Kaipara Mana Whenua March for Tikanga, Against White Supremacy


Kaipara Māori ward councillor Pera Paniora was shouted down by Jepson while attempting a karakia before a council meeting.

She has called the new policy, where councillors open council meetings by reciting karakia and making statements of self-reflection on a rotating basis, a “watered down compromise”.

Protesters marched through Dargaville this morning, voicing their opposition to the mayor’s actions. When they reached the council meeting hall, Jepson came out to acknowledge them but did not speak.

On Breakfast, Paniora said: “This does represent broader issues and I think that’s why the hīkoi is still going ahead”.

“The karakia is only the tip of the iceberg and there are more substantial, more concerning things that are happening.

“This isn’t about me any more though, it very much is about our community and our people having a voice,” she said.

Dame Naida Glavish, who attended this morning’s protest, said “it’s really quite simple”.

“The purpose of today’s hīkoi is to inform all racists in this country that the doctrine of discovery is over.

“We will no longer tolerate ignorance or arrogance, that’s the purpose of today,” she said.

“And if he doesn’t get that message, step down.

Glavish added that the compromised proposal by Jepson wasn’t good enough.

“He doesn’t realise what country he’s in, no way are we going to take that sort of behaviour any more…who does he think he is?”


“Dame Rangimārie Naida Glavish says the only way forward following the Kaipara District Council karakia stoush is for the mayor to resign.

The co-chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua delivered a blistering address to the Kaipara District Council on Wednesday morning after she and hundreds of others took to the streets of Dargaville to protest the actions of Craig Jepson, the Kaipara District mayor who instituted a “karakia ban”.

“We will not tolerate ignorance, arrogance or racism. We are here to represent the unborn Ngāti Whātua child. It is our responsibility today … to ensure that tomorrow, our tamariki mokopuna are not facing what we have to face today.”

Talking after the meeting, Glavish said she had wanted to speak “directly to the face of a racist, to give him an opportunity to respond, to which he didn’t bother”.

Glavish said there was only one way forward, referencing a petition calling for Jepson to stand down which had received more than 6000 signatures.

There had been cross-cultural support at the march held before the meeting, she said, with some Pākehā holding signs in support of tino rangatiratanga and karakia.

“I began a campaign in the 1970s that ended in 1984, just for the right to say kia ora on the toll exchange.

“Having come from that, and the kōhanga reo, and our reo all over the country … to get to 2022 and have this racist person deny the right to a karakia, I’d like to try to understand what makes people like him tick.”

She said Ngāti Whātua did not need the mayor’s permission to do what needed to be done according to its own tikanga and aspirations.

In a response delivered later in the day, Jepson acknowledged the peaceful protest and the depth of feeling shown by those who presented at council.

“I thank Dame Naida Glavish and the other iwi representatives for speaking to council this morning,” the statement from Jepson said.

“I fully intend to honour the agreements we have with our mana whenua and have constructive dialogue with all groups, including Māori.”

When protesters marched on council chambers, Glavish pointed out that the new council had not yet met with Ngāti Whātua.

She said the previous mayor had enjoyed a relationship with Ngāti Whātua.

“I started by thanking our kai karakia this morning, and we honour anyone who honours our reo, because in the reo is a blessing,” Glavish said.

Karakia was not just a prayer but an incantation from the atua, Glavish said, that could not be denied by any person.

Glavish said Ngāti Whātua were here long before the council and would be here long after.

“So have your day in the sun, it will not last. Have your day in the sun to deny us our right, because the doctrine of discovery is long over. Long gone.”

The karakia battle began when the newly elected mayor repeatedly shut down Te Moananui o Kaipara Māori ward councillor Pera Paniora’s attempts to begin the council’s first meeting since the local body election with a karakia on November 30.

Jepson said the following day he would be continuing with his approach of not having karakia at the start of meetings, effectively implementing a ban on a 25-year tradition that began with the council’s first mayor, Graeme Ramsey.

Jepson’s reasoning at the time was that councils should be secular, multicultural and respect everyone, which meant karakia were not appropriate, he said.

He later walked back his decision following an “open and frank” meeting which resulted in a compromise where each councillor would take turns in opening and closing meetings with a karakia, affirmation, prayer or reflection of the day.

When Stuff spoke to Paniora at the time, she said she attempted to compromise with Jepson to have karakia reinstated. In response, the mayor questioned her whakapapa, she said.

“He [Jepson] said: We’ve got non-Māori, we’ve got someone with Nordic ancestry, and I said: But Māori are the indigenous people of this country and we have a treaty,” Paniora said at the time.

“He said: Well I feel very indigenous – how Māori are you?”

The protest was organised by Omamari resident Paturiri Toautu, 53, who was a candidate in the Kaipara District Council’s Te Moananui o Kaipara Māori ward this year.

“The issue at hand goes deeper than just the karakia, for it is about power, control and domination, and excluding basically all tikanga Māori in formal council proceedings,” he said.

“This issue is in essence about equality and partnership between the Māori and Pākehā communities as according to the Treaty of Waitangi, and treating us as equals.”

Toautu said all protesters were asking for was respect for tikanga Māori values and customs.”

Written by Katie Doyle and Ripu Bhatia17:05, Dec 14 2022

More: https://www.1news.co.nz/2022/12/14/who-does-he-think-he-is-protesters-march-against-kaipara-mayor/

Today’s protest against the decision of the Kaipara district council, led by Mayor Craig Jepson, to ban karakia from meetings, a tradition practiced for a thousand years and for 25 years in this council!

He also invoked the blood quantum argument against the only Māori councillor @ihaperapaniora – a descendant of the original kaitiaki of this land. Jepson, who has no whakapapa Māori, said “I feel very indigenous” and asked her “how Māori are you?”

This is an attempted erasure of the status of tangata whenua as the indigenous people of their land, a common colonial tactic used to avoid responsibility for colonial crimes.

We won’t stand for this cultural genocide!

The speakers are about to get in there, we will hopefully be back on when the speaking starts. Kia ora!

Edit: phones dying so can’t continue the live BUT this meeting is streaming live and will be recorded and posted afterwards.

#tinorangatiratanga #manamotuhake #aotearoa #karakia #protest #dargaville

Dame Naida Glavish at kaipara @DelilahSouthon 1/

Dame Naida Glavish at kaipara @DelilahSouthon 2/

Naida Glavish inside the council meeting

Originally tweeted by ZarahnSouthon (@ZarahnSouthon) on December 14, 2022.


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