Tuesday, May 21

The need for hard conversations

Recently I wrote about the silent majority

It wasn’t originally how I had planned to write the piece, but I’ve learned to trust my gut instinct and write what I feel, and it usually pays off because it resonates with people or at the very least, has them looking at a situation from another perspective.

Since that piece things are definitely picking up pace. What was around 900 new TikTok whānau at the time that piece was released has increased by around 1000 more with 300+ in the last 24 hours alone. People are asking more questions. People are becoming a lot more vocal about politics and politicians they do and don’t trust with a common theme being that many people, including a strong Māori contingent appearing to be more vocal about their distrust of Māori politicians than in support of them.  

Where this becomes problematic is that the MSM and Government narrative is that Māori are a united people, and they want the country to believe that. Yet from the conversations that take place on my social media, this isn’t at all true. There are many (including myself) who will tell you Tuheitia is not “My King”, just as there are many who are now openly discussing their distrust of John Tamihere and Te Pāti Māori.

As a Māori in West Auckland, I am well aware of the reach John Tamihere has out West. It’s because of that reach, that I currently have Privacy Act requests in and am waiting on advice from the Privacy Commissioner in regards to Te Whanau O Waipareira (TWOW) missing their 20-working day deadline to fulfil one of my requests with no follow up as to the delay. This is an ongoing battle that I hope to have some more clarity around this coming week. 

While I understand TWOW workers have bills to pay and whanau to support, they have become complacent and complicit to what is happening within the NGO they work for and that’s a bitter pill to swallow when you have connections to people who work within TWOW.

Just recently, a whanau member had a TWOW worker come to her house to query her about doing the census. Though this person could have handled it better, she did basically tell the worker to piss off to which the worker replied she didn’t actually care, she was just doing her job. If people don’t care about the job they’re doing, doesn’t this raise questions about their suitability for the job when they work for a charity? 

What I have learned since that visit is that TWOW have been offering people incentives to complete the census, despite the fact the law requires you to complete it. These incentives have included Nike shoes and custom clothing representing different area codes. With people being offered incentives to complete something months after the official census day TWOW has now made it hard for the justice system to go after those who haven’t completed it not to mention, wasted government funding that could have gone on actual community services.

As the Party President of Te Pāti Māori and the Chief executive of Te Whānau o Waipareira, the revelations that Waipareira has given Tamihere interest free loans to fund political campaigns should have Māori questioning if this is a party and people they can support. This seemingly misappropriation of money seems to have gone largely unreported by MSM and to this day an updated report remains behind a NZHerald paywall. But reports are that Waipareira will “try” to claw back $385,000 from their Chief executive at the suggestion of Charity Services. At this point it needs to be noted that Tamihere’s wife Awerangi is the Chief Operating Officer of Waipareira, so it’s unlikely we will see her demand her husband pay back these loans anytime soon.

Even more concerning about the whole loans debacle is that back in September 2022 when news first broke of the loans investigation, Tamihere tried to use race as justification to get out of the rule breaking that occurred.

“It is a sad day for democracy in Aotearoa when Māori get demonised for being honest in publicly ensuring that every cent spent is to advance Te Pāti Māori,” he said. 

Had it been a Tauiwi organisation this excuse would not have washed, and people would have, rightly, been jumping up and down about it. So why is the same not happening now? 

The rules from Charity services are quite clear and include some of the following;

What your charity can’t do

It’s ok for a charity to express support for a particular policy of a political party that is important to their charitable purpose (for example: a soup kitchen supporting a party’s policy on homelessness).

However, a charity must not support or oppose a political party or candidate. This could include:

*making a donation to a political party or a candidate’s election campaign;

endorsing a candidate or political party over social media;

*telling people on a charity’s website to vote or not to vote for a political party;

By Tamihere’s own statement, he admits that these loans were to advance Te Pāti Māori despite the rules stating charities must NOT support or oppose a political party or candidate. 

But here’s where things get hairy for me. Because of my outspokenness, I have found a new Tauiwi audience who are clinging on to what I’m saying because my views are not what the mainstream narrative is and I do call things the way I see them, which is something many of them feel they can’t do themselves. This does mean though, that some do take the opportunity to put the boot in on Māori which is not helpful to anyone or the situation we face, nor is it something that I tolerate, so I try and extinguish those fires fast when I’m made aware of them which isn’t always easy on busy social media platforms.

For me it isn’t about giving people a platform to put the boot in on each other. It’s about opening people’s eyes to the destruction and division that is going on in this country that is being caused by those in Parliament, those in MSM and those with high profiles who push these narratives.

What I am seeing in various korero on social media is that those who take issue with what I have to say are listening to the mainstream narrative. These are the types who will blame ‘all Pakeha’ for colonisation while overlooking important parts of history, like Pakeha being used and abused as well or that Māori have been fighting with each other before Pakeha even arrived. You only have to look at the pissing contest that was this year’s Te Matatini powhiri to see this infighting between tribes continues today albeit with modern weapons that include false cries of discrimination and victimhood to avoid confronting truth. 

Over the last 3 years, I have constantly questioned why Māori in general have been so trusting of the government’s covid response. As a people we have always had a high level of distrust of “the system” but I watched as more and more succumb to the government narratives that started the high levels of division we see today. That level of distrust is returning now as more and more become aware of the lies they’ve been sold.

While Government would like people to believe racism and anti-trans narratives are the issues they need to be outlawed the reality is that claiming someone is transphobic or racist has fast become a tactic to shut down those who dare to disagree with the current narrative and is, in essence an attack on free speech. 

These are weak arguments with no substance that lend themselves to the Government’s own disinformation and is perhaps something Kate Hannah and those at the Disinformation Project should look into at some point.

People won’t always agree with me, and I don’t ever expect they will or do but we at least need to have the conversations that need to be had. The good, the bad, the raw and the ugly, no matter how hard or hurtful they are because only by being truthful with ourselves and each other will we be able to address the issues that need addressing and I am glad to see that this is finally starting to happen, despite how uncomfortable it makes some feel because it is through that discomfort that we are going to find true healing for all people. 

Author