I’m working on updates to a Te Tiriti workshop. It’s taking me hours because the research is scrupulous; every word and every concept must be referenced to a reliable source. Our information must be accurate and trustworthy.

As I do this, I think of every richly researched document that I am drawing my information from. I think of all the hours people have dedicated to researching and documenting this information. I think of the lives of all the people whose deep knowledge and expertise are recorded in these tomes – hours, years, lives, generations. So much deep understanding and knowledge of Aotearoa – of the context, the meaning, and the politics of He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

I feel so wild that one person (supported by a select few) – who has no respect for any of this expert knowledge and who makes things up and blatantly lies – gets more state-funded media coverage for their marginal views than any of the people who have dedicated their whole lives to understanding and working for harmonious and just relationships in this country. The Prime Minister says National won’t support ACT’s Bill beyond the first reading and that it won’t ‘mess with the Treaty’, yet they are wholly responsible for giving this space to the disinformation of their coalition partners. They are already messing with the Treaty, and the media feeds it. While the Treaty Principles Bill isn’t their bill, National have signed up to and are enacting line after line of anti-Māori action in both their coalition agreements.

It is deeply troubling that expert understandings and evidence are not being heeded by this government, and that public input and court process are being denied as law changes are enacted under urgency, repealing Smokefree legislation and disestablishing Te Aka Whai Ora are just two examples. The weakness of our democracy with its limited checks on power is in stark relief at this time. 

And then this beautiful waiata from the Aunties pops up on my feed:   

 

People of Aotearoa make a stand and fight on forever, unite all our children, make it seem hopeful for them.   

Teach them to love one and other, tell them we will recover, tell them for we are the ones who will fight on to the end.   

 

I listen, I feel sad, I calm a little. Each of these wāhine have given their lives to this kaupapa. I listen to their words and think, ‘This time provides us with impetus to act. Tangata Tiriti, we need to make a stand now. We need to talk to our people, our media, and our local politicians and tell them we want a united Te Tiriti honouring Aotearoa and a flourishing environment for our children. We need to share accurate information on the power of Te Tiriti to shape an inclusive and fair society.’  

And so, I return with urgency to focusing on the slow work of truth-telling.

Tīhei mauri ora!   

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