The Planetary Pakeha
by vivian Hutchinson
published 1991 25 min read download as PDF
I am vivian Hutchinson. Born and brought up in Taranaki, where I still live and work. I love my mountain and can't imagine being away from it for too long.
I'm a fifth-generation Pakeha New Zealander, my great-great-forebear with the Hutchinson name having come to this country with the 18th Royal Irish Regiment. His wife was from an English coal-mining community. On my mother's side my male ancestors derived from poor Scottish farming immigrants of the McIntyre name, who brought up big families and worked the soil here. As family reunions have shown me, my ancestors' blood has well and truly mixed with that of the tangata whenua of these islands and I have many Maori distant cousins.
I'm from a family of four brothers scattered over this country. My father worked during his life as an engineer and a manager of a wire firm servicing farms in Taranaki. He died when I was eighteen. My mother has married again and is retired to the harbour's edge near Whangarei.
One of my brothers fought in Vietnam and was a leader in the South Island Territorials, but now grows carnations in a thriving business. Another has worked for years in soil and water conservation issues for various authorities in the South Island, and farms goats. The third has worked in surveying and also for himself, and more recently has spent many years on the dole happily raising his kids. I am a gay man and presently live with my love and partner in life, Tony Hansen, in the Westown suburb of New Plymouth.
My vocation is trying to make a difference. I used to think I was a community worker. Now I think of myself as a social-change worker. I won't pretend to be very successful in my vocation, but I believe I have persistence.
I am particularly interested in making a difference to unemployment and the future of work. I see how this also relates to poverty and deprivation in New Zealand and questions of the future of the welfare state. I am also interested in bringing more love into economics. And I have been working on these issues in one way or another since I left secondary school in 1973.
In doing something about these things, I have helped the Salvation Army run its work schemes in Taranaki, and I now work as community adviser to the Taranaki Work Trust, helping manage a variety of projects aimed at the unemployed. I help people to start up their own businesses, and teach the skills of enterprise. I write.
I am fatter than most people, weighing in at nineteen stone. I have my front teeth missing. I love swimming at Back Beach near our Sugarloaf Islands. I particularly enjoy watching music on television, and every now and then I'll learn a song for myself. I read the Dominion and especially like the Doonesbury cartoons on page two.
I am a friend and keen supporter of the Tauhara Centre in Taupo and go there quite often. I try to contribute to its mission of creating a place where people of differing viewpoints and methods of working can come together in a search for truth, goodwill and understanding.
I am writing this chapter while taking a break in the Tauhara chalet, overlooking a clear and blue summer's lake.
I call myself a Pakeha just because it feels right. I like it as a superficial label. It tells me I am primarily of European descent but have a special relationship with these islands. I am also wary of the label. I have never felt good about fences, particularly fences of identity. I seem to contain too many impulses that shout otherwise.
I have also never felt good about people making assumptions about me just because I am wearing a cultural label. I have been hurt by assumptions made of me . . . and know I have hurt others by the assumptions I have made about them. Labels don't help.
But thinking of myself as Pakeha certainly means something to me.
It means all the things I have learnt about being a human being from attending kindergarten, primary, intermediate and secondary schools, the Anglican Church . . . being brought up in a fairly middle-class family, watching lots of television, playing sport as a youngster, watching my brother go to war and my uncle have a beer at the RSA, discovering how things worked through inventions and new technology, learning the ins and outs of family businesses, observing the festivals of the year at Easter, Christmas and on Anzac Day.
These things are the inheritance of my parents, my family and the context that I grew up in. And when I was growing up, these things all gave me an identity map which I never really had the capacity to question.
I sure as hell did start to question things as soon as I left home, however. To some extent it was the fashion of the day. I remember at age eighteen reading James K. Baxter when he summarised the Calvinist doctrines behind our Pakeha way of life with four commandments: Work Is Good, Sex Is Bad, Do as You Are Told and It Will Be All Right, and Don't Look Too Deeply into Yourself.
Sure, from the distance of now being thirtysomething, it's very much an oversimplified condemnation . . . but in my teenage years it seemed a pretty good summary of what I was rebelling against.
Fortunately at the time, I quickly realised that part of being Pakeha also meant the freedom to say 'stuff you' to all of this. In the early seventies there seemed to be an entire youth culture saying exactly that. So when I left home I got on with my own journey, which led me to discover the gifts of many of the different ways of living on these islands and on this planet at this time. Even though I have ended up with a lifestyle and view of who I am that is very different from my parents' and the way of life they handed on to me, I still call myself Pakeha. It is a label of preference. And I hope that when I meet people we can both greet our preferred labels . . . and somehow also get beyond them.
I don't deny the gifts I receive from being Pakeha. They are many and varied. It's just that I'm the sort of person who is going to pick and choose the gifts I want to hold close to myself. Some of the gifts I can indeed treasure. Others I have some trouble with.
Some of the things about being Pakeha that I am proud of include our love for this land, our links with Britain, Jesus and the Christian teachings, symphony orchestras, musicians like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Sting, composers like Mozart and Bach, reading John Mortimer, art galleries, shopping, mystery serials on television, Woolworths supermarkets, Ford Falcon stationwagons, Footrot Flats, Prince Charles, hippies, the New Age, the circus, being in business, camping at the beach, and the Labour Party.
Some of the things about being Pakeha that I don't feel so good about include the continuing legacy of injustice between Pakeha and Maori, the way we gay people get treated, two world wars, Korea, Vietnam and now the Gulf, bureaucracy, unemployment, the cutting down of native trees and the pollution of our rivers, and the Labour Party.
I used to think culture was to do with what we believed in and what we did with each other, and who we celebrated and valued: rugby, Jesus, the Queen, Labour Day, the Concert Programme, pavlovas, Mark Todd, a good beer, patchwork quilts, KZ7 and the Bank of New Zealand.
It's like we pull all these things around us like a cloak and they somehow define who we are. Our leading writers and television ad people use all these images to describe us, and politicians use the prevailing concepts to define policies that will suit us and keep us voting for them.
But lately I have been wanting to take a few steps back from this and ask myself: What's the purpose of culture anyway? Do I belong to my culture, or does it belong to me? Who decides the rules of what's right and wrong? Are articles and books like this part of some insidious process of defining and therefore later controlling our images of who we think we are?
We've all been talking about this culture and identity stuff quite a bit lately, haven't we? I put it down to '1990' and celebrating the hundred and fifty years of the Treaty of Waitangi, as well as other various anniversaries. It just kept on bringing things up for us all to chew over. And not before time, either.
The 1990 concert at Bastion Point, grand opening ceremonies at the Commonwealth Games, the Queen at Waitangi, the waka, Gallipoli Anzac celebrations, Kiri in the park, the ANZ 'Magic Minutes' on television . . . it's all been a real mixed bag, struggling for that elusive consensus on who we think we are.
As I write, it was only just last year. And, looking back, we seemed to be having two discussions at once on what it was to be a New Zealander.
First there was the official and polite discussion, which was full of television propaganda: images and music of the victory of the New Zealand identity, and how Maori and Pakeha were getting on so well.
But behind all this there was this tentative, almost embarrassed exploration I seemed to be witnessing almost everywhere else whenever the subject of 1990 came up. Here people talked about just what Kiwi identity at this hundred-and-fifty-year report card point is bringing up for them. And it has brought up some unsettling pictures of challenge and change.
Treaty issues, one in nine people officially out of work, the widening gap between rich and poor, the knife going into our visions of the welfare state, the GATT talks in Brussels breaking up, overcrowded prisons, a man in Aramoana going berserk with a gun, war in the Gulf . . . these are the images many of us carried with us into 1991.
I don't know about you, but I seemed to be surrounded by people who found that 1990 didn't reflect who they felt they were. Perhaps the television picture-streams and accompanying sound-tracks were more a picture of who we thought we should be rather than the reality of who we are. If you just think for a while about all the different people you know who are also New Zealanders and share your life and never appeared in those video-montages of self-identity, you'll have a sense of what an impossible job it is to get a picture of our wholeness anyway.
And that's okay!
In fact I think that that is the point.
The point being that our vision of what it is to be a New Zealander is leading to more and more diversity as the years go on.
And this brings with it its own struggle . . . the struggle to develop an image of ourselves that holds together and honours all these scattered pieces.
Difference. That's the terror of all this culture stuff.
And it seems to be the constant challenge to human beings everywhere . . . how on earth do we grow up enough inside ourselves to really cope with the difference within and between cultural labels?
I for one have always been fascinated with discovering the variations on how to be a human being. When I was nineteen I took out a weekly subscription on one of those Marshall Cavendish build-your-own-encyclopaedia magazines called The Family of Man. I wished it was called The Family of People, but I still bought it and loved it.
Every week there was a profile of at least a dozen different racial groups or cultures . . . their history, their lives today, their customs and attitudes. It was superficial but fascinating. And for me it was a little humbling to start to get a sense of humanity on its fuller diversity.
But while collecting the information on difference is one thing, having to live with it is another.
Difference is the thing that can bring up our greatest fears, vulnerability and insecurity . . . the deep gut feelings of Other that can arise when we are confronted with another culture, or a hidden subculture within our shared life. It's a feeling that can strike you unawares . . . can make you do the most regrettable things. Hasn't the longest part of human conflict been fed from this raw place?
It would be easier to have a unity . . . easier to have consensus . . . easier to have an assimilation that can absorb all those rough-edges that make people different from one another. But I don't think we ever really did have a time like that . . . nor do I think the future holds such a time for us.
The challenge has always been obvious to me. We are just going to have to transform our attitude towards difference. I think it starts with esteeming our own unique qualities personally and then seriously thinking about how to treasure the difference in others.
More than this.
I think we can learn to accept the differences we see out there as something that may contain important information for ourselves . . . information for our own journeys and choices ahead . . . information that has yet to be discovered through our present cultural forms.
Perhaps the first time many Pakeha people have to face their own sense of difference, is when they start to interact with the Maori people of these islands. In fact I'd offer the opinion that it is unlikely that many Pakeha people in this country can define themselves without the First People appearing in the wings of that definition somewhere. Not that I think there is anything wrong with that. There's many a time I've sat on the marae and heard an orator define his Maoritanga in terms of how it differed from Pakeha New Zealanders.
There's an essential truth in there somewhere. That it's very much easier to define your identity when you are faced with a striking difference in attitudes, beliefs and protocols such as we find between the two dominant races here in Aotearoa.
And like it or not, Pakeha identity is woven into these differences. Despite all the rhetoric about us all being New Zealanders and tatou tatou, Maori people are not Pakeha. And there are differences there that cannot and should not be put into the common pot.
Perhaps I should just speak for myself.
I am certain my own experiences with Maori people have led me more than anything else to re-examine my identity and look again at my notions of just what culture is. And these experiences are a little different from what my family upbringing would have led me to expect.
It was James K. Baxter who opened the door for me (and many like me) through his poetry and articles, which reflected a synthesis of the two main cultures here in New Zealand. I was reading his stuff while still at school, but I just knew that he was writing something that was deep within me as well.
As soon as I left school I decided to find out more about Maori things, which took me to meeting Matarena Raumati Rau-Kupa, a local Taranaki Maori elder also known as Aunty Marj. She invited me to nearby Parihaka, where together with her husband Pepe Rau she was leading the rebuilding of one of the famous Parihaka meeting houses, Te Niho o Te Atiawa. I loved Marj as soon as I met her, and we found it easy to be good friends, despite our obvious distance in age as well as culture.
What followed for me was a social and spiritual re-education over the next few years, which took place almost fully within a Maori context. Considering the powerful history of non-violent struggle at Parihaka against the government (in the 1880s), it was a compassionate re-education on what it was to be a New Zealander and how to come to grips with some of the darker chapters in our history of race relations.
I moved to Auckland to train as a journalist, and in something of an informal social-worker apprenticeship, I also worked on the streets of the inner city with Maori community workers Betty Wark and Fred Ellis. Betty and I worked on many issues together, some of which led to setting up the Arohanui hostels for street people.
My education in things Maori continued with meeting Whina Cooper and working closely with her whanau in the preparations, staging and strategy of the Maori Land March of 1975. I did much writing and research into Maori Land claims, particularly Bastion Point and the Raglan golf course case.
When I shifted back to Taranaki in 1978, Marj and I organised a seven-year cycle of annual gatherings at Parihaka designed to introduce other Pakeha people to things Maori and explore their own cultural boundaries.
More recently, as someone who now works primarily in the employment and job creation arena, I have naturally continued to have a good deal to do with Maori people, particularly on economic issues and developing self-help initiatives for the unemployed.
With all this behind me, I used to think that because I have had lots of special experiences in a Maori context, I understood Maori people very well. Not true. I am constantly surprised at the ingenuity of many of these people, the fertility of the way the culture absorbs and re-invents itself in so many ways. And that very present difference in attitude that always has been a challenge to me as well as a delight.
I think it's more than this, though.
The more I have had to do with Maori people, I have realised that I wasn't so much finding out about them — I was finding out much more about myself.
This is the identity thing again. Much of my awareness of this was just lying dormant there within me until I ran into a situation of difference, which brought things up to the surface for me to look at.
When faced with things Maori — some of which entranced me, some of which I found I didn't agree with — I certainly had to get my head together on who I thought I was . . . and get clear about those things that were within me. And this brings me back again . . . to culture, and the frames we put around these pictures of our identity.
Culture has never been a static thing. It is an organic dynamic changing pulling pushing collection of bits and pieces that tell us how we are getting on with being human. And these days I am starting to see culture as a strategy for awareness.
I imagine somewhere in our collective history we have discovered things that have worked: an Anglican communion service, the rules of rugby, how to cook steak on a barbie, decorating a Christmas tree, handing out the prizes at a school athletics meet.
They are processes on how to get a job done. They contain all the opinions and beliefs and discussions that have created those processes in the first place. If we continue to do it the same way, it becomes culture. If we pass it on to others or our kids, it becomes tradition. Stick at it long enough and these processes seem to grow into the bones of a people and become incredibly binding and defining of who we think we are.
I say a 'strategy for awareness', because that's what I reckon is behind all this: developing our human awareness . . . finding out what it is to be a human being . . . telling us how to get on with our own stories.
Culture is a way that we have packaged up bits of the collective software on how to do all this, whether it is in questions of sport, spirituality, restaurant etiquette, or in annual festivals. Different people, different times, different places; they have all given rise to different strategies. And these strategies are all a part of the performance of their truth . . . as best as they can be aware of it at the time.
What's happening today is that we are becoming very aware of how other people are creating quite different strategies for getting the same jobs done. And within the broad bands of cultural and subcultural identity labels — Pakeha, American, Maori, country music buffs, lesbian, whatever — there's an enormous diversity. That's the point. This drive for difference. An evolution of human beings based on difference.
It's like the equal drive in the natural kingdom of plants and insects and animals . . . creating more and more diverse species as the march of time progresses over billions of years. What we have ended up with in nature today is an incredibly fragile and irreplaceable bank of genetic information scattered throughout the planet, much of which we are only beginning to understand: a plant in the Amazon holds a genetic treasure that will solve leukaemia, perhaps a weed near Invercargill holds part of the solution to the AIDS virus.
Now it's the same with culture. The different cultures on the planet are driven towards greater diversity, a drive from within each of them. And each of these diverse groups contains valuable information for the human journey — information we are also only now starting to really learn how to understand.
My present map of all this is a keyboard like that on a piano. I like to think of it as the keyboard of potential of how to be a human being.
Different cultures come and seem to dance over certain notes on this keyboard. They keep to certain tunes. They may leave whole sections of the keyboard completely untouched.
When cultures come in dialogue to one another, they share parts of the keyboard they know. They sing the songs they have discovered within them that have grown in response to this keyboard.
Now I don't think there is any such thing as cultural property rights on this keyboard. You may choose to dispute this point of view, but I believe this human keyboard is an instrument that's there within all of us and has all sorts of sounds waiting dormant to be struck and discovered for use.
I was once on the marae with a group of Americans when one of the aunts called out her karanga in that way many of us have heard that makes the air chill and the sound penetrate every bone in your body. The woman next to me said, 'Wow. My gut has just hit the ground. Those Maoris have got something very special here!'
I looked at her and remarked, 'Yes. But it was also your gut that hit the ground. You may not have known it before, but I'll bet you have much the same stuff within you. You may not have struck that note on your keyboard before. But it is there, waiting.'
What's tugging at all this . . . is change.
Rapid change. More change than many other generations of the human race have had to face. Whether it's in the economic, social, spiritual, technological landscapes surrounding us, they are all shifting sands at this time. And it's bringing out both the best and the worst in us.
This constant change makes an equally constant assault on our identities, on our security of who we think we are. That's not comfortable. One of the popular views of culture is that it gives us something solid to hang onto — that way we don't have to constantly think up solutions to our lives. We don't have to constantly question our ways of doing things. Culture can provide a refuge against all these changes around us.
My theory is that it is this desire for a safe place from change, that can quickly throw up the cultural dogmas and fundamentalism that are also very much part of these times. But that's always the problem with refuges. The mobile electric fences that graze the edges of our identities can quickly turn into brick walls.
Dogma — that's the other terror I feel in all this. And I'm sure the change and uncertainties of the 1980s and 1990s are a very fertile breeding ground for all sorts of intolerances.
I have seen it in many old mates who, like me, grew up in a youth culture of rock music, sexual experimentation and regular dosings of marijuana to the brain . . . generally pushing at the edges of who they thought they were. Today many of these friends are also thirtysomething and are committed members of some rather rigid born-again Christian congregations.
I myself have an Anglican background and really appreciate the things I have learned about Jesus and the Christian approach to being a person. But I certainly stop short of agreeing that Jesus is the only way to look at the world and get on with your life. I have seen too many worthwhile bits of wisdom and life-affirming practices from within other religions and spiritual paths to ever accept an attitude that says that one spiritual truth is better than the other.
Not that my born-again Christian friends have a monopoly on dogma and fundamentalism. I think these intolerances are attitudes that can breed in any group of people trying to define themselves . . . and let their electric borders turn to stone. I have certainly seen it amongst the born-again Maori (many of them actually European in blood) who have gone around the social change groups over the last five years trying to promote a version of right and wrong thinking about Treaty issues, and how to be a New Zealander. I also watched in the seventies as whole groups of people started meditating and chanting and some quite rigidly defining who they were in terms of Eastern religions.
I also witness, in the gay and lesbian subculture I am a part of, how some groups here have turned their need for gay visibility and the redress of bigotry almost into a religion in itself, one that dominates and permeates everything they choose to do. And I feel just as uncomfortable about that as I did with the bigotry in the first place.
I'm sure it's to do with fear. Fear of what is outside those fences that define our identity for us. Fear of what it takes within us to patiently build bridges of tolerance and understanding towards those who are somehow different from us. And yes, a heartfelt fear of change and the uncertainty of these times.
One of my dreams for this country is that we as New Zealanders can really work on this one. We are small enough as a country to do it differently . . . to keep a conversation going between all the groupings we have within us . . . build the hard loving that is required to get beyond the dogmatic positions that could be taken on almost everything . . . discover the forgiveness that is essential to moving forward beyond the history of hurts that people of difference have consistently done to one another.
If we get this right, we may indeed grow some treasures here for the world.
Back to the keyboard.
I believe that just as there is a drive for diversity within us, there is also an equal drive for synthesis. When people speak or perform their truths to each other, some of it always sticks. This is a process that today is leading people to make interesting individual choices about who they think they are and want to be seen as in the world.
I think in the recent past the majority of people have just unconsciously followed the expectations of their cultural groupings and walked their familiar keyboard of identity. A man on the marae will say, 'I am a Maori, therefore I think this way about land and the Treaty.' A woman at the Assembly of God church will tell me her Christianity tells her all she needs to know about family life. My Indian friends tell me they feel differently about death because of what their culture teaches them about karma.
Well that's changing. We now have the opportunity to choose these things for ourselves. Actually it's been going on for quite a long time amongst the more individual and eccentric among us, and I think we are going to see very much more of it.
People are gathering into themselves all sorts of experiences from travel, from weekend workshops with overseas speakers, from television and the movies, from the rhythm of world music or whatever. And when they find something within themselves emerging, resonating and meeting with these experiences, they start to realise that this too is them.
I believe the process of synthesis of all this takes place first at the level of the individual. But then it quite quickly moves into a cultural synthesis between groups. And when that happens, some real delights can emerge. We can certainly see this in the present dance between Maori and Pakeha in New Zealand.
What I've been witnessing since the mid-seventies is that many European-based organisations, from schools to churches and political and social change groups, have started to look at the Maori culture for strategies of how to get on with their business. The use of ceremonial welcomes and its accompanying oratory and music are popping up everywhere around New Zealand to begin meetings and conferences, many of which may not even contain a Maori person, but at least salute with respect the tangata whenua of the region where the conference is being held.
This began with people trying to create partnership protocols in national organisations that could obviously include Maori ways of doing things. But more recently I am seeing that many Pakeha people are just preferring to do things this way anyway . . . because it works better for them!
One of the cross-cultural acts of synthesis I have really treasured is the use of whaikorero — an immensely valuable Maori protocol for getting people to talk deeply to one another in a group sharing. I say this because I feel the world is very much in need of ways it can get people to talk deeply to one another, to resolve conflicts, to speak to matters of our collective spirit, to heal.
Whaikorero does this very well. In the meeting house on a marae, after a prayer to begin the night's work, people stand to speak, they usually only speak once, their sharing is seldom interrupted or debated, they'll finish their speech with a song, and someone else will follow them and the whole process can go on all night. When precedence and hierarchy (which are also part of Maori culture) can take a back seat, the quality of whaikorero oratory and the listening that surrounds it certainly puts to shame the turbulent, arrogant and divisive protocols you see at Pakeha meetings with chairmen and secretaries and points of order.
