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Last Cab in the Rank No More says Māori Party

Last Cab in the Rank No More says Māori Party

Hon Tariana Turia; Hon Dr Pita Sharples; Te Ururoa Flavell

“Ten years ago, on the eve of the First Reading of the Foreshore and Seabed Bill, over 40,000 New Zealanders rose up and marched in protest, in one of the most profound acts of resistance Aotearoa has ever witnessed,” said Te Ururoa Flavell, Co-leader of the Māori Party. “We came from ngā hau e whā; resolute in our fight to ensure the last part of customary land was not removed out of our hands. Today is ten years since the hikoi arrived at Parliament.”

“I will never forget that day for as long as I live,” said Tariana Turia. “Or the very next day for that matter. When the Bill was debated in the House, I stood and declared, “I do not want to be recorded in history, as part of a Government that attacked the very nature of customary rights….I do not want to be part of a Government that denies one group of New Zealanders due process, that is the right, hapu, or whanau to have claims over foreshore and seabed heard in Court. What I want is the right to have effective and meaningful political representation, to ensure our voices are heard, our issues defined in the context of our own cultural frameworks.”

“That was the beginning of us, of our Māori Party. We came into this place to say that Māori will not be ignored, we will not be silenced, and that every issue that passes through Parliament is a Māori issue. We came to show them that our language deserved to be spoken in this House, that we had unique perspectives, and that Māori people will not be ignored, marginalised or taken for granted.”

“We look back at Tariana’s words now and we think, ten years later, how much progress has been achieved in the demonstration of political representation for tangata whenua,” said Dr Pita Sharples. “Let’s not forget – the PM of that day chose to meet with a celebrity of the merino kind - Shrek the sheep – rather than the indigenous peoples of this land, some of whom she infamously labelled ‘haters and wreckers.’ How times have changed.”

“We now have a Government signed up to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We have the landmark policy Whānau Ora being experienced by 47,000 New Zealanders. We have the unique representation present in the Auckland Māori Statutory Board. We have a standalone unit for Māori economic development in MBIE. We have maara kai thriving across our communities. Government endorsed the right to fly the Māori flag; we introduced guidelines for cultural competency in schools; we have dedicated Māori housing provision – and the list goes on. We believe there is still work to be done and we intend to be around to make it happen.”

“The Māori Party stands with everyone who walked on that historic day, to remind ourselves of our histories and to share our stories. We must take our history forward, while passing the baton on to the next generation to keep that courage of 2004 flowing through our veins; our stories, our waiata, our memories strengthening our resolve.”


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