In 2018 MP Peeni Henare, who is now Associate Minister of Health (Maori Health), applauded the introduction of te reo Maori on Auckland trains because “it would expose 20 million ears to the language”. The fact that few understood te reo mattered not one whit.

The te reo is not just for Maori, the reo is for New Zealand,” he said. You won’t go to any other city in the world and hear the reo, but you will in Auckland.”


Three years later and Henare has a bigger, much more costly subject to virtue signal: a separate Maori Health Authority. Rather than improve abysmal Maori health outcomes, the value of this virtue signalling is its demonstration of Maori separatism.

Of course, we should be hesitant about believing the promised success from this government with its track record of promising much and delivering little.

And where does a separate Maori Health Authority leave other races which have equally pitiful health outcomes? They were not party to the signing of the treaty, so are they excluded in the proposed partnership/co-governance model?

He Puapua demanding separate Maori institutions provides a huge opportunity for racial division: Maori will be divided among themselves, and Maori will be divided from everyone else.

How did Henare respond to the charge that separatism implemented secretly is apartheid by stealth? He could not deny the charge and instead repeated the well-known problem.

“Over the years we have continued to tweak parts of the health system — services and policies, names and reporting lines, in hope of getting better health outcomes for Maori. It hasn’t worked. Adding more bedrooms on to a house in hope that it will make it more stable is fruitless when the foundations holding it up are cracked.

The foundations of our health system are broken and for too long Maori have been falling through the cracks. It is time we fixed it, and fixed it for good.”

Gisborne Herald

Henare’s solution requires the complete destruction of the existing health system before He Puapua’s model can be established – and without public debate.

The government had kept He Puapua under wraps since November 2019, releasing it only under duress when Jacinda Ardern, far from being transparent, brushed aside Judith Collins’s demand for a public debate after she had already introduced aspects of He Puapua into practice without any public discussion.

“I don’t want to see New Zealand become a two-system country without having a proper discussion.”

Judith Collins on He Puapua

He Puapua means “a break” which usually refers to a break in the waves. Here it refers to the breaking of the usual political and societal norms and approaches. We hope that the breaking of a wave where Aotearoa’s constitution is rooted in te Tiriti O Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

He Puapua

BFD writer Terry Dunleavy sums up the clandestine nature of He Puapua.

This Labour government is trying to foist on us a programme with an unannounced agenda of co-governance in which all major decisions require tautoko (support) of our Maori whanau, or the approval of unelected foreign apparatchiks at United Nations headquarters.”


Henare said he “supports a Government that wants to deliver equitable health outcomes for all its people” but he is asking the impossible.

No one should promise equitable health outcomes because it is not possible to deliver them. The best anyone can deliver is equitable health opportunities. Equitable outcomes are entirely dependent on what people do with the services fairly offered to them.

Virtue-signallers don’t actually care about outcomes. They are fixated on being seen to do or say the right thing, which in Peeni’s case is Maori sovereignty under the guise of partnership with the crown.

“I don’t care what Judith Collins thinks, I don’t care what she says. I care about our people. I care about their health. And I am inside Government to deliver for them. That is why, no matter how loud Judith Collins may raise her voice, how harsh her words are, or how bitter her tone may be — this Government will be supporting an independent Maori Health Authority.”

Peeni Henare to the Gisborne Herald 26 May 2021

Lie after lie, and Henare’s duplicity hands the opposition the Maori health portfolio on a platter.

Collins and Reti must create pathways to address the issues preventing Maori, and every other marginalised New Zealander, from accessing health services. They must challenge He Puapua because its success threatens the destruction of inter-Maori relationships and Maori relationships with everyone else. This is no small thing!

What He Puapua demands is that New Zealand travel back in time similar to when Chinese migrants were marginalised – and Pasifika people would have been too if they were around in numbers back then. We simply cannot afford to let that happen.

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MP Peeni Henare, Virtue Signaller Extraordinaire


Suze is an avid reader and writer after a career in accounting starting in the farming industry. 10 years working in the NZ mining industry made her passionate about accessing our resource potential whilst...