Archbishop Don Tamihere kauhau ki te Hui aa Motu
20 January 2024
Tūrangawaewae Marae, Ngāruawāhia
E te Kīngi, tēnā koe, koutou e te tekau mano tāngata tēnā koutou katoa. Please turn to your neighbour and say I’m still surprised to see you here.
Nō reira, tuhia ki te rangi, tuhia ki te whenua, tuhia ki runga i te ngākau o te tāngata, he aha te mea nui o tēnei ao, māku e kī atu, ko te aroha. Ko te aroha te mea nui o tēnei ao.
Kua rangona kua whānuitia te iwi Māori ko te tangata te mea nui o tēnei ao, nui ake ki ngā mea katoa. Engari ki te kāhore he aroha tōna ka aha? ka pehea ake? Nō reira ka huri au ki te kōrero o te Paipera Tapu.
"Ahakoa kōrero noa te tangatai i ngā reo o ngā iwi katoa o tēnei ao me te reo o te hunga anahera, ki te kāhore he aroha tōna, kia rite i ai ki te parāhi tangi, ki te himipora tatangi, he mea kawa ki te whakarongo. Kāhore he paku papainga nōna mō te ngākau tangata.
Mēmea kei te tangata te mahi poropiti, kia kitea a ia i nga mea huna katoa nō te wāhi ngaro, kei a ia hoki ko ngā matauranga katoa, kōtahi hoki ko te whakarongo te wānanga, kei a ia hoki te whakapono ia, ka taea e ia te whakaneke i nga maunga whakahī, ki te kahore he aroha tōna, ehara rawa a ia.
Engari he manawanui te aroha he atawhai, kāhore te aroha e porohaehae, kāhore te aroha e whakahīhī kino, kāhore te aroha e whakapehapeha, kāhore te aroha e haritahi me te kino, engari kaa harinui ki te tika me te pono, e whakamanawanui ana te aroha ki roto i ngā ahuatanga katoa, e whakapono ana te aroha ki roto i ngā ahuatanga katoa, ka tumanako te aroha ki roto i ngā ahuatanga katoa, e kore rawa te aroha e taka."
(1 Koriniti 13:1-7)
Rokohanga ka pēnei ake taku kōrero i tēnei rangi, ko te aroha te mea nui e hika ma, ko te aroha te mea nui kia mau kia whai i tēnei wā. E Rahui i rongo au tōu kōrero i tēnei ata ka tāhuri koe ki te reo o te hunga raupatu whenua, ka pēnei hoki taku huringa.
In the words of Aunty Tina from Tūrangawaewae,
“What’s love got to do with it?…I’m sure she’s from Turangawaewae?
Let me put it to you another way. In 1990, at the sesquicentennial of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Bishop of Aotearoa took the podium at Waitangi. He had been instructed by the organisers of that hui to offer a nice kauhau, to offer nice words to the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
And to speak nicely about the paradise of racial relations that New Zealand had become.
And so Bishop Te Whakahuihui Vercoe, who on the journey to Waitangi had found his heart overwhelmed with aroha for the state that his people had found themselves in, took heed of the instructions of the organising committee.
And he said, “I stand by the waters of Waitangi and I weep, for what could have been.”
And he turned to Queen Elizabeth II and he said, “You have marginalised us, you have not honoured the Treaty.”
I do not want to debate the Treaty. I do not want to renegotiate the Treaty. I want the Treaty to stand firmly and to be used to make of us one nation.
So may God give us the courage to be honest with one another.
May God give us the courage to be sincere with one another.
And above all, may God help us to love one another. In the strength of God.
We were told later by Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves that the Queen leant over to him and said, “Is this a radical bishop?”
And he said, “No Ma’am, but I think he’s doing quite well.”
I was there. I was seventeen years old at the time. And those of you that are good at counting will be able to add that up. But here we are 34 years later, wondering if the message needs to remain the same.
Do we stand and speak to our kawanatanga and say,
“You are marginalising us. You are not honouring the Treaty.”
How then should we respond?
Because somebody, somewhere has made the political calculation that they can vilify te iwi Māori – that they can demonise te iwi Māori, that they can renegotiate our existence and the taonga that we hold dear, knowing that it will cost them nothing.
