Jan 10, 2013

The best of 2012, Maori need not apply and Rangatahi Courts

A few thoughts:

The best (and worst) of 2012 
I know I’m late to it, but here are my picks

Best Maori MP: Louisa Wall – for services to equality and old school lobbying.

Best Maori Minister: Paula Bennett – a competent manager, good communicator and is overseeing some innovative programmes.

Best Maori electorate MP: Parekura Horomia – for what he lacks on the national stage, he makes up for on the ground. His majority (the largest in the Maori electorates) wasn’t a mistake.

Most improved: Te Ururoa Flavell – after a shocking 2011 and despite a fail on education in 2012, Flavell has made up ground with his strong support for Tuhoe, competent debate performances and electorate work.

Most consistent: Metiria Turei – points for tireless advocacy for Maori, women and beneficiaries. Always takes a consistent and articulate line. Stand out performer in the Native Affairs debates.

Must do better: Pita Sharples – boxed in to a corner over cuts at TPK, the section 9 controversy and dismantling the Maori Policy Unit at MFAT. Choice: improve in 2013 or make way for Flavell and retire in 2014.

Could have been better: Shane Jones – said to the point of redundancy, but the man has potential. Skilled communicator and an intellect, but he has a blindspot for consequences.

Non-Maori need not apply
RNZ reports:

Te Aitanga a Hauiti claim the tribe is considering hiring candidates who are not Maori and not from Ngati Porou.

In protest, the people representing the marae have pulled their support for the annual Pa Wars - a major sports event that's due to be held on the third of January in Tolaga Bay.

The best person should get the job. More often the not, the best candidate is going to be someone from Ngati Porou. An ideal candidate will have knowledge of the iwi, their tikanga, language and so on. However, having the wrong whakapapa should not be a barrier. Insular recruitment practices are, in my opinion, holding iwi back. The Maori business, management and public service communities are small and can be difficult to source talent from.

Rangatahi Courts
RNZ reports that the first report on Maori Youth Courts has been released and the findings are positive. I’m not surprised. In my experience, young Maori often express a sense of pride and belonging in their membership of a gang, criminal clique or troubled social group. One of the best mechanisms to combat this is to replace that pride and belonging to a gang, criminal clique or troubled social group with a sense of pride in their taha Maori and a sense of belonging to their iwi and hapu. Judge Andrew Beacroft, former Chief Judge of the Youth Court, highlights that the most effective programmes for Maori offenders take a holistic approach (incorporate tikanga, whanau and the like), enhance pride in the offenders’ taha Maori and whakapapa and are tailored to the individual. Maori Youth Courts, for the most part, do this.

PS: it was pointed out in the comments that Pita Sharples ("must do better") started running Rangatahi Courts out of Hoani Waititi Marae back in the day. 


  1. You forgot to mention Hekia Parata who has been doing a splendid job destroying the schools in Christchurch even better than any earthquake could achieve

  2. Thanks for your thoughts on the Māori politician front. It is great that Māori are amongst some of the best performers in the house and cabinet. I think that there has also been some shockers, including Brendan Horan, Hekia Parata and to a lesser extent Nanaia Mahuta who has not taken the opportunity to cement herself as the Labour spokesperson on Education. Perhaps it's a tikanga thing, where she feels it's wrong to trample on Hekia's mana, but it looks like Hipkins has taken the role for himself. The other good performer has been Hone Harawira. I am not a Mana Party supporter but find myself agreeing at various times with Hone on issues. Perhaps we should also be making a list of Māori MPs who should be looking for new jobs after the next election. I would suggest Horan (if he lasts that long), Pita Sharples (go with dignity), Shane Jones (your talents are best used elsewhere),other suggestions??

  3. I agree Hone Harawira has been outstanding

  4. Hone gets top marks for street cred and taking the bastards on!

  5. Morgan, first let me say up front I'm a Maori Party supporter but have a soft spot for Hone because of his activism.

    I'm all for criticism, but fair criticism at that. I dont understand the comments attached to Sharples? The cuts to TPK, I haven't seen any; Section 9, was watered down, but got across the line, in part, to Pita at Cabinet; and dismatling MFAT Unit - what's Pita got to do with MFAT over and above any other Maori Minister/MP, he has no role there from what I can see?

    And Rangatahi Courts, were first run and designed by Sharples at Hoani Waititi - just saying.

    1. Re cuts at TPK:


      TPK Funding was also reduced in last year's budget (along with Whanau Ora administration funding and Maori tourism and Maori radio funding). The death of the Maori Policy Unit at MFAT was, at the time, a potent attack against the Maori Party's "at the table" argument. As Minister of Maori Affairs Pita had to bear the brunt of that attack. Re Rangatahi Courts: you're right and credit where credit is due. I'll make a mention of that in the post.



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