E whakahōutia ana ngā kōrero e Tā William Gallagher, "He tawhito"

Raniera Harrison

Nō te rā nei puta ai te karanga a tētahi pouarataki pakihi Māori e whakahau nei, ko ngā kōrero a Tā William Gallagher he "tawhito", ā, "nō te pukapuka hītoria kē."

"He whakaaro tawhito tēnei nō te wā i mahue atu i a tātou i ā tātou pukapuka hītoria", te kōrero a te heamana o te uepū o FOMA, arā, a Traci Houpapa.

Nō te Rāmere kua huri i whakamānawatia ai a Traci Houpapa i te hākari motuhake ā rohe o Waikato mō te uepū Institute of Directors. I whakawhiwhia ki a ia te tohu 'Chartered Fellow', ēngari i tere pokea te hākoakoa e ngā hahani a Tā William Gallagher. Ko tāna e kī nei, he horihori kē Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

"Kāore te tokomaha o ngā tāngata i reira i paku whakaae atu ki tā Tā William e kī nei, ā, he wairua kē anō i tō mai i āna kupu", te whakahoki a Houpapa, ko ia hoki nei te wahine e whakahaere nei i ngā rawa Māori he tekau mā tahi ira rima piriona tāra te wāriu i ōna apataki kotahi rau rima tekau.

I tōna kauhau ki te hākari motuhake ā rohe o Waikato i te Pōmere, i puta i a Gallagher ōna whakaaro e pēnei ana, "He horihori kē ngā pepa o Te Tiriti o Waitangi e whakaaturia ana i Te Papa Tongarewa", ā, "Kāore e kore i tukuna katoatia e te Māori tāna anō tino rangatiratanga" i te waitohutanga o Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

I te whare tapere o FMG i Kirikiriroa ēnei kōrero puta ai, ā, kāore hoki a Gallagher i hiahia ki a kōrero ki te hunga pāpāho i tēnei rā. Heoi anō, i tukuna e ia tētahi karere e kī taurangi nā, "Nōna anake taua tirohanga, ā, kāore e whai patanga nei ki te toenga o tōna kamupene."

"Me mātau ake rātou [Gallagher] e whakamana ake ai ō rātou hononga ki te rāngai pakihi Māori ahuwhenua," te whakahau a Houpapa.

Kāore i hiahia te Minita Take Tiriti a Andrew Little kia uiuitia ia i tēnei rā. Engari, i puta i a ia tētahi karere e whakahē ana i ngā kōrero a Gallagher, hei tāna, “He aute tepe", ā, "He nui hoki ngā rangahau kua oti i te rāngai mātauranga."

Hei tā Houpapa, "E kore tēnei taumata o te kōrero e hāngai ana ki te ahunga o Aotearoa."

Nō te uepū Institute of Directors te mana whakahaere o te hui, ā, kei tā rātou ake kupu whakahau te whakahē i ngā kōrero i whiua i tā rātou nā hui, hei tā rātou, "he whakaū mātou ki ngā mātāpono o Te Tiriti o Waitangi," ā, "e hiahia ana ki te whakapāhā ki te hunga i pāmamae i aua kōrero i te hākari motuhake ā rohe o Waikato."

A Māori business leader is calling Sir William Gallagher's comments "old", and from the "history books."

"This is old thinking, this is thinking from a time that we have left in our history books," says Federation of Māori Authorities chair, Traci Houpapa.

Māori businesswoman, Traci Houpapa was formally recognised on Friday evening, at the Waikato branch dinner of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand. Receiving their highest level of membership as a 'Chartered Fellow', the achievement was quickly overshadowed by disparaging comments made by Sir William Gallagher, present as a guest speaker at the event.

"The majority of the people in the room did not support the comments [and] there was a clear change in the mood and atmosphere in the room" recalls Houpapa, the chair vested with the responsibility of $1`1.5 billion dollars of assets from it's 150 members.

Addressing the Waikato branch of the Institute of Directors on Friday night, Gallagher said that "the Treaty papers on display at Te Papa were fraudulent documents", likening Māori to an "apartheid" regime, and there being "no doubt [Māori] gave up sovereignty" when signing the Treaty of Waitangi.

Gallagher, who made his controversial statements at Hamilton's FMG Stadium, did not want to speak with media today, and issued a statement through the communications arm of his Hamilton-based company, saying his view "was a personal view and does not represent the views of his company."

"They {Gallagher} would be wise to consider their partnership and commercial relationship with customers like Māori ahuwhenua" warned Houpapa.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Hon Andrew Little MP also did not want to comment, however, he issued a statement today describing the comments as "out of step" and citing "plenty of scholarly research about what happened with the signing."

"They [Gallagher's comments] do not reflect where this country is heading, where Māori are heading, where Māori are heading in terms of economy, business, technology, education, all of the great gains that we are making," says Houpapa. 

Wellington-based Institute of Directors, the hosts of the event, issued a statement of their own also today, denouncing the comments, saying they have "a strong commitment to Treaty of Waitangi principles" and wish to "apologise to anyone who was offended by the remarks made at our Waikato Branch Christmas event."