Mar 5/98: MAI consultation with Maori


March 5, 1998
Makere Harawira

as posted to warriornet by Ed Deak

The Waimanoni Hui held at Awanui Marae yesterday was well attended by a very wide cross-section of people from throughout the North. From the beginning of the hui, the mood of Ngapuhi towards the M.A.I. and what it represents was made very clear to the officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and Te Puni Kokiri.

Speaker after speaker expressed the anger and pain of Ngapuhi towards this latest move to marginalise Maori even further and to totally undermine once and for all both the mana of te Tiriti o Waitangi and its application. Anger was also expressed at attempts by the government to commit itself to an agreement that puts sovereignty and authority in the hands of powerful business interests.

Rage was expressed at the amount of land already held in foreign ownership and even more under foreign control through forestry. Assurances that Overseas Commission Approval would be required for any land purchases within a certain bracket were met with scorn in the full awareness that only 11 applications have been turned down by the Commission in the last 10 years.

Saana Murray spoke at length about Maori intellectual and cultural property and the even more dangerous implications of the M.A.I. agreement on Maori cultural and intellectual property. The implications for Maori access to resources outside of those defined as industrial and commercial enterprises was another area over which a great deal of anger was expressed.

The people of Ngapuhi demanded that the government officials take on board what was being said to them, namely, that they demanded the government withdraw from negotiations with the M.A.I. altogether. They strongly rejected attempts by MFAT officials to placate them with assurances that the government had not yet made up its mind and similarly rejected all attempts to convince them that the M.A.I. will not put environmental regulations under threat. The suggestion that 20% of any fishing quota be reserved for Maori was met with outrage. The hui recognised that under the M.A.I. there would be no future partnership between Maori and the Crown and a number of very strong suggestions were made about what should be the tenor of any future relationship with the Crown.

A unanimous resolution was passed by the hui and presented to the MFAT officials. These resolutions will be available on
in the next few days.

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