On the eve of our first annual cultural exchange to Shanghai, Ngati Kahu are watching with a great deal of interest the debate between those who support the development at Karikari by Shanghai CRED and those who oppose it.
There are pros and cons to both positions.
We support the argument some have made that whenua should never be sold. However, given the fact that that horse bolted at least 150 years ago, we rely upon the older fact that our hapu have never ceded their mana whenua, kaitiakitanga or rangatiratanga. And every hapu that exercises those principles will retain them, regardless of who has fee simple title over a piece of their whenua.
We do not support the racist tones of many of the arguments which paint all Chinese as polluting, corrupt, thieving, lying, rapacious invaders who will steal our land, make us their tenants and slave labourers, force us all to live under their flag, outlaw our tikanga and reo and force us to use their laws and language.
We remind everyone that these things have already been done in this country, to Maori. And it wasn't the Chinese who did it.
We have found Shanghai CRED to be upfront, honest and honourable. If you want to find out for yourself if that is true or not, we encourage you to either invite them to come and meet with you at your place, or ask if you can go and meet with them at their place - then build your own relationship with them. That is better than adding or listening to the rumours.
As we move forward, Ngati Kahu will ensure our legal agreement with Shanghai CRED is actively adhered to. We will also continue to manaaki all our manuhiri for the benefit and best of all our mana whenua.