Letters: The battle for the North

Saturday June 15, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Law Society president Wilkie Rasmussen's letter “Fighting for the outer islands”, was absolutely right. The delay to compensations for landowners in the Northern Group was because government took land by warrant before sorting out who the landowners were.

I'm one of the Tauhunu representative landowners, who together with other close whanau in Manihiki and Raro, represent our tupuna, our great-grandmother Mama Maharata, on her family’s land section of Nunoa, through her four daughters; our mamas Tuatai, Tupouvaine, Munokoarahi and Takai.

Yes, government at the time refused our demand for lease only. Around 2014/15, they threatened and coerced us to sign all these damn papers while promising we'd get paid out before the Manihiki Tere Party would leave for Raro. Not surprisingly, the buggers lied to us ... so with no money from our stolen lands, my whanau had no money to do any shopping in Raro.

I was absolutely livid with rage and anger. We had made it absolutely clear we supported the use of our lands for our people's benefit, but when my respective and beloved mama's children told me they wished only that the land be leased and not warranted, it became a matter of honour.

I was so really, really pissed off with government, I wanted to sue them for coercing us to "sign these blank sheets of paper" ... which is how they warranted our lands!

No sooner did Crown Law receive a copy of my affidavit then they immediately stopped their scumbag ways.

Which is why when the Manihiki Tere Party arrived in 2015 for the 50th Celebration, angry solar land-owners confronted PM Henry Puna. We are yet to be paid.

And because they disrespected and dishonoured the simple wishes of my beloved tupuna in such a we-don’t give-a-damn manner,they have made this personal. I'm now honour and duty-bound to fight and to teach them a lesson over time that they'll likely never forget!

Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawa nui!            

Papa Williams

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