Lake Horowhenua epitomises the New Zealand Government’s disdain for its indigenous people – both past and present. Throughout the history of Aotearoa, Mua-Upoko has always been at the mercy of a Crown intent on suppressing the cultural and environmental concerns of the indigenous owners of this lake in order to enhance the recreational and economic pursuits of the Pakeha.
Most recently, it was the crux of a case appealed to the Supreme Court, a court supposedly attuned to the nuances of the Treaty of Waitangi. In effect, the Supreme Court has invalidated itself. And Parliament as well. By ceding sovereignty, the Chiefs of New Zealand were guaranteed by the Queen of England ‘full, exclusive and undisturbed possession’ of lands and other property they and their descendants individually or collectively possess.
The Crown’s jurisdiction, its authority to govern therefore rests upon compliance with the Treaty. Before all nations at the United Nations human rights hearing in Geneva on 30 January 2014, the Minister of Justice affirmed the Treaty of Waitangi to be New Zealand’s founding document. Without compliance, this Treaty disintegrates.
And so does governance by Parliament and jurisdiction from the courts.
In terms of ownership, Lake Horowhenua is unique. It is, and always has been owned by
Mua-Upoko; since 1886 in English title.
But there is more to the legend of the lake than constitutional matters of property rights.
Lake Horowhenua was purchased not in cash. It was bought in blood. Here on the artificial islands Mua-Upoko created for their own refuge, Te Rauparaha and his Ngati Toa
raiders stockaded men, women and children ‘killing some from day to day as required for food’. Concealed in clearings nearby, Taueki and the remnants of Mua-Upoko would hear their kin, across the silence of the lake; unable to rescue them if their tribe was to survive.
Type ‘Horowhenua’ into the search box for further articles on the damning history of Lake Horowhenua. See also ‘categories’ (left of page) & our Local Govt Watch pages, Horowhenua. A must read also is the author’s book about the Lake called ‘Man of Convictions’.
A Book, “Man of Convictions” by Anne Hunt
Reviewed by Veronica Harrod
This is a book I’ve only part read but will be completing as soon as I have time. The little I’ve read is a shocking eye opener and indicative of the fact that something is terribly wrong with our justice system. Not the country I grew up in that is for sure. EnvirowatchHorowhenua
Documented detail about Taueki’s battles as kaitiaki and the cost he has personally paid including being shot at, assaulted, arrested, thrown in jail; his car was destroyed beyond repair, his home by the lake was sledgehammered until only a shell remained, his much loved dogs were traumatised and he says he was “drugged against my will and without my knowledge.”
By Veronica Harrod
Anne Hunt, published by Potangotango Foundation, PO Box 664, Levin 5540, New Zealand, Man of Convictions: Taueki – a man, his tribe and their lake, http://annehunt.co.nz; 2017. 275pp. ISBN 978-0-473-40314-0 (PDF)
This is journalist Anne Hunt’s fourth non-fiction book and first e-book. “Man of Convictions” is referred to as “first published” and “V1.11” because Hunt will update the content with new information when it’s available. The author states she, “makes no apology for writing this book from the perspective of the Taueki family.” Hunt also makes background information available on her website including court documents and transcripts which supports the book’s content. She also includes information in the book about her own family history and extensive and enduring involvement in assisting Philip Taueki since 2010.
The e-book comprises 24 chapters on Levin resident Philip Taueki’s battles as a kaitiaki of Lake Horowhenua since his return from London in 2004 where he was working as an accountant “…for some time living in the prestigious neighbourhood of WC1 London where members of the Royal Family reside.”
But this isn’t a book about his impressive academic and professional achievements it is a book about how ugly everything can get when there is a lot at stake. Hunt describes in meticulous and documented detail about Taueki’s battles as kaitiaki and the cost he has personally paid including being shot at, assaulted, arrested, thrown in jail; his car was destroyed beyond repair, his home by the lake was sledgehammered until only a shell remained, his much loved dogs were traumatised and he says he was “drugged against my will and without my knowledge.” For the last nine months he has been left with no water supply to his residence after Horowhenua District Council illegally turned it off and he will face a retrial on a charge of trespssing on his own land in January 2018 even though he has been aquitted twice of the same charge in previous court cases.
The opening chapter traverses the history of MuaUpoko and Philip’s whakapapa to “an ariki by the name of Taueki, the renowned paramount chief” who signed “the Treaty of Waitangi” before launching in chapter after gruelling chapter of his numerous arrests, court cases and the role third parties have played including state and government organisations. The, no doubt, long fought for establishment approval he achieved in London stands in stark contrast to the scorn, ridicule and material deprivation he has experienced since returning to the community where he was born and raised. Many people in his home town of Levin refer to renowned paramount chief Taueki’s great great grandson Philip Taueki as “the Mad Maori who lived down by the lake.”