The use of whaikorero has been jumping cultural fences for many years now. When the people of the Tauhara Centre in Taupo were creating a form of talking to each other during their festivals, they were looking for a method of sharing that would encompass and honour the wide diversity of individuals, spiritual paths and cultural groups that come to their meetings. At the time, they looked to the gatherings that Aunty Marj and I were holding at Parihaka and to the whaikorero that took place there. What has followed in Taupo has been a decade of gatherings which have contained evening circle sharings when the friends of Tauhara get together. It is not classic whaikorero but an organic evolution of our own form. And for myself, I can honestly say these evenings have yielded times of dignity, heart talk, stories, wisdom, music and fun that have been some of the most moving times in my life.
This is a synthesis to be treasured . . . the organic growing of future culture. And I think it's time this sort of cross-fertilisation was valued more.
Not that this sort of synthesis doesn't come without its critics. And I have heard them consistently and quite vociferously. Some of my friends have been at pains to point out to me that Pakeha people shouldn't use another culture's way of doing things without their direct permission and their participation. It's a rip-off, they feel, a steal on intellectual, emotional and spiritual levels equivalent to the theft of the Maori land in the last century.
Others are critical that the synthesis they see is just a variety of the Pakeha triumph of individualism, and our consumer passions devouring cultural traditions — like shopping for identity in the mall of human experience.
I can understand where this criticism is coming from, particularly when so many injustices are still outstanding between Pakeha and Maori in this country and are our responsibility to address. I also know how arrogance and superficial understanding can rush very quickly over cultural bridges. It irks me.
But I know what I also see and feel to be good things in this synthesis between peoples. I do not fear the changes this process makes in our visions of who we think we are.
Looking back at our own history, there was a synthesis between the Maori and Pakeha that certainly went both ways even a hundred and fifty years ago. I am very aware from my years at Parihaka that Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi were Christian prophets. Te Whiti's dedication on his tombstone is the Christmas message written in Maori. And I for one have certainly learnt a great deal more about compassionate social action and forgiveness from Te Whiti and his legacy within the elders at Te Niho o Te Atiawa than I ever did from my ministers in the Holy Trinity Church in New Plymouth's suburb of Fitzroy.
New Zealand has always played on a global stage: sending butter and meat to Britain a hundred years ago, Gallipoli itself, the Maori Battalion in the Mediterranean, our athletes at the Olympics or the All Blacks winning the rugby World Cup, the frigate with a Cabinet Minister at Moruroa, the nuclear break with ANZUS — these are the contribution of a small nation to global questions.
And I think that in the 1990s we are going to be asked to reach out much more as we realise that most of the problems in the world are interconnected; and asked for solutions that build bridges between nations, religions, cultures and ideologies. As small as we are, we are perhaps more flexible than most to contribute to this important process.
I think this generation is the first to really feel at a popular level that the planet is one interdependent entity . . . and that the task of this season's human beings on the planet is to get our act together in ways well beyond our national boundaries defined by our backgrounds and history.
Not that we should deny our history or the special things we have grown to believe in and treasure. It's just that we have to get clear about these things so they can be brought into right relationship with planetary needs.
How do we stop war? How do we create enough employment for people? How do we end hunger and deprivation, and house everyone? How do we manage scarce resources? How do we look after the environment or the planet itself? How do we create a way of life that can enable people to get on with their diverse visions for themselves? These are some of the questions that feature in that part of my mind and heart that belongs to a planetary citizen at this time. And they are not just Kiwi challenges. They are challenges facing all citizens of the world in the 1990s.
Our contribution to these questions will be made primarily by a shift in our awareness of who we think we are. That's the importance of all this talk about what it is to be Pakeha, be a New Zealander or whatever.
I would like you to consider that the gifts we think we have as a culture may be part of the developing software of the human race, and could well be our contribution to whatever global fix-it package is required for the 1990s. And because of this global agenda, if we are trying to get clear about what it is to be Pakeha, then we are also going to have to get clear about being planetary Pakeha.
We have already done this to some extent on the peace and nuclear issues. But what are we learning that has planetary importance on the race relations issues? What are we learning on economic and welfare issues? Have we learnt anything special about business? Have we treasures to share about the human spirit?
I suspect we do.
Perhaps this is a journey of self-discovery that is going to have to be taken by every cultural group on the earth at this time. Perhaps now is the time to more formally ask of other cultures: What is your unique contribution to these questions? What are the comparative advantages you carry within the genetic dances of your culture? What is your difference that will make a difference?
These solutions are then to be shared. That's the importance of cultural exchange and feedback . . . travelling to other cultures' marae to find out the truths that they are carrying on behalf of all of us.
If culture is a strategy for awareness, then the earth sorely needs these strategies right now and humanity needs all the awareness it can get to solve the bigger questions of our time.
I am really hopeful about the future of this country. We've got too many opportunities here to get despairing about our lot. And I'm looking forward to the next fifty years, and with it much more of the diversity and the synthesis that will be part of us growing our Pakeha identities.
It's going to be interesting.
VIVIAN HUTCHINSON, born 1955, is a speaker, writer and consultant on employment issues. Formerly a journalist, he has spent much time in the past fifteen years creating community-based employment and training projects.
Preface: It Started at Waitara
by vivian Hutchinson
February 2023 35 min read download PDF for print
For myself, it also started at Waitara.
I was a teenage Pākehā boy, still at High School, and was often dragged into helping out Kuia Matarena, or Aunty Marj, as she prepared the carved meeting house at Waitara for a coming meeting.
If it was a weekend or the school holidays I would not be surprised to get a call. Aunty Marj would have organised someone to drive us out from New Plymouth to Owae Marae, and the car would arrive full of cut flowers, food, and various sewing projects.
Sometimes Aunty Marj would turn up at the marae a full week before the particular event started, and she would be the only one there. I think she liked it that way. She had plenty of conversation for her elders who had long since passed yet still had a role in determining the jobs that needed to be done.
Many of which involved ordering me around. I would find myself carrying mattresses, dusting cobwebs, scrubbing bathrooms, sweeping out and washing floors and porches, and reaching for things on higher shelves that needed to be put to use somewhere else.
I wasn’t really being dragged into this role. I was an odd-enough teenager who enjoyed Aunty Marj’s company, and I easily loved her. Ours was a cross-generational friendship that would go on to last for another four decades.
Aunty Marj - Matarena Marjorie Raumati Rau. Photographed by Bernard Woods Studio (1968)
This was the early 1970s, and Matarena Marjorie Raumati Rau had not long turned sixty. She had always worked hard and, for most of her adult life, she seemed to be continuously helping prepare different marae for visitors. I was simply the latest in a long line of family members and friends, and people she vaguely knew, whom she had intimidated, flattered and cajoled into giving her a hand.
You quickly found out that there was a “right way” to do things, which was also usually Aunty Marj’s own way. It was not arbitrary. There would also be a story attached to each job that kept you lined up with the best way to do it. And once you accepted that this was the process, then there would really be no end of the things that could be achieved.
I first met Aunty Marj at a “Community Unity” public conversation held at the New Plymouth Girl’s High School. She had a connection to my mother’s family dating from the 1930s and 1940s, and she would often remind me that she had looked after my mother, and her twin sister, when they were children. During the War, our families had worked together when the local Scottish cultural groups and Māori cultural groups had joined to do patriotic fundraising for the troops.
One time, in the middle of dragging mattresses around the marae, Aunty Marj seemed delighted to find out that my own birthday, the 27th June, was the same day that her uncle, Maui Pomare, had died. I was somewhat confused at the significance she saw in this seemingly random connection. I was enlightened later on when I found out that the event that we had been preparing for, Te Rā o Maui Pomare, was scheduled every year on the Saturday closest to the date of his death.
Maui Pomare was the first Māori medical doctor, and a politician, who became renowned for his work to improve Māori health and living conditions. His statue dominates the forecourt of Owae Marae.
Maui Pomare was a half-brother to Aunty Marj’s grandmother, Ngaropi Damon. Ngaropi herself was prominent in the life of Parihaka marae, where she had married Nohomairangi Te Whiti, the son of one of the prophets of Peace.
So Aunty Marj’s family connections spanned the Taranaki coast, and they also gave her responsibilities and plenty of work to do at marae throughout the province.
In the 1970s, Aunty Marj was also leading a major restoration project at Parihaka where the locals were turning an old dining room, Te Niho o te Atiawa, into a new meeting space. I was also regularly going out to the pā – which was then largely a ghost town – to help her out with various projects involved in this restoration, or the hosting of people who were visiting the marae.
The Taranaki Land Wars - Illustration by Cliff Whiting (1978)
My schooling had taught me nothing of the land wars, or the later non-violent resistance campaign led by the Parihaka prophets Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi. So being with Aunty Marj at Waitara and at Parihaka was something of an alternative education for me. I was being given an introduction to an entirely different view of what it was to live and belong in Taranaki.
I learned about how war broke out at Waitara in March 1860, and then quickly spread to elsewhere in the province. This was followed by the legislative confiscation of Taranaki land. I heard about the doubletalk of politicians and land speculators, many of whom are still remembered with their names on the street signs of Waitara.
I also heard stories of a surprising resistance. Women pulling up survey pegs. Fencing being erected across disputed roads. Confiscated lands being ploughed as a statement that the true ownership was never going to be forgotten.
And I heard the accounts of State violence and coercive power. Hundreds of ploughmen and fencers were arrested and spent years in prison in South Island jails. The “Village of Peace” at Parihaka grew to become one of the largest Māori settlements of its time. But it was sacked by the settler government in 1881 and endured many years of military occupation while its very name was removed from maps.
Maui Pomare himself had a very personal connection to the invasion of Parihaka. He had been one of the children who greeted the soldiers as they marched onto the marae. The story is that he had lost a toe when he had got caught up under the cavalry horses.
Every Māori family in Taranaki has had some connection to these acts of resistance that stretched over many decades. The history of these acts are memorialised in the titles of meeting houses, and in the names given to grandchildren.
But by the 1970s, the average Pākehā family in Taranaki was oblivious to this history, and to their own role as perpetrators or beneficiaries of this dispossession. It just wasn’t talked about.
For myself, an interesting thing happened when I started to share some of what I had been learning with my mates at school at the New Plymouth Boys High. I was surprised that quite a few of them just refused to believe me. Some of them told me that I was just getting too carried away with the Parihaka stuff and that “Mrs Rau” was filling my head with some very far-fetched stories.
I remember one response from a school friend who was from a prominent Taranaki farming family and therefore a direct inheritor of the benefits of the land wars and the confiscations that I was talking about. He said to me: “It can’t have happened, or else we would have been told about it already.”
Which, I suppose, had its own circular logic.
In many ways it is a privilege of Pākehā people not to know our own histories, or even our own family participation in events that have led to historical trauma.
Forget-and-move-on is a deep part of European culture. It can both be a strategy for survivors, and a smokescreen for victors and perpetrators. The vagueness becomes another way of hiding from the consequences.
Taranaki Kuia at Owae Marae, Waitara (1985) (left to right) Ina Okeroa, Mary Matewehi Turner, Ivy Werenia Papakura, Mimosa Jury, Sally Mana Te Noki Karena, Neta Wharehoka, and (front) Matarena Raumati Rau Kupa (Aunty Marj) - photo by Philip Simpson
I should point out that I was as woven into this forgetting as anyone else. My family had told me no stories of the early years of their migration and settlement into New Zealand, even though my father’s family had arrived with the British Army in the 1860s.
The forgetting in my family had reached back before their migration. In the 1850s, my mother’s family had been forcibly cleared from their homes on the Western Isles of Scotland. But we had inherited no stories about this either.
I have come to think that amnesia may well be one of the main organising principles of colonisation. A selective forgetting is an important part of how power maintains its privileges.
And, over time, our collective amnesia means that the blood and dishonor and injustice in our history just becomes part of the structural architecture of the next normal.
I started to understand this better when I was invited to go for a walk one day in the grounds of St Mary’s Anglican Church in central New Plymouth. The woman who wanted to talk to me was one of the elder parishioners — I had known her for years, and I was friends with her children.
She wanted to tell me that the Parihaka stories that I had been talking about were things that should be left in the past. Actually she looked me straight in the eye and told me that these things were Māori affairs, and not something that I as a Pākehā should be getting involved with.
So I learned something there. The amnesia is not a mistake. It is not a by-product of something else. It is a living thing and it is a defended space.
And awakening to our history means interrupting the current stories that you might be telling yourself, and interrupting the privileges that come on the back of those stories.
The awakening can also disrupt your current sense of identity – because you are being invited to take ownership of the things that many people in your community have been determined not to remember.
In 1981, the Parihaka community was preparing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the soldiers marching on the “Village of Peace”.
I decided to seize the opportunity to try and address the forgetting, and ensure that a much wider group of people would be told about these important aspects of Taranaki history. I worked with Aunty Marj, and also Ron Lambert and others from the Taranaki Museum, to put together what amounted to be the first audio-visual presentation of the history of Parihaka.
It is important to recognise that this was a community initiative, and it was not commissioned by any academic or civic authority. We didn’t have access to video resources at a community level, so it was a slide show of historical photographs and drawings with a half-hour commentary recorded by Aunty Marj and myself. Our narrative had been based on the oral history of Parihaka that Aunty Marj had been presenting in Te Niho o Te Atiawa, as well as the documentary research of historians such as Dick Scott and Michael King.
The slide-show documentary had its unveiling at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery on 29th October 1981 as part of the “Parihaka Centennial Exhibition and Art Auction”. The curators seized upon this new resource as a way to quickly explain to people what their exhibition was all about.
Parihaka Centennial Exhibition and Art Auction (1981)
The presentation was successful and, as an instrument of our remembering, it has held its value. It has since been digitised and you can still see it today at Puke Ariki as part of the ongoing Ko Taku Poi Te Manu exhibition on the first floor of the museum. You can also look at it on YouTube.
At that time, back in 1981, I got some funding which enabled me to take the slideshow around all high schools in Taranaki. In some ways I was addressing the myself of 1971, the same boy who had sat in his Boys High history class wondering why we were not being told about these local historical events which had occurred only half an hour from our classroom.
What was interesting for me was the continuing moments of denial of this history that I experienced while doing these presentations. I even heard from couple of the teachers the same circular logic that had been given to me from my school-friend a decade earlier. They told me that if my presentation was actually true, they would already know about it.
In 1975 I had left school and moved to Auckland to study journalism and take a job in a small inner-city newspaper. It was through this work that I got to meet Whina Cooper.
Meeting Whina was like encountering a force of nature. She was already nearly 80 years of age at this stage, and had been a catalyst for social change over several generations. I was young and very naïve and completely in awe of her. So it was a surprise and honour to be asked to help out with what would become her most famous act of public protest – the 1975 Māori Land March on Parliament.
The Māori Land March September—October 1975
Whina explained to me that this was not a project that was going to focus on historical grievances, however unresolved they might be. Her new group would be protesting about the ongoing alienation of Māori land that was still taking place in the 1970s – through the many reinventions of land-grab legislation like the Rating Act, and the Public Works Act, and the Town and Country Planning Act. Her purpose would be summarised in the cry of “Not One More Acre!”
It turned out that I was the only Pākehā on her organising group, which she had called Te Roopu o te Matakite, a title which can be interpreted as, “The people who can see ahead”.
The Māori Land March has since come to be regarded as a pivotal moment in modern New Zealand history. But it is important to point out that the march itself wasn’t just an idea or an event. It was a strategy.
It was a strategy to address the forgetting. And it was a strategy for awakening. The important thing wasn’t the marching in itself, but what the marching hoped to produce in the minds of all New Zealanders. By walking through the rohe and lands of so many hapu and iwi, and by stopping each night at different marae, it was a strategy that said: Wake Up! We need to work together and address these issues.
And by having a sustained walk that took it beyond a one or two-day media event, it was also a strategy to awaken the Pākehā mind. By the time the march got to Wellington 30 days later, all eyes would be on the largely forgotten issue of Māori land. Pākehā would be awakened from our organised and defended amnesia.
We would be awakened from all those fairy tales that told us we had the best race relations in the world, and that all the land rights issues were dead and buried in the past.
For the six months before the Matakite March started, I threw myself into the campaign to garner support for the idea, and to attract other organisers and participants. This meant every weekend campaigning with Whina Cooper and a bus-load of family and supporters while we visited different marae and meeting venues.
One of Whina’s first decisions was to take the Matakite organisers to Waitara to hear about the Taranaki history of land grievances and their persistent struggle for justice. Whina had whakapapa links to Taranaki through her mother, and she had also been mentored by Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck) who was a close friend of her father. She was well aware of the Te Atiawa struggle to have their confiscated lands returned.
She also knew that Waitara had a special place in the history of our nation, as it was the place where the first shots were fired in the Taranaki Land Wars which then spread to many other areas of the country. Even though the Land March itself was not planning to walk through Taranaki lands, Whina saw her modern campaign as being definitely connected to the passive resistance stand taken by Taranaki Maori in the 1870s and 1880s.
Dame Whina Cooper (1895—1994) speaking at Owae Marae, Waitara on Maui Pomare Day, 27 June 1975, beginning her campaign to gain support for the Maori Land March - photo by John Miller
The photo by John Miller (above) captures Whina in full flight speaking from the porch of Owae Marae during the 1975 Maui Pomare celebrations. The following day, we all traveled out the coast to Parihaka, where we were hosted by Aunty Marj and other Taranaki elders, before the Matakite visitors traveled back to Auckland.
There were only about 40 marchers there at Te Hapua near Cape Reinga on that first Spring morning of the March. Despite traveling around the North Island and campaigning for the six months before the march started, it was almost impossible to gauge the level of real support beforehand. Those 40 marchers leaving the Te Hapua marae seemed a very modest contribution to a national debate.
But there was a photo of Whina and her grand-daughter taken on the first day which became our most significant instrument of awakening. The now-iconic picture had been taken by Michael Tubberty of the New Zealand Herald. When it was published, it had an immediate impact on the public awareness of our protest.
Whina Cooper and her grand-daughter Irene Cooper leaving Te Hapua, near Cape Reinga, at the start of the Māori Land March 14 September 1975 - photo by Michael Tubberty / The New Zealand Herald
In effect, Whina was telling everyone who looked at that image: We haven’t gone away. I’m still here. There’s still work to do. And while I am at it, I am passing on this kaupapa, this mission, to a new generation.
And by the time the marchers reached Auckland City, there were thousands of us walking over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. And, a month later when it arrived on Parliament Grounds in Wellington, you could sense a definite shift in the New Zealand mind – for Māori and Pākehā.
For Māori, many of the key lands rights activists met each other or deepened their existing friendships in what was essentially a month-long wānanga of awakening.
And, for us as Pākehā, we now had to definitely rewrite the stories we had been telling ourselves about our past, about race relations, and about the ongoing theft of Māori land.
After the Land March, the Waitangi Tribunal was soon established, and the political will to address land issues gradually grew stronger. Over the succeeding decades, we have seen definite progress in terms of formal apologies to iwi, financial settlements, the return of some assets, and co-governance arrangements between Maori and the Crown and local authorities.
For myself, I went on to further contribute to the land rights campaigns at Raglan/Whāingaroa and at Bastion Point/Takaparawhā. And then I returned home to Taranaki to explore other aspects of my active citizenship.
Māori Land March near Te Hapua on 14 September 1975 with vivian Hutchinson, Cyril Chapman (carrying the pou whenua), and Moka Puru - photo The Auckland Star
It was forty years later that I found myself as one of the organisers of another march. This was the Parihaka Peace Walk – a three-day hikoi to Parihaka Marae to support the New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd in his campaign to get better Maori representation on council decision-making.
Andrew Judd had received a major backlash on his council’s decision to establish a Maori Ward for voting in local body elections – with a citizen’s petition forcing a referendum on the issue.
The vote for a Maori Ward was lost by a landslide, and the controversy exposed a nasty underbelly of continuing racism and white supremacy in the Taranaki community, with Andrew Judd becoming a particular target in media debates and in the streets. (He was the subject of derision by TV commentators, removed as the patron of a New Plymouth club, abused while walking down the main street in the Santa Parade, and spat at in front of his family while shopping at a local supermarket).
Andrew Judd’s response was to describe himself as a “recovering racist”, and he embarked on the three-day walk to Parihaka in order to highlight the state of race relations in Taranaki, and to be a demonstration of a shared commitment to peace and reconciliation. This initiative also attracted hundreds of people from throughout New Zealand who wanted to join in on the journey to Parihaka and affirm the New Plymouth Mayor in his stand.
The Peace Walk started on 15th June 2016, which was paradoxically also the same day that public hearings had been scheduled over a new Waitara Lands Bill being sponsored by the New Plymouth District Council. This Bill was designed to sell the NPDC leasehold lands in Waitara which were still an unresolved issue dating from the confiscation of these lands in the 1860s.
Judd’s own council was essentially carrying on with business-as-usual, while he was off on what some of his critics described as “virtue signaling” about racism.
Taranaki Peace Walkers arriving at Parihaka Pa, 17 June 2016 - photo by Robin Martin/RNZ
When I first read about the Waitara Lands Bill, I was astounded by the Council’s resolve to sell this land in the face of an almost universal acknowledgement that this was stolen property. I wondered how it could be, after forty years of real progress with apologies and settlements and reparations following the Maori Land March, that the Taranaki councils and our government were still planning to sell the very lands over which the wars of the 1860s were fought over ... and were doing so in the face of continuing protests from the original owners?
But I was not dis-illusioned. I already knew that they were relying on a widespread amnesia in which to seal the deal.
During the Peace Walk to Parihaka, at the end of each day’s journey, the participants gathered at a local hall in order to have wider community conversations about the issues that we were walking about.
In my own conversations, I thought that this would be a good chance to ask people about what they knew about the Waitara Lands Bill. It was no real surprise perhaps, but most of the people I spoke to knew very little about the history of the Waitara confiscations, nor did they understand what the latest Waitara Lands Bill was trying to achieve.
I realised then that any struggle over these confiscated lands was still going to be an ongoing fight against the forgetting ... especially in the face of the power and privileges that still flow from this historic amnesia.
So after the Peace Walk, I came back home to New Plymouth and wrote up my first paper about the Waitara Lands Bill. I also talked with my fellow trustees of Community Taranaki to see how we could use our organisation to help educate other Pakeha about the issues, and to actively collaborate with the local Waitara hapu, the Taranaki Māori Women’s Network, and what would later be known as the Peace for Pekapeka initiative.
