Sunday 28th November, 2010
Marae INVESTIGATES Scotty Morrison interviews Chairman, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Mark Solomon
Points of interest – PANEL DISCUSSION:
• Mark Solomon rejects Minister Paula Bennett’s challenge for Iwi to pay for child abuse services and claims her
figures are out of context. “They need to sit down and talk with us they need to get back to the old processes…..The reality is with all of the
figures she gave equated to less than a point one percent of those tribe’s……While it is unacceptable that any of our
children are in care, it is a small minority of our men that are actually abusing our children and our women.”
• Mark Solomon dismisses claims of Iwi Leaders Group being elitist
“I fail to see how I’m elitist or any of the iwi leaders are…….everything that we have discussed with the crown is being
placed in front of all iwi in the country, if that’s being elitist so be it.”
• Mark Solomon says testing regime in Marine and Coastal Area Bill is an insult to Maoridom “The tests of continuous contiguous exclusive are tests that the majority of iwi have no opportunity of passing and in
some ways I think it’s an insult to the culture of Maoridom this concept of exclusive, if you’re exclusive how do you
The interview has been transcribed below. The full length panel discussion and stories from this morning’s Marae
Investigates can also be seen on tvnz.co.nz at, http://tvnz.co.nz/marae
Marae Investigates is repeated on TVNZ 7 at 6.10pm and 10.35pm on Sunday nights, 12.35pm on Mondays, and Saturday at
MARK SOLOMON interviewed by SCOTTY MORRISON
MORRISON: Tena koe Mark
SOLOMON: Tena koe e hoa
MORRISON: E hoa, 29 Miners have died in Te Waipounamu, what’s the feeling there for Ngai Tahu?
SOLOMON: It’s a tragedy, we have some families that are immediately affected of course all of our people on Te Tai
Poutini they’re a part of the community, it’s a tragedy for everybody.
MORRISON: How does Iwi participate at times like this Mark?
SOLOMON: All we can do is send our aroha and support we’ll be there whenever we’re needed.
MORRISON: The memorial service is set for next Thursday at one o’clock how will Ngai Tahu participate in that service?
SOLOMON: Well no doubt I’ve been asked to participate at the one in Christchurch but I’d much rather prefer to go to the
one on the West Coast and I have no doubt our Runanga there will be participating and as members of the community.
MORRISON: And Makawhio, how have they been participating in this whole incident?
SOLOMON: I think you have to understand the west coast community it’s a very close knit community any tragedy like this
affects the whole region so of course the community is in mourning and in shock but they will pull through they always
MORRISON: It hasn’t been a happy time down there, the earthquake, it was the 5th most expensive natural disaster in the
world this year – 2 natural disasters in Te Waipounamu, from a Maori point of view, I’ve heard some people talking about
it on radio on television, some of them are saying these events are a tohu of some kind, what do you make of these
SOLOMON: I won’t say it was a tohu but it was a horrible experience, the earthquake and the disaster at Pike River . I’m
not looking at it as a tohu it’s just something that happens out of nature and we just have to ride it through it.
MORRISON: Let’s just talk about the earthquake for a little while, aftershocks are still happening in Christchurch, one
nearly point three only 10k’s from Christchurch Friday afternoon, how are people doing in Christchurch at the moment?
SOLOMON: A lot of nerves are pretty frayed, you see it a lot with the children the kids you can see they’re as nervous
as anything. We’re riding it out, it is getting a bit better we’ve even had, in fact the three point nine we didn’t even
feel it. I felt one a couple of days a week ago when I came back from the north island, home for five minutes and a
point five hit, you just got to deal with it.
MORRISON: Have Maori seen any financial benefits from the fundraising events held in Christchurch ?
SOLOMON: We have a fund we’ve been raising but it’s for the community and all of our people that are in need are being
looked after through both the mayoral fund and through our own. But there’s not many people coming asking for help we’re
a community that’s pretty tight, the earthquake has bought everyone together so in that sense it’s been quite amazing in
how the communities have pulled together.
MORRISON: What about the marae in Christchurch and around Christchurch , how have they been affected?
SOLOMON: They’ve all come through it quite well. Some minor damage we were a bit slow opening up because we wanted to
have them all checked out by the engineers before we allowed people on, but they’re all open and operating and tomorrow
we open a new whare at Rapa.
MORRISON: There’s been talk around mining applications with Maori tribes, there’s been talk with the government, mining
on Maori land. What’s Ngai Tahu’s involvement when it comes to mining applications in Te Waipounamu?
