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Biculturalism Versus Multiculturalism

Maori Affairs Minister Hon Tau Henare today continued his call for the Race Relations Office to include the Treaty of Waitangi in its focus.

Mr Henare said he was alarmed at the policy of "sameness" and multi-culturalism being promoted by the Race Relations Conciliator, Dr Rajen Prasad.

"Mr Prasad must remember that his office represents the partners to that treaty, including Maori, yet he is undermining our position by pushing a policy of multi-culturalism, which devalues the status of Maori.

"The Treaty of Waitangi should be the cornerstone to the Race Relations Office because it is that contract that formally allowed other cultures and races to settle New Zealand.

"Under the Treaty, Maori as tangata whenua formally allowed their lands to be inhabited by other peoples. I have called on the Race Relations Conciliator to ensure that that relationship, between Maori and the Crown (representing everyone else) as guaranteed by the Treaty, is promoted by his office rather than the policy of "sameness" that he is currently pushing.

"The reason why there is so much angst about race relations in this country is because there is no appreciation of the fundamental document that underlies this nation.

"Pacific Island people can understand the concept of tangata whenua because they too have a homeland. There is no other part of this world where Maori can vigorously promote their language and culture, or call home, except Aotearoa.

"That is the unique position of Maori, and everyone else in this country is sharing our homeland with us. That relationship can be harmonious as long as every person in New Zealand understands that relationship. If the Conciliator is interested in race relations he should not be muddying the waters by promoting that we are all the same, because we are not.

"Maori have a special place in this country, as first peoples, as tangata whenua, people of the land, and nothing can change that," Mr Henare said.


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