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Michael Coote

COVID-19 pretext for sweeping Maori tribal territorial claims

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Maori Myths and Legends – Exposing the outrages of Maori racial supremacism

Rahui Hooey Series – Article #1

Media reports have emerged in recent days concerning Maori tribal groups unilaterally announcing intentions to blockade public roads in order to keep outsiders from access to areas they consider to be their historical territories.  The roadblocks are mendaciously represented as precautionary COVID-19 sanitary cordons imposed at alleged tribal borders, yet patently have a political function as Trojan horses for Maori racial supremacists to claim control of contemporary internal borders at which other people can be stopped and prevented from entry just like sovereign states.  The COVID-19 blockades are actually crude assertions of Maori tribal sovereignty.  COVID-19 will eventually pass as an issue, but the precedent that Maoris can arbitrarily prevent people from lawful passage and freedom of movement throughout New Zealand, notwithstanding the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 Section 18 (1),  will linger unless central government takes a stand for the just cause.

Maori rahuis have no legal force.  The current “road rahui” Maoris are private interests who have no legal right to block public roads, impede lawful passage, or stop, obstruct, interrogate, and turn back travelers, or otherwise impair access to public or private land, apart from land they themselves own.  People promoting and implementing illegal public road blockades should be subject to swift official interventions such as warnings, arrest and removal, and court prosecution by authorities such as Police and local and central government. 

For these authorities to ignore, endorse, support, assist or co-operate with Maori tribal public road rahui blockades is derelict and could itself be legally culpable, especially if it leads to reasonably foreseeable risks such as health and safety incidents, including road accidents and COVID-19 transmissions, or criminal activities, such as assaults, damage to vehicles, or civilians falsely assuming Police powers.  It would be very difficult for such authorities truthfully to maintain that they did not know about such risks or understand the need to prevent or mitigate them if testifying at a court of law.

Road rahui deliberations started, according to a report from March 20, with the Eastern Bay of Plenty tribe Te Whanau a Apanui.  Maori tribal roadblock intentions were announced at East Cape’s Hick’s Bay, reported March 22, to which Tairawhiti Area Commander Inspector Sam Aberahama commendably responded, “We know the community is very concerned about Covid-19, but this is illegal.”  This is exactly the Police response that all New Zealanders have the right to expect. 

Yet Maori roadblocks between the East Coast’s Hawai and Potaka under the guise of a “community safe zone” were then just days later announced on March 25 in the media release “Limits On Movements Into And Out Of Tribal Lands Begin Today”, jointly issued by Eastern Bay of Plenty Police and Opotiki District Council.  Police and the local council terminated lawful right of passage on public roads at Maori dictation effective midday, March 25.  The joint media release stated:

“Eastern Bay of Plenty Police are committed to providing support to Te Whanau a Apanui in the establishment of a community safety zone along that section of State Highway 35. The safety zone will be manned by Police and Te Whanau a Apanui and is primarily aimed at restricted [sic] unnecessary traffic into the East Cape.”

What this means operationally is vague, including on what criteria traffic is determined to be “unnecessary”, but from what has been so far reported about burgeoning Maori tribal roadblocks, Police are not actually manning them in all cases, but instead are leaving their operation to local Maori amateurs whose legal status, powers, experience and competencies are unexplained, including possible liabilities under the Policing Act 2008 section 48 concerning personating Police officers and Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 requirements involving hazardous activities. 

It would appear that Police and local governments have created unlimited legal liabilities and financial exposures for taxpayers and ratepayers by appointing Maori roadblock volunteers without due public consultation and possibly also without proper legal authorisation, taking into account that just a few days passed between Police publicly stating that such roadblocks were illegal to then boldly asserting in conjunction with a local authority that combined Police and Maori roadblocks were kosher.  Similar roadblocks are reportedly also set up at Te Araroa and Ruatoria

The New Zealand public is entitled to receive an urgent, scrupulously truthful, and impeccably correct explanatory account of the legislative bases and risk management plans for such extremely risky exclusionist activities granted to Maoris of dubious capability and competency and the legal liabilities arising therefrom.  The public also needs to know on what specific legal basis Police and local authorities granted powers to Maoris to block public roads, obstruct traffic, and impede travellers. This account needs to come from the Prime Minister and other Ministers connected with the matter, local authority leaders, and the Commissioner of Police, who should not dilly-dally.  Police and central and local governments colluding with Maori supremacist elements to block public roads are on the legal hook if anything goes wrong. 

Suing and prosecuting these public authorities is just the start of what they may deserve for unlawful, incompetent, or negligent conduct in respect of permitting and facilitating COVID-19-related Maori tribal roadblocks and other connected rahuis.  Unfortunately ratepayers and taxpayers would have to foot the bill for authorities engaged in such legal cases, with the limited recourse of voting out central and local government politicians responsible, and the public shaming possibility of forcing the Police Commissioner to resign.

