Some Strategies
for Maori Development

24 January 1999




In this short article I want to focus on three simple yet powerful strategies. The first is what we used to call in the military our primary principle of war, The Selection and Maintenance of the Aim; that is Te Kaupapa.

The second is Te Kupenga-A-Maui, or the power of the network, and harnessing the power of the network to the power of the kaupapa.. And the third is Te Tatauranga Taupori, harnessing the power of demography to the service of the kaupapa, through the power of the network.


Te Kaupapa

Whatever can be conceived and believed, can be achieved. The idea is perhaps the most potent human force in all of Creation. Creation itself can be seen as an idea brought to fruition.

That is the power of the kaupapa.

And the idea that is simply and clearly stated, and fervently shared by the many, is the most powerful of all kaupapa. We must seek for the kaupapa which will unite Maori; for structures and organisations will not do it. The kaupapa is not the political or other ideology, or analysis or framework, which may or may not help us achieve the kaupapa. The kaupapa is the dream of where and how we want to be, not how we might get there.

Furthermore, we must refine and define the kaupapa in simple emotional terms, in waiata, haka and video, then spread and instil it, and most importantly, maintain it right across Te Ao Maori, iwi and urban. Take the kaupapa to Te Kupenga-A-Maui.

It is absolutely essential that we fix our gaze firmly on the kaupapa, and never let it waver.

All too often we become immersed in the everyday politics and plans by which we seek to implement the kaupapa, and eventually the politics and plans become the kaupapa. All too often we are distracted from the kaupapa by our own personal and selfish aims, and by other short-term aims and gains; sometimes very appealing and very lucrative. And all too often we are distracted by the bribes and incentives (grants and programmes) that governments use to lure us away from the kaupapa.

All too often we allow governments to colonise our kaupapa, to take over the language and the rhetoric of the kaupapa, and convert it to their own uses, such as has happened in the last ten years with the Treaty of Waitangi.

We must all, first and foremost, become kaitiaki/keepers of the kaupapa.


Te Kupenga-A-Maui

Article: "The Power of the Network"

In the above article written in 1988, I extol the power of the network to achieve the kaupapa, over and above the hierarchies and bureaucracies and structures that we are prone to adopt from the Pakeha power culture.

Our traditional structures, whanau, hapu and iwi, are networks based on whanaungatanga, that have adapted and endured for centuries. Yet in this day and age, we abandon them in favour of corporate iwi, even though we claim to retain them. There is no doubt that the networks must continue to adapt to meet the realities and the needs of the 21st Century, but by allowing our identities to become enmeshed in the structures of corporate iwi, brown imitations of corporate and government structures, we are once again seeking short term gains at the expense of long term benefit.

We have also failed to adapt to the migration of our people to the cities. In the past, migrants formed new hapu based on their social and economic needs where they were, then got on with their lives. And they retained their links to the parent hapu and iwi. We are now caught in an ideological hiatus. We are trying to preserve the legitimacy of our pre-1840 geographical and genealogical structures in an environment where we desperately need to adapt, based on the examples of old. I do not propose that we reject the old rurally based iwi and hapu, but it seems patently obvious that we must also move on.

Not only must we adapt, but we must also adopt the thinking of the network, rather than the hierarchial and managerial thinking that has enveloped us.

A network is based on the premise that we are all equal, with shared and shifting leadership as the occasion demands. A network is based on communication, and the free and unfettered flow and sharing of information and power. And a powerful network is based on a shared and powerful kaupapa.

This Internet technology is made for the networker, for it allows us to rapidly disseminate information and exchange views, and can be used to magnify many times the effectiveness of the network. The tino-rangatiratanga mail list is a classic example of how it can be used in the service of Te Kupenga-A-Maui. The recent rollout of a computer intranet across the Te Kohanga Reo movement is another example of how this technology will allow us to reach out and network into almost every whanau in the land, in time.

The network is the vehicle that will sustain the kaupapa, and the kaupapa is the glue that will bind the network together and direct its efforts. It is through networking that more and more Maori will be brought into the fold, making us all more powerful. It is the network that will defeat the endemic racism, and it is the network that will defeat the political and economic elites and their governing ideologies.

I have called this network Te Kupenga-A-Maui for reasons that will become apparent in the next strategy, Te Tatauranga Taupori.


Te Tatauranga Taupori

We must harness demography to the service of Te Kaupapa, and to the service of Te Kupenga-A-Maui.

Maori are presently about 15% of the population of Aotearoa. By the Year 2030 Maori and other Polynesians should comprise 31% of the population.

I predict that by the Year 2050 Maori and other Polynesians will be close to 51% of the population. We need to have networked them all in the next 50 years, for if we don't the Pakeha elites certainly will.

The second demographic trend which we should be aware of is the increasing inter-marriage of Maori with other Polynesians. This has the two-fold effect of strengthening the Polynesian gene stock in Aotearoa, and of strengthening the Maori position, for their children are first and foremost Maori children.

The third demographic fact that we should be clear about is that although Maori are presently a minority in Aotearoa, we are a majority in Polynesia. So it would be to our advantage to continue to network into the Pacific, with the aim of consolidating the brown majority into a power bloc in Polynesia.

White New Zealand can look only to Australia to find solidarity in this region. Brown New Zealand can look out into the Pacific, and even north west to our distant cousins in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. We need to be more aware of our origins, and through them, to the potential of Te Kupenga-A-Maui.

See also: Population Statistics: SE Asia & South Pacific

We must plan for the day when we will be the majority culture. Will we be ready?

Liddell Hart's 8 maxims of strategy