

Forgiveness - Reconciliation requires mutual understanding and forgiveness.

Faith - If the cause is honorable and righteous it will receive spiritual support and guidance. When you are spiritually strong you can endure material deprivation, physical hardship. Faith – our word for it is whakapono – is one of the integral values of the Kiingitanga.

I hope what I have shared of the Maaori experience gives strength to those nations that are still awaiting or seeking redress of past and current injustices. Reconciliation is certainly possible – I think Nelson Mandela and South Africa showed us all how to do that.

But the road is a long and difficult one. Sometimes it takes a generation – or in our case, six – to achieve!

I will close with an observation, and an invitation. I believe indigenous cultures will increasingly provide the answers to many global issues. The balance between environmental protection and economic development is one such challenge. Western extractive and exploitative practices are simply proving unsustainable. The concept that we are kaitiaki – guardians of the land, the sea and resources – is inherent in Maaori culture – as it is in many others – and points the way to more sustainable, fairer practices.

My invitation is that you come to Aotearoa and see it for yourself. Countries that trade together, grow together. My father has made it one of his goals that the Kiingitanga strive to re-establish our place in the global family of nations, on our own terms.

I wish this Summit every success and thank you for your attention.

No reira huri noa i to tatou whare
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.

For more information about the World Summit, click here.