Taumata Rau remembers the passing of two titans
Two totara have fallen in the forest of Tāane. More important than any recent news in Te Ao Māori was the recent passing of two giants earlier this year. Joe Hawke and Moana Jackson were both Rangatira of the highest order. Leaders in the eyes of our nation and heroes in the eyes of Māori. Craccum remembers them as we look back on their lives to learn and move forward to a new future.
Moana Jackson was regarded as one of the calmest, unassuming, and articulate advocates that Te Ao Māori has ever seen. He sought the reestablishment of a Māori justice system within his seminal report He Whaipaanga Hou / Māori in the Criminal Justice System.
He lived with the frustration that change was coming too slowly. That “incrementalism was stasis”. He Whaipaanga Hou expressed the importance and need to create a parallel process for Māori adjacent to the Ppākehā justice system. Where Māori took care of their own, something that was promised in Te Tiriti.
One of his dying wishes was for women to speak on the marae with a place on the paepae, a role usually reserved for men, and something that was honored during his tangihanga. His mother used to speak on the paepae and he wanted that tikanga reintroduced. “That tikanga for whatever reason has been suppressed by the virtue of the patriarchal practices in churches and in the courts and in a range of places. He wanted to remind the world that his closest friends. his soldiers who have been his wāhine toa ki tana taha, have been women that he highly regards,” said Annette Sykes.
He was grounded, transformational, and soft spoken, exemplified by the title of the 2022 documentary on his life Portrait of a Quiet Revolutionary, but when he spoke, it was with precision and mana.
Hawke formed the Orakei Māori Action Committee, taking direct action to stop the development of high-income housing on Ngāti Whātua land. Hawke led the occupation at Takaparawhau / Bastion Point. The land had been confiscated for public works. Joe Hawke took on the might of the crown and a Muldoon government and he won.
Before Bastion Point, Joe Hawke worked with Dame Whina Cooper to help organise the 1975 land march. He helped lead the Hikoi as it crossed over the harbour bridge which overlooked Takaparawhau. He served two terms as a labour MP in 1996.
A poignant story from his childhood was his grandmother putting a lump of soil in one hand and six pennies in the other asking him to think about which of the two would last longer. A fitting story that foreshadowed his future and spoke to an early mindset of valuing whenua.
His kaupapa has inspired many others to begin fighting for their land with wahine like Pania Newton ,who led the SOUL and the campaign to protect Ihumātao, where she fights for the land she holds dear. Joe Hawke visited Ihumātao. He told protesters to “Fight for as long as you have to until victory is gained,”.
Joe Hawke now lays at Takaparawhau / Bastion Point, the land he fought so hard to have returned.
We acknowledge both of these tāne, for their knowledge, for their wisdom, for their kaha, and for their contribution to Te Ao Māori. Both were Rangatira of the highest order. We’ll miss them but endeavor to carry on their fight, our fight.