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Being Maori does not mean being Second Class

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party 13 September 2005

"I am stunned that Dr Brash has such a colour-blind attitude that he can not see the extreme offence caused by his statements at Te Wananga o Aotearoa today" stated Mrs Turia.

"Dr Brash is so set on identifying people by their race (including how pale their skin is) that he cannot see past the colour of their skin. His comments that a "focus on Maori students" 'condemn Maori and New Zealand to a future that is "second rate" and "second class" horrify me - as they will all tangata whenua'.

"The Maori Party is outraged at his implication that to be Maori is to be a second class citizen".

"This is racism at its very worst".

"We say quite the opposite. To be Maori is to be brilliant. To be Maori is to aspire to excellence, to be first class in all regards".

"Statistics NZ is predicting 750,000 Mäori by the year 2021. Our ranking for entrepreneurship is already approaching world class standards. As part of this, Te Wananga o Aotearoa can be proud that they have elevated Maori interest in tertiary education. The massive growth of Maori at the Wananga has created numbers that far exceed the rolls at all other tertiary institutions. We should marvel at this, not fear it".

"While Dr Brash may yearn to return to a white New Zealand, our populations dare to defy him".

"New Zealand is browning up - by 2010, over half of our children under five will from cultures other than European.

"We will also be a culturally vibrant nation. When we look at the babies born in December 2000, 57% of Maori children have more than one ethnicity, 43% of Pacific and 23% of European". Cultural diversity is the face of our future".

"A modern parliament will respond to the reality of our population - instead of threatening to cut the funding for Te Wananga o Aotearoa, we should be celebrating their initiative of bringing together, under the umbrella of a single institution, Mäori and people of other origins ( the split has reached 50/50)".

'The way to unite our vastly different peoples is not to return to the assimilation period of the 1960s, but to actually build on the differences and learn about the strengths each culture brings".

The Maori Party commends the creative and innovative contributions Tumuaki, Rongo Wetere has given to the Nation through Te Wänanga o Aotearoa.

The tragedy is that neither leaders of National nor Labour can recognise the thousands of Maori and other New Zealanders who have benefitted from his leadership.

ENDS

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