Dame Whinia Cooper

Will the keepers of marae culture remain silent?
Biculturalism and Gender in Aotearoa

Penelope Carrol - NZ Herald 11th Feb 1997

It is a woman who calls visitors on to a marae - and a woman from among the visitors who gives the answering karanga. These women, usually kuia past childbearing age, have the mana and power to negate any evil influences, any makutu or curses, coming with the visitors or harboured by the tangata whenua, says Professor Ranginui Walker, head of the Department of Maori Studies at Auckland University.

But after that it is the men who sit in the front rows of the paepae, the men who make the speeches. "The women retreat to the third or fourth row benches. Even the wife of the leading orator will not sit with him." The men's speeches negate bad influences from the other side. If a woman is sitting in the front, her fertility dould be affected by makutu, says Walker. For the marae is traditionally the domain of Tumatauenga, the 'god of war'. The women must be protected. "People come in peace or war and you have to determine what it is."

Oratory, he says, is the prerogative of males who speak under the mana of their ancestors. They are obliged to always speak the truth. ,"The women, who sit to one side, will correct them if ihey hear any slip-up or mistake - and they will make it loud enough to make the speaker feel ashamed." Although 'they themselves almost never speak, women live longer and they are the keepers of the culture, he says.

Some tribes, like the Arawa, absolutely prohibit women from speaking on the marae, says Walker. Others are less rigid. On the East Coast, or in Northland and the Bay of Plenty, if a woman feels strongly enough she can stand up and speak and her own mana will protect her, he says. But generally women do not speak on the marae. Even the Maori Queen speaks from the porch. Walker says in the many years he has spent time on marae around the North Island only once has he seen women speak. "That was at Waitangi some years ago when Whaia McClutchie spoke for the protesters she led on to the marae. The elders were quite discomforted, but they were rescued by Dame Whina Cooper. She'd been sitting to one side and got up and answered her. That restored the balance." Walker says it does not worry him if women speak on the marae - "I'm a moderate person." Moves to change the status quo have made little headway so far, he, says. "The spirit and essence of our culture survives. Maori are not 100 per cent Pakeha yet, although the Pakeha are working on it."

Pita Paraone was one of the organisers of the commemorations at Waitangi last week, where the presence of Helen Clark in the front row with the orators affronted visiting Te Arawa representatives, who moved to the other end of the room. The powhiri took place inside the house and there was little seating, he says: "Given her position as Leader of the Opposition she was given a chair and it happened to be in the row with the visiting speakers." It is not, says Paraone, for visitors to contradict the kawa or protocol of another tribe. "If I went to their marae I would, accept their kawa."

"If I had sat behind Helen Clark, my tribal elders, indeed all the tribes in my electorate {Te Hai Rawhiti], would consider I had demeaned them", Mr. Delamere, the Associate Treasurer said. He claimed he supported giving women more freedom on the marae, but but said any changes had to be made by elders. Mr. Dover Samuels, the labour MP who accompanied the Leader of the Opposition said local kuia (women elders) motioned him and Helen Clark to their seats. "Mr. Delamere istrying to have a bob each way".

Maori Women's welfare league president, Dame Georgina Kirby said said Mr. Delamere's comments sent a message that women were not wanted in politics. Hilda Halkyard-Harawira welcomed changing tikanga (customs) in the North. "It's not perfect, but it's changing." Sir Garhan Latimer said there was only one word to describe Mr. Delamere's action - stupid.

Donna Awatere Huata, former radical and now ACT MP, who performed the karanga for the visitors to Waitangi, agrees. Arawa on her mother's side, she said she turned down calls from people at Waitangi for her to speak out of respect for my mother's people." She says she is constantly bein encouraged to speak by Ngati Porou from her father's side - "all of our main marae are women ancestors - and in my own whakapapa my female ancestors were all warriors." Huata says there have been discussions among Arawa kaumatua about allowing her to speak on marae because of her status as the first Arawa woman MP.