During the campaign that followed, I was interviewed by a reporter on Radio New Zealand about the nature of collective amnesia and how our selective forgetting has consequences for modern-day settlements and negotiations, such as what we were trying to see happen in Waitara.
My belief is that we would have a completely different outcome in the Waitara case if there were more Pākehā people who knew and cared about this history and the responsibilities that they still had in the context of that history. In other words, if there were enough Pākehā who gave a damn.
Actually, it has been my experience that Pākehā are very good at giving a damn — once they have woken up to the facts of what had taken place, and could see how it might be connected to choices being made in the current day.
Pākehā culture is steeped in the notion of a fair go. It is a characteristic that is deeply woven into our national culture. This is one of the reasons a great many of our ancestors came right across the world to live in New Zealand ... because they weren’t getting a fair go in Cornwall, or Devon, or in Scotland or Ireland or wherever else they were emigrating from.
I have found that whenever I have been able to explain to my relations the history and circumstances of a particular issue, they usually end up on the side of trying to give people a fair go. Or at least they become much more determined to treat someone else as they themselves would like to be treated.
But I also found it that, during this particular Waitara Lands campaign, it was almost impossible to try and get someone in the mainstream media to print my own articles on the issue. Almost every submission to the local newspaper, the Taranaki Daily News, was refused ... except for a letter which they ended up publishing on the day the Waitara Lands legislation was passed.
The Peace for Pekapeka Hīkoi marching through the streets of Waitara, 21st September 2016 - photo by Jane Dove Juneau
By the end of 2018, it was clear that we were not going to achieve the goal of the New Plymouth District Council giving back this land to the Waitara hapu of Manukorihi and Otaraua.
Yes, the final Waitara Lands deal ended up being much better than when this legislation started. It certainly needed to be. The dial on the negotiations had shifted a little way, but not to the extent of real justice being delivered to the people who most deserved it.
The Waitara Lands Bill remained an opportunity that needed much more political courage than it got.
The NPDC officers would often say that it was the best deal that they could offer, because their hands were tied by financial and legal obligations. But every child of Taranaki will eventually come to understand that the ideas of fiduciary responsibility and perpetual leases are the legal constructions of coercive power and privilege that should not apply at all to stolen property.
That the complete return of these historic lands was never seriously on the negotiating table will be the ongoing shame of this transaction – and the reason why the Council and the Crown are still left with an unresolved grievance for yet another generation.
So this is a story that is not over. For as long as there is one acre of this disputed land left in public ownership, or chained up in public “endowments” ... then our deepest aspirations for justice and reconciliation at Waitara, and throughout all of Taranaki, are still in play, and still our responsibilities.
Pākehā people have particular responsibilities because we have got the numbers. And in a democratic society, it is the majority culture that has the privilege of making choices. If we want those choices to reflect our deepest notions of a fair go, then we’ve definitely still got some remembering and some learning to do.
But we would be making a mistake to think this is an issue just about land and who-owns-what. It is an issue that is ultimately about the decency of our relationships with one another, and the communities we want to create and bring our children into.
What started at Waitara has always been a constant invitation for us to raise our gaze beyond the deals and dodgy transactions, and pay attention to the things that that will continue to really matter for generations to come.
It will be people like Kuia Matarena, or Aunty Marj, who will have the last word. Today, she is buried in the Tautara Tuhi Urupa at Urenui Marae and, not unexpectedly, her gravestone includes an inscription about the jobs yet to be done:
Kua oma ahau i te omanga roa.
E te Iwi, e te whanau, e ngaa mokopuna
Kia kaha, kia manawanui, kia uu, kia maia, kia matara!
Kahore ano i mutu te omanga;
Ko koutou ngaa urupa waihotanga o matou.
This has been interpreted as:
I have run the long race. To all my tribal groups, families, grandchildren and those yet to come:
Be strong, be big hearted, be brave, hold fast, do not give in, be alert and wake up!
The race is not over! It is for you, the living graveyards of those who have gone before you, to complete.
A four-part series first published in THE DAILY NEWS New Plymouth, New Zealand on March 7-14, 1985
4.Britain in Change
by vivian Hutchinson
March 14, 1985 8 min read download as PDF
GREAT BRITAIN GAVE the world the first Industrial Revolution.
The very colonisation of New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the Americas was a direct result of the huge cultural and political transformations that followed.
Today it is Britain that is on the receiving end of a second Industrial Revolution ... the economic and technological revolution of the Information Age.
The impact on the British people is proving no less dramatic ... perhaps it is even more so, as we are watching this transition occur at a much faster rate than the first big shift of 150 years ago.
In a two-month journey throughout the United Kingdom attending the New Economic Agenda conference, I was able to look at many radical changes in the British landscape.
There were positive and inspiring stories of how British spirit was responding to the new opportunities of the "next economy".
But there was also widespread fear, tragedy and division as people became victims of a system that wasn't working for them anymore.
The very week I arrived in England, the papers announced a record 2.2 million people out of work.
That's one in seven.
The picture was much worse for British youth . . . if you were under 25 you had a one in four chance of being on the dole.
There seemed a tremendous fight to hang on to the last vestiges of an Industrial Age that was once the power and guiding spirit of British prestige.
Daily newspapers Were full of campaigns to save local industries, be it shipyards or car factories.
The coal strike was the main talking point of British political life ... and every street corner held a couple of striking miners chanting for funds to fill their buckets.
Their fight was for the survival of their pits and villages and a way of life now deemed uneconomic by the National Coal Board.
Perhaps it is the deepening sense of division that surprised me most while travelling the United Kingdom.
This division is perhaps epitomised in the public dog-fight between Mrs Thatcher and miners' leader Arthur Scargill.
There is also a bitter fight raging between the Government and the Labour-led Greater London Council. The GLC faces the complete chop by the Conservative Government and replacement by appointed public servants.
The divisions have almost a geographical separation as the blighted industrial heartland of the North seems almost a completely different country from the more affluent and Tory-voting South.
To many of the Britons I spoke to, this sense of division in their country was only of fairly recent significance.
Two world wars had given the United Kingdom at least a veneer of national unity and civility.
But the dramatic industrial changes of the past decade have wrought huge cracks in this veneer of unity. And political events over the last three years have served not to heal division ... but to accentuate it.
The face of division — a London billboard campaigns against the abolition of the Labour-led Greater London Council.
Britain is under the stress of change.
It is a stress certainly created by the immediate terrorist groups, employment and welfare policies, racial and class prejudice and generational intolerance.
But the deeper background to this stress is the economic and technological transformation from an Industrial Age to an Information Society.
If the speakers at the New Economic Agenda conference are correct then we need to start to redefine our cultural landscape and develop new policies to suit.
British political leadership — be it Mrs Thatcher or Arthur Scargill — seems unable to grasp this initiative.
Their attitudes and fierce debate seem so tightly fixed on a world-view whole reality is clearly slipping from them.
Again, it was within the field of jobs that gave me my personal view to those changes in Britain.
It's clear that there is a lot to do to meet the new entrepreneural needs of the "next economy" ... and many new jobs will be created in the Information Society.
But the economic advisers to the Findhorn conference were in consensus on one major point: There will never be full employment — as we've known it — again.
The place of work in our lives and culture has begun to fundamentally change ... and it is a change that challenges us to explore a variety of responses to the question of jobs.
Britain, of course, has a diverse array of initiatives over its unemployment question. Most of them are reactions to the changing conditions rather than projects that try to address the wider questions before us.
Nevertheless, there was much to explore and learn from . . . perhaps giving us indications for our own efforts here in New Zealand.
I was already familiar with the type of work schemes run by the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) of the British Government. They ran along vaguely similar line to our own Work Skills Programmes here in New Zealand.
Many of the young people were working on community projects, or on council or local body schemes which were in fact subsidising ratepayers with their cheap labour.
Many of the young people I spoke to were cynical of the schemes they were on, and bitter at their prospects ahead
"We're doing men's work on this council scheme," complained one Glaswegian youth to me, "but we are being paid as children . . ."
The Youth Training Schemes (YTS) seemed to be responsible for a major devastation of the British apprenticeship system. Employers in their own uncertainty were not willing to commit themselves to young people over a period of time. They opted for the subsidised one-year scheme rather than creating apprenticeships.
The irony of the situation is that YTS schemes are thus creating a greater skills-gap between the employed and unemployed.
There were, however, many positive programmes being run through the Government schemes. In Northampton I visited an Information Technology (IT) Centre set up to teach young unemployed skills in handling the new information technologies. This centre was part of a MSC-sponsored network around the United Kingdom which has sprung up to fill the skills-gap amongst the unemployed who missed out on computer education at school.
The supervisor who showed me around his scheme remarked that many of the young people who have failed academically seemed to readily respond to computer instruction.
They showed a fascination for computer technology and were learning at a rate not possible before in a school environment.
Graduates from IT centres found ready access to a labour market hungry for such skills.
Of particular interest to me were the MSC schemes set up to encourage the enterprise of the unemployed themselves. These programmes provided a minimum income for the unemployed while they set up in business ideas of their own.
Many local groups also offered support in business and marketing skills.
Punk music and fashion on London streets with one in four young people on the dole.
These programmes followed from surveys which showed that there has been a significant change in the labour market towards part-time work. and self-employment.
Many schools have started to educate students in business skills through establishing Youth Enterprise Schemes. They actually set up model companies owned and operated' by the students themselves with teachers and industry leaders acting in an advisory role.
There is a big drive to mobilise business leaders to get involved in creating new jobs in depressed areas.
Industry leaders throughout the United Kingdom have started to shift their entrepreneural skills out into the local community by seconding staff to regional development agencies and giving advice to new start-ups, or businesses in difficulty.
My own interest in establishing worker co-operatives here in New Zealand, naturally led me to search out elements of the 200-year-old British Co-operative Movement.
Workers' co-operatives add a different perspective to the drive for jobs in Britain as there has been a virtual explosion of new co-operatives being established.
Over the last five years the number of new co-ops has increased at 20% per annum. It is predicted that worker co-ops will offer as many as 25,000 jobs by 1990.
And their success rate is encouraging. More than half the regular small businesses that start-up never make it through the first two years. By contrast, only about 6% of all new co-operatives fail.
The co-operative movement in the United Kingdom is supported by a thriving network of Co-operative Development Agencies (CDA), particularly the ICOM network (Industrial Common Ownership Movement) and its financial wing, ICOF (Industrial Common Ownership Fund).
ICOM is the largest agency and its aims are closely associated with 19th century Christian Socialist ideals. Its model rules are those most often adopted by new worker co-ops, with their emphasis on democratic control by workers of their own enterprises.
a postcard from the People's Palace in Glasgow ... Britain is experiencing a resurgence in the 200-year old British co-operative movement.
London is the home of more than a quarter of all Britain's worker co-ops. It is also the home of the Greater London Enterprise Board (GLEB) which has a formal strategy to promote worker co-ops in London.
GLEB offers funding for new start-ups, and helps in "rescue" co-ops ... formed when workers take over an existing, but ailing business. It also supports a structure of training schemes for the local CDA's.
Nick Sharman, GLEB director, sees worker co-operatives as part of the tradition of the Labour movement and a valuable means of democratising London's economy.
"We are keen to encourage co-ops because their flexibility also opens up employment opportunities for women with children, for members of London's ethnic minorities, and for the unemployed ..."
Despite these initiatives in creating new work, it's clear that it's not going to fully meet the job needs of the coming decades.
Some British observers are predicting a leveling out of the unemployment rate at 20% ... or one in five ... at the end of this century.
British unemployment activist Guy Dauncey suggests that we look at future job contracts that encourage people to take one year in five out of the work force, to devote to the parts of our lives not tied to an employed job ... study, family interests, travel, spiritual pursuits ...
This approach would, in effect, redistribute the positive effects of unemployment — time to spare and flexibility for personal and family affairs.
Not only are we having to redefine the place of work in our lives, we are also being challenged to look anew at how we redistribute the wealth of the society. Up until now, "working" has been the major way wealth has been distributed ... enabling people to feed, clothe and house themselves.
Now, with fewer jobs, this whole process is being challenged, and brings us to firmly look at the future of the welfare state.
In Britain, the number of claimants to social security has increased 400% over the last 40 years ... today they have more than 12 million. The range of means-tested benefits has also increased as well — to a present total of about 45 different kinds.
The British system was based on the Beveridge Plan of 1942 which assumed that society would be able to provide full employment for all.
In the "next economy" such a promise cannot still hold true.
The British organisation Basic Income Research Group, is campaigning that all social benefits be replaced by a basic income for all United Kingdom residents, irrespective of their work and marital status.
Such a scheme introduces a hornets' nest into the debate over social welfare.
It would provide a fundamental approach to poverty, greater equality for women and more flexible patterns of work and learning.
It would redefine the whole employment debate by giving people the opportunity to choose not to work at different times through their lives.
It's obvious that a lot more thought and research need to go into it ... but if proven viable, the basic income scheme could provide the basis for social security policies in the 21st century.
* * *
This personal journey throughout Britain left me with a diversity of conclusions. It certainly opened my eyes to the variety of possibilities — good and bad before all of us.
Britain was in a stressful change, and certainly in need of an inspirational leadership that could show its people how to move with the transitions before them.
The prophetic voice I found was not in the halls of Westminster or at the picket-lines of a Welsh village.
I began to hear it on the conference floor at Findhorn ... and then discovered its echo among the community workers establishing co-operatives, supervisors on scattered work schemes, and business leaders in unlikely multinationals.
These were people helping others understand the process of change we are within. Their call was for us to learn new practical and personal skills to cope with these transition times. And their work was to conciously shape a new economic agenda . . . an economics "as if people mattered".
A four-part series first published in THE DAILY NEWS New Plymouth, New Zealand on March 7-14, 1985
by vivian Hutchinson
March 13, 1985 8 min read download as PDF
THE TRANSITION FROM an Industrial Society to an Information Society represents the most major reconstitution of our way of life that we have known outside wartime.
It was against these rapidly changing times that the New Economic Agenda conference was convened last October at Findhorn in Northern Scotland.
It was attended by 200 leading economists, entrepreneurs, business consultants and community organisers. Its aim was to explore our new economic landscape in the 1980s and 90s from a perspective of both local and global change.
My own contribution to the gathering was from a local perspective. I gave workshops on community-based initiatives surrounding unemployment in New Zealand and also spoke on the emerging worker co-operative movement in this country.
It was intriguing for me to put our local experience against the international landscape and the tapestry of economic theory being woven by the economists at the conference.
It was encouraging to find that our local experience was very much in resonance with events happening everywhere in the western world at this time.
The logo for the conference was an Apple computer surrounded by the Christian symbols of bread, wine and fishes. The keynote of this image was that our rapid economic transformation needs to be matched with positive cultural and spiritual values.
Dr Fritz Schumacher summed this up when he called for an economics" . as if people mattered".
The conference in no way sought to dogmatically define what is still an ongoing debate. The 200 participants met throughout the week in lectures, workshops and audiovisual presentations which each gave a different perspective and viewpoint to our current economic transformation.
Every day had a different theme: The Next Economy, People Matter Most, The New Local Economic Order, Business As Service, The Role of Multinationals and The Economics of Ecology and Development.
The Swedish delegation to the conference
Charles Handy, a former oil executive and professor at the London School of Economics, began the conference with a talk on "The Future of Work", which was also the title of his new book exploring the rapid changes to our working lives.
Handy predicts that the "next economy" will force us to take a whole new approach to shaping our workstyles.
The standard 40-hour week, one job workstyle was a dying way of life. In the future we will be gaining a livelihood from a mixture of areas. There will be a greater emphasis on part-time and flexible work contracts More people will be paid in fees rather than through wages.
And, as Handy cautions, our political and community leaders will have to start taking the lead in creating new attitudes towards the place of work in our future culture.
Guy Dauncey (of the British Unemployment Resource Network) warns that we shouldn't kid ourselves that there's going to be one magic answer to unemployment.
Dauncey sees a "new local economic order" emerging which will be discovering quite a variety of answers to unemployment, each matched to an equal variety of circumstances.
Dauncey has been lecturing for the past five years on the transformative potential within the unemployment crisis.
He sees enterprise trusts and boards being set up with local community backing, co-operative development agencies, community businesses and workshops, science parks and a host of related developments. His talk to the conference was illustrated with current exploratory examples in the United Kingdom.
It is in locally-based initiatives that Dauncey sees the key to healing unemployment. New jobs in the future won't come from retraining people in the ways of the old Industrial Age. They will spring up out of the cracks of our twilight economic structure.
Our best efforts at present are to spread the attitudes and skills of enterprise and self-help amongst the unemployed and local groups so that they respond to their own changing situation.
Guy Dauncey (left) of the British Unemployment Resource Network (BURN)
Jonathon Porritt of Friends Of The Earth spoke of the political implications of the new economics.
Porritt believes the "next economy" is also forcing a whole new ball-game for our western political system as well.
We are moving beyond the classical left-right paradigm of the political spectrum. The future debate will rage between those who have a separatistic view of economic and cultural life, and those who see our culture in more wholistic terms.
Porritt gave an eloquent call at the conference for us to redefine our conventional view of wealth.
"At an individual level today, wealth means possessing the symbols of affluence - consumer durables and credit cards, and being rich enough to have a huge overdraft.
"In the new economic agenda, the wealthy will be those who have the independence and education to enhance the real quality of their lives.
"The poor will be those who look back to an age when money might have, but never quite did, buy happiness ..."
UK84-0019 Jonathon Porritt of Friends of the Earth
Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef talked of his own experiences as a "barefoot" economist and also called for a fresh cultural definition of wealth ... one that focusses on human needs than material gains.
"It is these very needs that will have to be built into the basic formulas that constitute such things as GNP (Gross National Product) ..."
Max-Neef was the 1983 recipient of the Right Livelihood Award which is known by many as "The Alternative Nobel Prize". This annual award is presented by a Swedish group who feel that Nobel's original intentions for humanity were no longer being fulfilled.
Says Max-Neef: "I worked for a number of years as an economist for several international organisations. I was engaged in efforts to diagnose poverty, to measure it and devise indicators which might reveal the magnitude of the extremely poor.
"After costly seminars and even costlier conferences called to communicate the findings ... they always seemed to recommend that the most urgent work to be done was to allocate more funds for further research!
"At a certain point I began to feel I was participating in a rather obscene ritual.
"So it happened that I severed my ties with the economic establishment and 'stepped into the mud'. I became, and still remain, a 'barefoot economist'."
Manfred Max-Neef - joint winner of the 1983 Alternative Nobel Prize
There was quite a large Swedish delegation to the conference, including a prominent Swedish Parliamentarian. They held a special evening presentation on how the next economy was affecting their way of life.
They also chose the conference as the occasion to announce the 1984 recipients of the Right Livelihood Award. The recipients were all women active in community projects in the Third World.
Peter Schwartz, the chief planning officer of Royal Dutch Shell, spoke on how multi-national companies are being forced to change their structures and policies in the face of the new economic agenda.
"Their organisations are too big, unweildy and not responsive to the changing landscape around them", says Schwartz.
"I have often wondered what the last dinosaur must have felt standing in the swamps as the mud slowly turned to ice around its legs ... looking around and rather stupidly wondering: 'When are things going to get back to normal?"
Schwartz asserts that economics follows the same sort of evolutionary course of long periods of relative expansion and growth marked by transitions — phases in which we have sharp changes and shocks. And these phases are very important because the rules differ for each of them.
The rapid transition from Industrial to Information Age is just such a sharp shock to the whole system.
"...And if multinationals don't quickly begin to change. they will find themselves with their legs slowly also turning to ice."
Peter Schwartz - Chief Planning Officer of Royal Dutch Shell
Maureen Smith was one of the most interesting speakers at the conference. She had been a resident of the Findhorn Community for three years, but was also maintaining her occupation as a stockbroker with 10 years experience on the London Stock Exchange.
She gave a workshop on "Socially Responsible Investment on the Stock Exchange" with practical examples of how she acts as agent for a considerable fund, investing particularly in local body stocks.
Her own philosophy was particularly challenging.
"Money comes to all of us marked; marked with the soul struggle of others. It does not come clean, but bloodied in the enormous battles of anothers soul.
"The inner life of money must be its transformative potential and I feel that as such I experience something of the possibility of transformation in myself.
"Of itself, money is sterile, empty and meaningless. But with the love energy behind its doors to many peoples hearts are opened.
"Thinking globally and acting locally" was definitely one of the guiding principles of the Findhorn conference, whether in business, community or personal affairs.
Findhorn stressed this local connection by inviting several Scottish speakers who described their local initiatives.
There were speakers from the Scottish Highlands and Islands Development Board, and Scottish Co-operative Development Agency and representatives from community business.
Chns Elphick related his experiences as a community worker in the depressed welfare housing district of Easterhouse (in Glasgow).
This area of 50,000 people were cleared from the infamous Gorbals slums of Glasgow during the 1960s and re-housed in huge sterile estates with little local employment, entertainment facilities or even a shopping centre.
The result was widespread vandalism and crime as despair and alienation overtook the town planners dream of a new start for the slum dwellers.
Chris Elphick is employed by the Easterhouse Festival Society whose aim is to try and find ways through which the community could celebrate itself despite its depressing circumstances.
Much of their work is centred in promoting the arts, and job creation through developing the local economy of Easterhouse itself.
Says Elphick "Our work is concerned with providing opportunities for people to explore their creative potential to unlock their innermost hopes and aspirations and help people open doors which replace despair and dereliction with hope and dignity.
"We want our area to flourish ... and that cannot be done without a vision."
This is very much a potted portrait of a diverse conference.
There were many other speakers and workshops ranging from "the economics of ecology" to the corporate philosophy of the Scandanavian airline SAS.
For me, the conference raised perhaps as many questions as it began to answer. But as it began to close, I was left with a deep conviction that is still with me.
That there is no need for us to be passive victims of the economic transformation that surrounds us ... in fact, the reverse is the case.
We are very much needed as active participants taking personal and local initiatives to get to grips with our new economic agenda.
