If we have a million dollars for the ballet, where is the million dollars for the kapa haka movement?
Although the Waitangi Tribunal was set up in 1974, kick starting a process in which iwi could seek restitution for the failure of successive governments to fulfil the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi, it was only in the 1990s that two institutions began to grapple with what to do, according to Rt Hon Dame Jenny Shipley and Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu.
Speaking as the 2015 Waitangi Te Rua Rautau lecturers, they reflect separately on their time in government, and in the Anglican Church.
For Dame Jenny, who was a cabinet minister in successive National governments during the 1990s and Prime Minister from 1997 to 1999, dealing with dissent and spirited disagreement was a necessary part of the job. She was pleased, all the same, to have the government officially represented at Waitangi in 1998 after a three-year absence, and she considers that significant work was done during her time in office to accelerate the resolution of historical grievances of Māori tribes.
She also recalls a meeting in which Māori representation at the Cabinet table changed a decision of the government. It had received a call from the New Zealand Ballet company for emergency extra funding. One of her Māori colleagues, Tuariki Delamere, raised his voice and said “If we have a million dollars for the ballet, where is the million dollars for the kapa haka movement?”
Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu belongs to the Anglican Church which was reorganised in 1992 into three tikanga or cultural streams representing the Māori, Pakeha and Polynesian strands of its makeup. If this model works for his institution, he wonders if establishing an upper house representing Maori perspectives might work at Parliament.
Rt Hon Dame Jenny Shipley and Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu provide political and religious perspectives on the different responses of the Government and the Anglican Church to the Treaty of Waitangi, with a particular focus on what happened in the 1990s.
Recorded at Te Herenga Waka Marae at Victoria University of Wellington on 25 January 2015.
The 2015 Waitangi Rua Rautau lectures will be broadcast on Radio New Zealand National at 6pm on Waitangi Day, 6 February 2015.