It’s a proud day for her, her whanau, hapu, iwi and Ikaroa-Rawhiti. All power to her.
However – and this isn’t necessarily a criticism – a Maori Party MP could've delivered the speech without without fuss. On close examination there’s little that separates Labour’s Maori Caucus from the Maori Party. The divide is more circumstantial than ideological. The greater divide is between Mana and Labour. Mana offers a working class critique of Maori society and the Maori economy. Generally speaking, Labour favours the capitalist co-option approach that the Maori Party has adopted.
There’s a wealth of talk over the “Maori economic renaissance”, but precious little discussion on how we can ensure the fair distribution of the benefits of that renaissance. Iwi should have strategies to avoid replicating inequality. We don’t want the gap between Maori and non-Maori replicated on a micro-level or iwi level. The discourse has to shift and include development and fair distribution.