Pānui from Tā Mark Solomon
Tēnā koutou katoa e ngā uri o Tahu Pōtiki, nāia aku mihi e rere atu ana ki a koutou i tēnei wā uaua.
It will be clear to you and many others that the descendants of Kurī are facing a challenging time. It is extremely difficult to live within a community with the knowledge that some of your whānau have been the perpetrators of or victims of sexual abuse.
As Ngāi Tahu whānui will be aware, I have been campaigning for some time to stamp out all forms of violence and abuse within our Ngāi Tahu communities and indeed within society as a whole – this should be done without fear or favour. Our community is not alone in facing these challenges and it has been disappointing to read press reports that suggest that my relations are somehow outliers – if we are, it is because we are looking to address the issue as a community rather than to ignore the issue and sweep it under the carpet as so often happens.
The national statistics on sex abuse are staggering with the victims being both male and female and Māori and non-Māori – so very few cases come to Court and when they do it is very important to let the process take place without external influences on the process. I want to mihi to my relations, particularly the complainants, who are some of the bravest people I know.
On a completely separate matter, I wish to reaffirm that I am committed to my rūnanga and the Kaikōura community, I remain on the executive of my rūnanga as the chair of the Marae Trustees and I am the Representative of Kaikōura to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu – the tribal council. This means that my position as Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu remains unaffected. I have, however resigned as the Chair of Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura and as the chair of our rūnanga holding company.
Heoi anō, ina ora ake te tangata, te whānau, te hapū, me te iwi, ka pakari ake te motu whānui.
Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei.
Tā Mark Solomon