Te Puni Kokiri – Gone by Lunchtime
Hone Harawira Leader of MANA
Wednesday 1 February 2012
“Unbelievable!” was the only thing Hone Harawira, leader of the MANA Movement and MP for Tai Tokerau could say when told
about the Maori Party’s support for the break-up of Te Puni Kokiri.
“The Maori Party’s been huffing and puffing about walking out over asset stripping and here they are doing exactly the
same thing themselves - gutting the only government department that Maori have ever had faith in.”
The restructure of TPK is said to include:
• Major redundancies
• Closure of many branch offices
• Reducing TPK’s role to social issues (education, employment and housing)
• The removal of major responsibilities (economic development, Matauranga Maori including WAI 262, Marae Development,
the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights, Te Reo Maori,
Broadcasting, Land and Resource Development, and Whanau Ora)
“And guess what? None of the staff have been told about it. No consultation, no counselling, nothing - just a simple
announcement - TPK will be gone by lunchtime and many of you are headed for the dole queue”.
“These changes will cripple Maori development. A once great ministry will become just a shell of its former self and
other government departments will just ignore them”.
“There will be no longer be a single source for advocacy on Maori culture, Maori language, Maori broadcasting, Maori
intellectual property rights, Maori economic development, Matauranga Maori, marae development and Maori land and
“The new gutted agency (to be known as The Puny Kokiri) won’t even have any say over the Declaration on the Rights of
“Maori will get less funding, there will be fewer civil servants focussed on Maori issues and Maori people will be told
to go … round and round in circles”.
“But congratulations Tariana; looks like she got all her furniture out before Pete’s house got razed to the ground”.
“These changes raise more questions than answers – like:
• Why haven’t the staff been told about this?
• Why weren’t Maori consulted on this?
• What will happen to the responsibilities they once had? (Maori culture, Maori language, Maori broadcasting, Maori
intellectual property rights, Maori economic development, Matauranga Maori, marae development, Maori land and resource
development, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)
• Will these responsibilities just disappear or will other government agencies deal with them?
• Do other government agencies have well-resourced and knowledgeable Maori units established to cater for the transfer
• Will the money go with the programmes?
• Which government department gets Maori culture, which one gets Maori language, which one gets Maori broadcasting,
which one gets Maori intellectual property rights?
• Which government department gets Maori economic development, which one gets Matauranga Maori, which one gets marae
development and which one gets Maori land and resource development?
• Will other departments now be able to ignore the advice provided by TPK which has often been critical of the
government’s performance on Maori issues?”
“If this is true, the Maori Party’s everlasting legacy will be to have destroyed the only department that Maori had any
faith in, and reduced co-leader Pita Sharples’ role to being just a bag handler for other ministers.”
“If ever the Maori Party was going to walk, now’s the time. Things are just lurching from bad to worse with these guys
and none of them have got a bloody clue about what to do about it”.