While she can appreciate the strong disapproval expressed by New Zealand MP '- Tuariki Delamere, and his group from Te Arawa, because of her own upbringing, Huata says she deplores the humiliation, of Helen Clark. "If you have mana in the Maori world you expect to be treated with respect by the non-Maori world and if you have mana in the Pakeha world you should be able to expect respect in the Maori world." Huata looks forward to changes which will allow women to talk freely on the marae. "I believe my own children - and grandchadren want to do things differently." In her own radical days her attention was focused on clearing a pathway for Maori in the non-Maori world. Now, she says, there are changes that need to happen in the Maori world. "If meaningful debate is to take place on the marae info the 21st century then women must be part of it."

While one New Zealand First MP Tuariki Delamere was making his chauvanistic point at Waitangi, the anniversary of the treaty signed in 1840 between Maori and Pakeha (the British colonists), another New Zealand First MP, Tukoroirangi Morgan was met with derisive protest because when he had resigned as a director of Aotearoa TV to become a New Zealand First candidate, he had subsequently signed himself $4,000 in clothes at the company's expense.

Later allegations of electoral bias towards New Zealand First, and financial mismanagement caused the canning of a $4 million grant, closing New Zealand's first Maori TV channel, leaving two dedicated female directors Tawini Rangihau and Puhi Rangiaho vowing to work on unpaid.

Ironically the financial director of Aotearoa, Dr. Derek Burns who replaced Morgan and became invoved in a deal of selling a company he had himself bought for $813,000 shortly afterwards to Aotearoa for $1.2 million, with an additional payoff of another $1.2 million if Aotearoa gained more government funding, was a prime respondent in the "Wine Box" enquiry against big business corruption instigated by Winston Peters himself. Directors fees of $15,000 a month were ten times the national average.

Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud is New Zealand's original name. New Zealand First, led by chiarismatic populist MP Winston Peters, himself Maori, won the balance of power in New Zealand's first MMP election, having run a campaign on the need for change, and promptly did a coalition deal with the previous government, gaining power, but losing the mana of integrity.

Controversy surrounds Eva to the End December 1997

Eva Rickard got the send-off she would have wanted - tears, song and laughter ringed with controversy. Maori activists yesterday farewelled their mentor in a style which, if she were alive, she could have taken credit for orchestrating. With Mrs Rickard's authority, her long-time friend and legal adviser, Annette Sykes, broke marae protocol as the body was laid to rest on the land the late Maori rights campaigner spent 11 years fighting for at Raglan.

To calls of you "sit down, you have no right to speak Sykes challenged men to recognise, the mana of women.

Mrs Rickard's last wish was that her activist friends "keep challenging the men." "That's what she expected of us. It was her last wish to us as Maori women. She was our mentor. She had courage and commitment and the mana to carry it and I hope we have done her proud today."

Ironically it fell to Tuku Morgan to take the opportunity to make a press statement in suport of women's rights.

Harrowing Repeat at Waitangi for Helen Clark Feb 9th 1998

New Zealand has both a conservative woman Prime Minister and a woman leader of the Labour party, the principal opposition. Nevertheless relations at a bicultural level are very complex in areas pertaining to the rights of women. The Treaty Commemmorations at Waitangi were called off by the government a couple of years ago because of abusive protest confrontations directed at the then Governor General, herself a woman, Dame Cath Tizard and several other government members and parliamentarians. Helen Clark was snubbed at Waitangi about the seating arrangements last year and so this is a second difficult event for her.