Being my first trip to the United Kingdom, I took the ' opportunity over the next two months of travelling around the Isles, taking time to investigate just how the "next economy.' was taking shape among British people ... and how they were responding to the rapid changes of the last decade.
I naturally navigated towards my own interests of unemployment projects and worker co-operative development centres.
The trip for me was a picture of Britain in dramatic change a change which we in New Zealand are rapidly on the heels of.
Part four: Britain in change -- notes from a personal journey.
A four-part series first published in THE DAILY NEWS New Plymouth, New Zealand on March 7-14, 1985
2.The Next Economy
by vivian Hutchinson
March 12, 1985 8 min read download as PDF
LAST OCTOBER, a conference on The New Economic Agenda was hosted in a magnificent lecture hall overlooking the Findhorn Bay in Northern Scotland. It was convened by the Findhorn Foundation, an international educational community who, over the last 10 years, has hosted many major gatherings on international affairs.
This gathering brought together several streams of thought and activity that has been part of the ongoing work to make sense of our new economic landscape.
It was perhaps largely inspired by a former member of the Findhorn Community ... American entrepreneur Paul Hawken. Hawken was the founder of Erewhon a now famous American mail-order supplier of natural foods. Today he runs a successful tool company and writes for many journals as a freelance contributor.
It was in an obscure journal called Coevolution Quarterly that Hawken began contributing his articles on the present economic transformation.
His own perspective on our economic changes developed the earlier ideas of Dr Fritz Schumacher .. . and were equally as. challenging: "We have not been through a decade of inflation, but through a decade when we refused to deal with the inherent limitations of the industrial economy.
"We do not have high unemployment, but off-employment, millions of people working at jobs which make no sense, which accomplish little in the way of common good.
"We do not have high interest rates, but rather a culture that has borrowed too long and cannot pay its debt to itself.
"We have an economy that is no longer economical because it is part of a living system, and like any living system, it is bound by growth, development and decay . . ."
Paul Hawken, author of The Next Economy
Hawken's articles began to attract attention throughout America and he began to be beseiged by publishers encouraging him to write a book, which finally went on sale late last year. Entitled The Next Economy it gives practical and pragmatic advice on the transformation from the Industrial to Information Age.
Hawken argues that we actually have two economic systems around at the moment. One, the Industrial Economy, is on its way out. The other, the Information Economy, is still emerging.
"The current economic crisis," says Hawken, "only exists in institutions of the large scale Industrial economies. Their time is up.
"People in their everyday lives are intuitively, or by experience, finding out how to avoid being victims and discover the new opportunities.
"Economic life is moving to a more mature stage than the Industrial Age it was in .. ."
Hawken's analysis is challenging to the depressing forecasts quoted to us. daily in our newspapers.
One major reason for these depressing forecasts is that most of the economic indicators are linked to a way of life that is in its twilight years.
It's a bit like gauging the health of a family by only taking the bloodpressure of the grandparents.
The book The Next Economy takes a backward look at how we got to where we are today.
The basis for the development of the Industrial Economy for most of this century was the continuing decline in the price of energy (especially oil) relative to labour costs.
Technology embodied the energy and saved labour. Because energy costs declined while energy consumption rose, the economy expanded. It produced goods more cheaply, wages rose, prices of goods declined, the demand for goods increased.
In the Fifties and Sixties we had what is now referred to as the "party" years on the Industrial Economy. It was the party of its last hours.
There was an unprecedented cheap-energy-based upsurge in the value of labour and the standard of living soared.
There was also a shadow side to this rapid expansion ... the goods produced were often shoddy, the work was boring for many people, the environment was desecrated in ways never before thought possible.
Meanwhile these concerns were hardly within the attention of our political, economic and business leaders who were caught up in these "party" times.
The "Next Economy" was ushered in by the price of oil. From 1973 its cost has risen 500%. The real price of oil is back where it was in 1910.
The value of labour has also declined. In the USA real wages have dropped 16% in the last 10 years.
Schumacher was one of the first to say that the "party" was over back in 1973. But it has taken many of our cultural leaders 10 years to get over that hangover and wake up to the fact that the whole context of our economic system has changed.
And the new economic landscape before us includes some surprising anomalies ...
Bankruptcies are at a record high while also new business start-ups are also at a record level.
As full-time jobs disappear, we are seeing an upsurge in more flexible part-time employment and self-employment.
Large-scale institutions from governments to multinationals are effectively downscaling to a more feasible size.
Workers are being increasingly offered ownership in business.
Charles Handy, former oil executive and now lecturer at the London School of Economics gives his lecture on "The Future of Work"
While Paul Hawken argues that the new economics will be based on information, he defines this information in much wider terms than just the production and distribution of "data".
In his view, human imagination, intelligence, design, utility, craftsmanship, service and durability are all components of the new Informational economy, and the basis of new wealth in the future.
Quality, service, openness and responsiveness to customers and their needs are what will enable businesses to prosper in the "Next Economy".
When I joined the conference last October, I found that there had already been several other major gatherings which sought to bring together the scattered threads of this new economic theory. Two such gatherings deserve special mention here.
Last June the heads of government of the western world were meeting at their economic summit at London's Lancaster House. Around the corner at the Royal Overseas League ... another economic summit was in full swing.
It was dubbed TOES — the acronym for "The Other Economic Summit" and was a historic gathering for advocates of the "New Economic" agenda.
It cost $NZ52,000 to mount and participants came from as far afield as Chile, India and the United States.
Like their heavyweight political counterparts they also issued a communique at the end of the conference. But this press release called for more small-scale, conservationist technologies, greater local self-reliance and participation in economic planning, more popular access to land and writing off of the Third World debt.
Many such proposals were simply laughed at by the political heavyweights who called them "utopianism and "... a return to the Stone Age".
But a closer look at the papers presented at the conference showed that the speakers could definitely back up their claims and proposals in clearly pragmatic terms.
Dutch Government projections presented at the conference gave one such instance.
They indicate that giving priority to environmental and energy saving measures would produce GNP growth of 27% between 1980 and the year 2000 ... only 2% less than that produced by conventional economic policies.
Hot on the heels of TOES conference was an equally unusual conference convened at the London School of Economics.
This gathering contributed a different face to the debate on the "next economy" as it brought together several London leaders at the top of "big business" circles.
Hosting the conference were members of a London-based group called "The Business Network". Last year, Francis Kinsman, a member of the network, interviewed 30 senior managers on what they saw is the main issues ahead for big business in the 1980's.
His interview list included such figures as John Harvey-Jones ( chairman of ICI), Sir Peter Parker (ex British Rail), Sir Jeremy Morse (chairman of Lloyds Bank) and Clive Thornton (formerly of Abbey National Building Society).
Kinsman found amongst these managers a remarkable call for a "new initiative" in their business affairs ... one that stresses the very same human and social requirements listed by Paul Hawken in his analysis of the "next economy".
Francis Kinsman (right) of The Business Network - with Edward Posey and Liz Hosken (left) of the Gaia Foundation
"These people have to think in the long-term," says Kinsman, "... they are entrepreneurs who have grasped the essence of what the informational economy of the future will mean for their companies.
"Their fundamental message could be written on the back of a postage stamp: people matter most. The high unemployment rate has obviously had its effect on the thinking of those I interviewed. There is much comment along the lines of humanising British business ...".
The Business Network were co-sponsors of the October Findhorn conference. It seemed perfectly timed for a ripening of the debate-in-process on new economics. It also brought together a surprising range of people from all sections of society and from many countries in the world.
For me, there were some challenging conclusions, which, if true, will certainly transform the way most of us think and act in the next few years.
Part three: The Findhorn Conference ... some challenging conclusions.
by vivian Hutchinson
March 7-14, 1985 45 min read download as PDF
It was the early days of a fundamental economic transformation. We were worried about unemployment, but we hadn’t yet really understood the brutal economic agenda of Rogernomics, Reaganomics or of Margaret Thatcher. We still had the space to dream and imagine what economic change could look like if it followed our best intentions: perhaps even a New Economic Agenda that spoke of the common good.
So I was working for the Salvation Army and trying to gain a vocabulary in my head for what I could see happening in the streets around me. I jumped on a plane and ended up in Scotland at an unusual community and conference venue called Findhorn that seemed to be specialising in talking to angels and growing enormous cabbages. But this conference was talking about Economics. And we were all on a much bigger learning curve than we could have imagined.
Nevertheless, Lance Girling Butcher, the editor at our local paper The Daily News, agreed to publish my report on the conference when I returned home to New Zealand. It became a series of one-page articles spread over four days in 1985. The ideas and strategies I learned and thought about at that Scottish conference, and the community projects I visited afterwards, helped set the direction of the new Taranaki Work Trust that we were just setting up at the time. It is interesting to re-read the mixture of hopefulness, practicality and naivety of a 29-year old community activist on his first visit to Europe.
A Buddhist teacher once told me that Economics was the “science of choice ... governed by desire.” That stopped me in my tracks. Yet it put me on a path to try to keep alive and feed the notion of what that “science of choice” would look like if it was governed by the conviction that people and the earth really mattered...
— vivian Hutchinson (February 2023)
A four-part series first published in THE DAILY NEWS New Plymouth, New Zealand on March 7-14, 1985
VIVIAN HUTCHINSON, is the regional manager of the Salvation Army Work Schemes in Taranaki. He has been active over the past six years in local initiatives surrounding unemployment. He was recently selected as a Taranaki delegate to this week's Employment Promotion Conference, representing Taranaki work schemes and community groups.
Last year Mr Hutchinson was invited to join The New Economic Agenda conference in Northern Scotland, and he travelled for two months throughout Britain looking at unemployment projects and co-operative development agencies.
This is the first of four articles giving a background to the conference and sharing some of the fruits of his journey.
1. The Party is Over
WE ARE IN the midst of a huge cultural transformation .. . one that is being led by deep economic and technological changes.
I call this a cultural transformation because the economic and technological changes are also having deep effects on our families, our political lives, our spiritual awareness, the arts, and the environment.
It's a peculiar transformation, because despite its deep implication for all of us, you rarely read an in-depth debate of the issues in our daily newspapers . . . and I have yet to see a major TV series investigate its full implications to us as a people.
My own field is employment . . . helping people make a living in the world.
As an administrator for The Salvation Army's Taranaki Work Schemes, I have a particular concern for young people — as half the unemployed in this country are under the age of 21.
Perhaps from the view-point of employment we can begin to view one of the more prominent faces of the transformation we are within.
When I first started with The Salvation Army Work Schemes six years ago, I assumed that the unemployment we were experiencing would be a temporary thing. When the economy looked up (like in the great Depression of the 1930's) people would get plenty of jobs again.
I no longer feel that way.
In fact, as the jobs haven't come and as the economic situation world-wide has got considerably worse . . . I can no longer accept that unemployment today is a re-run of the 1930's.
I think it would be fair to say that many people running Work Schemes around New , Zealand have begun to share this disillusionment. Some of us are getting some very good and encouraging results in our work. But unemployment itself isn't going away.
It's as if we are merely organising the bulk of our unemployed out of sight and out of harms way .. . but we are not as yet working to heal the basic nature of unemployment in our society.
Because I was directly involved in trying to mop up this whole mess, I began to see it as my duty to try and look into just what was going on.
I began to ask myself: Do we really need to be victims of a changing economic system? Or is there something tangible that we as community-based groups can do to contribute to the healing of unemployment in our society?
Several years ago, I began to search out the writings of several international economists who seemed to be putting together a very challenging picture of what really was going on.
Many of these economists had very traditional backgrounds in business or economics . . . but their message was very un-conventional.
These economists were comparing our present economic and technological transformations with what it must have been like living in the midst of the first Industrial Revolution 150 years ago.
Economist Fritz Schumacher
At the time, James Watt's peculiar invention of the steam engine rapidly ushered in a whole new wave of technological change that just as quickly had political, cultural, spiritual and ecological ramifications.
Western culture at the time was largely organised around agriculture and the job of feeding people .. . something like 90% of us were employed on the land.
This all changed radically as machines moved on to the land and people were thrust into the cities and colonies to feed the new industrial economic system.
This transformation took the best part of a century to complete. But it became very clear early on that most people had joined the Industrial Society as the
main source of earning a living. We were left with 5% of the people on the land . . . feeding the rest of us.
Today we are participating in what is becoming known as the Second great Industrial Revolution. It is led by a tiny technological insurgent .. . the silicon microprocessor (or chip). And as well as its very evident economic effects, the silicon chip will be responsible for as many political, cultural, spiritual and ecological transformations in the very near future.
One of the major differences between this industrial revolution and the first, is the speed at which things are happening.
The change from agriculture to industry as the basis of our economy took about 100 years to complete.
The change from industry to "the next economy" has actually happened today in little over 20 years.
The major upsetting issue of the last decade has been that (whether our politicians admit it or not) it's clear the old economic rules are no longer working.
It's almost as a concert pianist has returned to his piano after the interval to find his instrument has been completely retuned. His favourite melodies have become cacophanies.
So it is with our sense of economic reality.
The silicon chip has completely retuned our system. And it is only in the past five years that we have begun to piece together a sense of what actually are the emerging ground rules of a new economic agenda.
Perhaps that most famous of these economists that I began to read several years ago, was Dr Fritz Schumacher, a native German who for many years was economic advisor to the British Coal Board.
Schumacher wrote prophetically throughout the sixties and early seventies of an economic system he saw in dynamic change.
In one memorable article he proclaimed that "the party was over".
The party he referred to was the huge consumer and industrial expansion of the fifties and sixties.
The main herald of change for Schumacher was the rising price of energy, particularly oil, meaning a rapid decline in the economic feasibility of our industrial giants.
Schumacher was also one of the first to clearly articulate the impact of new technology of jobs and our way of life generally.
Schumacher's book "Small Is Beautiful" (pub Abacus 1974) steadily became a best-seller around the western world.
In it he called for an economics ". . . as if people mattered" — an economics steeped in the traditional wisdom of mankind . . . an economics that served community development rather than exploiting people.
He also advocated a technology ". . . as if people mattered", and was the founder of the Intermediate Technology Development Group an organisation famous for its work in developing countries.
Schumacher died in September 1977.
We can now look back, however, and see that he was simply the first wave of a whole new tide of economic awareness and analysis.
Towards the end of the Seventies, many leading journals were headlining articles, new books were appearing on sale, and speakers appeared at conferences — all proclaiming that the Industrial Age of the western economic was over and that we were on the brink of something completely different.
In 1982 a new book was released and immediately became an international best-seller. It was "Megatrends" (pub MacDonald and Co 1982) and was written by John Naisbitt, an American corporate consultant and former speechwriter to Lyndon Johnson.
This book was a landmark for me in that it started to piece together the outlines of our next economy.
Naisbitt clearly explains in his book that what we were recognising to be a post-Industrial society emerging around us will come to be called the Information Society. The new economic system will be an economics based on information.
There has been a lot of resistance to this notion. Hard pragmatic business-men haven't taken too kindly to the thought that the exploitation of very solid raw materials will not be the basis of wealth in the future.
Naisbitt's book describes the current transformation with particular reference to employment.
The real increase in work since the 1950s has been in the information jobs.
More than 65% of Americans now work with information as programmers. teachers, clerks, secretaries, accountants, stockbrokers, managers, insurance people. bureaucrats, lawyers, bankers and technicians.
And many more hold information jobs within manufacturing industries.
Of the 19 million new jobs created in the US in the 1970s, only 11% were in the manufacturing or goods producing sector. So nearly 90% of the new jobs were being created fully within the new economy of information.
One commentator has remarked that we have clearly worked ourselves out of the manufacturing business and into the thinking business.
New York City — the leading light of industrial America — has lost half the manufacturing jobs it had in 1947. The city lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs between 1977 and 1980 alone.
It's a picture very reminiscent of the agricultural job losses in the first Industrial Revolution. And its not just an American phenomenon . . . if you look at the New Zealand newspapers over the past five years you'll see a very similar and sorry story.
This revolution isn't only in employment.
The information economy is turning most of our preconceived notions of economics on its head.
The new wealth of the future is know-how.
Says Naisbitt: "In the Industrial Society the strategic resource was Capital. A lot of people may have known how to build a steel plant, but not many people could get the money to build one . . ."
"But in our new economy, the strategic resource is information. And the new source of power is not money in the hands of a few, but information in the hands of many..."
"And knowledge is not subject to the same laws of conservation. It can be created, destroyed, and through communication regenerates itself.
"In the Agricultural period, man's livelihood was pit against nature. In industrial society man was pit against the tools and raw resources he could fabricafe.
"But today in the information society, man's economic system is based on getting in touch with himself acid communicating with each other . . ."
This transformation from industrial to information age is not theory. It's been very much a fact-of-life for us for the past 10 years.
But this new economic theory is just that — very new. And were still searching out and developing answers to the question of what is the new economic agenda?
How in the midst of this great period of change can we truly develop an economics as if people mattered?
And what do we do with the massive casualties of this transformation ... particularly the unemployed and our most immediate concern for the future of our younger people?
Last October, as a result of my own work with employment, I was asked to join an international gathering in Northern Scotland to discuss just what were the elements of our next economy.
The conference was entitled "The New Economic Agenda" and was attended by 200 leading economists, entrepreneurs, business consultants and community organisers. It's aim was to explore our new economic landscape in the 1980s and 1990s from a perspective of both local and global change.
Part two: The next economy — some of the streams of thought that led to the New Economics conference.
Waitara: A Second Reading
Waitara: A Second Reading
Continuing the conversation about a very old land grab
by vivian Hutchinson
August 2017 35 min read download PDF for print
Ehara te Tiriti i te mea hei whakataunga.
Me whakahōnore kē!
The Treaty is not for settling.
It is for honouring!
A land grab in the 21st century is not a matter of soldiers and guns with Majors and Generals, and Colonial Native Ministers riding on white horses. It is not so obviously a matter of surveyors, or pegs and property maps.
Instead, a modern land grab is more a matter of lawyers, politicians, policy advisers and public submissions. The instruments of extraction here are legislation, reports from Parliamentary Select Committees, press releases, public relations and social media.
The grab is not so obvious when looks like a government MP sitting in Parliament, and propping up his iPad on his desk so that he can photograph it to share a special moment with his Facebook feed.
The iPad here is displaying a press release about a contentious Bill that had been drawn up by the New Plymouth District Council and, as the local MP, Jonathan Young had sponsored it to the House. The headline in the press release reads: “Historic Day for New Zealand: Maori Affairs Committee recommends that the New Plymouth District Council’s Waitara Lands Bill be approved”.
An iPad in the House – photo Jonathan Young/Facebook
Jonathan Young introduced his Bill to Parliament on Wednesday 14th September 2016. This was already a significant day on the calendar for the original Maori owners of this land, as it was the traditional observance of Maori Language Day.
It was also the anniversary of the day that Dame Whina Cooper started her historic month-long Maori Land March from Te Hapua to Parliament Grounds ... to protest against the continuing legislative theft of Maori land.
You may well wonder why it is, after 40 years of progress with apologies and settlements following the 1975 Maori Land March, that the New Plymouth District Council and the Taranaki Regional Council and the Crown are still planning to sell the Waitara lands? And how come this can still take place in 2017 over the very clear protests of the tangata whenua who had their land stolen?
The answer is a sobering picture of power and memory and race relations in our modern nation. And it is also a story of resistance to the continuing loss of Maori land, and hope that the long troubles of the Waitara lands can be resolved with genuine peace and reconciliation.
The Waitara lands have a special place in New Zealand’s history because this is where the Taranaki Land Wars first broke out on 17th March 1860.
The first shots of this war were fired at Te Kohia Pa, which had been erected on the edge of an area of land known as the Pekapeka Block (which makes up about half of the township of present-day Waitara). The ownership of the Pekapeka Block was in dispute in 1860, but the government had already begun to survey it for sale to new settlers.
Waitara also has a special place in New Zealand’s history because it reminds us of the original sin of our new nation: the theft of Maori land. This land grab was enabled through the legislative confiscation of huge areas of New Zealand by the new settler government.
In Taranaki, the politicians of the day told themselves that the land confiscations were a punishment for the organised resistance by Maori “rebels”. It seems pretty clear now that these “rebels” were simply protecting their own property.
And after the confiscations, the original Maori owners were forced to watch and accept a huge influx of new immigrants to the province, who then made their own homes and farms and livelihoods on the back of these stolen lands.
Since 1860, the original question of the ownership of the Waitara Lands has had rulings from Governor George Grey (in 1863), the Sim Royal Commission of Inquiry into Confiscated Lands (in 1927) and the Waitangi Tribunal (in 1996) ... and they all have acknowledged that these lands were taken illegally from their rightful owners.
The latest Waitara Lands Bill concerns the remaining leasehold lands within the region, which still are in public ownership 150 years after the original confiscations. The Bill proposes that the holders of the 778 leasehold titles in Waitara will be able to freehold their sections.
During the formal hearings on this Bill, the New Plymouth District Council, The Taranaki Regional Council, the MP sponsoring the legislation, and the various Crown agencies advising on it ... have all agreed that this land was stolen. Plain and simple.
But giving it back has been anything but plain and simple.
What was broken, cut-up and distributed in the 1860s has seemed almost impossible to put back together again. And “all the King’s horses and all the King’s men” have been unable to translate the acknowledgement of historical wrong-doing ... into present-day justice.
the billboard on Devon St, in central New Plymouth photo/vivian Hutchinson
Not long before Jonathan Young MP sat in Parliament celebrating the successful passing of the Second Reading of his Bill ... a billboard had been erected on the central main street of his New Plymouth electorate.
It showed the horses and men of the Colonial British Army standing on the Waitara lands. The land itself was drawn as a living entity in the distinctive style of Taranaki Maori carving.
This illustration had been provided by the prominent Maori artist Cliff Whiting, who had done a series of drawings about the Waitara Lands dispute in 1978. Whiting sadly passed away not long after the New Plymouth billboard was erected.
The billboard read: It started in Waitara. Let it end in Waitara. Return the Stolen land.
This message carried no signature of who had placed it there ... and this had led to a minor controversy in the local newspaper, The Taranaki Daily News.
