Chris Finlayson, Minister of Treaty Settlements, and a group of Ngati Kahu dissidents who want to accept the Crown's settlement offer, are pushing for the removal of Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngati Kahu's mandate to conduct the claims of Ngati Kahu.
This is because the Runanga have persisted and are succeeding in doing what those who mandated them have instructed, which is:
1. Reject the Crown's settlement offer as full and final.
2. Pursue binding recommendations from the Waitangi Tribunal
3. Maintain and uphold hapu rangatiranga and mana whenua
However Mr Finlayson and the dissidents want to stop this from happening because they want Ngati Kahu to accept the Crown's settlement as full and final. The dissidents just want what they see as the benefits of settlement, while the Crown just want to be able to tick us off as settled and then claim that we have ceded our sovereignty..
The dissidents do not have their own well-founded claims and have not done the hard yards on those that are well-founded. Nor have they been able to convince the 7 head claimants and the 11 marae who have rejected the Crown's offer to change their minds and accept it.
Instead they went to Chris Finlayson and Maori Television who did the following:
1. On Saturday 10 October a Te Kaea reporter ran an unbalanced, unfair and inaccurate interview with one of the dissidents who told lies about Ngati Kahu's claims and about the Runanga.
2. On Sunday 11 October, as the result of a number of complaints, Te Kaea producer, Maramena Roderick, aired a televised apology for not seeking the Runanga's views on the matters raised.
3. On Sunday 18 October the same Te Kaea reporter contacted the Runanga Chair to ask for a response to an interview she had just done with Chris Finlayson in which he openly attacks the Runanga and states its mandate will not 'last forever.' The reporter also advised she would be interviewing other dissidents who want to accept the Crown's offer.
4. On Monday 19 October the 7 head claimants and 11 marae who mandate the Runanga instructed the Chair she was not to talk to Maori TV because the issue was not about the Runanga or her leadership, but about Finlayson and this government failing to settle their claims fairly and fully - so they would speak for themselves. They then authorised a media release containing their statements which was sent to Te Kaea and other media.
5. On Tuesday 20 October (today) an inside source advised that Te Kaea intended to run the story tonight showing just the interviews with Finlayson and one of the dissidents. There would be no mention of the statements from the Head Claimants and marae, but instead Maori TV would state that the Runanga Chair had 'refused to speak with Te Kaea.'
Meanwhile the same Te Kaea reporter had contacted our Kaumatua and Head Claimant and asked him if he had said the words attributed to him. He advises that when he confirmed he had, she went on and on until he told her he didn't actually want to talk to her and hung up. He advises he thinks she called him because she saw him as an 'easy target' to trip up.
He also advised that the Chair is definitely not to speak with that reporter because he feels she cannot be trusted not to twist whatever is said, given her clear bias in the last story she did on Ngati Kahu. However both he and the others have allowed the Chair to now speak with another Te Kaea reporter via phone while a Te Kaea cameraman films her. She has also been advised to film and record the interview herself so that any twist put on her interview can be untwisted with the publication to youtube and facebook of the actual full interview.
SUMMARY: We have no problem with dissident views being aired, but it is sad to see how far Maori Television has declined in the quality of its independence and integrity when we must record them recording us because we can no longer trust MTV to tell our stories without bias.
We are not certain why this decline in quality has happened, although we suspect it is a result of government interference. However we hope that the decline will be halted soon, for the sake of our people (including the young reporter involved) who work inside MTV and us who work outside it.
We encourage everyone to read the statement below, then watch the Te Kaea report tonight, and see for themselves how the government is using the Maori media to manufacture our consent to cede our sovereignty and accept its settlement offer as full and final.
UPDATE - 7.30PM: Having now watched the Te Kaea piece we are satisfied that it was balanced and we have been able to disrupt the government's campaign this week. For those who could not watch it, we will download and post the link tomorrow. However we have no doubt this Minister will get more spiteful and desperate as Ngati Kahu continue inexorably to go round him and towards our own defined full and final settlement. We have had and will have our setbacks on the journey. Hei aha. He won't be here forever but we will be. Haere tonu tatou ki runga i te tika pono aroha.
A summary of tonight's item can be viewed on Te Kaea's facebook page here: