Constitutional reform vital for Māori - Professor Makere Mutu

By Te Ao - Māori News

In a live question and answer interview with Te Ao Mārama presenter Peata Melbourne, Profesor Makere Mutu said it was time to return the power to Māori. 

He aha te take me panoni ngā ture a te kāwana kia hāngai ki ngā hiahia o te Māori? 
Why is constitutional transformation important now?   

Ever since the year 1840 Māori have fought for Pākehā to take notice of us. They haven't listened and have left us to the side, in poverty, our lands have been taken and all of those things. We're at the bottom of all of the statistics in the country. Based on that, we know we've been wronged. We've discussed this issue for a long time and now we want us to all meet to find the right path. 

Hei tā Moana Jackson i roto i tana pūrongo Matike Mai Aotearoa 2016, me whakahoki te mana whakahaere o ngā take katoa a te Māori ki te Māori. He aha ai? 
Moana Jackson's Matike Mai Aotearoa report from 2016 said it was time to return the power to Māori. Why? 

Because ever since the Pākehā arrived with their ideas of white supremacy, they've thought they know what's best for Māori. That's wrong, that's a wrong assumption to make. The people who know what's best for Māori is Māori. 

Kei te tihi o ngā tatauranga herehere/ oranga tamariki /pōharatanga hoki a ngāi Māori e noho ana. E whakapono ana koe, ka rerekē ake tērā ki te hoki te mana whakahaere ki te iwi Māori? 
Māori are at the top of all the negative statistics including justice, Oranga Tamariki and poverty. Do you believe that can be reversed by returning power to Māori? 

The mana can't be returned to Māori, Māori still maintain the mana but it's been trampled on by the Pākehā. What we're saying is don't trample on us, let Māori do what we want. We want to honour the Treaty of Waitangi and the whakaputanga. If that happens, we'll see what's good for Māori is good for New Zealand. We've seen it in education, in our kōhanga reo, our kura kaupapa, our wharekura, and our whare wānanga. We've seen the benefits that come if iwi are given the power to say what's best for Māori. 

Nō reira, kua rite tāua, te Māori ki te pīkau i tērā taumahatanga? 
Are we as Māori capable of taking on that responsibility? 

Yes. In 1994 we had meetings in Hīrangi. The Ariki of Tūwharetoa, Sir Hepi Te Heuheu, called the meeting. At that time they said Māori weren't ready for a constitutional transformation. When the Foreshore and Seabed Act was proposed we saw the Māori people come together to stop that confiscation. At that time Māori weren't ready. Since the report of Moana Jackson over the last five years, this issue has been discussed. So I believe we're ready. 

Pātai whakamutunga ki a koe, huri ana ki te nawe i Te Whare Takiura o Ōwairaka. He aha tāu ki te tohe i waenga i te tari Māori me te wānanga whānui? 
Last question, turning now to the dispute at Unitec. What are your thoughts on the dispute between Māori and the institution?

This is a common dispute across all universities in the country including my own Auckland University. For a long time, Pākehā have thought they know what's best for Māori. They are ignorant. It doesn't work if Pākehā are telling Māori what to do. So I acknowledge the staff of Unitec. Be strong and stay true to the words of Sir John Turei.