Sunday October 23, 2016   Last updated 02:21AM

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The King's Open Letter

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Since my Open Letter to the tribe last week, I have been overwhelmed by the many comments, compliments, words of encouragement, concern, and many more expressions from numerous people.

In short, I have been heartened by the majority who are appreciative of my attempts to bring this tribe back from the brink of calamity. To that end, I would quote the following words from my Mother the Late Queen, quoted in her book “Te Arikinui”

“It is not cashflow that makes us truly rich but the depth of our contentment and peace we find in the life each of us chooses to lead.

However, it is the end when one loses oneself in the abyss and takes down with them all efforts and sacrifices of our tuupuna."

Today, in my eyes and my mind, Waikato -Tainui is once more at the edge of an abyss, not economically, but certainly politically.

There are those who have said I should ‘stay out of politics’; that I have no right to ‘interfere’ in tribal issues. I did not do so without much thought and care. I do not regret my decision, but am pondering my next steps. I acted in the best interests of the tribe and I can no longer watch the anguish I see, and the frustration I feel.

The language I have been forced to endure from those people who would like me to stand by while they hold this tribe to ransom is despicable. Their deliberate attempts to twist and misrepresent my words, and their use of false names and anonymous websites to hurl abuse at me, my family, my staff and anyone who disagrees with them is clearly a sign of how badly things have broken down and are in need of repair. As I stated last week, with a deep sense of foreboding, the many judgements and criticisms of me have come and will continue to come at me. I will not be intimidated and I will always try to do my best regardless. This is no longer a challenge for me, it is my purpose. If there is anything more important than what I am trying to do now, then someone please tell me.

Some have said that my path forward went too far. Again, can you see what I see? Do you seriously believe that we should not venture along this pathway? The governance of this tribe is critical. Those who are expected to deliver on the promises they have made to the people, I will hold personally responsible for doing just that. I will not remain silent and stand aside to allow their incredible arrogance to continue at this tribe’s expense. I said this last week and I will repeat it here as I remain firm on this matter, I will not be judged by my people because of inaction. I have a duty and a responsibility to uphold the mana of this tribe. This is my duty and my purpose today.

The truth from my mouth and as I feel right now, is that I refuse to be intimidated or perturbed by the rantings of the last five days. Nothing is being done; we have lost much credibility in the eyes of Iwi around the motu.

Now we have Pakeha commentators weighing in, once again, on what is, I say respectfully, none of their business. On this topic, I suggest that those who would venture an opinion and attempt to draw on Pakeha history for what is happening in Tainui are writing in ignorance. Their time would be better spent inquiring into why our Teachers have not been paid - of great concern given the commitment of many Maaori teachers to their profession and their communities.

We are turning on ourselves, going ‘porangi’, as Te Puea warned all those years ago. We should not be afraid to change our governance structures. I believe from the messages I have received that there is now broad support for constitutional reform, rather than just a toothless review. My mother was faced with similar destructive forces a decade ago and held her ground in the face of enormous pressure. She warned us then, that “Waikato may have to change its structures several times and it is alright to do so as long as we eventually get it right. It would be very foolish to uphold a structure that is not working.”

Again, I agree with her sentiments - it is not working. It is broken. We have a small group of people determined to put at risk everything we have worked for. I did challenge those in leadership positions last week. I am delighted that those with a conscience and belief in what we are trying to achieve, agreed with my call and resigned. I will forever cast my eye around the tribe for you who made this sacrifice. You certainly have my respect.

The first step towards greater unity and faith was taken at last week’s meeting of Te Kauhanganui with the disqualification of the Chairperson, Tania Martin. I take no pleasure from that outcome, and I assure you I do not gloat. It was necessary. I have given you, the people, my thoughts on what needs to happen at the next meeting. You don’t have to agree entirely with me, but I urge you to consider my words carefully and put Kiingitanga, and this tribe, before personal and whaanau interests.

Lately I have witnessed some strange and curious signs. Yesterday I had the Israeli Ambassador at my office seeking my assistance and endorsement of the Worlds Bible, which is intended to be translated into every language of the world. What I heard from him was the despair of the conflict currently surging around that small Country and its people. Death is everywhere. While we wrestle with affairs of deep and lasting importance to our futures, it is worth stopping to give some thought and prayers to those whose futures are far less certain.


Kiingi Tuheitia

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