RESTORATION OF KĀINGA
tino rangatiratanga o ratou kāinga
If you’re not part of the solution,
you’re part of the problem
The Kāinga Movement
This is a simple plan. Restore and rebuild kāinga. It’s a back-to-the-land proposal, a return to ancestral whenua in the 21st century.
Can we speak frankly? The Crown will never have a solution for the problems facing Māori. They tried war, then they tried Urbanisation. Now they try to integrate Māori into Crown governance, creating a Māori elite controlled by Crown dollars. Meanwhile rural Māori live in poverty. Their best and brightest are scattered far and wide, only coming home for tangi and the occasional hui.
Until recently, the elements required to rebuild kāinga were not there. The vision was there, but the practicalities were missing. The talented young families who would return need proper homes from day one. They need to continue to earn an income to provide for their families. The banks don’t provide construction loans or mortgages, so no home. And the region has no jobs, so no income.
But with the affordable housing crisis a new industry emerged in NZ. Factories making mobile homes, about the size of the traditional wharepuni – the small family home in a traditional kāinga. And high-speed broadband has vanquished the tyranny of distance. Post-COVID, employers are open to remote working. Now, with Starlink, broadband can come to the most remote kāinga if the government has not installed fibre cables.
A kāinga movement is not Crown sponsored, it is based on tino rangatiratanga. To understand what this means, begin by reading the Te Reo Māori version of Te Tiriti (read here) and focus on what it actually says, not what Crown-paid academics, judges and experts says it means. In European Law of the State, Te Tiriti is a clear statement of extraterritoriality. Extraterritoriality, usually as the result of negotiations between equal parties, identifies land within the sovereign’s realm that is exempt from the jurisdiction of national law. In Te Tiriti, the Crown agrees to tino rangatiratanga over land and villages within the hapū’s jurisdiction.
In other words, you already have the power, the authority and the resources. You don’t need Crown permission, and you already have the governance model (hui moderated by your rangatira), the land and the memory of how kāinga work and how they are built. Like your ancestors, you adapt modern technology to serve you, but always remember who you are. And remember, as on a waka, everyone has a role to play and all work as one.
The design of a kāinga
Wharepuni: Think of a marae, then add wharepuni, the small family homes that make the kāinga a living community. Unlike Pākehā housing designed for a relatively isolated nuclear family, wharepuni are smaller because they are part of a larger shared community. Families sleep in their wharepuni, and enjoy private time, but their social time outside is greater. The shared space is their living room.
Whare Waihanga: Then add the whare whaihanga, the workshops that enable the whanau to earn a living. The traditional whare whaihanga were carving and weaving workshops, but today there are many other businesses as well. Think of them as the economic engines of the kāinga.
Kura: Children are hardwired to learn from role models. If role models are gangs, they become gangsters. If TikTok, they steal cars. Living in a kāinga surrounded by mature adults, they become responsible, participating adults, not addicted to drugs & alcohol, not having babies too young.
These wharepuni are made in factories where they are also called mobile homes or tiny homes on wheels: Typically 8-9m long, 3m wide with kitchenette, bathroom, lounge and bedroom, these units are designed to be towed behind a 3,500 kg-rated SUV or ute. They install on site within a couple hours and they are parked on land, not fixed to foundations.
With conventional plumbing or composting, they use caravan-type connections not requiring licensed professional to install. Well-designed cabins are double-glazed, warm, dry and durable.
In 1840 at Waitangi
Of paramount importance to the rangatira was the kāinga. A kāinga is more than a collection of homes. It is a complete community that included not only the wharenui and wharekai found on today’s marae, but wharepuni – small family homes as well as whare whaihanga – workshops that were the basis of a thriving local economy.
In these kāinga, every adult worked. There was no such thing as unemployment or living on the benefit. Tūrangawaewae stands tall on kāinga, where all are empowered and connected. The kāinga is the foundation, the centre of ones universe, one’s home, and for this reason, along with whenua and taonga katoa, it was the paramount value the Crown promised to protect in exchange for kāwanatanga over Nu Tirani. That promise was breached, but not forgotten. It’s time to remember, to restore mana whenua and mana kāinga.
©2023 Renaissance Aotearoa Foundation