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Clark: Te Keke Tura Moriori Identity Trust Launch

Embargoed until 6.00 pm
Tuesday 17 June 2008


Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister


Address at
Launch of Te Keke Tura Moriori Identity Trust and Signing of the Gift Deed


Te Papa Marae
Wellington

6.00 pm

Tuesday 17 June 2008


Tena kotou, tena kotou, tena kotou

To Moriori - tchakat henu.

Greetings to everyone here tonight, especially the members of the Hokotehi Moriori Trust, and my ministerial and parliamentary colleagues.

And special greetings to the people gathered at Kopinga Marae who are with us by video-link.

I have fond memories of joining the people of Rekohu to open your Marae in January 2005. That whare, where you are tonight, is a special place. The design incorporates the hopo, the albatross with out-spread wings, a sacred bird of the Moriori.

The facilities at Rekohu were designed to provide a resource for the whole community, to host community events, and to even serve as a Civil Defence Emergency Centre.

The building of your marae was a long and arduous journey of fundraising, seeking sponsorship, donations of money and the ongoing support from local families, and families in New Zealand and further afield.

Tonight we mark an even longer and more arduous journey.

Shortly the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, the Honourable Ruth Dyson, will give details of a significant government grant, and she will sign a Deed of Gift on behalf of the Crown.

The grant will create income for Te Keke Tura Moriori Identity Trust, the charitable entity which will work to preserve, revive, support, and promote Moriori identity.

The Trust Deed recognises the Moriori as ‘foundation people’ of the Chathams, by virtue of their ancestors being on Rekohu (Chatham Island) and Rangiauria (Pitt Island) for many centuries.

The Deed of Gift between the Crown and the Trust agrees that the revival of Moriori culture and identity is an important and worthwhile objective for the benefit of Moriori descendants and for the benefit of all people in New Zealand generally.

Achieving reconciliation is an important part of our development as a nation. We achieve that through the Treaty Settlement process and in many other ways too. In recent years we have sought reconciliation with those whose voices have not been heard in the past, including;

• the descendants of early Chinese people in New Zealand subjected to the poll-tax and other discrimination entrenched in New Zealand law and practice;
• the people of Samoa, among whose forebears were those who suffered because of actions of the New Zealand colonial administrators;
• those who have suffered abuse in the care of the state;
• Vietnam Veterans who were not properly acknowledged for their service in the name of New Zealand or well treated after their return home.

In order to reconcile, each party must have the strength and resources to take a full part in that process.

In the Moriori community we have seen strong determination to respect, value, and safeguard their ancient heritage. Their quest has been supported by many others of different backgrounds. I understand that the family of the late Michael King is represented here tonight, reminding us of the importance of New Zealanders across cultures working together to support each other.

The Crown, by its actions tonight, recognises the importance and the reality of Moriori cultural revival. All New Zealanders will benefit from the understanding of our history and Moriori culture which will result from this revival. Our future as New Zealanders together will be richer.

In closing I commend the work of the Moriori people to revive knowledge and understanding of their language, culture, and heritage. I wish you well in your endeavours for the future.

Thank you all. Me rongo.


ENDS

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