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Ngai Tahu Presentation, Grand Hall - Horomia

SPEECH FOR HON PAREKURA HOROMIA
NGAI TAHU PRESENTATION, GRAND HALL
9 MAY 2001


I am honoured to host this function, which has brought the entire board of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu back to Parliament for the first time since the settlement of the Ngai Tahu Claim.

As Minister of Maori Affairs, my job is to be a strong voice for Maori at the Cabinet table and to accelerate Maori development. I, like most of us, want to see Maori participating actively in growing the economy and we want to take the lead in strengthening the cultural and social fabric of Aotearoa. Only then can Maori be actively involved in building the nation. I note the similarities this approach has with the Runanga's vision of:

"A future where Ngai Tahu whanui will have the opportunity to protect and enhance their spiritual, cultural, educational and economic aspirations in a setting of excellence."

It has been nearly six years since Ngai Tahu and the Crown reached agreement on all the significant issues necessary to conclude a settlement of the Ngai Tahu Claim. The passage of the Runanga o Ngai Tahu Act in 1996 has enabled Ngai Tahu to coordinate its business, cultural and political activities as it saw fit.

There have been numerous cultural and economic benefits since that time. Only this week I received a media release to say that the Shotover Jet company has appointed a new Chief Executive. Ngai Tahu is the major shareholder in this significant tourist operation.

Since the signing, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu has exponentially increased its asset base, turnover and net worth. I am sure that the Poua and Taua of 1848 would be delighted to learn that Ngai Tahu has been restored to its pre Treaty of Waitangi status as being the largest landowner in its ancestral homeland, Te Wai Pounamu.

I am heartened that Ngai Tahu is looking toward the future to ensure the success continues. I am impressed that the tribe has developed a 25 year strategic plan and set its cultural and economic direction for the future. The strategy named "Kotahi Mano Kaika, Kotahi Mano Wawata" - A thousand homes, a thousand dreams, reflects the fullness of diversity.

Last year, I attended the launch of the Ngai Tahu Puna Reo, The puna will become a hub for Ngai Tahu language regeneration and a key link between Maori communities and Government education and Maori language initiatives in Te Waipounamu. I was saddened to hear that less than one percent of Ngai Tahu speak Ngai Tahu reo. That makes your reo very precious indeed. It's never too late to start work to regenerate reo and tikanga, we just have to start.You are prepared to do your bit, you expect the government to do it's bit. It is a partnership that continues to evolve.

Your return to Parliament is an example of partnership in action. It is important that we understand the practice of inclusiveness, both about Maori people and with other partners who can move things forward. Serious and long-term progress can only be made when we work together.

Ngai Tahu is making positive progress. I think you are an example of how iwi walk the fine line of cultural integrity, social improvement and economic success. Iwi politics is tough. Sometimes your own are your harshest critics. To do it, you need vision, resources, good people and tough skin. But it is worth it because you are building the future for your descendants.

I am delighted to welcome Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu here. Everyone in the room is looking forward to an update on your progress.

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