Tairanga Moriori

Represented by Hokotehi Moriori Trust, who are in turn representative of the descendants of Rongomaiwhenua and his younger brother; Rongomaitere.

These people; these Moriori; their hunau; these inhabitants of Rekohu. They have a special place in history, and a special place in the future as well.

Historically as a people, they have already witnessed much suffering and hardship, and as a people of today, there is much to learn, much to adapt to, in their own changing cultural, social and commercial environments.

One aspect of the Moriori “renaissance” that may have given cause for surprise is the continuation of previous, historical, cultural slander and character assassinations from people and groups that would otherwise outwardly appear to have greater intelligence than to participate in such activites with such hatred and illogical sentiment.

Even today, it still goes on. Certain people can become almost frantic with apoplexy when discussing the cultural or political situation on Rekohu. Admittedly, some do like to jump on the bandwagon and just need someone (or something) to pull apart, irrespective of who (or what), but never face to face, and only venture their rabid opinions when others do so first. With these people, Moriori are just a target, like any other person. But there is another group, who still fail to, or refuse to acknowledge the right of Moriori to even have an existence.

You may think that I am over dramatising this….. but I most certainly am not.

There are some amongst the Rekohu community for example that believe that Moriori do not exist, but are merely a bunch of overstaying Maori from an earlier Taranaki voyage, others who say that they (Moriori) do not exist because they were all wiped out and if they did exist, they were so diluted, that they couldnt possibly claim any rights…. and yet other who claim that because Moriori share similar (and in some cases; the same) ancestors, that they are not Moriori, but Maori and they belong to this tribe, or that tribe……

We are all related………….. all the black, brown, white, yes even you pink fellas,… we are all related if you go far enough back.

I suggest that anyone who disagrees with the existence of Tairanga Moriori, needs to read the Waitangi Tribunals Rekohu report.

It spells out quite clearly who they are, why they are entitled to rights, and the Ngati Mutunga position on Rekohu O” Wharekauri as well. Its really good reading.

Oh I suppose there are a few chapters in there that some of those same folks wouldnt like… and they would obviously know better, than the Waitangi Tribunal, and the respected Maori elders that went to Kopinga for its opening…………

I wonder how many of these people would have the balls to say these things face to face?

Dont kid yourself that this is simply a “tall poppy” syndrome or something similar. It isnt. This is racism. It may be a learned behaviour for some, based on a few generations of it, but in the end thats all it is: racism.

One group sees another group as lesser beings than themselves. Less human. Less entitled to basic rights. Less entitled to self-determination. It is racist and it is bullying.

Over the past year, the Chathams community has had to pull together more times than anyone would want to remember, for some of the saddest occasions possible. But we can still do it. The worse the occassion, it seems, the greater the bond can be between Islanders.

What is it that stops us from putting our faith in our fellow man all of the time?

What is it that stops us from relying on our neighbours every day?

Why cant we focus on that “Island bond” and yet also celebrate the uniqueness of the individual’s culture.

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