Donna Awatere Huata

Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi

Donna Awatere Huata began her life as an activist at the age of fourteen when she challenged her school holiday employer for paying his male workers higher wages than his women workers for the same job: packing eggs. Not only did the women pack more eggs, but had fewer breakages. She was a founding member of Ngā Tamatoa who first made their mark at Waitangi fifty years ago in 1971.

In 1981, after ten years of volatile activism with little to show for it, she wrote Māori Sovereignty which asserts that the time had come to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and restore the power of Māori to control their resources, lives and destinies. In the intervening years Donna has worked with others towards Māori sovereignty in a variety of ways, nearly all of which have failed to make a difference. She is currently working on Sovereignty Two which deconstructs the reasons for this failure.

Māori Sovereignty Revisited

"In 'Māori Sovereignty', I addressed the question: what is the objective of the Māori struggle? After ten years of fury, banging up against wall-to-wall white power, a land march, occupations, arrests, submission writing, job loss, burn out and exhaustion, it seemed sensible to take stock. The answer lay in Article one of Te Tiriti o Waitangi where the rangatiratanga or sovereignty of the hapū would continue as it had for centuries. The establishment of the New Zealand Government by an act of the British parliament breached and continues to breach Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

In 'Revisiting Māori Sovereignty', Donna’s forthcoming book, I will look at why we should put this right and how we should go about it."

Donna Awatere Huata