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Pakeha/Tauiwi and Maori foreshore/seabed rights

Pakeha/Tauiwi support for Maori foreshore/seabed rights

Dear Editor,

As a collective of young Pakeha/Tauiwi we find the recent moves by the government to extinguish Maori customary title to the seabed and foreshore a disgusting display of arrogance. It is disturbing that in 2003 the government is attempting the confiscation of title. This is akin to past power abuses shown during the land grabs of the 1800s and 1900s; misconduct that has only recently begun to be addressed.

Indigenous customary title has always existed and is recognised by common law and affirmed by the Treaty of Waitangi. Both the Maori Land Court and the Court of Appeal agreed that the concerns and claims of Maori concerning the seabed and foreshore should be heard. The Crown is acting in a reactionary manner, attempting to change and override common law, the Treaty of Waitangi and the decisions of our nation's courts.

We find it more than disappointing that any progress on righting the imbalance and injustice between Maori and Tauiwi relationships, caused primarily by ignoring the Treaty, has been threatened by this huge step backwards. The actions of the government will increase divisions and are based on an assumption of fear - fear that Maori will deny access to 'the public'. There are numerous examples of existing customary title where Iwi have not denied access. Pakeha /Tauiwi and the government need to increase trust, and decrease fear mongering and rash action.

We support Iwi in their calls for recognition of their customary title to be heard before the court, we support the decisions of the Maori Land Court and Court of Appeal and ask the government to use the power and obligation they have to recognise the Treaty of Waitangi, common law and justice.

Yours sincerely, arc Wellington

arc (Aotearoa Reality Check) is a national network of young Pakeha/Tauiwi people in support of Tino Rangatiratanga

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