Hone Harawira challenges rangatahi to lead protest movement

Veteran activist Hone Harawira is warning rangatahi Māori not to look to their elders to organise protests.

Speaking to The Hui, Harawira threw out a challenge to the younger generation: If you want Māori to protest, you organise it.

And he gave them a warning: "Don't wait til next Christmas and then say 'Oh I should have'," he said.

"If it's going to happen, all of you out there, get it done."

Harawira was talking to The Hui host Julian Wilcox to mark 20 years since he organised the Seabed and Foreshore protest hikoi to Parliament, which attracted 15,000 marchers.

Asked if such a protest could happen again today, Harawira indicated he was frequently asked by rangatahi whether Māori should march again.

"When I get asked about it I say, particularly to all of the younger ones, 'Well, are you? Are you going to march? Are you going to organise it?'"

He described Toitū te Tiriti as a national movement.

"The younger ones, they have to make their call because they're the ones who are going to be leading it. Just like we led it in our time."

Hone Harawira appearing on The Hui.
Hone Harawira appearing on The Hui. Photo credit: The Hui

Harawira said the protest leaders of his generation would support the younger generation if they chose to take action.

He praised the actions of Dame Tariana Turia who took a stand against the Seabed and Foreshore Bill by leaving Helen Clark's Labour Government and then forming the Māori Party.

"She was under huge pressure. Just one Māori woman opposing the whole of Government on an issue like this. She did the hard thing, but she did the right thing."

None of Labour's other Māori MPs followed Turia into Opposition in April 2004.

"The difficulty is the boys didn't have the balls to follow her."

Hawawira said Labour's then male Māori MPs were probably embarrassed that a woman had led Māori opposition to the Bill in Parliament "so they followed the white Pākehā lady instead".

Made with support from Te Mangai Pāho and New Zealand On Air.