Ae Marika! A column published in the Northland Age
By Hone Harawira, Te Reo Motuhake o Te Tai Tokerau
(To comment on this column please go to my website hone.co.nz)
'tis better to die on your feet
than to live forever on your knees
I launched a political party a few weeks back, but I also lost a very good friend as well.
WAATARA Black was a real warrior, and a legend before most of us guys had even met her! We'd heard of this Maori woman called Geronimo rarkin' up the Black Woman's Movement, so we were keen (and a little bit apprehensive as well) to meet this dynamo. And she turned out to be exactly that.
She was a powerhouse of a woman, with a strong mind, a willingness to act, and a fearlessness that endeared her to everyone in the movement. She stood with us at Bastion Point, she marched with us to Waitangi, she fought for tenancy rights for the poor in Auckland, she was always a powerful presence in every hui she attended, she occupied land in Ngati Te Ata and won it back, she hosted international guests, and she cared for our kids when we were all slippin' off the rails back in the day.
In her later life she was a noted horse trainer and horse whisperer, which we all laughed about at her tangi because while she was great at whispering at the horses, none of us guys ever remember her whispering to us - shouting at us was her norm, and berating us her specialty. She used to give us heaps, but she also stood by us whenever we were down, and for that she will be remembered with love and affection by movement people from right across the country and throughout the Pacific.
damn those polls!
Whenever the polls say something nice, politicians say the poll was right. Whenever they say you're koretake, politicians say things like "it's just a snapshot in time" and "I don't follow the polls" and "the only poll that matters is on election day".
Based on that then, I'd have to say that the polls lately have been absolutely on the money.
The Herald ran an online poll a week or so back which suggested that if a vote was taken that day, MANA would go back in with 10 MPs. The Horizon Poll showed that even though we're only a couple of weeks old, got no money, and we're about to lose the only MP we ever had, MANA is already ahead of the Maori Party. And the Northern Advocate poll gave me 76%, the guy from Labour 18%, and the Maori Party 6%.
I am humbled by the support I have always had in the north, but, all polls aside, I suspect it's because Maori in the north like their leaders to be strong, forthright and honest. I'm not planning on changing my style over the next few weeks, but I do intend to hit the streets of the north and talk to every Maori I can, to get a sense of what matters to them and how we can work together to realise our dreams.
laughter - the best medicine
Everyone's got to have a laugh, and politicians more than anyone else need to be able to laugh at themselves. Over the years, I've heard some good jokes cracked at my expense. Here's another one ...
Postal Service Recall
New Zealand Post created a stamp based on a picture of Tai Tokerau Member of Parliament, Hone Harawira, but right from the start they got complaints about how the stamp was not sticking to envelopes.
This enraged Hone, who demanded a full investigation. After a month of testing and spending of $1.5 million of taxpayer's money, a special commission came up with the following findings:
1. The stamp was in perfect order.
2. There was nothing wrong with the adhesive.
3. People were spitting on the wrong side of the stamp.
Enjoy your week, and enjoy your whanau everyone - sometimes you don't know how lucky you are until you've lost the things you really love