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Why the last week of May 2024 is so important in Māoridom

Many Māori will likely be glued to the news this week as important events roll around Aotearoa from the second national unity hui called by the Kiingitanga to the Census announcement.

In between those, the coalition government will announce its budget for the coming year, an event coinciding with the second national day of action protest led by Te Pāti Māori.

As with January and February, which hosted hui-ā-motu, Rātana commemorations and Waitangi Day, the week will be significant for Māoridom, probably answering as many questions as it raises. Below, we lay out just how important the week will be.

It all started on Sunday

On Sunday night, a cryptic social media campaign began calling on Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti to be “ready” for a nationwide activation on Thursday, May 30.

On Monday night, Toitū Te Tiriti organisers confirmed calls for all Māori and tangata Tiriti to go on strike on the day.

The strike, which coincides with the announcement of the government’s budget, is intended to “prove the might of [the Māori] economy by disconnecting entirely from it”.

Locations for the various hīkoi were announced on social media the same night.

Census on Wenerei

The first actual event to come is the release of the 2023 Census data being revealed on Wednesday, May 29 around 10.45 am.

It will show the residential population of New Zealand, which will be broken down in ethnicities and ages, dwelling counts, and specific counts for those of Māori descent by age will also be disclosed.

Census data plays an important role in the distribution of pūtea (money) around the country, a subject which will be top of mind for the nation heading into Tāite (Thursday).

Budget and the hīkoi

The coalition government’s is to unveil its first budget announcement at 2pm on Thursday.

This will allow all Kiwis to see the full scope of how much money the government has and what it’s planning on spending the funds on, and will give perhaps the clearest example yet of the intentions and attitudes which will guide the coalition through the rest of its three-year term.

Journalists and economists will be locked in at the Beehive to scrutinise the budget documents that morning, with the help of Treasury officials, before Finance Minister Nicolas Willis reads her first budget to the House.

A series of pre-budget announcements have been made by the government, such as a new version of schools’ lunch programmes, charter schools, investments into social housing and increased teacher training, but much of the budget remains to be seen.

The "activation", on Thursday May 31, follows Te Pāti Māori's 'Day of National Action' in December, and coincides with the government's budget announcement.

A second ‘Toitū Te Tiriti’ national day of activation will coincide with Willis reading her budget. (The first came from Te Pāti Māori in December 2023, which occurred on the first day of the coalition government.)

A social media message seen by Te Ao Māori News explained coordinators had been appointed across the motu, and a social media campaign would be led by Eru Kapa-Kingi.

The message also laid out the kaupapa of the event:

  • “demonstrating a unified Aotearoa response to the government’s assault on tangata whenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi”;
  • “demonstrating the might of tangata whenua and tangata Tiriti working together”;
  • “the revolution of Gen-T (Generation Tiriti) standing up for and protecting the rights of all of our mokopuna”; and
  • “asserting the mana of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as enduring and everlasting.”

The message called for peaceful, respectful, mokopuna-focused and friendly behaviour with good wairua.

After those two wrap up, many top artists will be walking the red carpet on Thursday night for the 2024 Aotearoa Music Awards to cap off NZ Music Month.

Māori musicians including Stan Walker, Jordyn with a Why, Mohi and many others are to perform - and they are nominated across different categories.

It will also be the official ceremony in which Māori music icon, Dame Hinewehi Mohi, will be inducted into the Music Hall of Fame.

Hui Paraire

Kiingi Tuheitia will join the Pacific leaders meeting in Hawai’i

Kiingi Tuheitia has called another hui-ā-motu on Friday, which will be hosted at Omahu Mārae.

In a Facebook post, Te Tari o te Kiingitanga stated: “Ngāti Kahungunu, together with Ngāti Hinemanu, Ngāi Te Upokoiri me ōna piringa hapū, welcome hapū and iwi to send their thought leaders to bring the kōrero from across the motu and discuss how we implement national Māori unity.”

This will be the second hui-a-motu this year, and follows Kiingi Tuheitia’s royal proclamation in December calling for the first national hui of 2024 to unify the nation.

Kīngitanga chief of staff Ngira Simmonds said there was a lot of unhelpful and divisive rhetoric during and following the 2023 election campaign, felt by many New Zealanders – both Māori and non-Māori.

One more...

On top of all of these different gatherings this week, Aotearoa is also celebrating Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa - Samoa Language Week with this year’s theme ‘Tautua i le alofa, manuia le lumana’i – Serve in love for a blessed future’.