SOLOMON: Well there was no talks with the government about mining Maori land. The meeting that was held with the
government was specifically to ask - could we set up a frame work so iwi katoa could engage in a dialogue with the
national government over their plans around mining over all exploration, there was no talk about mining.
MORRISON: Is Ngai Tahu open to mining minerals other than Pounamu?
SOLOMON: Ngai Tahu in their submission to the Crowns plea to mine the conservation estate we take a very cautious
approach. We would look at every application on a case by case basis and we would certainly be opposed to the government
making the DOC estate more free and open for mining.
MORRISON: In terms of a case by case basis, if the government was to tell Ngai Tahu that some of the land under Ngai
Tahus’ jurisdiction contains some very wealthy mineral base would you then decide to even if it is Maori land would you
then decide to mine it?
SOLOMON: We would have to look at it if it had detrimental environmental impacts then I would say that Ngai Tahu would
say no, it would have to be on a case by case basis, what are the effects how would you mitigate before we engaged.
MORRISON: I just want to talk about the new Marine and Coastal Bill you were told by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris
Finlayson, only 10% of New Zealand’s’ coast would come under the bill and only a few iwi would get anything out of it
and in fact, Ngai Tahu would get nothing, is that correct?
SOLOMON: He didn’t say we would get nothing he said we had no rights because we had a land settlement that extinguished
our rights to the Foreshore Seabed. I immediately disputed that in simply saying our settlement is quite explicit we
can’t dispute the Crown on any issue that happened prior to September 1992, the Crown only took ownership of the
foreshore and seabed in 2004 Act They had assumed that they owned it but they didn’t actually have an enactment in
parliament that gave them that ownership until 2004, and our view is it is a contemporary claim in our land claim there
was no discussion in the foreshore and seabed.
MORRISON: So your concerns around the marine and coastal area bill is the testing systems for customary rights, are they
real these concerns of yours?
SOLOMON: Oh we think they are very real, the tests of continuous contiguous exclusive are tests that the majority of iwi
have no opportunity of passing and in some ways I think it’s an insult to the culture of Maoridom this concept of
exclusive, if you’re exclusive how do you practise manaaki?
MORRISON: So Ngai tahu is against the bill?
SOLOMON: We’re against parts of the bill, parts of the bill we believe are unworkable.
MORRISON: Mark what’s your response to criticism the iwi leaders group is elitist and operating behind closed doors with
the Prime Minister and other ministers?
SOLOMON: I fail to see how im elitist or any of the iwi leaders are, given the fact that all, well I’ll take the
Foreshore and Seabed, I received a mandate from 42 iwi to approach the government about setting a framework for dialogue
on the foreshore and seabed, that mandate was given to me at Te Hopuhopu, everything that we have discussed with the
crown is being placed in front of all iwi in the country, if that’s being elitist so be it.
MORRISON: Mark we celebrated the kaupapa of white ribbon this week men against violence , Paula Bennett delivered a
speech in August this year and in that speech she challenged iwi leaders to help pay for child abuse services , how
receptive are you Ngai Tahu to this idea?
SOLOMON: We’re not receptive at all. The simple reality is we had a system across the country that worked by placing the
children within their extended family it was called Matua Whangai, that process was pushed aside by the government
through social welfare, CYPS took over, they are now having difficulty with placing Maori children in with extended
families. They need to sit down and talk with us they need to get back to the old processes that worked. She raised at
Te Hopuhopu that Ngai Tahu had 80 children in care and gave the numbers of the other tribes. The reality is with all of
the figures she gave equated to less than a point one percent of those tribe’s populations so it needs to be put into
its context. While it is unacceptable that any of our children are in care, it is a small minority of our men that are
actually abusing our children and our women.
MORRISON: Mark you formed some really solid relationships with other tribes especially Tainui over the years, in terms
of tino rangatiratanga how would you translate this in today’s society today’s world – does tino rangatiratanga
translate to money?
SOLOMON: Of course it doesn’t but if you want to have programmes for your people it costs money, if you want to have
communications with your people it costs money, if we want to travel to talk from Christchurch to Wellington with the
government it costs money. So we have to have an asset base, the whole rationale behind the forming of the iwi chairs
and iwi leaders was so that we could together discuss the macro issues that affected all of us and im afraid you need
money to be able to do those sorts of things.
MORRISON: Kia ora rawa atu Mark thank you very much for joining us this morning on Marae.
SOLOMON: My pleasure. Thank you