Iwi leaders stance on Helen Clark

By Heeni Brown

Iwi leaders are split when it comes to the Māori Party’s stance to oppose Helen Clark’s UN bid for the top job.

Waikato-Tainui Te Arataura chair Rahui Papa does not agree with the Māori Party’s stance and backs Helen Clark’s bid for the United Nation’s Secretary-General role.

Papa admits there were some trying times under Helen Clark’s government but acknowledges there have been some gains as well.

“If a New Zealander is appointed to this role it will be good for all New Zealand. I respect the right of people to disagree.”

At the forefront of the Māori Party’s claims to oppose position is the Foreshore and Seabed legislation.

The Foreshore and Seabed legislation 2004 vested ownership to the Crown but allowed Māori to claim customary rights where these had been in continual use since 1840.

Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu chairman Sir Mark Solomon says at time Helen Clark’s actions at the time turned Māori into second class citizens but it's an issue Ngāi Tahu are yet to discuss.

“I would not go out publically campaigning against Helen Clark.”

In addition, Tūwharetoa leader Te Ariki Sir Tumu Te Heuheu is supporting Helen Clark.

In a statement to Te Kāea, Sir Tumu’s office provided the following response, “Te Ariki Sir Tumu is in full support of comments already made by Dame Tariana Turia we sympathise with the expressions of concern that the Māori Party have raised however we do need a strong voice for the South Pacific within the confines of the UN.”

The Māori Party initially supported Helen Clark’s bid in April and their recent U-Turn to pull support from her bid is being supported by Tūhoe leader Tamati Kruger, and Ngāti Toa leader Matiu Rei who led the legal challenge against the Foreshore and Seabed legislation.