The book presents a disturbing picture of what people in positions of power and authority are prepared to do to maintain control over Lake Horowhenua even if it means lying under oath. At one court trial Judge Harvey asked former Horowhenua District Council mayor Brendan Duffy whether two buildings formerly tenanted by the yachting and rowing clubs had toilets and Mr Duffy answered “correct” even though, “On inspection they confirmed there were no toilets to be found.” Hunt has included quotes from court transcripts at every point in the book where the facts are likely to be disputed. What Mr Duffy said in court on oath is just one such example of her attention to detail. The behaviour of the local police also leaves a lot to be desired. One of many such instances is described when,”Constable Lionel Currie had certainly not picked a good time to claim he had served this trespass notice on Phil down at the lake. At that precise time, a whole team of councillors and candidates were erecting election hoardings in Levin, all prepared to testify that Phil was with us, hard at work digging holes in the stony ground.”
I would have liked to see Lake Horowhenua ownership information included as a separate paragraph in its own right because who the legal owners of Lake Horowhenua are is the crux of the issue Hunt writes about. Instead some of this important information is buried in other references. We know the lake is privately owned because Hunt writes, “A British certificate of title for the lake partition had been issued on 19 March 1899” but annoyingly doesn’t say who it was issued to except that “Mua-Upoko’s vast ancestral estate had therefore shrivelled from 52,000 acres in the whole Horowhenua Block to little more than a lake and some sandy acres along the shoreline.”
Also I would have liked to see mentioned in the book that of the 43 charges laid by Levin police against Phil Taueki 33 have been quashed, dropped or he was found not guilty of. That fact alone suggests something else apart from maintaining law and order was motivating the local police force.
That aside this e-book is essential reading for everyone who lives in Horowhenua, especially Levin, and those interested in reading about history, police injustices, legal cases and precedents, Maori, European/colonial world views and the long and convoluted history of the fight for control over Lake Horowhenua not least because it challenges long held assumptions. Horowhenua District Council officers, elected officials, journalists and media should also read this book.
The e-book is written in a straight-forward and easy to read style and the layout is easy to navigate. At the end of each chapter are notes which include a glossary of terms, names of relevant people, Maori to English translation of certain words, maps and points of interest that help to provide context and understanding. The way the information has been presented makes the timeline of events easy to follow which is important because there were so many arrests, so many charges, so many court cases against Philip Taueki which is why the book is called “Man of Convictions” available for free download at http://annehunt.co.nz/#
NOTE: for further articles by Veronica use the search box.
Veronica Harrod is a qualified journalist with a Master of Communications specialising in traditional and new media content. Investigating and reporting on political, economic and legislative trends that negatively impact on the day to day lives of people is one of her main areas of interest. Lifestyle content she is interested in includes celebrating our own especially the tireless work community advocates do as civil citizens participating in democracy to keep those in power on their toes. In a media age dominated by a multi billion dollar communications and public relations industry paid to manipulate information to protect and advance the interests of the few over the many there have to be journalists who are impervious to the all pervasive influencial role they have over local and central government and corporate interests.
For more information on Veronica’s professional qualifications see her Facebook page.
Learn more about the historic interactions between the Horowhenua District Council and Mr Taueki (whose supply has been cut) by reading former HDC Councilor Mrs Anne Hunt’s recent book titled ‘Man of Convictions’ (free download). Also go to this link to see a report by Marae TV and here for a recent article about Mr Taueki being charged for trespassing on his own land. You may also like to check out our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu. Note Mr Taueki is frequently labeled ‘protester’ a word with clear overtones of dissidence … whereas, he is simply a man who is defending his own land. Since when was it a crime to defend one’s own property? EnvirowatchRangitikei
Protester Phil Taueki has lived in a nursery building beside Lake Horowhenua for 13 years.
His long-running protest at the lake received a boost in June from a Waitangi Tribunal finding that the property rights of his iwi, Muaūpoko, were usurped at the lake and that the Crown was complicit in degrading the lake to the point that it was among the most polluted in New Zealand.
The water was cut off last November, and Mr Taueki said his attempts to reconnect it since he returned there at Easter have failed.
“Where does that leave a person like me?” he said.
He has been getting his water from an outside tap and using a bucket to flush the toilet.
When he tried to get the water reconnected in August, he was trespassed from the council offices in Levin. He has previously had at least 30 charges against him withdrawn, dismissed or quashed on appeal.
