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Maori values a foundation for all New Zealanders

Maori values a foundation for all New Zealanders

Hon Tariana Turia, Maori Party Co-leader                                28 June 2008


Maori values and the Treaty of Waitangi are a sound foundation for an immigration policy which welcomes diverse cultures to Aotearoa, according to Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

Speaking this morning to the Federation of Ethnic Councils in Wellington, Mrs Turia said traditional values such as manaakitanga require respect for the mana of other people.

“Manaakitanga is also seen when our people as tangata whenua, the first peoples of this land, and as Treaty partners, take up our responsibilities as host to ensure that all peoples that make New Zealand their home are treated with fairness and dignity,” said Mrs Turia.

“The Maori Party came into Parliament driven by a vision for our land, which recognizes kaupapa Maori and tikanga Maori as a foundation which will benefit not only Maori, but all those people who lay claim to this country as their homeland,” she said.

“We absolutely believe that Te Tiriti o Waitangi is fundamental to good race relations; and we also know that there is significant interest and support from the many ethnic communities throughout Aotearoa for understanding exactly what it is that makes this nation unique.

“It is the constitutional significance of the Treaty that gives status to the Māori seats in our Parliament; as a legitimate means for Māori political expression to occur.  Interestingly, it has not been our ethnic communities that have been the ones to be so concerned about the strength of the Māori voice!

Mrs Turia said last May the Maori Party put forward a Supplementary Order Paper to an Immigration Bill, calling for a cultural education programme for immigration advisers – including the Treaty and basic tikanga and te reo.  The party also proposed a Maori Immigration Education Council to oversee the programme.

“Our thinking was that we needed to develop systems for whanau, hapu and iwi to help immigrants and refugees in their adjustment to Aotearoa.  It was also about developing and valuing reciprocal relationships between Maori and other peoples who call Aotearoa home,” Mrs Turia said.

Mrs Turia said tangata whenua should be involved in immigration policy and decisions on multi-cultural legislation, and she congratulated the Federation of Ethnic Councils for their efforts to maintain the distinctive cultures and world view of immigrant communities.

ends

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