Mana – A movement of the people

The following is the text of a speech given at a Socialist Alliance public meeting in Melbourne on 7 November by Workers Party member Grant Brookes

Tihei mauriora!Mana

Ko Ranginui kei runga

Ko Papat nuku kei raro

Ko ng tangata kei waenganui

Ko Grant Brookes ahau

Ko Helen toku mama

Ko Don toku papa

Na tepoti ahau

Na Koterana oku tipuna

Ko ng kaimahi o te ao taku iwi.

When a Maori person rises to talk in formal occasions, they often announce their speech, with “tihei mauriora!” translated literally, “sneeze of the life spirit”. It is then customary to recount one’s ancestry and tribal connections. So I said, Ranginui the sky father above, Papatunuku the earth mother below, the people in between. I am Grant Brookes. My mother is Helen, my father is Don. I am originally from Otepoti (Dunedin). My ancestors are from Scotland. Being Pakeha, or a New Zealand European, I have no Maori tribal connections, so I say; the workers of the world are my tribe.

I speak also as a socialist, and a member of the Workers Party. And I am a member of Mana. I have consulted with my ropu (or branch) and my Rohe (electorate) about today’s talk, though I must stress that I am not mandated in any way to speak on behalf of the party, and the views expressed are my own.  [Read more…]

Thousands say: “John Key, you’ve got mail, Aotearoa is not for sale”

Ian Anderson

The Aotearoa is Not For Sale hikoi departed from Cape Reinga on April the 23rd and reached parliament on May the 4th. This march demonstrated that tangata whenua are at the forefront of struggle against privatisation, expressed widespread opposition to asset sales, and raised questions of how to move forward.

Broad kaupapa
The kaupapa was broad, and contested. Thousands were united by opposition to National’s plans of selling 49% of state-owned assets to private companies. Other issues of corporate and ‘foreign’ ownership included the AFFCO meat-works lockout, offshore drilling and the Crafar Farms sale.

In an article for Scoop, Anti-capitalism must feature at hikoi against asset sales, Valerie Morse argued the focus should be on capitalist ownership rather than foreign ownership: “A number of very well known ‘kiwi’ brands equally well meet the definition of a multinational corporation… The fight shouldn’t be about domestic or foreign ownership; the fight should be about ownership full stop.” [Read more…]

Mana movement AGM: A socialist report

By Mike Kay and Jared Phillips

Around 200 activists from the Mana movement gathered for its AGM hui at Mataikotare Marae on the shores of Lake Rotorua over the weekend of 24-25 March. The programme, including speeches, debates, practical workshops and waiata showed Mana to be a vibrant and maturing movement.

The event opened with guest speakers, the most inspiring being Dayle Takitimu of Te Whanau-a-Apanui. She focused on the struggle against oil exploration by petroleum giants in the Ruakumara Basin, but in the process delivered broadsides on a number of wider issues.

Te Whanau-a-Apanui are “tangaroa people,” explained Takitimu. The iwi was determined to uphold “te mana o te whenua – mana of the whenua; not mana over the whenua, as some iwi leaders would have it.” Speaking of the draconian Search and Surveillance Act, Takitimu described it as “the coloniser inside our living room.” She detailed her iwi’s continual struggle against the Crown, drawing applause for her observation that “it’s no coincidence that Parliament is shaped like a beehive – the role of bees is to protect their queen.” [Read more…]

Mana in the election

Mana held Tai Tokerau for Hone Harawira and achieved 1% of the party vote, a respectable outcome, considering that the movement was launched just seven months ago, with bugger all money, and that the Labour and Māori Parties colluded to try and strangle it at birth. Mana won 12.7% of the Māori votes, and gained more votes than the ACT Party. The campaign that we ran was a refreshing display of left wing unity between Tino Rangatiritanga activists, Workers Party, Socialist Aotearoa, Socialist Worker, ISO and others. Mana is on the map.

But Mana was unlikely to repeat the success of the Māori Party when it was launched in 2004. For a start, there was no hikoi this time, and of course, Mana did not have the backing of the Brown Table. Mana also failed to make a real breakthrough into the Pasefika and working class Pākehā communities, perhaps because it was perceived to be a party exclusively for tangata whenua, like the Māori Party.
[Read more…]

Mana Party foundation hui and Te Tai Tokerau bye-election

 Mike Kay, Workers Party Auckland and Mana Te Raki Paewhenua (North Shore) branch

Following Hone Harawira’s election victory, Mana convened a foundation hui of activists in Whangarei on 26 June. I will summarise the proceedings of the hui conducted in English below, followed by an assessment of the bye-election, and a political appraisal of the prospects for Mana.

In Whangarei Matt McCarten set the tone by stating: “We did not just win a bye-election, we changed the nature of politics. There’s a lot of people out there who are not sure what they want, but they know what they don’t want. The entire political elite and establishment were against us – there were four anti-Hone editorials in the Herald. We represent danger because we cannot be bought.”

Annette Sykes described Mana as “a Kaupapa Māori party that transcends race, whanau and hapū… also a party of the workers.” She said Mana should work with unions and left activists. On Te Tiriti, she proposed abolition of the 2014 deadline for settlements and opposed the Crown “deciding who our leaders are.” On environmental issues, she opposed the Emissions Trading Scheme on the basis that it does not make the polluters pay. In Education, she proposed that Te Reo become a compulsory language. She talked of the need for Mana to embrace Pākehā as well, and oppose neo-liberal policies that “put profit before people, bankers before workers and privatisation before the Treaty.” [Read more…]