A letter released to Mr Taueki this week under the Official Information Act shows the region’s medical officer of health, Dr Rob Weir, told Mr Clapperton in late August that the council was not allowed to create an unsanitary situation, no matter what the circumstances.
Lake Horowhenua Trespass Prosecution “Disturbingly Medieval” Says Maori Owner
Friday, 31 March 2017, 10:19 am Press Release: Phil Taueki
In New Zealand, this week’s Court of Appeal decision quashing the acquittal of an owner charged with trespassing on his own land is disturbingly medieval, according to the owner who will now be retried for the same offence thrown out by a district court judge last May.
Phil Taueki says he is not joking when he cites Magna Carta harking back to ancient times when the Crown could seize control of ancestral lands and imprison owners who refused to leave. Magna Carta became NZ law in 1989.
He says the original police prosecutor admitted there was no case to answer but he was under political pressure to proceed with this prosecution.
When this charge was dismissed, that should have been the end of it, he says.
But Crown Law appealed his acquittal even though there was no compelling new evidence or suggestion of a tainted acquittal.
It is disconcerting that Crown Law has hijacked this criminal case to evict owners from their own property, he says.
“There is even a statue of the man who stole our land in the grounds of Parliament”, Mr Taueki says.
“Anybody else who claimed there was an agreement would be laughed out of court if they could not produce a copy of that agreement,” he says. “But not Crown Law”.
Nevertheless in the High Court, Justice Ellis accepted there was an agreement and therefore the public had more rights than the owners on their own land.
Lake Horowhenua and the surrounding ancestral land has belonged to Mr Taueki and other members of his iwi since a certificate of title was issued in 1899.
Despite private ownership, within a few years Parliament had passed a law letting the public use the lake free of charge and placing it under the control of a Domain Board appointed by the Minister of Conservation.
In 1906, MP Tame Parata had called for the repeal of legislation passed without the approval of the owners.
Prior to Mr Taueki’s arrest, this Board banned all owners from entering their own buildings so that members of the local rowing club could occupy buildings the Board neither owns nor leases.
The Minister for Maori Development conceded two years ago that these arrangements would not be put in place today.
However Parliament has shown no inclination to repeal legislation that Mr Taueki describes as ‘theft by statute’.
“The Waitangi Tribunal has spent the past week hearing Muaūpoko iwi members claims to Lake Horowhenua and surrounding lands. It is the first hearing round of three set out for the Porirua ki Manawatu district inquiry.
Muaūpoko descendant Phil Taueki has has made it his mission to return Lake Horowhenua to Māori hands.
He is one of the claimants who finally got the chance to stand up and let the tribunal, and the Crown, know what he has spent years fighting for.
The first thing he wants to stop is Horowhenua District Council pumping storm water from Levin into the lake.
“The second thing that needs to happen is the Levin Wastewater Treatment Plant needs to be relocated, because it periodically discharges and seeps raw sewerage into the lake.”
He said about 5 million cubic centimetres of toxic sediment was in the lake and urgently needed to be removed.
“That’s laying on the bottom of the lake, on top of our ancestors, and it needs to be removed as quickly as possible.”
“The Waitangi Tribunal was told to imagine being stuck waste deep in a long drop to understand the conditions that Muaupoko iwi ancestors are in at Lake Horowhenua.
The hearing opened at the Horowhenua Events Centre in Levin on Monday, with 22 claims looking at Lake Horowhenua, Hokio Stream and the Horowhenua land block.
On Monday Judge Caren Fox said it would be one of the most profound hearings in the district….
At the second morning of the hearing, Phil Taueki staked his claim for his whanau to be included in the Crown’s Treaty of Waitangi settlement with the Muaupoko Tribal Authority. He also raised a series of issues relating to the pollution of Lake Horowhenua…Taueki estimated hundreds of millions of dollars would be required to clean the lake.
“In his submission, Taueki claimed contaminants from the Levin landfill and wastewater treatment plant were pooled at the Hokio Beach area which then seeped out to the beach.
He said “clouds of brown sewage” were visible in the ocean.
“Because of the tides, all that sewage washes down the coast to Kapiti.”
Taueki said his whanau had always had a presence in the area, compared to other tribes.
“There was one whanau that never left, that was the Taueki whanau… The report by the Crown barely mentions Taueki, which shows how much weight you should put on their research… no-one is going to move me from my land at the lake.”
A reminder to us all, long term pollution like this eventually catches up with us. Somewhere down the line, the lack of addressing these issues along the way, culminates in crisis. As long as profits take precedence over people and environments this kind of scenario is going to continue. With the TPPA signed now, we can now, unfortunately, look forward to more of this.