I 'knew' I was meant to go on the hikoi (29 April - 8 May 2012) and attitudes shifted that maybe would not have, had I not been with the group. There were 3-4 Pakeha (including myself) travelling with the hikoi of around 30 Maori people. On the first night I was with the group (in Rotorua), there was a sharing time (korero) where people could stand up and talk about why they had joined the hikoi.
I wanted to talk about my tupuna (my ancestors) and what had happened to them in the old countries:
"In 1066, England had a new ruler from Normandy. This king, William the Conqueror took an inventory of everything in England... of who lived on a piece of land (as handed down ancestrally), how many acres it was, how much livestock and poultry there was, the type and size of the dwelling, the number of inhabitants, any lakes, streams, springs and stands of trees on the property, and so on.
"After this inventory was completed (c.1085), "The Domesday Book" as it was known, messengers were sent out all over the land to tell the people that they had to provide written documentation to the authorities to prove that these lands and possessions were rightfully theirs. (History Channel, 25 Dec 2011 screening at around 9:30pm). Most of these people were illiterate farmers. 2/3 of the people did not have any documentation. For those that could not provide the papers, the land was then seized and deemed 'the King's land'. The farmers were allowed to stay on their properties, but now their homesteads, livestock, and natural resources belonged to the King. They were now producing for the King.
"In Scotland, there were great warriors who stood against England over many centuries. The ones we commonly know about are William Wallace (Braveheart) and Robert the Bruce. The Scottish nobles eventually sold out the people of Scotland... and then came 'The Highland Clearances' of 18th and 19th Century Scotland. The English wanted the land to set up some big sheep stations, so the people of Scotland were simply cleared off the land. I made reference to how people of Scots ancestry are found on every continent, and this is why... because their homelands were taken out from under their feet by the English Crown.
In summary I said:
"This has been going on for centuries, for a thousand years and more in fact. I stand here with the tangata whenua (people of the land, Maori) because what happened to you over the last 2 centuries is exactly what happened to my ancestors on British and Scottish soils, before me. My ancestors' lands were stolen, seized and confiscated... but we didn't have communications systems back then like we do now... and we were farmers with ploughs not military men with swords. So now, many centuries later has come my opportunity to stand for my ancestors... So I stand NOW with the Maori people for this land that was stolen from them and for the land that was stolen from my tupuna back in the British Isles all those centuries ago."
There was a lot of interest in my korero, and various people chatted to me about it as the journey down country progressed. A common sort of comment was:
"I thought it was only the Maori that had lands seized... I didn't know this had happened to the Pakeha people as well."
From then on, there seemed to be an acknowledgement that this iss an inter-cultural problem, not justa Maori problem. These dealings have affected us ALL at some time down through the track of history. The korero (talk) and powhiri (greeting) speeches as we arrived at various marae seemed to shift... more koreo in English began to be given during the powhiri (a break from tradition) as we continued down the motu. There seemed to be less of "Us against those Pakeha" to, "It's a common problem..."
So NOW, we ALL stand together.... Maori, Pakeha and ALL other races of people in NZ. We stand against those people and those ideologies and practices that seek to make a commodity of our Mother... and Our Land, Our Seas, Our Rivers, Our Drinking Water, Our Mountains, Our Forests, Our Air... "
Together... We will not let them do this evil thing !!!!