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Maori going to Fiji

Press Release
31st May 2000
Maori going to Fiji
Phone 021 2928-496. Email

Tame Iti, (Maori and Indigenous political activist) and Anthony Sinclair (Lawyer, Mediator, Indigenous Rights Advocate) leave for Fiji on Air New Zealand flight 35 at 7.30am Thursday.

The Maori delegation go to Fiji, offering unconditional assistance to the Fijian people. [Monitor, mediate, review constitution, offer legal assistance]

The Maori delegation believe at this time that isolationist rhetoric and inflammatory statements made by many commentators is unhelpful, incites violence and escalates fear. At this time Fiji is in need of support not threats.

While many commentators have sought to focus on one man, George Speight and his character, the Maori delegation will cast the net a little wider. In particular other issues require analysis, including widespread dissatisfaction among the population toward the manner Fiji Parliament conducted political affairs, widespread rejection of the Fijian Constitution which a Maori Paul Reeves assisted to draft, a sense that the rights of Indigenous Fijians were being undermined in particular continued references that legislation will be drafted aimed at alienating Fijian lands. It was this very initiative that saw Maori and immigrants of the British Empire locked in a protracted 30-year colonial war. Therefore when talk of undermining the land base is made at high levels in Fijian Parliament, the intention is clear, it can be perceived by the Fijian people as tantamount to an act of war.

The main concern of the Maori delegation at this time is the well- being and safety of the people of Fiji irrespective of race color or creed. The welfare of the State, its actors and apparatus must take second place to the welfare of the people. The condemnation by the Australian Prime Minister of what has happened in Fiji must be balanced against his immoral behavior in refusing to apologise to our aboriginal brothers and sisters for the sins of his fathers. If "democracy" has been undermined in Fiji then so it has in Australia by allowing a little neo-Nazi Howard to be elected as Prime Minister. So to in Wellington, politicians righteous finger pointing incites hatred and fear. We ask that if Wellington have nothing useful, positive or helpful to contribute then they keep their mouths shut as the windy Wellington conditions are blowing their inflammatory little tongues around….again,….we will assist all our Fijian brothers and sisters at this time…not abandon them…..Maori delegation..

ENDS

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