Mob claim heard at Tūrangawaewae

By Tumamao Harawira

The final day of submissions for the mana wahine claim at Tūrangawaewae marae heralded the arrival of a unique and controversial part of this particular claims process.

That was the claim made by the Wahine Toa chapter of the Mongrel Mob Kingdom, which claims that the abuse suffered by women in gangs is a direct result of colonisation.

In December 2018, the Waitangi Tribunal formally initiated the Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry into claims alleging prejudice to wāhine Māori arising from Crown breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, in both historical (pre-September 1992) and contemporary times.

The inquiry includes a number of wāhine-related claims but the original claim was made in 1993 by 16 leaders - Dame Areta Koopu, Dame Whina Cooper, Dame Mira Szaszy, Ripeka Evans, Dr Erihapeti Murchie, Dame Georgina Kirby, Dame June Mariu, Violet Pou, Hine Potaka, Dame Aroha Reriti-Crofts, Dr Papaarangi Reid, Donna Awatere-Huata, Lady Rose Henare, Katerina Hoterene, Te Para (Mabel) Waititi, and Kare Cooper-Tate.

Today the wahine branch of the Mongrel Mob Kingdom in Hamilton arrived to lay its submission at the feet of the Waitangi Tribunal, claiming that it was the Crown that planted the seed of the sins inflicted upon them.

"When you look at the gangs, the gangs are a direct result of the colonisation and assimilation of this country," wahine toa spokeswoman Paula Ormsby says. "So they have an obligation."

Women silenced

Māori gangs were borne out of the 1970s, as a remedy for the disconnection of Māori men to their people and their culture, and the Māori women in gangs felt the full effects of these issues, she says.

"Our women's voices, our women's stories were silenced, because it didn't fit, within their paradigms within their stories.

Ormsby says the real issue they are facing now is the way in which they are being discriminated against by their own whānau, "They are mothers, they are grandmothers, they are sisters. And within hegemonic discourse, when our own judge us, those are the ones that hurt."

"Our women are the most marginalised, disenfranchised, within all of the community."

And the gang women say, they have much more to elaborate on, as they continue presenting their case