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  • Harris Puanaki Devon

The real disease of Aotearoa: the New Zealand Government

Harris Puanaki Devon & Te Waikamihi Lambert Tumuaki o Te Mana Ākonga & Tumuaki Takirua o Ngāi Tauira

The racist disestablishment of Te Aka Whai Ora by the New Zealand Government undermines 184 years of tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake Māori. The continued weaponisation of Pākehā legislation to perpetuate Māori suffering and inequity is not surprising, and proves the ongoing and vicious existence of colonialism within modern-day New Zealand. The excuse of 'urgency' to push the bill through Parliament reveals the violent usage of ignorance and incompetence to stall equality. Where was this 'urgency' when Tūhoe was illegally raided? Where was this urgency when Ihumātao was being illegally confiscated? Where has this urgency been whilst the Government has sat silently observing a genocide in Palestine?

The argument that Te Aka Whai Ora promotes inequality and privileges Māori ignores the systematic and racist frameworks of the New Zealand health system, a health system derived from the colonial teets of Westminster—built by Pākehā, for Pākehā and with Pākehā. By ignoring Māori and disestablishing Te Aka Whai Ora, the New Zealand Government is sitting idly whilst overseeing the continued death and suffering of Māori under its governance.

For continued decades Māori have been told to find solutions by New Zealand Governments, and each time these are undermined and deemed not good enough. The Government is not good enough. The Government has never been good enough. The overrepresentation of Māori in negative health statistics derives from colonisation and the consequential social, cultural, physical and legal barriers, which have prevented Māori from achieving true equity in a health system that purports to support them. This is the birthright of Māori, as guaranteed under Article 3 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi which states that all New Zealand citizens shall be equal.

The Government's actions to disestablish Te Aka Whai Ora is anti-Māori, is anti-Te Tiriti, is anti-Aotearoa, and is regressive—we are witnessing the re-colonisation of the New Zealand Health system which aims to forcefully portray Māori, as James Prendergast once described, as "primitive and barbaric".

Nā māua, me ngā mihi o te wā, nā


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