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 |  Fiona Gates  | 
I write in response to Gerry Church’s letter titled “unity of all New Zealand Citizens”.

Gerry starts with a quote by Kiingi Tūheitia, where he calls for kotahitanga, unity for Māori and calls us Māori, ‘elite’. This was spoken at the recent gathering at Turangawaewae. The reason for the hui was to discuss the government’s plan to redefine Te Tiriti.

Context is important. The term Elite Māori is a derogatory term used to describe Māori leaders or those that speak up for Te Tiriti and Māori rights. It is a term used by anti Māori protagonists with its roots in white supremacy. It is used to put fear into non-Māori and doubt into Māori. In the build up to 2023 election, Julian Batchelor, the real estate agent come evangelist, come anti-Māori activist, pushed the term, ‘elite Māori’. In Kiingi Tūheitia’s speech, he is calling for unity amongst Māori, to work together to protect Te Tiriti and he cleverly reframes the use of the word ‘elite’ that has been weaponised against us.

Long before Willie Jackson said, “Māori would go to war”, Julian Batchelor was stirring up his supporters. I guess Gerry doesn’t look at both sides.

Gerry went on to mention the Boyd Massacre as an example of lack of mana. Gerry neglected to add information or context, rather relying on the reader to follow the link if you cared to. In 1809, 70 passengers and crew on the ship, the Boyd, were killed and cannibalised as an act of Utu (revenge). It was in retaliation to the Captain’s (of the Boyd) mistreatment of a young local chief, Te Ara. Utu is to uphold Mana.

Cherry picking parts of a bigger picture to push your agenda is dishonest and misleading. Ignorance is no longer an excuse in our modern world.

Sadly, Gerry Church’s words only serve to flame the fires of divisiveness rather than contribute towards kotahitanga in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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