On the eve of a de facto police state coming into effect under COVID-19 Level 4 national emergency at the behest of the Ardern coalition government, who also thereby set the stage for a potential military coup, Police had obviously changed their tune, with Acting Area Commander Stuart Nightingale quoted as saying in the joint Police/Opotiki District Council media release, “In the present environment, people intending to visit this part of the East Cape for non-essential reasons will be directed elsewhere. It’s a small inconvenience but important that we all do what we can to reduce risk.” Note that this Commander Nightingale-authored “small inconvenience” diktat was imposed before New Zealand went into its present Level 4 national emergency lockdown.

The originating Police volte face was reported on March 24, when Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha was quoted as saying, in blunt, undermining contradiction to Inspector Aberahama, that, “No one has set out to establish illegal roadblocks.  This is about community police and iwi taking the lead to ensure rural communities that don’t have immediate access to support services are well protected.”  Mr Haumaha’s words are plainly carefully chosen to avoid confirming or denying whether the roadblocks are in fact illegal, a point on which Inspector Aberahama previously entertained no doubts.  People might well have intended that the blockades were not illegal, but that is not the same as the true legal position.  Deputy Commissioner Haumaha evidently played on that uncertainty.

The actual roadblocks in place right now make a mockery of COVID-19 lockdown comments by Police Commissioner Mike Bush reported on March 26 stating, “While roadblocks were not in place and were not planned, Bush said such a measure could be used if there were areas in which many people did not comply.”  The problem with the Commissioner’s statement concerning no roadblocks is that it is palpably false.  Maori tribal instigated-and-operated road rahui blockades were actively functioning and Police were conniving with and even supposedly staffing them at the time the Commissioner made his statement, and possibly other public resources were being committed to sustain Maori road rahui activities apart from Police alleged presence as a subsidy. 

This suggests that the Commissioner may not have been aware of what his own employees were doing or stating publicly, including Deputy Commissioner Haumaha a few days beforehand.  These two men need to talk urgently about their public messaging so that they can get their stories straight.  Even common criminals know that much.  Race-based roadblocking is going on under the direct facilitation and legal liability of Police.  This should be of concern to the Commissioner, especially as from his own words it appears that he may not have been consulted first.

One of the most blatant Maori supremacist roadblock cases has occurred in Northland with the direct involvement of veteran militant Hone Harawira.  Public road travelers have reportedly been stopped and forced back by self-appointed Harawira-marshalled Maori activists at three sites, with more planned.  To give a patina of faux respectability to this travesty of lawful rights, Dr Lance O’Sullivan has been reported as publicly describing such roadblocks as an “assessment checkpoint”. 

Dr O’Sullivan’s reported terminology is just playing with words and cynically insulting to wider public intelligence.  Disgracefully, Far North Police and the Far North District Council – authorities burdened with a duty to uphold the law – are reported as supportive of these Maori radical-imposed blockades. 

Unlike in the East Cape, it seems that Far North Police are not even pretending to man the “border” roadblocks.  Mr Harawira is reported as saying, “So we want to put up borders to stop any of the ones from south coming up, and then we want to make arrangements for the ones that are already here to go back down. We’ll give them Jacinda’s address and they can go and stay with her.  Unless we take action, nobody else is going to do it.” 

Nothing here about Dr O’Sullivan’s mealy-mouthed assessment checkpoints in Mr Harawira’s description of roadside thuggery and standover tactics, but then the doctor’s apparent role was to sugar coat Mr Harawira’s indigestible coarse gruel.  That professional journalistic challenge and skepticism over the scandalous linkage of Police and local government with Northland road rahuis instigated by Maori supremacist elements has not happened helps demonstrate how possibly some New Zealand journalists have become corrupted into facilitating the Maori racist cause.  These same journalists rightly would never espouse the causes of white supremacists or jihadist supremacists, and so their rank hypocritical willingness to foster and tolerate Maori supremacism sticks out the like the proverbial kuri’s balls.

The spread of Maori tribal road rahuis was reported on March 27 by a Maori enthusiast for them.  That report, tellingly entitled “Iwi enforce border protection across country,” ended the mendacious dance of the seven veils around so-called assessment checkpoints and community safe zones, which were simply lies to begin with, by calling them for what they are: Maori tribal rahuis.  The author describes how, “A rahui is a cultural practice normally put in place with a karakia by tangata whenua, prohibiting access to reserves, parks and waterways as a conservation measure. Most of the latest rahui appear to have the support of police and wider communities.”  No mention here of COVID-19 or explanation as to why it is a conservation matter, but that comes up in the subsequent list of rahuis.

Apart from the road rahuis already described, the article details one in Taupo imposed by the Ngati Tutemohuta subtribe.  The article advises that, “The rahui reaches out to a 15km radius from Waitahanui Marae and covers all reserves and parks from the airport, extending along State Highway One to Hatepe hill. It includes Waitahanui Village, Waitahanui River, Wharewaka Reserve, Awaroa Reserve, Five Mile Bay and Rotongaio Bay. This means access to all those areas and waterways is prohibited to non-residents. The rahui came into effect on Monday 23 March with a karakia at the Waitahanui river mouth.” 