The billboard had been organised by members of the Taranaki Maori Women’s Network, a loose collection of women from iwi throughout Taranaki who were supporting the Waitara hapu of Manukorihi and Otaraua in their fight to regain ownership and control of their former lands.
The Women’s network had been supporting the Waitara hapu at the Maori Affairs Select Committee hearings that were held at the Novotel Hotel in New Plymouth in November 2016, and later at the Owae Marae in Waitara in February 2017.
They had also organised and presented a petition with over 2,300 signatures calling on all members of Parliament to challenge and vote against the Bill, and encouraging the Council and the Government to create a new conversation that will be focused on healing and social justice.
The submissions at the public hearings were almost overwhelming in the numbers of people – Maori and Pakeha – who spoke to their rejection of the Bill. And the majority of the submitters were also loud and clear about their rejection of a process that had continued to marginalise the primary claims of the Waitara hapu.
It was not the place of the Maori Affairs Select Committee to defend the Bill, as it had been drawn up by the New Plymouth District Council. Their job was to listen and question and report on it, and suggest improvements and alternatives.
But the large number of submitters who spoke against the Bill had had an obvious effect on the members of the committee. As they considered and prepared their own report on the Bill, they were being left in no doubt that it was now their turn to step into the firing line of one of our nation’s longest-running disputes.
Maori Affairs Select Committee in session at the Novotel Hotel, New Plymouth 18th November 2016 photo/Taranaki Daily News ... L-R: Marama Fox (Maori Party), Jonathan Young (National), Chester Borrows (National), Tutehounuku Korako (National, Chairman), Nanaia Mahuta (Labour), Adrian Rurawhe (Labour), Catherine Delahunty (Green), Pita Paraone (New Zealand First).
And it was quite clear to them that there were many things fundamentally wrong with this piece of legislation. Even Jonathan Young himself was ready to concede that the Bill he was sponsoring was deeply flawed.
There were many reasons for this, but the most obvious one was that the needs and views of the original owners of the land were not being fully listened to and respected.
When it came to the question of how to deal with such an important Maori land claim, this NPDC Waitara Lands legislation was an example of how the national and Parliamentary consensus (even from within our most conservative political party) had moved well ahead of the political and bureaucratic world-view that still existed in the New Plymouth District and Taranaki Regional Councils.
Kuia Te Rau Aroha Watene Taungatara Denness at the head of the Peace for Pekapeka hikoi through the Waitara Lands, 21st September 2016 photo/Taranaki Daily News
The legislation as drawn up by the NPDC was originally intended to be considered in Parliament by the Local Government and Environment Committee. This is because it was being seen largely as a complex matter of local authority leasehold management.
But on 21st September 2016, the day the Bill had its first reading in the Houses of Parliament in Wellington, a major hikoi took place that walked over the Pekapeka Block and through the streets of Waitara to Owae Marae.
The hikoi drew people from throughout Taranaki, and had been organised by the Taranaki Maori Women’s Network in their support of the Waitara hapu and their role as guardians or kaitiaki with mana whenua over this land.
As the Bill was starting to be read in the House, MPs had their attention drawn to the people who were walking through the streets of Waitara. They were reminded that they were about to discuss the historic and still controversial Pekapeka Block.
And, after some last-minute on-the-floor interventions by Green MP Metiria Turei and the Deputy Speaker Chester Burrows, Committee Chairman Nuk Korako, and the sponsoring MP Jonathan Young ... the Bill changed its destination within the House and was referred for consideration to the Maori Affairs Select Committee.
(... click for larger view ...) photos of Peace for Pekapeka hikoi taken by Jane Dove Juneau, 21st September 2016
It was probably a natural thing that the views of tangata whenua would be taken much more seriously at a Maori Affairs Select Committee. It enabled the whole question of the Waitara leasehold lands to be considered in a wider historical context, and by committee members who understood more deeply the implications of this legislation to hapu and iwi. It also meant that the local Taranaki councils had to step up to a new negotiating table.
Poster for Peace for Pekapeka Hikoi 21st September 2016
And so it was. And as already mentioned, the public hearings at the Novotel and at Owae Marae saw an overwhelming number of people speak in rejection of the legislation. www.taranaki.gen.nz/waitarasubmissions
Jonathan Young later told Hokonui Radio that after the Owae hearings, he was driving to Hastings with his wife and he came to the decision that he had to do something about this. Young then came up with a plan to alter the legislation so that it would more decently recognise the claims of the Waitara hapu, and give them a much better slice of the pie when it came to the land sales. Young said: “... I came back, went to the NPDC, to the hapu and to different people. Everyone thought my plan would work ... and it has.”
Maori Affairs Select Committee Hearing at Te Ika a Maui, Owae Marae 17 February 2017 photo/Taranaki Daily News
What followed was a wholesale rewriting of the Waitara Lands Bill with the help of officials from the Office of Treaty Settlements. This was a complex matter of special meetings with various interested parties and authorities, and the Committee kept on delaying the publication of its report until the re-writing of the legislation was complete.
Then on Wednesday 2nd August 2017, the Maori Affairs Committee report was released ... complete with the media interviews by the New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom and Jonathan Young about this being an “historic day”.
The Mayor celebrated that this was “an example of how we can work through an extraordinarily complex matter ... to achieve a great result for our community while balancing the needs of all our 80,000 residents...” Other politicians observed that the solutions being proposed in the Second Reading of the Bill were a very “clever” solution to a difficult problem.
New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom
But once you got past the hyperbole, and a certain amount of election-year grandstanding ... you start to realise that this new Bill was being proposed and celebrated well before the Waitara hapu itself had fully discussed the options within this vastly changed legislation.
The public relations spin was definitely premature. There was no avoiding the fact that while the main politicians were making a song-and-dance about acknowledging a troubled history, and better recognising the claims of the Waitara hapu ... there were still significant parts of the Bill which many hapu leaders had consistently made clear that they had trouble with.
Not the least of their concerns is the major sticking point that the hapu will still have to pay to get back much of their own stolen property.
The votes for the Waitara Lands Bill 2nd Reading – Jonathan Young/Facebook
Away from the radio stations and the press statements and social media, the fact that the Waitara hapu still needed to think about it was properly acknowledged in Parliament when the Second Reading was held. Jonathan Young also conceded that he was giving up on his goal to get the legislation passed into law before Parliament went into recess ahead of the 2017 elections.
This meant that the Waitara hapu were being given a few months to come up with their response to the changed legislation, and to their new role within it ... before the Bill would probably be taken forward by a new government later in the year.
Now let’s get this into some perspective.
The Waitara hapu of Manukorihi and Otaraua live within one of Taranaki’s lowest socio-economic communities. In the New Zealand of 2017, this means a lot in terms of their daily struggle to keep families fed and clothed and sheltered.
Their alienation from their own assets over 150 years has had definite consequences to their survival and to the level of shared trauma that has also persisted in their lives over that time.
These families heroically struggle with their own infrastructure issues and internal politics, while generously providing the hospitality and manuhiritanga that is expected of those with mana whenua over the Waitara area.
They have endured a very long process of public engagement over this Waitara Lands Bill. For some of them, this has still felt like being on the receiving end of a colonial process of power where the New Plymouth District Council and the Taranaki Regional Council have continued to de-legitimise their views and marginalise their contributions in shaping possible solutions.
As the Otaraua Chairman Rawiri Doorbar told the Maori Affairs committee hearings at Owae Marae: they are tired. Most of their leadership are also holding down full-time jobs, and then are expected to step up to being “partners” in this process when they get home from work.
They don’t have the resources to employ consultants, lawyers and real estate advisers, or have the time to grow the trusting relationships they would need to have with such professionals.
And now at this last-minute stage when the major politicians are finally recognising the primary claims of the Waitara hapu over these disputed lands ... these families are being given just a few months (in an election year) to come up with a considered response to a completely new version of the legislation.
Waitara and the Pekapeka Block
Jonathan Young has told Parliament that officials expect that “... about $28 million will be available over the next 20 years for hapu to buy, develop, and maintain land in and around Waitara.”
Of course it looks a very tempting offer. That level of money speaks quite loudly. And because the new offer was drawn up under the guidance of the Office of Treaty Settlements ... it probably represents the consensus of compromise that exists around such settlements in 2017.
But there is no way that the institutions participating in this particular compromise – the Taranaki councils, the government agencies, or even a modern Crown-mandated iwi authority – would themselves submit to such a timetable for the consideration of an offer like this.
There is no way that these institutions would entertain a similar offer without going through a rigorous amount of due diligence and professional advice.
But we seem to be expecting the Waitara hapu to do such a thing – with such immense consequences for themselves and with repercussions for their communities.
The fact that this is happening in this way shows us that – after all the successes of settlements and apologies over the last forty years – our national and local politicians have still got a lot to learn about the process of reconciliation with Maori.
New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill 2018
Let’s look deeper into the new version of the Bill.
Yes, the Second Reading version of this legislation contains substantial changes. It has gone through over 35 redrafts. There is hardly a page that does not have either new clauses inserted, or something deleted.
But the Bill has not changed its primary purpose and objectives. Although the New Plymouth District Council has made significant concessions to the Waitara hapu, the Council has not budged from their original intention to sell this stolen property.
The Bill will enable the current leaseholders to freehold their sections ... a process that will privatise this stolen land, and put it beyond the reach of its original owners.
The Bill encourages the hapu to consider an arrangement in which they will be able to buy back their own stolen property with some of the money gained from the land sales. Actually, the Bill only provides the Waitara hapu with about a quarter of the funds from the sales in order to do this.
This concept of having to buy back your own stolen property continues to be a real barrier to resolving the Waitara grievances.
This point was acknowledged by Labour’s new Deputy-Leader Kelvin Davis when he spoke in the House during the Second Reading. While supporting the Bill, Davis said that it was as if someone was to steal his car and the police came along and said "Kelvin, we've got your car here, but we want you to pay to have it returned." Davis said he would not be terribly happy about that ... but in effect, this is what Te Atiawa were being asked to do.
Meanwhile, the Taranaki Regional Council has also not budged from their original intention to use their former "endowment" funds from these lands to subsidize their statutory obligations to look after the Waitara River.
The costs of looking after every other river in Taranaki are paid for out of Regional rates levied on every Taranaki citizen and property owner. But in the case of Waitara, the original and current owners of the leasehold lands are still being expected to pay double for such a service.
What is new in the Bill is that it offers a co-governance arrangement with tangata whenua on the management of the Waitara River, which is probably a good thing. But this arrangement is no compensation for the continuing injustice of what the people of Waitara are still being expected to pay.
The Bill does give back land more directly to the Waitara hapu, or to the Te Atiawa iwi authority ... which is also a good thing. This includes about 60 hectares of reserve, and another 16 hectares which are available for residential development. The Council says that this means 45% of the endowment land “would be returned to mana whenua”. The hapu are also being given the rights of first refusal (RFR) on the possible future sales of some council-owned properties.
It does seem almost generous when you put it that way ... but then you have to remember that this is 45% of only the stolen land that still remains in public ownership. The rest of the former confiscated Maori lands of Waitara township have already been privatised at some time over the last 150 years.
As the former Te Atiawa Treaty settlements negotiator Peter Moeahu pointed out at the Select Committee hearings, the land on offer deserves closer scrutiny. He notes that the public reserves will essentially remain in NPDC control. He also maintains that the residential land for development offered in the Bill is part of an old rubbish dump. And he knows of no NPDC plan to sell the RFR properties, so these parts of the offer are being made without immediate benefit to the Waitara hapu.
Finally, in spite of all the delays and broken deadlines, when you read the report of the Maori Affairs Select Committee it still feels like a rush-job. And it is important to note that the committee have arrived at their recommendations without a consensus.
The recommendation for the amended Bill to go forward to its Second Reading was supported by the National-led government and the Labour Party and the Maori Party members. The New Zealand First and Green Party members had their dissent recorded in the report, but for different reasons.
New Zealand First was against the establishment of any statutory authority (in this case, a co-governance board for the Waitara River) with a membership that included people who had not been properly elected to do the job.
The Greens were adamant that they were not going to support the Bill any further in the House until it was more fully considered and supported by the Waitara hapu.
So ... in the twilight zone of a national election and the formation of a new government, the Waitara hapu are being left to do their own “due diligence”, and to make their decisions on whether they support or decline their new role within this Bill.
There’s a lot to talk about in a few short months, and many questions to resolve. Whatever they decide will naturally be up to them. And like any group of families ... there are a diversity of attitudes and opinions that need to be worked through.
At the time of writing this article, no one can be certain that the Bill will definitely be taken forward by a new government ... or if it will lapse at this stage of its Second Reading, and the New Plymouth District Council will be forced to start again.
And similarly, it is not at all that clear what will happen if the Waitara hapu decline to accept the “opportunities” that are being presented to them in the latest version of the legislation.
Early on the morning of the day that the public hearings were being held at Waitara, a small group of the Taranaki Maori Women’s Network gathered in the rain at Robe Street Park, outside the Courthouse in New Plymouth.
They were standing around a bronze statue of Frederic Alonzo Carrington – the man often referred to as “the Father of New Plymouth”. Carrington had been the chief surveyor of the Plymouth Company who in 1841 selected the site of New Plymouth and oversaw the surveying of the street plans for town. At the time, his assistant surveyor was his younger brother, Octavius Carrington.
Moewai Aterea leading karakia with members of the Taranaki Maori Women’s Network gathered around the bronze Carrington Statue outside the New Plymouth Courthouse 17th February 2017 photo / vivian Hutchinson
In 1860, Octavius Carrington had been appointed the Provincial Surveyor for Taranaki, and it was in this role that he led a team of workers out to Waitara to measure up the disputed Pekapeka Block, in preparation for its sale.
The Te Atiawa leader Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitaake had made it clear to both Carrington and to the chief land purchase commissioner, Donald McLean, that he would not permit their survey or their occupation of the land.
Te Rangitaake sent out groups of Te Atiawa women to disrupt the survey teams and pull up the survey pegs that had been left in the ground.
Cliff Whiting, from Bitter Payment:The Taranaki Troubles by Michael Keith (1978) NZ School Journal
This was one of the acts of “rebellion” that led to the first shots being fired at Te Kohia Pa a few days later, and the commencement of the Taranaki Wars.
Cliff Whiting had memorialised this resistance in his 1978 illustration of the Atiawa women pulling up survey pegs that had pierced a living earth. He pictured the women chasing off Carrington and his survey team from the Pekapeka Block.
It was the descendants of those Atiawa women who had pulled up the pegs, who were now gathered outside the New Plymouth courthouse in the rain.
It is not their view that what took place 157 years beforehand was an act of “rebellion”. They now describe it as the first steps in a much longer passive resistance movement against the theft of Maori land. And it was this resistance that had immediately led to Te Pahua Tuatahi – Te Pahua o Whaitara – the plunder of Waitara.
But in 2017, the women and their children and friends had come to the Carrington statue with their own wooden pegs. These had been created by local artist Moewai Aterea, and had been inscribed with the names of Taranaki hapu and the Taranaki iwi and community organisations that had been supporting their kaupapa.
After a karakia, or blessing, Moewai Aterea chose a wooden stake on which she had inscribed “Return 2 Sender”. She deliberately hammered it into the ground before the statue of Frederic Alonzo Carrington, while chanting
E tu nga wahine o te wa o te kore
E tu nga wahine o Te Atiawa
E tu nga wahine o Te Pekapeka
E tu nga mokopuna o naianei
E tu, E tu, E tu
We have brought our own pegs ... photo/Robin Martin RNZ
Surveying is both the functional and the symbolic act of dominance that is the consummation of colonisation.
Surveying is an act of framing, and of extraction, and of commodification. It reduces the living, the messy and the grab ... into a tidy representation that is ripe for transaction and for sale.
It is no great mistake that “the Father of New Plymouth” was not a significant statesman, or spiritual figure, or a visionary with a poetic sense of what this new nation could become. No, he was the man who measured up the maps.
In choosing the Cliff Whiting illustration to be the symbol of their Peace for Pekapeka hikoi in September 2016, the Taranaki Maori Women’s network were trying to symbolise “pulling up the pegs” on the proposed Waitara Lands legislation ... and from any such maps that would lead to the final alienation of these lands from their original and proper owners.
As we mark the Second Reading of the Waitara Lands Bill, this might be a good time for all of us to reflect on what has taken place so far.
While the Waitara hapu make their own deliberations on the legislation ... we might like to reflect on the proclamations by the local Mayor and MP that the latest Select Committee report amounts to an “Historic Day for New Zealand”.
We may even begin to recognise that the Waitara hapu are a group of people that might have their own idea of what “historic” would look like to them.
And we could even realise that it would be worth everyone’s while if Manukorihi and Otaraua were able to fully make that case.
Notes and Links
The Peace for Pekapeka website of the latest news and media about the Waitara Lands Bill is at http://www.taranaki.gen.nz/pekapeka
Peace for Pekapeka is an initiative organised by the Taranaki Maori Women's Network and supported by Te Roopu Kaumatua o Whai Tara, Peaceful Province Initiative and Community Taranaki.
opening whakatauki taken from “Te Reo Hāpai – the Language of Enrichment” by Keri Opai (2017) published by Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui download from www.tepou.co.nz/resources/te-reo-hapai---the-language-of-enrichment/809<
Jonathan Young’s iPad in Parliament ... photo from Jonathan Young Facebook page 2nd August 2017 at www.facebook.com/MPJonathanYoung/posts/2018026105126370
Press Release “Historic Day for New Zealand” ... from New Plymouth District Council Website at www.newplymouthnz.com/Council/Council-Documents/News-and-Notices/2017/08/02/Historic-Day-for-New-Zealand-Maori-Affairs-Committee-Recommends-NPDCs-Waitara-Lands-Bill-Be-Approved
The New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill Parliamentary page is at www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/00DBHOH_BILL69946_1/new-plymouth-district-council-waitara-lands-bill
Report of the Maori Affairs Committee, New Zealand Parliament, and copy of the new version of the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill 2nd August 2017
"... We note that there are ongoing discussions between the Waitara hapū, the Trust, and our advisers. The Waitara hapū are yet to finalise their position, but support the bill to the second reading." www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/SCR_74760/e12facfba71f0fe00d9c826defbe7a14a4552760
The Waitara Lands Bill in Parliament (a Directory by the Peace for Pekapeka campaign) www.taranaki.gen.nz/waitaraparliament
Whina Cooper and the 1975 Maori Land March on Parliament ... see full-length documentary at www.nzonscreen.com/title/te-matakite-o-aotearoa-1975
1863 Governor Sir George Grey decision on the Waitara Lands ... see 1863 Despatches from Governor Sir George Grey dated from November 1863 to March 1864 to the Duke of Newcastle declaring the abandonment of the Waitara purchase" paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1863-I.184.108.40.206
1927 Sim Royal Commission into Confiscated Lands and other Grievances report can be read at atojs.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/atojs?a=d&d=AJHR1928-I.220.127.116.11&e=-------10--1------0
1996 Waitangi Tribunal report – Te Kaupapa Tuatahi Wai 143 available at forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/WT/wt_DOC_68453721/Taranaki%201996.compressed.pdf
Native Affairs - Selling off Waitara (7 mins) by Iulia Leilua, Native Affairs (Maori Television) 20th September 2016 The New Plymouth District Council is being accused by some Waitara Māori of selling off stolen land through the Waitara Lands Bill. Interviews with Dr Leonie Pihama and former NPDC councillor Howie Tamati. www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/native-affairs-selling-waitara
Cliff Whiting (1936-2017) was a Master Carver and a leader of the Maori artistic renaissance as an influential sculptor, painter, illustrator, printmaker and photographer. He was central to designing and creating the contemporary marae on the top floor of Te Papa. He was also a Member of the Order of New Zealand, the highest New Zealand honour. Cliff Whiting profile on Waka Huia (2015) www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB5LK4nJOnY
Cliff Whiting’s illustrations were made available courtesy of the artist to the Taranaki Maori Women’s Network for use in the Waitara Lands campaign. They are taken from “Bitter Payment: The Taranaki Troubles”, by Michael Keith, New Zealand School Journal, Part 4, Nos 1 & 2, 1978 (Ministry of Education)
Billboard on Devon Street, New Plymouth. See “Waitara land bill controversy posted up in city's main street” by Tara Shaskey, Taranaki Daily News 14 July 2017 www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/94726077/waitara-land-bill-controversy-posted-up-in-citys-main-street
black-and-white photographs of the Waitara Peace for Pekapeka hikoi taken by Jane Dove Juneau 21 September 2016. Her full album is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1121891231212252&id=165228956878489
money speaks loudly ... and there is another amount of money that is perhaps not speaking loud enough in this whole debate. This is the amount of money that the Crown and the various Councils have continued to extract from leases and sales of the Waitara Lands over the last 150 years. It has never been officially counted. So in a context where everyone agrees this is stolen property, the officials do not seem to be able to tell us how much money they have made from these assets since they were confiscated.
The Tamaki Treaty Workers network in Auckland have done some research on this in 2017. They have estimated that the councils have pocketed between $95m and $140m, excluding interest and any money from land sales.
“Council earned $140m from stolen land - Treaty Workers “ by Robin Martin, Radio New Zealand News Te Ao Maori 4th May 2017 www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/330067/council-earned-%24140m-from-stolen-land-treaty-group Interview with Carl Chenery and Rawiri Doorbar www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201842582/council's-earnings-from-waitara-land-bone-of-contention
Jonathan Young interviewed by Bryan Vickery on Hokonui Radio 4th August 2017, from from Morris West / Facebook www.facebook.com/morris.west.965/videos/vb.731938277/10155662939668278
Mayor Neil Holdom and Hapu Chairman Rawiri Doorbar on Waatea Radio
“Waitara Bill change needs hapu debate” (audio) Rawiri Doorbar interviewed on Radio Waatea by Dale Husband 3rd August 2017 www.waateanews.com/waateanews/x_story_id/MTY5MTA=/Waitara-Bill-change-needs-hapu-debate
“Waitara Bill sweetened for hapu” (audio) Mayor Neil Holdom interviewed on Radio Waatea by Dale Husband 3rd August 2017 www.waateanews.com/waateanews/x_story_id/MTY5MDk=/National/Waitara%20Bill%20sweetened%20for%20hapu
“Hapū support for revised Waitara land bill conditional” by Robin Martin, Radio New Zealand News 3rd August 2017 www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/336389/hapu-support-for-revised-waitara-land-bill-conditional
Otaraua hapū chairman Rawiri Doorbar said Waitara hapu considered the revised version a fresh start, but there was more consultation to be done. "The timeframe we were given hasn't allowed us to take the complete revised Bill out to our people, so ultimately the jury is still out on whether this is a Bill our people can live with."
