Labour’s ties to Ratana are questioned as well they should

Labour treats Maori with condescending and patronising behaviour.

They ‘expect’ support from Maori, in fact probably demand it behind closed doors, but the reality is after 90 years of association with Ratana the elders are finally getting the picture that more results for Maori have been delivered by the National party and their partnership with the Maori party.Labour is being put on notice again but anyone who has been observing politics as long as I have knows this has been going one for quite some time.

Maori it seems are content to talk lots but do little when it comes sorting out politicians.

At Ratana though Andrew Little got his beans, and it was particularly sharp in his mind after the elders changed the protocol for attending the marae, putting all politicians on the same level.

Only one got upset and that was Andrew Little.

Andrea Vance reports:

Ratana church leaders have warned Labour not to take its support for granted, after the party won six of the seven Maori seats at the election.

In a break from tradition, Labour leader Andrew Little and his MPs were obliged to walk onto the marae with politicians from other parties.

Events to mark the 142nd birthday of the prophet Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana ran well over time, because of the attendance of the Maori King Tūheitia Paki. But it’s known that church elders have long wanted MPs of all hues to be welcomed together.   

Senior Ratana leader Ruia Aperahama delivered a blunt message to Labour, with which it has strong ties dating back to 1936. He said morehu [followers] stuck with the party when the “rest of the mainstream left in droves and deserted Labour.” He retold a church proverb: “a tree that bears not good fruit will be chopped down and thrown onto the fire.”

Aperahama expressed fears the Maori vote may lose “its mana as more foreigners are welcomed into the country.”

Referring to an alliance with the party, forged after a meeting between the prophet Rātana and Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage, he added: “The Maori and Pacific voice must not be forgotten. You have had 90 years now … we are now asking seriously whether you are capable of honouring that or not.”

Little was more positive about the relationship, citing three morehu now members of his caucus – Louisa Wall, Adrian Rurawhe and Rino Tirikatene.

“They have said that most years I’ve been here … it’s been said before. But I’ve got to go on what happened last year. And last year we got got six out of the seven MPs … we know what the task is ahead of us.

“We’ve been working pretty hard on the relationship with Ratana that’s why we now have the great grandson [Rurawhe] of the prophet Ratana in our caucus.”

What a blowhard…hectoring Ratana about the ties…and then comes the patronising.

Little wants the separation of Government and Opposition parties in the Powhiri to continue.

“I’ve tried to give them the message that the relationship with Labour goes back nearly 80 years and that was the judgement of the prophet, so they’ve got to look to their history too. We will look to ours.

“We will certainly continue to forge our relationship beyond just the annual January [event] and we will see what happens in January.”

Earlier, in a speech on the marae, Little played up the deep history between the two movements.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English was sanguine about the shift in protocol for walking onto the marae.

“It’s not really a problem, you’ve got to fit in with organisers,” he said.

He tried to give them the message? What’s that? Union bovver boy shop floor speak.

Ratana aren’t listening to the patronising, they are seeking results.

Someone who utters words like this though surely is as shallow as a bird bath:

“We will certainly continue to forge our relationship beyond just the annual January [event] and we will see what happens in January.”

I mean what does that even mean?

The little man speaks in riddles.


– Fairfax

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.