NZ First behind marae speech ban Clark Told


Helen Clark says allegations are "flying around the north" that New Zealand Mrst was behind Titewhai Harawira's blocking her from speaking on Waitangi Day. 13ut Mrs Harawira poured scom on the claim last night, saying: "No body puts me up to do anything I don't want to do." And New Zealand First has also dismissed the claims as ridiculous. Helen Clark had received phone calls from people in the north suggesting she had been singled out and the Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, left unchallenged. "I'm not making those allegations because I don't have any evidence." But she had been on the Te Tii Marae and spoken two years ago when Mrs Harawira was there, and Mrs Harawira had also spoken. She said the New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, gave her no support during her ordeal at Waitangi even though he was right next to her. She had been sent an anonymous series of written allegations that Mrs Harawira's actions on Waitangi Day "were the result of an orchestrated attempt by New Zealand First members and their families ... to attack Helen Clark as leader of the Labour Party." It says that Lettie Brown, the mother-in-law of New Zealand, First MPs Tau Henare and Tukoroirangi Morgan, is a long-time friend and associate of Mrs Harawira. It claims, incorrectly, that Mrs Brown and her two daughters, Ngaire and Carolyn, were with Mrs Harawira when she challenged Helen Clark at Waitangi. Mrs Brown said last night that she and the others were at a church service on treaty grounds when the powhiri involving Helen Clark took place. In some ways she had sympathy for Helen Clark because she was asked to be there and was told she could speak. Mr Henare is in Australia but a spokesman said the issue was much bigger than Helen Clark. "It is about women who for many years have been suppressed by menfolk of our culture. You saw the fint signs of women asserting themselves more at the tangi of Eva Rickard." The Maori activist Annette Sykes had to battle objections to speak at the tangi last year. "Helen Clark was unfortunately caught up in the middle of it all and I'm surprised her advisers are sending her down this track with this sort of material."

Elders aim to sort out problems of protocol.

Ngapuhi elders will meet this month at Waitangi to thrash out their protocol so that the incident which reduced Helen Clark to tears will not be repeated. The chairman of the Waitangi Marae Trust Board, Kingi Taurua, said he wanted Northland kau matua to sort out the problem be fore next year's , Waitangi Day celebrations. "I want them to iron out every thing so that everyone knows exactly what the protocol on marae is," he said. An unrepentant Mrs Harawira said until kaumatua sorted out the kawa, she would continue to chal lenge the light of Pakeha women to speak on Ngapuhi marae. "The issue over speaking rights is between Maori men and women, and had very little to do with Helen Clark. "If I was there when Jenny Ship ley stood to talk, I would have

challenged her as well," she said. Mr Taurua, who was not present at the time, said it was unfortunate there were two wel coming ceremonies at the time of the incident: one outside for pro test group Te Kawariki, the other for Helen Clark and her paity in side Te Tiriti o Waitangi house. "However, that still does not excuse what happened. Someone shotdd have stopped Mrs Hara wira from standing and making her challenge." Mr Taurua said he had consid ered banning Mrs Harawira from the marae in,future, but it could play into her hands. "She could congregate outside the marae with her supporters and cause worse trouble from there. We have to find the answer." Mrs Harawira said at issue was a simple case of equality for the women of Ngapuhi. - Richard Knight.

Black Power and Utu Rape

The term utu is revenge. Makutu is to cast a curse. Central to the hidden chaos of Maori gang movements, such as Black Power, is intimidation by the threat of raping innocent female third parties for utu against a male. A person may be threatend that their girlfried, their sister or perhaps even their work mates will be summarily raped by Black Power, or perhaps the Mongrel Mob, as an act of utu. In this equation the woman is of no account. Revenge against the man is all that matters. The threat of sexual utu on innocent women is a dark shadow on Black Power.

Two examples of utu rape from 1998:

"Tears streamed down the face of a former Black Power member yesterday as he was jailed for eight years for rape. John Daniel Lennie Kelly, aged 28, of South Auckland had earlier been found guilty On One charge of rape , three of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and one of demanding with menaces. The High Court at Auckland had heard that Kelly went to the home of his 36-year-old victim claiming that her jailed husband owed him a debt. Kelly forced the woman to g0 With him to the Mangere Domain by using threats and intimidation. She submitted to your demands for sex on the basis primarily of fear for her children and fear for herself," Justice Nicholson said in passing sentence" (NZ Herald 25 Nov 98).

After the 1998 riot at Paremoremo prison: "Certainly retaliation against inmates who did not take part in the riot was swift. Families were fair game. Prison guards claim Black Power, probably the most powerful gang at Paremoremo now, sent members round to the wife of an inmate who did not take part. They say the gang sodomised her in front of her children" (NZ Herald May 23 98).

Utu never ends. It runs down to the fourth generation.