Manukorihi hapū chairperson Patsy Bodger said any decision that resulted in the land not being returned to Waitara hapu would be difficult for some members to stomach. "It will be a huge discussion point with some of our hapu members because it's always been seen that what they wanted was to have the land back."
“Maori Affairs Select Committee recommend Waitara Land Bill be approved” by Tara Shaskey, Taranaki Daily News 3rd August 2017 www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/95367783/maori-affairs-select-committee-recommend-waitara-land-bill-be-approved
“Waitara Lands Bill passes second reading, moves into committee stage” by David Burroughs, Taranaki Daily News 10th August 2017 www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/95621096/waitara-lands-bill-passes-second-reading-moves-into-committee-stage
Waitara Lands Bill numbers (graphic) from Jonathan Young Facebook Page 9th August 2017 https://www.facebook.com/MPJonathanYoung/posts/2022001121395535
Kelvin Davis speech during the Second Reading of the NPDC (Waitara Lands) Bill, Parliament 9th August 2017 https://youtu.be/7UbVMs1PUEU
Peter Moeahu submission to the Maori Affairs Select Committee 1st October 2016 www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/51SCMA_EVI_00DBHOH_BILL69946_1_A536216/8fd0a31e6774b8dc3e928f4c6692b4c9b0630576
Ngaropi Cameron oral submission to the Maori Affairs Select Committee 18th November 2016 www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/51SCMA_EVI_00DBHOH_BILL69946_1_A542501/21fa83a55ef7fb0e375777446636bb19e7500349
Waitara – one of Taranaki’s lowest socio-economic communities ... see presentation on poverty in Taranaki and New Zealand by Local Pediatrician Dr Nicky Nelson (given at the
Tick 4 Kids Election Forum at the Plymouth Hotel August 2017) https://youtu.be/dcwdNGaVIcA
historical trauma ... see "Stolen Land and Healing Historic Trauma" by Awhina Cameron, from her opening korero at the Spring Taranaki Community Circle at the NPDC Council Chambers, 7th September 2016 drive.google.com/open?id=0B7p1jVWu6lEXNHRxeVc3amg3OVk
Moewai Aterea chant may be interpreted as ... Stand up women from the times of nothing / Stand up women of Te Atiawa / Stand up women of the Pekapeka / Stand up descendants of today / Stand up, Stand up, Stand up.
Other articles by vivian Hutchinson on the Waitara Lands dispute include “Watching the Seabirds at Waitara — we need a new conversation about a very old land grab” (2016) www.taranaki.gen.nz/watching-the-seabirds-at-waitara and “How to Explain Waitara to your Pakeha Friends and Relations” (2017) www.taranaki.gen.nz/how-to-explain-waitara
This paper is licensed for distribution under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/nz/deed.en
How to Explain Waitara to your Pakeha friends and Relations
How to Explain Waitara to your Pakeha friends and Relations
by vivian Hutchinson
February 2017 9 min read download PDF for print
The dispute over the Waitara Lands is one of the thorniest issues in Taranaki, and in our nation’s history.
This is not just because the conflicts in Waitara in the 1860s were the first engagements of the New Zealand Land Wars. It is also because of the land confiscations that followed these conflicts, and then the giving of some of this land to the predecessors of the New Plymouth District Council. This has ensured that the complexities of the Waitara dispute have endured until our present generation.
But it is not a complex issue. Any child knows the common-sense fair go that says if you steal something, then you should give it back. The dispute over the Waitara Lands is only complex when you are able to come up with 1001 ways of avoiding this common simplicity.
Let me try to give my European or Pakeha family and friends a more direct account of what the Waitara lands dispute might feel like if they were in the shoes of the Manukorihi and Otaraua hapu, the families who are known as the Waitara hapu of Te Atiawa.
And let’s shift the story:
Imagine that you are in the Argyle area of Scotland, and it is 1860, and you have just been visiting a family headed by a Mr McIntyre. This is quite a large extended family living on a ¼ acre section, on a street in a small rural Scottish village. The McIntyres are actually part of a Scottish clan that has lived in the Argyle area for nearly a thousand years. You found that this family were very hospitable, and were quite happy on their street and their modest section.
But, not long after your visit, the McIntyres, and many of their neighbours, were forcibly evicted from their homes by the English who wanted to sell their properties to someone else. In the case of the McIntyre in our story, it was a violent eviction and the roof of his home was removed. This was hotly resisted, and one of the McIntyre sons was killed in the altercation.
Just a few years later, Mr McIntyre and his family actually were able to return to live on that same section on the same street, only this time McIntyre was paying a leasehold rent to the English (a payment he called “the ransom”), along with the property rates he paid to the local Council, and the interest rates he paid to the local bank manager for the mortgage loan he had taken out to rebuild his home and pay all these ongoing expenses.
But McIntyre never forgot that the land he was living on had been stolen from him ... and over the next 160 years, his children and his children’s children never stopped telling the story of this theft, and their desire to have their stolen property returned.
Now imagine that 160 years have passed, and the English government has had a change of heart. In fact, they formally apologised for the theft of the McIntyre section, and other properties in the area ... and they said were sorry for the violence which the family and clan had suffered in the process. The current Mr McIntyre – six generations on, and still living in the same house – was very pleased with this.
But McIntyre’s section was not returned to him, nor was any of the other land that had been stolen from his clan. Instead, the English government had decided to pay a sum of compensation to another person, a Mr Campbell, who was a distant relative of McIntyre and who lived on the same street.
It seems that the main qualification that Campbell had for receiving the compensation was that he seemed to be the sort of Scot that the English could do business with. And he particularly needed to be someone who would take the money in order to fully and finally settle this old dispute – and not harp on about needing the actual land to be returned.
(I should point out that Campbell has said that he would spend the compensation money – minus his own expenses – for the betterment of all Scots living in the Argyle.)
But McIntyre’s story does not end there. He did some research and found that the English government (which by this time was calling itself The Crown) had given his section, and many other properties on his street, to the local Council. The Crown had given this land to the Council for no payment, and were describing this as an act of philanthropy that had magically transformed this land into an “endowment” which provided ongoing money to pay for Council activities.
Despite the goodness of its name, this “endowment” was simply based on members of the McIntyre clan, and their other neighbours, still paying their “ransom” over many years.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the local Council got caught up in the change of heart about what had happened 160 years ago, and decided that it would like to do something to make amends. But it didn’t deal directly with Mr McIntyre, nor most of his neighbours who had their land stolen.
Instead, the Council made an offer to Mr Campbell that it would hand over all the lands that it had in its “endowment” leases ... but only if Campbell was prepared to pay a current market rate for these sections. When Campbell thought about it, he decided that this was an outrageous idea and turned it down. Why should he be expected to pay for something that had been stolen in the first place ... and had been given by the Crown to the Council at no charge?
The local Council was a bit surprised at this rejection ... but soon got over it. It quickly decided that it was going to sell its leasehold sections anyway, if it could only get itself out of the strict legal conditions that the Crown had imposed on its original “endowment”.
So that’s where we are today, and there is no happy ending yet in this particular tale.
Yes, the present-day Mr McIntyre has ended up with an apology ... but it hasn’t amounted to anything that really mattered to him. He never got his land back, and he is continuing to pay his leasehold rents to the local authority.
It is a story that could drive you to drink. But that didn’t happen for the Mr McIntyre in our tale until fairly recently. I think the tipping point came one morning when McIntyre was walking up his street past another section that had been originally owned by his clan, but was also stolen and sold off by the English.
On the side of the road, he saw a sign that said the local Council had bought the section, and were now turning it into a museum for tourists and back-packers. This museum would become a place that would tell the story of the Scottish clearances and the terrible violence and murders that took place on that very street, 160 years ago.
Of course you can see that I am making up an allegory here ... yet it is a story that comes somewhat close to the experience of the extended families of the Waitara hapu of Te Atiawa.
The point of this story-telling is that I don’t know a Scotsman alive that would settle for the sort of deals that our government and our Council are expecting the local Maori people to settle for. And I believe there just hasn’t been enough energy put into listening to Maori, and trying to really see things from their point of view.
If you take a look at the majority of submissions to the Maori Affairs Select Committee on the proposed Waitara Lands Bill, you will see that they are opposed to the Bill. This includes Maori and Pakeha submitters. A great many of them spell out clearly how the latest proposals to freehold the Waitara Lands will create yet another layer of historical grievance.
Let’s stop this.
Let’s figure out how to finally return this stolen property – at no cost to the Waitara hapu, and with no strings attached.
This may be the best opportunity we have had, in our generation, to try to bring real peace and reconciliation to these continuing grievances.
6th February 2017
vivian Hutchinson is a trustee of Community Taranaki.
This paper is licensed for distribution under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/nz/deed.en
Watching the Seabirds at Waitara
We need a new conversation about a very old land grab
by vivian Hutchinson
July 2016 35 min read download PDF for print
It is perhaps quite appropriate that the Taranaki Peace Walk to Parihaka started on the same day that submissions on the Waitara Lands Bill were being heard by the New Plymouth District Council.
The Waitara lands remain a political hot potato because they are part of a shameful history of conflict going back to the 1860s. The first shots fired in anger which sparked the New Zealand Land Wars were fired over the Waitara lands.
It is worth reflecting on the fact that the war that followed was known to many Maori as Te Riri Pakeha, or “the White Man’s Anger”.
The wounds created by this anger have been with us for 160 years, and at one time or another the stories of these wounds have been on the table of everyone who has sought to govern the Waitara lands.
The fact that we, as New Zealanders, still have to resolve the question of Waitara just shows us how such anger can still have its effects felt many generations later.
It also tells us about the sorry state of our governance.
Half of the Waitara leasehold titles are on the Pekapeka block. It was the disputes over purchasing this block which led to the outbreak of the first Taranaki Land War of 1860. Five years later, the local iwi and hapu lost most of their tribal lands by legislative confiscation.
It was upon assuming title by this confiscation, that the Crown gradually gifted pieces of these lands to various local authorities, who then leased them out.
The New Plymouth District Council now has “ownership” of these lands largely because it inherited the political pass-the-parcel that had occurred during the shifting sands of local government restructuring and treaty settlement negotiations.
Today, the New Plymouth District Council owns 778 leasehold titles in Waitara, the majority of them in residential sections. The annual rental for these leases is around $1.3 million.
The draft Waitara Lands Bill proposes to enable these leasehold sections to be freeholded. And the public debate at the moment is largely about the price that current leaseholders will have to pay once the bill is passed into law.
But the story of this particular land is also a good illustration of what the Taranaki Peace Walkers have been talking about when describing the need to “...walk into a new conversation” about race relations, civic inclusion, and peace and safety in our communities.
In the context of the New Plymouth Council hearings taking place last month on the Waitara Lands Bill ... perhaps the Peace Walk itself was a submission.
The Waitara Lands – “ Our people have never relinquished our claims to this land. This whenua is our parent. This river is our lifeblood. Our tupuna are buried here. Our ancestral links stretch back in an unbroken line to the time when people first settled here ...” – Moki White, speaking to the Waitangi Tribunal 1991 (photo Phillip Capper / Flickr)
The current conversation we are having about the Waitara lands is just not capable of serving the deeper needs of our communities at this time ... as it only continues the old story of picking winners and losers.
This old story is policed and mediated - at considerable ongoing public cost - by council and government lawyers and policy advisors who do not seem capable of laying out a pathway that will lead to authentic peace and reconciliation.
There is an assumption in the proposed bill that “freeholding” is a widely held goal. It is argued that this freeholding will open up Waitara to new economic development, as investors and home buyers and shop-keepers will not be constrained by the current leasehold arrangements.
But the privatisation of the leasehold titles can also be seen as the latest iteration of the land grabs of the 1860s. The bill as it stands simply continues the process of alienating the original owners from their assets ... assets that are still very much needed to be working in their interests.
The freeholding process itself - in our current and crazy housing market volatility – is most likely to lead to a feeding frenzy by real estate agents, valuers and mortgage brokers. And the release of these market pressures will see poorer people - Maori and Pakeha, and especially the elderly and people on fixed incomes - ultimately forced to move on from their homes on formerly leasehold properties.
Of course there are other options. But it is much harder for them to emerge out of the current conversation, or the current processes of council submissions and governance.
I say “good-on-you” to Te Atiawa for themselves choosing to pass ... when the Waitara lands were finally offered to them in the 2014 Treaty Settlement process.
The government would have been handing to them a real risk and burden, especially with various politicians over the years promising leaseholders that they will soon be able to freehold their homes. Te Atiawa would have been walking into a real powder keg of expectations that were not of their own making.
The Treaty negotiations over these lands even came with a price attached. Te Atiawa were being offered their own stolen lands at an average valuation of about $30,000 per lease — $23 million all up.
When you consider that Te Atiawa – like so many of the other tribal groups around New Zealand – were signing a “settlement” of their Waitangi Treaty claim for less than 1% of the value of the land stolen from them ... then perhaps you might appreciate their response.
I would argue that it is the business of government to sort out these historical grievances without further burdening the original owners. Perhaps it might be more correct to say that it is the business of the Pakeha-led government to sort it out.
The Waitara lands are definitely a case where Pakeha need to wake up and talk with other Pakeha.
New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd himself has certainly woken up. It was the case of the Waitara lands that led the Mayor to a personal realisation that his own attitudes on race relations needed to change.
The Mayor made national headlines in May when he announced he wouldn’t be standing for re-election following a backlash from voters after he’d tried to introduce a Maori ward in New Plymouth. Judd described himself as a “recovering racist” and spoke about a cultural awakening that had made him realise his attitude towards Maori needed to change.
Until Andrew Judd read the historical accounts of the Waitara lands, and saw “through Te Atiawa’s eyes” how they’d been alienated from their assets, he’d been on the other side of the issue – seeing the leaseholders as the victims of unreasonable Maori demands.
As he’s said: “What jumped out so loud to me was ... not only what had happened, but how it had happened in our past. And that planted a seed that has been a constant journey for me about why I didn’t know this. Why didn’t I know?”
This realisation was the beginning of his own unusual journey that led to last month’s Taranaki Peace Walk to Parihaka.
But it is significant that Mayor Judd has also realised something else: that we will just keep on making the same mistakes unless we fundamentally change the conversation we are having.
Children at the front of Taranaki Peace Walkers arriving at Parihaka Pa, 17 June 2016 (photo Robin Martin/RNZ)
The Peace Walk to Parihaka was in some ways an echo of the Maori Land March to Parliament led by Whina Cooper in 1975 – particularly in the way that both walks were dignified events which bore none of the media protest clichés of placards, banners, flags or chanting.
Such hikoi are designed not to shout at you, but to invite people to talk with one another ... and to talk in ways that break new grounds of possibility.
I was involved in the organising of the 1975 Land March and it was not an event that was primarily motivated by historic grievances. It was a reaction to the very contemporary legislation that was still alienating Maori land – the Public Works Act, the Town and Country Planning Act, and the Ratings Act.
Legislation was still the preferred instrument of theft in the 1970s, as it was with the massive land confiscations of the 1860s.
James K. Baxter
In 1972, the poet James K. Baxter summed up the attitude of the government by likening it to a dog crouching under the table on which somebody is crumbling a loaf of bread.
“... Each time that crumbs fall to the ground the government licks them up with its tongue. It hopes in time to devour the whole loaf.”
The bill which the current New Plymouth District Council is sending to government for approval is just another step in the breaking up and devouring of the loaf that is the Waitara Lands.
In the privatisation of the Waitara leases, the old dog still hopes to devour it all.
Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake
When we change the conversation, we just might get to listen to the words of Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake, the Waitara chief of great influence and authority in the 19th century. As the leader of Te Atiawa, he spoke for the original owners of these lands.
Wiremu Kingi often wrote of his wish for friendly relations with Pakeha settlers, but he did not believe he should have to sell land to achieve this result.
The main street in Waitara today is named after Donald McLean, the chief land purchase commissioner of the 1850s. This man shares no small responsibility in fostering the conflicts that led to war, the alienation of the Waitara lands, and the confiscation of most of Taranaki province.
Just before the first shots were fired at Waitara, Wiremu Kingi wrote a letter to Donald McLean about the pressure to sell. He said:
“These lands will not be given by us into the Governor’s and your hands, lest we resemble the seabirds which perch on a rock. When the tide flows the rock is covered by the sea, and the birds take flight, for they have no resting place.”
War and the legislative theft of land did follow. And this forced so many families of Te Atiawa into becoming the seabirds that Wiremu Kingi predicted in his letter to McLean.
The seabirds are an ongoing legacy that has come down until the current day.
The continuing and widening gaps in well-being between Maori and Pakeha in Taranaki are a real consequence of a people spending decades dodging the tides, and not always finding a rock on which to land.
Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Taranaki is the post-Treaty settlement governance entity of Te Atiawa, and it has come out in support of the draft bill that is now being sent to parliament.
Under the bill, the iwi authority will also be given a couple of council reserves, a block of land zoned for residential development, and first refusal rights on other surplus land.
While acknowledging the return of a small portion of the disputed land to the iwi, the authority is also clear that the bill is not the deal that they would have preferred.
In their statement on the proposed legislation, the authority first points out that the bill “...does not fully recognise or compensate for the fact the land confiscations [of the 1860s] were wrongful, unjust and in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.”
But Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa says it is prepared to support the freeholding initiative in the interests of “compromise” and “moving things forward”.
The authority says that Te Atiawa iwi and hapu “...have been expected to make immense compromise in order to progress these issues.” The authority also remarked that it hoped that others are open to working with them “... so that our community can move forward together”.
Community Conversations on the Taranaki Peace Walk 2016 “Such hikoi are designed not to shout at you, but to invite people to talk with one another ... and to talk in ways that break new grounds of possibility.” (photo vivian Hutchinson / Community Taranaki)
It is worth noting that Mayor Andrew Judd has also got in behind the freeholding bill even though he, and several other influential councillors, have had serious doubts.
Here too, they are speaking the language of “compromise” in the interests of getting “political movement” over a vexing issue. And when questioned, it is also clear that they are trying to be pragmatic about what they think they can get approved by their political colleagues.
Yet I am left thinking: Why on earth are we expecting that the settlement of this, the original land dispute that broke our new country into war, to be based on such a significant level of compromise?
What is it about our settlements process that just expects such a significant level of compromise from the negotiating partner that has the least resources?
In especially this case of the Waitara lands, shouldn’t the Pakeha-led governance be going the extra mile to do the right thing ... rather than just what might be easily palatable to the current crop of politicians?
There is a real problem here that too much “compromise” means that we are left with just the lip service of reconciliation.
And this means that the real issues of justice over the Waitara lands will still be left for a future generation to more fully resolve.
Otaraua Hapu leaders Rawiri Doorbar and Donna Eriwata present their submission to the New Plymouth District Council Hearings on the Waitara Lands Bill, 15 June 2016 (photo NPDC / Facebook)
The position of compromise taken by Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Taranaki, is a stance that is not supported by all its contributing members. The iwi authority has faced significant opposition by the Waitara-based hapu of Manukorihi and Otaraua, as well as the nearby hapu of Ngati Tawhirikura.
These three hapu opposed the signing of the $87m Treaty deal in 2014 between the Crown and Te Atiawa, because they felt the deal undermined the position of those tribal members who would rather have their confiscated lands returned. This is one of the reasons why the signing ceremony for the Treaty settlement did not take place at Te Atiawa’s primary home of Owae Marae at Waitara.
Part of the problem here is that government authorities had already pre-determined that their settlement process will be negotiated between the Crown and iwi ... and not at the more local level of hapu.
In 2014, some members of the local hapu ploughed a section of land in central Waitara and held a peaceful protest... an action imitating the historic Parihaka passive resistance ploughing campaigns of the 1880s. This dissent was aimed as much at the Te Atiawa authority as it was at the Crown.
And members of the Waitara hapu also spoke at the most recent hearings on the Waitara Lands Bill. Again, they restated that they didn’t want their iwi to sell and take the money ... they wanted their ancestral land back.
As one of the Manukorihi elders told the hearing, the original declaration by Wiremu Kingi – that this land will never be relinquished – was as strong today as it was in 1860.
New Plymouth District Councillor Howie Tamati
Former rugby league star Howie Tamati has been a New Plymouth District Councillor for the last 15 years, and is the only Maori at the District Council table. Like Mayor Judd, he also plans to step down later this year, at the end of the current term of office.
Tamati says he has been unable to sleep well since he read the papers on the Waitara lands, and he realised that this issue was going to be one of the last things he would have to deal with as a District Councillor.
On Tuesday, 5th July 2016, at the Council meeting to finalise the details of the Waitara Lands Bill, Tamati stunned his colleagues with a speech that broke with their collective intention to “move things forward” on the basis of selling the leases.
Warning his fellow councillors that he was close to tears, Tamati said that his thoughts were with the men and women of Te Atiawa nui tonu who, along with other tribes of Taranaki, had protested against the injustices placed on them by the confiscation of their ancestral lands.
Tamati read the names of many prominent Te Atiawa elders over the past 160 years who have fought to try and reclaim what was taken ... telling his fellow councillors, “Those people are with me now.”
“I look at the hapu of Otaraua and Manukorihi, like all hapu members around the country have forcibly had their rights and views put aside by the government to allow ease of negotiations with iwi entities which represent all the collective hapu. This [bill] is not the making of Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa, but is based on agreements made before their establishment, and abiding by the rules of the Crown.