“And yet, e te iwi Māori, it will cost us everything.”
How then should we respond?
When hatred like this begins to simmer, it begins to grow, it begins to confront us.
We are seeing this around the world, e hika ma. The rise of hatred. And particularly against indigenous and colonised peoples
We see it in the Ukraine, we see it in parts of Africa, we are seeing it in Gaza.
I was speaking to my counterpart in Jerusalem, Archbishop Hosam Naoum, a Palestinian Christian. The Mihinare church in the Holy Land is primarily Palestinian. Primarily indigenous. And that shouldn’t surprise any of us, because Jesus wasn’t a Pākehā… Taihoa, I’m not finished yet.
Jesus didn’t speak a word of English.
England didn’t exist when Jesus was born.
Jesus never set foot in a church a single day of his life.
But he was raised in the mātauranga of his tipuna and his ancestor prophets and there he found a new wānanga. He was born under brutal Roman colonisation, and that wānanga gave him the strength to challenge their corruption and the marginalisation that they gave to the poor and the needy and the suffering.
This wānanga is a wānanga that has captured indigenous peoples from around the world, because we see that this whakapono and this wānanga when it’s in the hands of the coloniser becomes nothing but a tool for colonisation.
But when this wānanga is in the hands of the indigenous, it becomes something else.
It becomes a tool for liberation.
It becomes a tool for restoration.
It becomes a tool to support our tino rangatiratanga and our mana motuhake.
The wānanga that I speak of is a wānanga that my own people in Te Tairāwhiti took on and absorbed into themselves, because for centuries we had been balancing mana and tapu with utu and it was getting us nowhere.
And so we turned to a greater wānanga, we turned to aroha.
That’s why Bishop Te Huihui Vercoe took these robes and redeployed them in the service of the mana motuhake of his people, that’s why I take the robes, not only to make them look good, e te Kingi.
But this wānanga is something that we should bring into ourselves, alongside everything else that we speak of today.
When and if we are confronted with hate, e te iwi, we have a choice.
We can, and we could, respond in like kind.
We could fill ourselves with the same bitterness and with the same resentment and the same condescension.
And the same negativity that we see being expressed to us, by people who desire to vilify, and demonise and marginalise te iwi Māori.
We could fill our hearts with the same.
But in the end, all we would do is become the same as them.
We’ve been given a choice and a new wānanga.
That perhaps on this day of all days, alongside the call of the King who has gathered us here, i runga i te karanga o te Paki o Matariki, tōna tapu, tōna wehi, kia tōpu mai koutou hei tōputanga nō te iwi Māori, i runga i te whakaaro kotahi, i runga i te kotahitanga.
We could add today the wānanga of aroha.
A final lesson. Aroha doesn’t mean you have to like each other.
And I know some of you will feel relieved at that.
But aroha is much more than simple sentiment. Aroha is a power that enables us to imagine a reality within which te iwi Māori flourishes.
Aroha is a power that enables us to find the courage to stand up for righteousness and justice and to strive for peace.
Aroha is the thing that can overcome all boundaries and can give us the strength and the endurance to walk this hikoi, to take this struggle, to capture again our mana motuhake and to make sure that it never, ever, ever is diminished ever again.
And why? Why would we turn to aroha?
Because, e te iwi, this kaupapa is not for us.
It’s for our children and for our children’s children.
Our tamariki and our mokopuna are watching us. They are watching the way we interact, they are watching the way that we will speak and wānanga together. They are watching the way that we choose to act. It’s been said that our children may never listen to us, but they will never fail to imitate us.
So let’s cease the intergenerational curse of hatred and let’s sow again the seeds of aroha, so that we might see oranga ake in our generation, and in the many generations that follow us.
Please turn to your neighbour and say, “I think I’m more lovable than you are.”
No reira e te whānau, kia harinui te ra, kia harikoakoa tēnei ra. Kō te iwi Māori e ngunguru nei, ko te iwi Māori e noho nei ki runga ki te kotahitanga.
Nō reira meatia o koutou kōrero, meatia o koutou mahi katoa ki runga i te aroha.
Tēnā koutou, tēnā hoki mai koutou katoa.