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Mâori students caught in election cross-fire

31 August 2005

National Mâori Tertiary Students’ Association

Mâori students caught in cross-fire between National and Labour scourge on ‘Mâori’

Mâori tertiary students are speaking out against Labour and National for their attacks on Mâori and Mâori initiatives in a bid for the lead in the upcoming election. Mâori students’ associations from around the country report Mâori students are facing high levels of abuse as a result of election campaigning.

“National’s opposition to anything Mâori and Labour’s spiteful attacks against the Mâori Party mean that Mâori students and Mâori students’ associations are coming under a huge amount of attack and abuse on their campuses. It has gone beyond bashing to a full on blood sport“, said Veronica Tawhai, Kaitûhono of Te Mana Âkonga.

A host of complaints have been coming through from Mâori student associations after televised leader debates, political party radio advertisements and policy launches which clearly show their opposition to initiatives that allow an autonomous Mâori voice.

As a result, Mâori students are reporting they are unsafe, are being publicly attacked about their presence and initiatives on campus, and other bogus misconceptions about Mâori entry and achievement within institutions.

“Racism is meant to be illegal, yet this doesn’t seem to worry Helen Clark and Don Brash. They certainly have little thought for the fall out they provoke in classrooms, corridors and car parks,” said Miss Tawhai. “The stories we’re hearing are horrific. How can you gain an education in such an environment?”

At their upcoming AGM in Auckland this weekend, the member associations of Te Mana Âkonga plan to develop a Declaration reaffirming their place and rights to safely advance their aspirations within tertiary education.

ENDS

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