It’s time to stand up for truth

by John Ansell

This is what I intend to say at Waitangi today. Just had an interview with Fairfax at the marae and been ejected. Now off to stand opposite the entrance with Mike Butler and Treatygate banner.

Then need to find somewhere to deliver the following — hopefully on the Treaty House lawn.

It’s time to stand up for truth

I’ve come here, to Waitangi, as a proud fifth generation indigenous New Zealander.

Or at least I’m no less indigenous than others whose forebears also sailed here many generations ago from distant islands.

My grandmother’s grandmother was born in Auckland in 1845 and died in 1946, living from Heke’s War to Hiroshima.

The man who accepted my challenge to join me here today is Mike Butler. Mike’s grandfather’s father was the first settler to step ashore, from the first ship, in the first settlement, Petone.

We’re here because we can no longer tolerate the lies being told by our government, and by our schools and universities, and by self-serving tribal leaders, about our forebears, and about the Treaty of Waitangi.

I want to tell my prime minister: John Key, it’s time to start running our country as a democracy.

It’s time to start telling the truth about the Treaty — even if it costs you — God forbid! — some Maori Party votes.

It’s time to stop the systematic brainwashing of our young, who know nothing of the facts I’m about to reveal.

It’s time to stop the appeasement of bullies and extortionists.

It’s time to stop surrendering our sovereignty by stealth.

The 40 year campaign by vote-hungry governments of every stripe to twist the meaning and exaggerate the breaching of a simple document, deserves to be described with that infamous New Zealand phrase “an orchestrated litany of lies”.

Tell the children, John, about Hobson’s final English Treaty draft. The one that was discovered in 1989, and then covered up.

Covered up because, unlike the flowery so-called “official” English Treaty relied upon by the Waitangi Tribunal, it was a direct match with the Maori Tiriti, into which it was translated.

And because both the final draft and Te Tiriti make it clear that the Treaty safeguards the rights of “all the people of New Zealand”, not just Maori.

Tell the children, John, about the words in the Treaty that have been so twisted for commercial gain.

And no word has been so twisted as the word ‘taonga’.

Today we hear that part of the 4G radio spectrum must be given to Maori because it is a ‘taonga’.

‘Taonga’ today means anything greedy tribal leaders take a shine to. Anything they can take off the stupid Pakeha.

But what, I wondered, did ‘taonga’ mean in 1840?

So I looked up the dictionary that was current at the time of the Treaty. A dictionary compiled at Cambridge University with the help of none other than the great Ngapuhi chief Hongi Hika.

And Hongi Hika defined ‘taonga’ as follows: ‘property procured by the spear’.

Property procured by the spear.

I think even the shamelessly one-eyed Waitangi Tribunal would have trouble arguing that it was possible to procure a radio frequency with a spear.

‘Taonga’ was their stuff, nothing more, nothing less. So why are you using the inflated meaning of today?

Tell the children, John, about how the Treaty freed the slaves and abolished the cannibalism that was such a feature of Maori society before the arrival of the British.

Tell the children how the Treaty was the ticket that gave Maori membership and access to the wonderful benefits of the then-greatest empire on earth.

How it gave their people security of property for the first time ever, and a system of law to replace war as a means of settling disputes.

Tell the children about the Kohimarama Conference of 1860, where 200 chiefs gave thanks to Governor Gore Browne for the tremendous advantages their people had received from Christianity and British law.

And yet all the descendants of those chiefs seem to be able to do is complain and demand more.

Tell the children that as a result of that treaty, no native people anywhere in the world have come so far, so fast.

Tell the children what that wise and honest Maori leader Sir Apirana Ngata said about the breaches of the Treaty: that a minority of chiefs breached the Treaty by waging war against the Crown, and were punished with the loss of land – as was the Maori custom too.

Tell the children of the threat by the most moderate chief, Wiremu Tamihana, that he intended to kill every man, woman and child in Auckland.

Tell the children about the warnings issued by Governor Grey that if the rebels went ahead with their plans for war, they would have their lands settled by those who would keep them peaceful.

Tell the children how most Treaty claims were settled fully and finally by 1947. And how Tainui have now had four full and final settlements and Ngai Tahu five, with more to come.

The Treaty grievance process has become New Zealand’s Never Ending Story.

And you can’t blame Maori for taking what your government seems so eager to give them.

What will you give them next?

If I were an iwi leader — and I could keep a straight face — I’d claim the right to solar power. Why?

Because Maui and his brothers slowed down the sun with a net, and thereby invented daylight saving.

I’d claim tidal power, too, citing as evidence the song ‘Beneath the Maori Moon.’

It’s got to stop, John. You’re not running the country well enough to be able to afford to give one race of people $1.5 billion worth of privileges every year.

That’s what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years. One South Canterbury Finance bailout every year, with no end in sight.

We can’t afford it.

You say you’re ambitious for New Zealand. And yet if New Zealand was a state of a combined United States of America, Australasia, Canada, Britain and Ireland, there would be 82 states, and New Zealand would be 37th for population, but 81st for wealth.

So here’s something you can do about it.

You can remove this roadblock called the Treaty grievance industry. A roadblock that forces us to bribe the tribes whenever we want to do anything or build anything.

Because let’s be quite clear, resource co-governance is really ‘koha governance’.

Today’s tribal asset grab is about money, not mana.

And to ordinary hard-working decent Maori I say: how much of that money have you seen?

How come your leaders have had so much money, and yet the bad statistics remain as bad as ever?

What you need, I suggest, is a new generation of leaders who are more like the old generation. More like Sir Apirana Ngata.

We need to remove the roadblock so we can focus on the road to a prosperous future.

A road we must travel together, as one country, not two.

I want to honour our forebears, both Maori and European, who came together to build modern New Zealand.

And I want to include those who came later, the brave immigrants who left their homes and chose New Zealand as the best country in the world to make their home.

I want us all to be equal. That’s what democracy means.

I challenge you, John Key, and the media, to poll your public, and find out whether mine is a lone voice.

Or whether, as I estimate, 80 percent of our countrymen want a New Zealand where all citizens have the same rights, live under the same law, vote on the same roll, and use their taxes to help each other according to need, not race.

It’s time to take a leaf out the book of our champion sports teams. The Silver Ferns. The All Blacks. Teams made up of Maori, Polynesians, Europeans – even the odd South African giraffe.

Teams that take on the world and win — together.

That’s what New Zealand needs to do.

I challenge the silent majority who want a racially equal New Zealand to stop being so silent. To refuse to be cowed by cowardly accusations of racism. That’s just a trick to keep you quiet.

It’s time to stand up for your country, or lose your country.

Stand up for democracy.

Stand up for fairness.

Stand up for equality.

And stand up for truth.