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Waitangi Day is a time for Optimism

05 February 2004

Waitangi Day is a time for Optimism

On the eve of Waitangi Day, Christian Heritage NZ leader Mr Ewen McQueen expressed optimism about the future of Maori - Pakeha relations in New Zealand. The CHNZ leader stated that,

" The signing of the Treaty in 1840 established the basis for civil government in New Zealand. It also gave Maori certain guarantees regarding their interests. It is a sad fact of history that in some instances these guarantees have not been honoured. The resulting injustice has left many Maori with a deep and lasting sense of grievance. However with goodwill and generosity of spirit on all sides there is strong ground for hope that our future together can be characterised by harmony and mutual respect. It is not inevitable that race relations in New Zealand will deteriorate - we can work together to resolve differences, and we must."

Mr McQueen noted that significant progress had been made already in resolving Treaty claims, under both Labour and National administrations. Waitangi Day was a time to remember this and doing so would put in proper perspective current challenges such as the seabed and foreshore issue.

The CHNZ leader also noted that there were two key factors which were critical to continuing progress. The first was an acknowledgement by most Pakeha that Treaty grievances were real and needed to be addressed. The second was an acknowledgement by most Maori that the Crown was legitimate and had the right to govern all New Zealanders.

Mr McQueen said that in light of the widespread support among New Zealanders for these two key propositions there was good reason for optimism and hope on Waitangi Day. He stated,

" Rather than using Waitangi Day to as an opportunity for confrontation and conflict around the issues presently being debated, let's step back and reflect on the progress that has already been made, and the good prospects that it will continue. A Waitangi Day with such a focus will enable all to re-engage in the process with fresh perspective and the right spirit. "

ENDS


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