At the beginning of the InternetMANA road show, Kim Dotcom claimed that he and Māori shared a commonality – both have suffered “a great injustice”. How he managed to get away with saying he had the mana and the mind while implying his injustice was equivalent to 174 years of colonisation is beyond belief.
But the analogy appears to be an InternetMANA campaign strategy, evidenced by Georgina Beyer’s comparison claiming that:
“the man [Dotcom] suffered some injustices just like those in the Tuhoe raids suffered injustices and he’s yet to have those remedied”
It also appears to be an incredibly sinister attempt to hijack the injustice of the Tuhoe raids in order to obtain credibility within Māori communities. But many in Tuhoe are rejecting Dotcom and InternetMANA’s attempt to advance this cause. Seeing through the despicable way in which their struggle is being used as political fodder for the benefit of Dotcom.
I am mindful that the Tuhoe raids are not my story. To try to express the experience of injustice as it was felt by the people of Tuhoe would be for me to commit yet another injustice. Instead, like many other Māori, I come from a position in which the Te Urewera raids resonate because at that time and to this day we were forced to face the reality that racial inequality will always result in abuses of State power over our people.
No specifics are proffered by Dotcom or InternetMANA as to the equivalence of the events instead the strategy seems to be to emote on the language of injustice.
The only similarity is that in both cases the Court found unlawful search warrants were used by the Police. However, there are multiple cases in which search warrants are found to be unlawful and where armed offenders squads are deployed in executing those warrants, so Dotcom could analogise his experience with many other defendants. Yet he chooses Tuhoe. He does so in a calculated attempt to enhance himself. Yes. the raid on Dotcom’s mansion was unjust but as mentioned other raids on individuals in materially similar circumstances have also been unjust but the injustice he suffered was not equivalent to that of Tuhoe or of Māori.
Remembering that Dotcom is an individual, not an entire community. He did not stand accused of the international crime of terrorism because members of his community were well known Māori activists and advocates for mana motuhake and tino rangatiratanga. He stood accused of white collar crime – fraud, racketeering and money laundering, similar in nature to crimes with which he had previously been convicted.
The injustice perpetrated against Tuhoe was not simply an unlawful warrant, it was the dark history behind the warrant – the State’s desire to impress its power upon an entire community detaining children and the elderly in some instances at gunpoint. So to reiterate, the Tuhoe raids and Dotcom Mansion raid are not comparable and the reasons mentioned in this post are not even an exhaustive list.
It is reprehensible then that Dotcom would even try to link his injustice to Tuhoe and to Māori more generally. It is deeply distasteful that those in MANA would allow Dotcom and their party alliance to proliferate the analogy without consulting Tuhoe. It is standard practice in Te Ao Māori to consult on matters that might affect another iwi’s mana. To link Dotcom to Tuhoe is one such occasion. Tuhoe deserve to comment about their own view. It’s disappointing to see that a kaupapa Māori approach is less central to MANA following the alliance, although Hone Harawira’s statement that “MANA has more non-Maori candidates than Maori ones, and in InternetMANA the difference is even more pronounced” may provide some insight as to why.