Outspoken businessman visits Rātana Pā

By Maiki Sherman

Annual celebrations begins today at Rātana Pā for the Māori religion with a strong political presence.

Today, a renowned economist and businessman was welcomed onto the pā to voice his views.

Gareth Morgan only had good things to say to the people at Rātana Pā, but the wealthy businessman didn't talk about his views on scrapping the Māori seats in Parliament.

There was no band, no trumpets, but Morgan certainly made a noise about his thoughts on the Treaty of Waitangi.

Morgan says, “Although the historical claims process is drawing to an end, the view that we are all done and dusted is about as far from the truth as it could be.”

Māori self-determination and the ignorance of non-Māori about the Treaty were included in Gareth Morgan's speech.  He also laid down a challenge to Parliament.

He says, “The actual core of the Treaty is about allowing the two societies to live side by side and flourish and reach their full potential.  We haven't fully put that in yet and that's got to be part of this constitution.” 

Morgan certainly doesn't support all Māori initiatives. But he certainly didn't mention that in his speech.

“I don't agree that there should be Māori seats in Parliament, I don't agree that there should be Māori wards,” says Morgan.

Adrian Rurawhe says, “He certainly was afforded the time to do it if he wanted. Perhaps he thought it was going to be too controversial.”

So Morgan doesn't agree with having Māori seats, but it's a different story regarding the language, which he says should be compulsory in schools.

He says, “That's just as a mark of respect to say we acknowledge that Māori and Pākehā have equal rights in sharing this land.  But not in terms of seats at parliament, at the top?  No, not political, that's article three.”

John Maihi says, “I think it was wrong of him to stand before us with a personal agenda.  The point of the welcome is to greet each other and pay homage to the celebration of the Rātana people.”

Although the speech was well received by some, others in Māoridom know the proof is in the pudding.

Tomorrow will be a big day at Rātana Pā.

King Tūheitia and his council will be welcomed, followed by Labour and its new leader Andrew Little, then for the government’s official party led by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Te Ururoa Flavell.