He Whakaaro


Marae Kitchen to Tribunal Hearing – Our Settlement Journey

The death of Riki Te Mairaki Ellison (Uncle Riki) in 1984 was a watershed moment for many Ngāi Tahu. It started a torrent of Ngāi Tahu deaths, as he gathered his large ope to accompany him on his journey ki tua o te ārai. This ope included my grandmother Kui Kamo (née Whaitiri), who had been his kaikaranga at Rehua Marae in life, and would now become his kaikaranga in death. I recall Aunty Rima Bell at Tuahiwi saying the deaths would only stop when a baby joined the ope – and that appears to have been what happened. Many kaumātua at the time also stated the deaths were the first of many payments that Ngāi Tahu would be forced to make as the long journey to justice for its treaty claims neared an end.

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Studying abroad

In the last five years I’ve gone from being a student who happens to be “part Ngāi Tahu” (whatever that means) to a Ngāi Tahu person who happens to be a student. Other than learning about myself and those who came before me, an important part of this never-ending journey is discovering that some things I’ve been taught are “wrong”. One of these things is how to “do research”. This is all in the context that I’m trying my best to conduct a Kaupapa Māori research project in a city which is almost as physically far away as you can get from our takiwā. From where I am in Sheffield, Ōtepoti and Ōtautahi are the two farthest-away cities in the world.

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Climate Change

The first proper essay I wrote was on how we might be able to incorporate Māori principles into accounting systems in order to address climate challenges. It was idealistic. It was romantic. It was read once and then stored away. But importantly, it started me on my current journey.

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Our Stories, Our Voice

A story is told at a certain point in time, [but] it has been told across generations. These stories are therefore made up of the wisdom of generations, and will continue to be told and retold into the future.

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Indigenising the Corporation

Ngāi Tahu are seen as the ultimate post-settlement success story, but how much of that success is tied to our “corporate structure” and being the “good Māori?” In the eyes of most New Zealanders, our success comes from things we have borrowed from others, rather than from what makes us unique.

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Resilience in a time of uncertainty

The theme of the hui (also known as COP 21) was promoting the recognition and respect of traditional knowledge in fighting against and adapting to climate change. There was agreement that bringing indigenous knowledge and indigenous people into decision-making and policy development in affected areas was key to confronting the crisis in the coming years.

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The end of the beginning for Te Waihora?

In April 2015 a hearing panel of the Canterbury Regional Council issued its decisions on the Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere catchment plan, which goes by the technical name of “proposed Variation 1 to the proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan”. The plan has a significant vision: “To restore the mauri of Te Waihora while maintaining the prosperous land-based economy and thriving communities.”

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Who owns riverbeds?

Opinion nā Tom Bennion Who does own riverbeds? The answer to that question can affect access to riverbeds for fishing and recreation, but it can also affect the ownership of large structures in riverbeds, such as hydro dams. If the riverbed on which a dam sits is owned by someone else, does the dam owner…

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Tūhoe settlement shows how far we have come

In 1992 I went to Australia on an ANZAC fellowship to study aboriginal land claim settlements. The High Court of Australia had just issued its Mabo decision, which held that aboriginal groups had native title interests in the land which the Crown should have recognised over the last 200 years. Māori legal interests in land had been recognised for around 150 years, so in that sense, Australian law was literally catching up on 150 years of established property law in New Zealand.

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