written just after the Peace Walk to Parihaka, and calling for a new conversation about a very old land grab at Waitara.
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.
The Waitara Land Grab of 2016 (2016)
— some thoughts on Peace for Pekapeka
written just before the Peace for Pekapeka Hikoi on 21st September 2016.
Since then, the question of the Waitara Lands has had rulings from Governor George Grey, from the 1927 Sim Commission, from the more recent Waitangi Tribunal, and the Crown ... and they all have acknowledged that this land was taken illegally from its rightful owners. But the land itself has never been returned. And yet here we are in 2016 ... and perhaps we are still being given the opportunity to do the right thing.
The Waitara Lands Bill before you is nowhere near an instrument of doing the right thing. It is simply the perverse result of having the same conversation again, again and again. This is the conversation that speaks of the money that is still to be made at this final leg of a very old landgrab. It speaks of deal-making and how to weigh up the various players and competing interests, and how to extract compromise from the weakest participants. And it speaks of how to continue to avoid facing our real history, and the grief and trauma that still exists as a result of that history. Our advice to this Select Committee is to stop and to step back. We need a new conversation about the Waitara Lands.
For many Pakeha who live here in Taranaki, our desire for peace and reconciliation is not driven by being “politically correct”, or just being ashamed of our past and the actions of our grand-parents. It is not even driven by an ideological desire to be better “allies” to Maori, or better Treaty Partners. It is driven more simply by the realization that ... after all this time, and despite the troubled history ... a great many Maori and Pakeha have become friends. We live as neighbours. And in some cases, we are now relations. And yet in this context, we also know that the art of our friendship, the craft of our community-building, and the tone of our intimacy ... is constantly under the shadow of these old injustices and the ongoing privileges and the disadvantages that have resonated in our shared lives right through to the present day. After six generations, there are many Taranaki people who understand that none of us can build authentic communities here on the back of the unresolved grief that is still surrounding the stolen Waitara lands.
How to Explain Waitara to your Pakeha Friends and Relations (2017)
by vivian Hutchinson
written for Waitangi Day 2017.
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.”
Waitara: A Second Reading (2017)
by vivian Hutchinson
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.
Top 10 reasons why the Waitara Lands should be returned (2018)
by Carl Chenery and vivian Hutchinson,
on the Spinoff Website 21st April 2018 or as PDF (for printing)
1). The lands were stolen. They should be handed back as simply as possible ...
5). The current Bill is an improvement, but it is still absurd ...
10).Our young people want to commemorate not just our difficult history, but how it has led to a more just and equitable nation.
The law needs to be changed so that it does not apply to stolen property.
Walking Into a New Conversation (2016)
— some thoughts on the Taranaki Peace Walk 2016
opening remarks from the Winter Community Circle at the NPDC Council Chambers (Wednesday 8th June 2016) just before the start of the 3-day Peace Walk to Parihaka which sought to draw attention to the lack of Maori representation on the New Plymouth District Council, and also the history of the treatment of Maori issues by local and national governments.
This is how communities heal: one real conversation at a time. And it’s not just talk. The real conversations are the talk that asks us to grow up a bit. They ask us to discuss the difficult things – without tearing each other apart, or parading our conflicts through the media.
Racism is solved through a certain type of courage that can be found in healthy neighbourhoods and safer communities. This is the courage to become real friends.