Yes, you really did just read that outrage.  On the strength of a prayer, a group of Maoris arbitrarily laid claim to shutting off access to public and private land around them to a radial distance of 15 kilometres, including Taupo Airport.  Tribal spokesperson Ngatoru Wall is quoted as saying, “We’ve got street coordinators that will patrol State Highway One, Koropupu, Wairau Ave, Blake Road, Mill Road, Pihimanini Road, Hurae Road, Rawahi.”  The tribe has also banned all hunting and fishing within the radius for anyone but themselves and claims only it has the authority to lift the rahui.  In other words, no other external authority is acknowledged by these Maori supremacists.

Concerning the East Cape road rahui, which it will be recollected was officially meant to be manned by Police – as stated by the Police/Opotiki District Council media release of March 25 – we learn the interesting nugget of information from Louis Rapihana, a tribal member of Te Whanau-a-Apanui and an Opotiki District Councillor, that the blockade will be in place for the next two months.  By his telling, “We’ve currently got a roster made up of volunteers who go out during the day and during the night to monitor the boundaries.  There is only one caravan as a base for the whanau. So only one person can be there at a time. When one person comes out they have to sanitise the whole place down for another volunteer to go in. On top of that, they have protective gear and they also keep a two metre distance from the vehicles when they approach them.”  Not one word about Police manning these roadblocks, which Mr Rapihana’s statement confirms are treated as potential COVID-19 infection sites putting his tribe at risk.

Of course, the truly tricky part about the rahuis described by the article is that they have no legal power of enforcement.  Rahuis are for people who believe in Stone Age Polynesian prehistoric animist myths and superstitions – for example in relation to human death – which will be analysed further in future Rahui Hooey articles.  That said, there are some rahuis that have actual practical applications, such as allowing objectively observable depleted edible species stocks to recover from physical causes such as disease, natural disasters, or overexploitation, which makes universal common sense.  One does not need to be a Maori or buy into Maori supremacist race mysticism to see the point of sensible voluntary conservation measures and long-term sustainable natural resource management.  In other cases, it is a thankfully still a matter of free conscience to decide whether to comply voluntarily with rahuis based on Maori vacuous mumbo jumbo.

But of course the longer-run objective of the road rahuis is not primarily about preserving local Maori community health, otherwise these Maoris would be doing that themselves already instead of manifesting poor health statistics due in many cases to defective personal lifestyle choices.  The glittering prize is to establish irreversibly in practice that Maoris by virtue of race have an unchallengeable right physically to enforce their old tribal borders even when these historical boundaries run across public and private land owned by others.  COVID-19 has provided an effective pretext for an aggressive Maori tribal sovereignty gambit. 

Public authorities like Police and local councils clearly have been duped and consequently have let down society as a whole.  None of this is acceptable to the New Zealand public.  Central government must now step in, notwithstanding that a member of the coalition government, Labour’s Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare reportedly stated on TVNZ’s Marae on March 23 that, “I support what Te Whanau a Apanui are doing as well as other areas that are looking to isolate their communities to keep them safe.”  

This statement by Mr Henare – who as a member of Parliament belongs to New Zealand’s highest court – occurred after Inspector Aberahama had publicly said by March 22 that the tribally imposed Hick’s Bay roadblocks were illegal and before the Police/Opotiki District Council joint media statement of March 25 had puffed up the supposed resolution of the matter by falsely claiming combined Police and Maori tribal involvement in the COVID-19 roadblocks that in fact are only operated by local Maori tribal volunteers. 

Good governance in New Zealand needs better than Mr Henare implies in his politically self-serving remarks in the cause of Maori supremacism.  Senior public officials from the Prime Minister on down should be making it crystal clear that rahuis are not an acceptable basis on which Maori tribes will be allowed and tolerated to impose upon and interfere with other people’s lives, with the COVID-19 road rahuis on freedom of movement in public places an obvious case in point.  Any restrictions anywhere in New Zealand on public movement under COVID-19 Level 4 national emergency criteria should apply equally everywhere and to everybody, regardless of race, and only be imposed and enforced by legitimate authorities of the state and not Maori amateurs.

The COVID-19 pandemic still has uncertain outcomes lying ahead, but once the disease is under control in our country a thoroughgoing independent public inquiry will be needed to establish what went right, and what wrong, with the official New Zealand responses to the pandemic in order to learn lessons to apply in future.  One mandatory subject should be the wisdom of allowing private Maori tribalist interests to bluff and bludgeon authorities including Police and local government into letting them blockade public roads and stop people from lawful travelling. This public inquiry must happen regardless of the outcome of the general election just a few months away.  We shall just have to hope that COVID-19 is not invoked as an excuse to put off this year’s general election, when another form of reckoning can be served by voters.  As matters stand, we all still live under a de facto police state, with the military also now legally authorized to intervene in New Zealand’s civilian affairs, and perhaps can no longer safely rely on the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 Section 5.