“Waitara is in the rohe of Otaraua and Manukorihi and it is their taonga, their turangawaewae ... it’s their place to stand. They have had little say in this decision today – and they are hurting and they are aggrieved.
“I stand here today and say I can’t and will not support this bill going forward to parliament. My tupuna are saying to me: Do not sell the Pekapeka. The lands in Waitara were stolen illegally, and they should be returned to those it belonged to, and they should not be required to buy it back.”
After Tamati’s short speech, there was a long silence from his peers. And then all the other councillors voted in favour of accepting the bill and sending it to Parliament ... with Tamati being the only voice saying “No”.
His dissent was not recorded in the official minutes of the meeting.
Howie Tamati: “My tupuna are saying to me: Do not sell the Pekapeka. The lands in Waitara were stolen illegally, and they should be returned to those it belonged to, and they should not be required to buy it back ...” (photo NPDC)
The push to privatisation of the Waitara leases, without returning the lands to the original owners first, is the primary reason for the failure so far of all the governance attempts to “move things forward” over this issue.
Everything else that has been tried is simply a way of avoiding the plain fact that the various statutory authorities are acting as the receivers of stolen goods.
I am Pakeha, and yet I join with Howie Tamati in the hope that the proposed Waitara Lands Bill – with all its compromises and good intentions – fails to be passed by government. We can, and should, be doing much better.
As New Zealanders, we should be asking a lot more of ourselves. Even at this very late stage, we should be doing all we can to roll back this final incarnation of the very old land grab that is woven into the origins of our nation.
I am reminded that similar attempts to sell the Waitara leases have already failed in the past, and for good reasons.
It was in my grandfather’s time, in 1927, that the Sim Commission concluded that the wars of the 1860s were wrong, and the confiscations were unjustified. The Waitara lands were not returned then ... but at least it was the beginning of saying: Sorry.
In 1996, the Waitangi Tribunal upheld the long-held Maori claims over these confiscated lands, and also concluded that the Crown had acted wrongly. The Tribunal acknowledged the ongoing impact that the loss of confiscated lands has had on Maori communities.
A bill to freehold the Waitara leases was attempted in government two decades ago, and thankfully the then Treaty Minister Doug Graham stopped it. He wanted to see the lands available for the Settlement process with Te Atiawa.
But just because Te Atiawa did not pick up this option when it was offered by later treaty negotiators, doesn’t mean that the Pakeha-led governance responsibilities over these lands has ended.
The pressing responsibility of Pakeha here is not to sit at a table and hear yet more painful “submissions” from the real owners of the land. Our responsibility is to transform the conversations we’ve been having with each other over these important issues.
Waitara remains a continuing invitation from Maori to Pakeha that, as New Zealanders, we should be doing the right thing.
Why is it so difficult for the statutory authorities to get their heads around the idea that the right thing is to simply hand the control of these leases back to the original owners ... with no-strings-attached?
The Pakeha-led governance responsibility here is to get out of the way.
One of the most interesting things in this story is that we can have a great deal of confidence that when we actually get out of the way, Pakeha people in our communities will still be treated with civility and respect.
It is important to note that the Te Atiawa voice of compromise is being offered in the face of some over-the-top demands and threats from a section of the leaseholders.
There have been street protests, and the threat to disrupt some World Cup Cricket qualifying matches in New Plymouth, as a way of drawing attention to their situation.
A few of the leaseholders have threatened to set fire to their own houses if they are unable to freehold their leases on favourable terms (... a threat being taken seriously enough by the local fire brigade who has visited the people to tell them not to do anything stupid).
But any fears and inverted projections that Maori landlords will enact some sort of economic revenge on the Pakeha residents of leasehold lands, is not something that holds real credence when you look at the actual history of the area.
Yes, the leaseholders at Waitara have been living off a privilege that was delivered to them by war and theft. They may not have personally engineered this predicament, but nevertheless they have been the beneficiaries of it.
And yes, this privilege has come at an inter-generational cost to the individuals and whanau of Te Atiawa.
Yet despite all this, under the continuing influence of the prophets Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi of Parihaka, the Maori families and the communities around Owae Marae at Waitara have preached and tried to demonstrate a message of peace and forgiveness.
For Pakeha people, this is a message that is not intended to just give us good feelings ... but it should be a message that awakens our responsibilities.
Peace and forgiveness are the qualities that give us the space to enable a different conversation. One of the purposes of peace and forgiveness is to foster the hope that we will indeed wake up, and then act for real justice and reconciliation.
The land in dispute here is often referred to as the Waitara “endowment” leases ... as if the word “endowment” itself implies some sort of philanthropic gesture or legacy from a former generation.
There is some irony in this ... yet perhaps these lands are indeed an ongoing legacy: a legacy that keeps on inviting us to do the right thing.
The new bill proposes that the proceeds of land and leasehold sales be vested in a continuing fund that will benefit “the people of Waitara”. Some of the uses of this fund, as proposed, would include such things as repairing the Waitara riverbanks, or upgrading the Waitara Library ... things that will benefit “all the residents”.
The administration of the fund will be a convoluted arrangement that splits the proceeds between the Taranaki Regional Council and the New Plymouth District Council.
The Regional Council share of the funds will be used “...to perform TRC statutory duties in Waitara”. The New Plymouth share of the fund will be overseen by a six-member statutory authority (yet to be established), with three members appointed by Te Atiawa.
In other words, in the end, the original owners will only be left with minority stake in making decisions on the total income from the Waitara lands.
And, as some of the submitters to the bill pointed out last month: Why should such a fund be set up to pay for the very things that Waitara people are already paying rates for?
The proposal smells like the establishment of a Waitara slush fund, and one of the primary beneficiaries will be the various Council administrators who are trying to find revenue for local services.
There are many faces to a land grab ... or a value grab ... and to this one I believe we should continue to say: hands off!
The Taranaki Peace Walk was sparked by the backlash experienced by Mayor Andrew Judd when he called for better representation of Maori in local government affairs – something that is already a requirement enshrined in law, and by the spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi.
If the existing statutory authorities of the Taranaki region are unable to properly include Maori in their decision-making right now, then why should anyone trust these institutions to properly administer the proceeds of the sales of the Waitara lands or the leasehold rents?
Freeholding the Waitara leases may well be the ultimate outcome of all this ... but that should be a decision made by the original owners, and not a choice primarily made by the political descendants of the thieves.
Similarly, it should be the choice of Te Atiawa and its hapu as to any special arrangement made for those low-income leaseholders who would be struggling to meet their commitments under fair market levels of rent for the land.
It is just patronising for anyone to assume that Te Atiawa is unable to make its own choices for the common good of Waitara and its most vulnerable residents.
This is what “no-strings-attached” really means when you hand things back to the real victims of this historical disgrace.
“No-strings-attached” means that Maori communities and their political institutions get to grow up and mature into their own sense of real authority. They get to make their own mistakes, have their own arguments between each other, and sort things out on their own terms ... just like any other group of families who don’t always act with one mind.
The restored Maori owners may indeed make choices in the interests of community stability which would put some of the current District Council proposals to shame ... choices that might include freezing the rents until a vulnerable leaseholder dies, or decides to sell their property.
The current Council proposal in the Waitara Lands Bill is only to freeze rents to leaseholders for a year ... to give people the “breathing space” to sort their finances out.
Community Conversations on the Taranaki Peace Walk 2016 – “Peace and forgiveness are the qualities that give us the space to enable a different conversation.” (photo vivian Hutchinson / Community Taranaki)
There is good reason to think that the restoration of Maori ownership might lead to some innovative solutions of their own. That’s what “getting-out-of-the-way” really enables.
One of the many suggestions in the reports about the use of the funds from the Waitara lands is the establishment of an affordable housing strategy. This is interesting to me because, ironically, the privilege given to Waitara leaseholders (over the hundred or more years) has been a privilege of affordable housing.
The leaseholders have been able to create their homes on lands that have had the advantage of relatively low rentals. (For example: a local real estate agent has estimated that some leaseholders had enjoyed 21 years of paying the equivalent of $5 a week rent.)
One possible and practical act of reconciliation would be to see the Council lawyers and advisers offering to work with Te Atiawa to establish their own Affordable Housing Trust, based on the income from the Waitara lands. The beneficiaries of such a trust would be not only be the current low-income tenants of the leasehold lands, but also the young families of Te Atiawa’s future.
The biggest social issue of our current day is the growing gap between rich and poor in our communities. And the largest contributor to this gap is the lack of affordable housing. We are currently spiralling into a national vortex of pass-the-parcel on this issue. The current housing market bubble is putting more and more seabirds – Maori, Pakeha and new immigrant families – into a desperate search for a resting place. We are seeing too many New Zealand families living in overcrowded houses, rented garages, or even cars that are parked up in public parks.
The affordability issue affects the young families of Te Atiawa in Waitara no less than anyone else living on modest incomes throughout New Zealand. There are real governance responsibilities here in terms of ensuring that families have a pathway to affordable homes.
There are plenty of examples around New Zealand and the world of how Affordable Housing Trusts can be established and administered. It’s the sort of thing that the various advisers should be looking into, and working with iwi to fashion to their own needs.
Such a collaboration holds the possibility that a sense of stability in your own home, and the vibrant community that rests on this stability, could become a real “endowment” for Waitara and its future generations.
Perhaps the final piece of a necessary conversation is about the naming rights and the memorials that we create as a legacy of the sorry tale of the Waitara lands.
We should be turning that legacy from one of anger, ignorance and amnesia ... towards one of memory, humility and reconciliation.
In a move championed by Mayor Andrew Judd and Councillor Howie Tamati, the New Plymouth District Council has just announced that it will buy the land at Te Kohia, the pa site over which the opening shots of the first Taranaki War were fired.
This is a good decision, and the establishment of a fitting memorial would at least remind all of us of the significance of what happened there. Mayor Judd’s hope is that Te Kohia will also fulfil a public education role ... filling in the gaps created by the constant forgetting of history by our majority culture.
And while we are at it, let’s also talk about changing the name of the main street of Waitara from “McLean” to “Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake”.
That would be another act of remembering, and of peace-making. It would also be a clear signal that, all these generations later, we have seen the seabirds at Waitara ... and we have finally “got” Wiremu Kingi’s letter.
Notes and Links
vivian Hutchinson QSM is a community activist and social entrepreneur who has worked mainly on issues of race relations, social justice, job creation and philanthropy. He is a co-founder of Community Taranaki www.taranaki.gen.nz, and author of How Communities Heal — stories of social innovation and social change (2012). He is also one of the creators of How Communities Awaken - Tū Tangata Whenua - a Masterclass for Active Citizenship which is run in partnership with Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki www.tutamawahine.org.nz.
First published online in July 2016
portrait photo of vivian Hutchinson (right), taken outside the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth (July 2015), by Graeme Lindup.
An edited version of this paper has been published on the e-tangata Maori and Pasifika Sunday Magazine, entitled “Waitara – a new take on an old crime” Sunday 24 July 2016 http://e-tangata.co.nz/news/waitara-a-new-take-on-an-old-crime
Cover illustration of seabirds on the rocks by Cliff Whiting, from “Bitter Payment: The Taranaki Troubles”, by Michael Keith, New Zealand School Journal, Part 4, Nos 1 & 2, 1978 (Ministry of Education) courtesy of Cliff Whiting.
Taranaki Peace Walk from New Plymouth District Council to Parihaka Pa, 15-17 June 2016. See and overview of this event at http://www.tutamawahine.org.nz/peacewalk2016
photo of the Taranaki Peace Walk arriving at Parihaka by Robin Martin/RNZ.
Caption: “Children at the front of Taranaki Peace Walkers arriving at Parihaka Pa, 17 June 2016. In the centre of the photo is New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd (wearing his Mayoral chains), with (on left) District Councillor Howie Tamati, and vivian Hutchinson.” photo Robin Martin/RNZ, with permission.
See also “Walking into a New Conversation – some thoughts on the Taranaki Peace Walk” (2016) by vivian Hutchinson published in the Taranaki Daily News 15 June 2016, and available from https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxbYoHP-24n7ZjJmc0lhX0xfLTg
Photos of Taranaki Peace Walk Community Conversation Groups by vivian Hutchinson
Caption: Community Conversations on the Taranaki Peace Walk – “Such hikoi are designed not to shout at you, but to invite people to talk with one another ... and to talk in ways that break new grounds of possibility.” photo vivian Hutchinson / Community Taranaki
Caption: Community Conversations on the Taranaki Peace Walk – “Peace and forgiveness are the qualities that give us the space to enable a different conversation.” photo vivian Hutchinson / Community Taranaki
James K. Baxter ... He Tokotoko Mo Te Koroheke (A Walking Stick for an Old Man) published 1972 in the first New Zealand Whole Earth Catalogue edited by Owen Wilkes et.al. Published by Alister Taylor
Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake ... Waitara chief and a signatory to the Treaty of Waitangi. He was the leader of Te Atiawa at the time of the 1860s land confiscations see http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1t70/te-rangitake-wiremu-kingi
Photo of Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake, taken about 1880, photographer unknown Ref: 1/2-022668-F Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, Wellington, New Zealand. http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/wiremu-kingi-te-rangitake
McLean Street, Waitara ... see McLean Street in The Daily News 29 May 2010 http://ketenewplymouth.peoplesnetworknz.info/taranaki_street_names/topics/show/803-mclean-street-waitara-dn-29052010
Photo of Sir Donald McLean KCMG in the 1870s photographer unknown Ref: 1/2-005166-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22331041
the awakening of New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd ... see “Andrew Judd: An upbringing too white by far” interview with Dale Husband in e-tangata.co.nz 15 May 2016 http://e-tangata.co.nz/news/andrew-judd-an-upbringing-too-white-by-far
Waitangi Tribunal, Taranaki Report 1996 Wai 143 available at https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/WT/wt_DOC_68453721/Taranaki%201996.compressed.pdf
Report on the Waitara Lands Bill November 2002 by Rachael Willan available at http://www.newplymouthnz.com/nr/rdonlyres/ae2d4f22-f261-4579-93e6-6950db1f8ae0/0/waitaraendowments.pdf
Statement of Proposal – New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands Bill) available at http://www.newplymouthnz.com/NR/rdonlyres/ED24E472-F299-4375-B323-4F1F7FEEA59C/0/WaitaraEndowmentLandStatementofProposala.pdf
New Plymouth District Council Webpage on the Waitara Lands Bill
Video of the New Plymouth District Council special Community meeting on the Waitara Lands Bill (Waitara 15 June 2016) is at http://livestream.com/accounts/15233126/events/5593841
Other video of the New Plymouth District Council meetings can be seen at http://www.newplymouthnz.com/TheCouncilAndItsPeople/Meetings/MeetingsOnVideo.htm
Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa statement on the Waitara Lands Bill (April 2016) FAQ document available at http://teatiawa.iwi.nz/waitara-endowment-lands/
See also Waatea News 7th April 2016 "Te Atiawa sacrifice allows Waitara solution" http://www.waateanews.com/waateanews/x_story_id/MTMyOTE=/National/Te-Atiawa-sacrifice-allows-Waitara-solution
Radio New Zealand 13 April 2016 "Long-running land dispute nears resolution" by Robin Martin http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/301346/long-running-land-dispute-nears-end
Dissent by Waitara hapu ... see Taranaki Daily News 30 June 2014 “Owae Marae shuts door on ceremony” by Deena Coster http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/10213296/
Taranaki Daily News 25 August 2014 “Parihaka spirit present at protest” by Isobel Ewing http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/10418997/
Radio New Zealand 21 June 2016 "Te Ātiawa 'blood money' accusation" by Robin Martin
Dissent from Waitara leaseholders ... see Background article on the Waitara Lands Bill by Jim Tucker in the New Zealand Herald 11 March 2014 “Leasehold fight drags over decades” available at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11217778
also Radio New Zealand 5 April 2016 “Land offer after iwi deal labelled racist” by Robin Martin at http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/300743/land-offer-after-iwi-deal-labelled-racist
Submissions to the Waitara Lands Bill ... see also editorial opinion from Jim Tucker “Hikoi date clash makes you wonder” Taranaki Daily News 25 June 2016 available at http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/opinion/81410763/jim-tucker-hikoi-date-clash-makes-you-wonder
Taranaki Daily News coverage of the Waitara Lands Bill hearings ...
Taranaki Daily News 21 June 2014 "Council criticised for sad leasehold saga" by Taryn Uiger http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/10184845/
Taranaki Daily News 4 April 2016 "Freehold titles on the cards for Waitara endowment land leaseholders" by Hannah Lee http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/78538316/
Taranaki Daily News 7 April 2016 "Bill offering freehold titles for Waitara leaseholders to unlock town's potential" by Hannah Lee http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/78646673/
Taranaki Daily News 12 April 2016 "Council elated as Waitara endowment land local bill put out for consultation" by Hannah Lee http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/78820774/
Taranaki Daily News 16 April 2016 "Waitara Leases Unfair" by Taryn Utiger http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/67787943
Taranaki Daily News 15 June 2016 "Waitara Land Bill public hearing debates the value of the town's lands" by Taryn Utiger http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/81077839/
Taranaki Daily News 20 June 2016 "Council votes to have one year price-freeze if Waitara Lands Bill passes through Parliament" by Taryn Utiger http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/81241973/
Dissent from Councillor Howie Tamati ... see The Daily News 6th July 2016 “Waitara Lands Bill heading to Parliament but there's 'no winners here', councillors told” by Taryn Utiger
Radio New Zealand 6 July 2016 "Māori councillor votes against Taranaki land sale" by Robin Martin http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/308061/maori-councillor-votes-against-taranaki-land-sale
Photo of Howie Tamati from e-tangata Maori and Pasifika Sunday Magazine Sunday 24 July 2016
Minutes of an ordinary meeting of the New Plymouth District Council held in the Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Liardet St, New Plymouth Tuesday 5th July 2016 at 4.30pm http://www.newplymouthnz.com/NR/rdonlyres/983EA8C1-97DF-4559-9DD7-6149E28077FC/0/Councilminutes5July2016.pdf
Affordable Housing Trusts ... see profile of the work of Brian Donnelly and The Housing Foundation at “Affordable Housing for All” extract from “How Communities Heal” (2012) by vivian Hutchinson, available at https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1QP9wfqqKMXWDBKak9kMF94OTg
Te Kohia Pa ... see Taranaki Daily News 27 June 2016 "Pa at centre of Taranaki Wars bought by New Plymouth District Council for $715,000" by Matt Rilkoff http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/81490524/
Taranaki Daily News 1st July 2016 "Council unanimously votes to buy historic Taranaki pa site behind closed doors" by Taryn Utiger http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/81587531/
This paper is licensed for distribution under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/nz/deed.en
A Citizen in Christchurch
— some thoughts for the Tuesday Club
by vivian Hutchinson
November 2022 30 min read download as PDF
This paper is based on a speech given by vivian Hutchinson to the Tuesday Club, held at the Smash Palace Bar in Christchurch on Tuesday 1st November 2022.
I'M A VISITOR from Taranaki, and I suppose I am here because Garry Moore and I have worked together on many projects over the years. He’s asked me to speak because over the last decade — until Covid intervened — I have been part of running regular community circles in the New Plymouth District Council chambers. You could say that we in Taranaki have been something of a distant cousin to this Tuesday Club here in Christchurch, especially in our common purpose of hosting conversations between active citizens.
I have also created and convened an award-winning community education programme called the Masterclass for Active Citizenship. This has been done with a team of local people concerned about how active citizenship is an important building block of healthy communities. I’ve also been working closely with local kuia Ngaropi Raumati, who has hosted the Masterclass at Tū Tama Wahine o Taranaki, which is a tangata whenua development and liberation service.
I'm pleased you have asked me to speak halfway through your process tonight, because that's what we also do at our Masterclass. Our own wananga sessions are three hours long, and participants are first invited to share their own keynote speeches on the topic at hand, and then have conversations in small groups.
Ngaropi and I often don't get to speak until about two hours into our process. This reinforces the fact that the most important thing happening in the Masterclass is not listening to us, but enabling active citizens to have much deeper conversations with one another.
When we do speak, we offer what we have called our “stretch” sessions ... because we see our job as elders and conveners as stretching the thinking that is already in the room.
During the Covid months, I took the opportunity to write up what had emerged from my own sessions, and this has turned into a series of essays which have been published under the title How Communities Awaken. They are freely available to read on the Community Taranaki website — you can also easily read them on your mobile phone — and we have produced a gift edition as a book.
Ngaropi Raumati has also captured her own stretch sessions by recording them on video, and these are available on the Tū Tama Wahine website, under the title Te Kai o te Rangatira.
Anyway, Garry has asked me to talk about the community and citizenship themes of my recent writing, and to offer some stretches on the things that have I have been thinking about while I have been here in Christchurch ... which could be a pretty wide selection of topics.
But as a rough guide, and to try and keep things short, I thought I would talk about three things: The first is about a piano and a bull. The second is about a woman who is five stories high. And the last one is about a man who gets things done.
✽ ✽ ✽
YESTERDAY I VISITED the Christchurch Art Gallery with Garry's wife, Pam Sharpe. After exploring the different exhibitions in the Gallery, I was struck by the Michael Parekōwhai artwork outside on the forecourt. It is a sculpture in bronze and stainless steel of a piano with a bull standing on top of it.
I know its a famous sculpture here in Christchurch, but it was the first time I had seen it. The bull wasn't charging, but it was certainly full of muscle and aggression. If there had been someone sitting on the piano stool, they would be looking eye-to-eye with a very threatening creature.
“Chapman's Homer” bronze sculpture by Michael Parekōwhai outside Te Puna o Waiwhetū / Christchurch Art Gallery, October 2022
Who really knows what this sculpture is all about? Parekōwhai has named it “Chapman's Homer” which is a reference to a Keats poem, and sounds suitably artistic and esoteric ... which means I'll have to look it up on Google.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that this sculpture has captured the hearts of Christchurch people where it has been seen as a symbol of the resilience of this city in the face of the powerful forces of the earthquake of 2011.
But like any great work of art, we can invest whatever meaning we like onto it, and such meanings do tend to change over time.
