Launch in new window

DJ's Choice

You are here

Te Pāti Māori calls for a separate Māori Parliament

17 June, 2024

Interview by Oto Sequiera, adapted by Ashley-Rose Redstone

Vice President of Te Pāti Māori and professional teaching fellow of the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland, Eru Kapa-Kingi, says a separate Māori Parliament could indigenise a new model of leadership rooted in Māori philosophy. 

The government's announcement of the 2024 Budget in late May prompted a nationwide hīkoi and National Māori Action Day in opposition to the government’s policies towards Māori and cuts to initiatives aimed at improving Māori outcomes.

On Budget Day, Te Pāti Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer announced calls to establish a Māori parliament, separate from the Crown, to represent the interests of tangata whenua.

Vice President of Te Pāti Māori and professional teaching fellow of the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland, Eru Kapa-Kingi, told 95bFM’s The Wire that a separate Māori Parliament would draw on the principles of Te Kotahitanga, an autonomous Māori Parliament which  convened annually from 1892 until 1902.

Kotahitanga consisted of two bodies - Te Whare Ariki, an upper house, and Te Whare o Raro, a lower house - allowing members to represent their rohe, iwi, and hapū affiliations within policy and legislative decisions.

Kapa-Kingi explained that establishing a Māori parliament would reimagine the future for Māori.

“We battle against assumptions that dehumanise us, biases and existing systems that oppress us, and so it's not a candid discussion for academic entertainment purposes. These are Māori lives at stake.”

“[A Māori Parliament] means a place where we can thrive and be free in ourselves at the same time as everyone; for all people to thrive in Aotearoa.”

“It's a high-stakes conversation, but it's also a difficult one to have, because, at the same time, we have to decolonise ourselves and our thinking in the process.”

He emphasised that constitutional documents like Te Tiriti o Waitangi were not written to compromise the sovereignty of Māori and that forming a separate Māori Parliament would realign Aotearoa with its original vision. 

“The question is the wrong way around. It's not whether the Māori Parliament is going to work with Pākehā institutions; the question always should have been where the Pākehā institutions are going to work in a way that respects Māori, mana Māori and rangatiratanga Māori.”

Kapa-Kingi stressed that rangatiratanga and the establishment of a Māori parliament would not compromise the rights of Pākehā, but that it is a necessary body to ensure Māori and Pākehā are on equal footing.

“The underlying fear of a lot of Pākehā comes from a place of being uneducated and being unaware of the true history of Waitangi and Aotearoa, as well as tikanga Māori and Māori philosophies.”

“There are also a lot of tangata Tiriti out there who know the truth and see the right of the cause of Māori independence.”

Listen to the full interview