When I looked at it, I was reminded of the charging bull that is in the heart of the financial district of New York. That public sculpture is a symbol of a “bull” market, a time that is supposed to bring us financial optimism and economic prosperity.
But looking at this Christchurch bull, I had other feelings.
I remarked to Pam that it reminded me of when I got angry over breakfast that very morning while reading the news. I had been following the reports where the New Zealand Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr was saying that we needed to raise unemployment in order to control inflation.
I was angry because this seemed like a very familiar bull in our national financial affairs. It was a beast that has been plaguing my own work in our communities for decades.
The trade-off between unemployment and managing inflation might seem an esoteric matter of central banking to most of you, but not to me. Garry Moore and I have been working on various community employment projects for over forty years, and this is just the sort of hard-wired economic thinking that our efforts have been continuously up against.
We started the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs when Garry became the Mayor of Christchurch in the late 1990s. It had as its objective that no young person in New Zealand under 25 years would be out of work or training, or having something useful to do in our communities. It was a remarkably refreshing initiative and a national project. Nearly every Mayor in New Zealand —from across the political spectrum — signed up as a member and were engaged on local employment projects and sharing skills and ideas with one another.
I was there as an adviser from the community sector, and my main reason for getting involved was because I no longer wanted to live in a country that had no use for such a large number of its young people. And at that time, we had something like one in every six young people out of work or not connected to any education or training.
Just as an aside, I need to point out that we are the only living creature on the planet that has unemployment as a fact of life for its young. And because this issue is so fundamental to wellbeing in our families and our communities, unemployment has always been at the forefront of our cultural and political lives. And let’s not also forget that one of our two main political parties is named after our ability to work.
But back to the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. One of our most significant early meetings was when a core group of Mayors met with policy advisers from the Department of Labour. They very kindly sat us down and explained to us the reasons why our goals for the full employment and full participation of our young people could not be achieved.
They explained to us that unemployment was built into the structure of how the national economy was managed. In their view, there was always going to be a trade-off going on between the rate of unemployment and the rate of inflation. This understanding in economic orthodoxy was called the Phillips Curve (named after the theories of a New Zealand economist called Bill Phillips).
The Labour market advisors even have this policy device called the NAIRU, which stands for the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment, which gives them the lowest unemployment rate that can be sustained without causing wage growth and inflation to rise.
Having these ideas hard-wired into the algorithms of our economic management can sound like a weird conspiracy theory to anyone not versed in the details of macro-economics. That's what I thought when I was first introduced to them.
I quite naturally thought: How can you have politicians and bureaucrats going around complaining about people being lazy or unskilled — pointing to their bad attitudes or shoddy work habits — when the sordid truth was that they were planning for these people to be unemployed and “losers” all along. From a family and community point of view, it seemed — and frankly still seems — crazy.
The core group of Mayors saw the role of the Taskforce for Jobs at that time as standing for the community goals of full employment and full participation. Nobody puts themselves forward to be Mayor of any place that has already decided that it has no use for a substantial number of its own young people. The Taskforce described its goals as “cultural goals” because we wanted a “zero-waste” of people in our own communities ... and we frankly expected the Reserve Bank and our national politicians to be our allies and collaborators in making these cultural goals happen.
What happened to the Mayors Taskforce is a story for another time. It is still going, and it is still doing good work. But I will let you judge for yourself whether it is also still seriously advocating for the “cultural goals” which have not stopped being relevant today.
( Economists now have this thing called the NEET rate, which measures the proportion of young people aged 15-24 years who are not employed or engaged in education or training. Even at this time when the official unemployment rate is statistically quite low, the NEET rate here in New Zealand is still hovering around one in every seven young people. )
But back to the Art Gallery, and the sculpture of the bull and the piano ... it had stirred feelings in me as I was also thinking about that Reserve Bank statement.
I saw the piano as representing all the things that we value in our communities because it is an instrument capable of much beauty and celebration. But we will never to get to the music if we don't sit on that piano stool and face down that bull. If we don't step up and stand up for the things we value in our communities — facing all the power and threat and aggression that the bull represents — then the piano stool will always remain empty, and it will also remain an indictment on all of us.
I do think we are going to look back at this time in our history and recognise that it will become as consequential to the wellbeing of our communities as the 1984 reforms were for the 4th Labour Government. You might not immediately recognise it as such, but that is because the algorithms driving these consequences are hidden in the macroeconomics of our financial decisions.
The financial journalist Bernard Hickey is an excellent explainer of what’s going on. He has spoken to this Tuesday Club over the last year, where he detailed the huge shifts of wealth that have happened since the onset of Covid. He describes it as happening “accidentally on purpose”, which I suppose is what takes place when there’s no-one sitting at the piano, and you just leave it to the algorithms.
Bernard Hickey reports that the Government and Reserve Bank have presided over policies which have helped make the owners of homes and businesses $952 billion richer since December 2019. The Covid years have seen what Hickey calls “the biggest transfer of wealth to asset owners from current and future renters in the history of New Zealand.”
Meanwhile, those New Zealanders who have missed out on that asset growth have been hammered with real wage deflation and rents rising faster than incomes. The poorest New Zealanders are now $400 million more in debt and need twice as many food parcels as before Covid.
That’s stunning. And it’s not the economics of community. It is certainly not an economics that reflects the best intentions of a “team of five million” which, you’ll remember, is how we branded ourselves in the early days of the pandemic.
For some of us, it is heart-breaking that this dramatic shift in wealth has happened under a Labour Government, supported by the Greens. For those of us who remember the 1980s, there is a definite sense of déjà vu.
You can only imagine what community workers in Taranaki like myself were thinking when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern turned up recently and spoke to her party caucus at a rural retreat near New Plymouth.
There she announced that her government had managed “equity and fairness” with “Labour values” during the Covid crisis, and would continue to “manage challenges and change when it comes to climate, housing, poverty, everything we continue to face as a nation.”
It’s the right words, for sure, and certainly what we want to hear as a “team of five million”. And I’m not saying that our Prime Minister is a hypocrite.
What I am saying is that if she looks across the road, she would see that the bull is no longer in the paddock.
✽ ✽ ✽
IN THIS SECOND PART, I want to invite you to Taranaki and talk about another artwork which has just been unveiled in New Plymouth’s CBD. It is a five-stories-high mural on the back of our Puke Ariki Library building and it celebrates the radical activism and creative work of Hana Te Hemara, or Hana Jackson.
Hana Te Hemara (1940-1999) was of Te Atiawa descent, and born at Puketapu, near New Plymouth. She is well known as one of the dynamic founders of the activist group Ngā Tamatoa which demonstrated and organised around many important issues, including the revival of the Māori language. Their activism paved the way for the thriving kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and te reo Māori movement we have in Aotearoa today.
Hana herself was a leader in many other ground-breaking initiatives. She helped Hone Tuwhare set up the first Māori Artists and Writers’ Conference, and she also later established the first Māori Business and Professional Association. She was a gifted fashion designer, and organised the first Māori fashion award, and the fashion shows which ran in conjunction with the Te Māori exhibitions.
Hana died quite young at aged 59, yet I think there are many of us who feel that she has left a tremendous legacy for future generations. So it is wonderful to see her being celebrated on our Library building.
Hana Te Hemara mural by Mr.G Hoete, on the Puke Ariki Library building in New Plymouth, September 2022
The mural is the work of prominent Māori artist Mr.G Hoete, and it was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 14th September 1972. This was the day when Hana and Ngā Tamatoa walked up the steps of Parliament to deliver a petition calling for an official programme of support for the Māori language, and for getting Māori taught in our education system. Because of this petition, the 14th of September later became known as Māori Language Day, and eventually, the beginning of Māori Language Week.
The celebrations of this anniversary were led by Hana’s family and by Te Atiawa and there was also strong support from our local District Council. The Council not only approved the mural being on our local Library building, but ran banners around town proclaiming I Am Hana, and hosted a street party to celebrate the unveiling of the finished artwork.
Many of the Ngā Tamatoa activists, now in their 70s and 80s, were welcomed to New Plymouth and there were also public forums and a photo exhibition celebrating their work.
These anniversary celebrations were open-hearted, good natured, and almost completely without any polarising controversy. You might think that is unusual for Taranaki, given that we have gained a reputation on some contentious issues over the last decade, especially when trying to get more Māori voices around the District Council table.
And I feel I need to point out that this is the same District Council, under the same Mayor, that only four years ago fought for enabling legislation to be passed which succeeded in privatising the last of the stolen lands of Waitara.
These lands, known as the Pekapeka Block, were at the heart of the war that broke out at Waitara in the 1860s, and then spread to the rest of Taranaki. These are the lands that have represented a very long story of blood and dishonour connected to the original sin of our nation — the confiscation of Māori land upon which has been the foundation of so many of our towns and communities.
The introduction of the Waitara Lands Bill represented an opportunity for our generation to begin to really heal and address this injustice. It was an opportunity not taken. The Waitara Lands Bill was passed by the incoming Labour-led government and, since then, the District Council has sold many of the properties.
I knew Hana well, and I believe that, had she still been alive today, she would have been one of the leading voices in the fight to get these still-disputed lands restored to their rightful owners, the hapu of Waitara.
So you may imagine some of the complicated feelings brought up by my District Council choosing to celebrate this radical activist and the 50 years since the presentation of the Māori Language petition.
But it is important to recognise that some significant things have indeed shifted in just the last four years — and shifted in ways that perhaps we were not expecting. ( ... this hasn’t happened in terms of the Waitara land issues ... but that’s not a story that has finished yet).
I do think there have been important shifts that matter in terms of relationship-building. And there’s a new generation coming through that are just side-stepping the historical stuckness, and expecting things to be different, and they are getting on with it.
We have Māori Wards now throughout our district. We have a new generation of Māori leaders emerging who are taking their place not just around council tables, but in board rooms as well in lawyers offices, as accountants and as entrepreneurs.
I’ve noticed more people of all ages signing up to learn te reo, and to try and better understand the world view of Māori communities.
I’ve noticed a full embrace of the new and indigenous public holiday of Matariki and how this has immediately enabled us all to look up, and view our world within a profoundly wider story.
All these things are inevitably changing the character of our place.
So when I saw the I Am Hana banners flying around New Plymouth, I felt that yet another building-block of peace and reconciliation was trying to do its work in our city. The civic embrace of this 50-year anniversary was not just something we could all welcome ... but it was being done in such a way that we could genuinely appreciate this daughter of Taranaki as one of our many role models for future generations.
I seem to be continuously reminded that change often happens in ways that we least expect it, and in a time-frame that is seldom under our choosing. At the same time, I am also reminded that the responsibility of a community builder is to keep shaping those assets which are the building-blocks of peace and reconciliation, and can lead to the possibilities of change.
Hana and I were on the organising committee of the Māori Land March of 1975, and she knew well — as Whina Cooper and the other members of Te Roopu o te Matakite also knew — that the loss of land and the loss of te reo are inextricably interrelated.
So when it came to setting a date for the Māori Land March to begin, it was Hana who pushed for it to start on the 14th of September — the same day that Ngā Tamatoa walked up the steps of Parliament to present their petition for the protection and restoration of the Māori language.
Hana herself was not a fluent speaker of te reo. So her motivation for walking up those steps was deeply personal. She was determined that her own children and grandchildren were not going to suffer the same fundamental sense of loss.
Learning a language as an adult is no easy undertaking. I am Pākehā, and yet despite a lifetime in Māori company, my own proficiency in the Māori language has not really improved very much from the limited level that I had in the 1970s. I do get by on ceremonial occasions, but I honestly get quite lost in a deeper dialogue. I have found that without the senses that awaken within a fuller immersion, the academic learning of another language as an adult has not turned out to be one of my talents.
Nevertheless, I have been reflecting lately on how I have spent the currency of my life trying to preserve and regenerate some of the other languages which have also been under a constant threat of their marginalisation and extinction.
These have been the languages of community, the literacy of the commons, and a working vocabulary of what is expected from our citizenship at this critical time.
These languages underpin our common sense of how we can work together on the things that matter. They are complex and dynamic. They are also not easy to learn. But without these languages, and without the practical living skills that they articulate, then we just degenerate into a political and cultural morass of self-interest, toxic individualism and “me-first” economics.
I believe the language of community has been under sustained assault over the last forty years. Consequently, the voices and passions of the commons have become more and more inarticulate, or they have completely disappeared from the public discourse. As this has happened, we have lost a huge amount of the breadth and depth of shared meaning and understanding — and just the plain beauty — that is wrapped up in a community-centered way of looking at our lives and our world.
This is one of the reasons why I started the Masterclass for Active Citizenship. It is a local and modest example of reclaiming that beauty, and of regenerating that community voice.
And when I look at the new mural on the back of our Library building, I recognise that we can learn a lot from Hana Te Hemara and the last 50 years of advocacy for the recognition and support of the Māori language. Because the fight is similar: it is not just about vocabulary lists of words-in-translation, but about the validity and honesty of an entire way of seeing and explaining the world.
The core strategy of our Masterclass is about slowly regenerating the shared language of community — one relationship at a time, one story at a time, and one building-block at a time. And over time, the health of community begins to piece itself together again, and we start to re-awaken the unique work that communities need to do.
We have only had about four hundred people go through our 3-4 month course, but it has already amounted to the most effective community development strategy that I have ever been involved in. Virtually every marae, church group, service club, and even some sports clubs in Taranaki, have had people come along and participate.
And we often hear people make comments like: “I feel more like myself than I have in a long time…” or “I do remember thinking like this … what happened? Why did we let this go?”
The answer to that “Why?” is a subject worthy of much more consideration. If our public institutions, our communities and our personal lives have become so successfully colonised by world-views that are serving goals other than our collective health and wellbeing ... then it is important to figure out how this happened.
In the meantime, it is up to community workers to make sure that every event we organise is seen as an opportunity to rebuild our social technologies, and to stress-test and maintain our infrastructure of public intelligence.
Just like the regeneration of te reo, our efforts to regenerate community may take two or three generations before we really start to see its fruits.
This is work we do with all our children and grandchildren in mind.
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MY LAST PART is about a man who will get the job done.
We’ve just had the local government elections and — let’s face it — the progressive voices of community were not the winners.
I’m not here to dissect and debate the results, but I do want to draw attention to the character of some of the main messages I have been hearing during this election time.
In the Mayoral elections both here in Christchurch, and also in Auckland, the winners were men who were campaigning under the slogans of “I’ll get it done”, or “I’ll fix it” … as if the main source of our collective problems is absence of anyone who has the strength and willpower to face them.
It reminds me a little of Boris Johnson in the UK campaigning (and winning a decisive majority) under the slogan of “I’ll get Brexit done”, or the former American President Trump when he said he would build a wall on his southern border, and get Mexico to pay for it.
This sort of branding and marketing is simplistic, yet obviously effective. You can’t really argue with “the action man”, or the idea of fixing things, especially when things are also so obviously stuck or broken.
Rosemary Neave and Garry Moore, organisers of the Christchurch Tuesday Club, November 2022
But there’s a warning here, and this is that the action man has often proven to be playing a shell game or a confidence trick with the voting public. Sooner-or-later we have to wake up to it.
You only need to look at the shemozzle happening in UK politics in the last few weeks to see that the emperors have no clothes, and even the financial markets are no longer going along with it.
One of the reasons the “I will get it done” message is so effective is that it rests upon the general story-telling in our culture that portrays the business-person as our saviour. We are willing participants in this confidence trick, because we have a definite hero-worship going on for the can-do entrepreneur.
The hero-worship has come at a cost, because these confident stories of business and entrepreneurship often end up diminishing of the very idea of public service, and the harder work of consensus-building.
And when we are seduced by business culture, we end up looking for the same answers from the same old toolbox.
Look at some of the big public issues facing our nation at this moment: the state of our health system, or the polytechs, or the maintenance of council assets (... now commodified and rebranded as “three waters”).
The answer always seems to be the same. Run them like a business. Reorganise and restructure them into bigger entities. Appoint new bosses (at salaries that match the private sector). Then double-down on the same management strategies, even if they may have led to our problems in the first place.
Again, the missing element here is the intelligence and wisdom of the citizens and communities that these public entities were meant to be serving. Our communities are the asset that is right under your nose, yet ordinary citizens have not been invited to the table.
So when it comes to “getting the job done”, I want us to notice that the “job” itself has essentially changed. Business-as-usual is no longer making sense.
We need a political and cultural leadership that doesn’t say “I’m going to fix it” … as if all the rest of us can just sit back and be spectators and commentators, but essentially just leave you to it.
If you are a candidate for public office, your role now is to stop offering a consumer transaction with voters, and start directly asking for their participation.
We need to be electing people who are capable of turning the usual leadership story on its head. This is the leadership that looks the voter in the eye and says: “I need you to awaken. I need you to be as grown-up a citizen as is possible. Because every one of the big problems we are facing right now needs your engaged citizenship.”
And this form of leadership is not a job of branding and marketing in the context of retail politics. It is a job of invitation, and of connection.
And you may be surprised at just how many people are waiting to be authentically asked.
So my stretch is this: Beware the politician who is asking nothing of you.
Beware of the confidence of politicians that are telling you to leave them to it, and they will manage the disruptions, and keep all the threats in the paddock.
Be especially aware of the politician who is quite happy for you to be disconnected and disengaged at this critical time, and claim their own legitimacy while a third of the electorate are not even turning up to vote.
Instead, look towards the politicians who are capable of calling you to the commitments and responsibilities of your active citizenship … which is both the necessary ask of this moment, and the necessary ingredient to solving so many of the complex problems that are before us.
Look towards to the politicians who already know that “we” is not a small word, and that they have a specific role to play in making sure that “we” will get things done.
Our human capacity to think and create and respond together has been the real source of our species talent for hundreds of thousands of years.
We need these talents right now, and the job description of all our leadership is to call these talents forward.
✽ ✽ ✽
SO THESE ARE my offerings today, which I hope will become part of your conversations to follow.
I want to thank you for organising this regular focus of active citizenship on civic issues. It’s been a privilege to be here.
The Tuesday Club is important because it is a forum that adds community intelligence to the issues of our time.
And this public intelligence is the intelligence that needs a conversation for its thoughts to ripen and mature. That’s what’s afoot here.
I wish you all the best.
Notes and Links
This paper is based on vivian Hutchinson's speech to the Tuesday Club, held at the Smash Palace Bar in Christchurch on Tuesday 1st November 2022
First published online in November 2022 at www.taranaki.gen.nz/citizen-in-christchurch
vivian Hutchinson QSM is a community activist and social entrepreneur who has worked mainly on issues of race relations, social justice, job creation and philanthropy. He is a co-founder of Community Taranaki www.taranaki.gen.nz, and author of How Communities Heal — stories of social innovation and social change (2012) and How Communities Awaken — some conversations for active citizens (2021). He is also one of the creators of Tū Tangata Whenua - a Masterclass for Active Citizenship which is run in partnership with Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki www.tutamawahine.org.nz. For more, visit www.taranaki.gen.nz/vivian
More information on the series of essays by vivian Hutchinson called How Communities Awaken, see www.taranaki.gen.nz/hca
Ngaropi Cameron video series of 'stretch' sessions called Te Kai o Te Rangatira, see www.tutamawahine.org.nz/tkr
Tū Tama Wahine o Taranaki and Community Taranaki were awarded the ACE (Adult and Community Education Aotearoa) 2020 Award for Community Programme of the Year for the Masterclass for Active Citizenship. See www.tutamawahine.org.nz/masterclassguide
The Tuesday Club is a regular gathering of active citizens "celebrating the People's Republic of Christchurch". It is held at Smash Palace, a bar at 172 High Street in central Christchurch. Some of the people who gather are decision makers in the city, many are active community advocates, all are concerned about the future, and they want to be part of creating it.
Michael Parekōwhai "Chapman's Homer" (2011) bronze bull and piano at Te Puna o Waiwhetū Christchurch Art Gallery, see https://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/collection/l03-2014a-c/michael-parekowhai/chapmans-homer
suitably artistic and esoteric ... Google has pointed me to www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/k/keats-poems/summary-and-analysis/on-first-looking-into-chapmans-homer
Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr on the unemployment rate ... See Inflation response: Orr warns employment prospects to be increasingly compromised Radio NZ News 27 October 2022 www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/477495/inflation-response-orr-warns-employment-prospects-to-be-increasingly-compromised or www.nzherald.co.nz/business/adrian-orr-beating-inflation-will-mean-higher-unemployment/
Mayors Taskforce for Jobs ... an archived website of its activities 1999-2005 can be found at www.jobsletter.org.nz/mtfjobs.htm
The current Mayors Taskforce for Jobs activities can be found at www.mtfj.co.nz/
The current NEET rate for young people aged 15-24 years can be found at www.mtfj.co.nz/youth-employment-dashboard/
Bernard Hickey on the stark explosion in inequality since Covid https://thekaka.substack.com/p/covids-big-winners-and-losers-revealed
Bernard Hickey speaking to the Christchurch Tuesday Club www.facebook.com/tuesdayclubchch/videos/1453167848412267
Bernard Hickey Radio NZ Interview with Kathryn Ryan on RNZ Nine to Noon www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018828257/the-cost-of-the-pandemic-the-financial-winners-and-losers
Jacinda Ardern and “Labour Values” in Taranaki ... see Bernard Hickey report at https://thekaka.substack.com/p/covids-big-winners-and-losers-revealed
The I am Hana project was proudly supported by Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa, Ngāti Te Whiti, Puketapu, New Plymouth District Council, Creative New Zealand, Te Taura Whiri, Te Puni Kōkiri, Tui Ora, Venture Taranaki, Te Mātāwai, Toi Foundation, Spark and Nikau Construction. For more information see http://iamhana.nz
Mr.G - Graham Hoete mural artist see http://mrghoeteart.com
10 reasons why the government should return the Waitara lands by vivian Hutchinson and Carl Chenery in The Spinoff Ātea 21st April 2018 https://thespinoff.co.nz/atea/21-04-2018/10-reasons-why-the-government-should-return-the-waitara-lands
This paper is licensed for distribution under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/nz/deed.en