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Response from 358 000 voters of Maori descent

Tuhono mailout this week seeks response from 358 000 voters of Maori descent

A nationwide campaign to link individual Maori with their iwi begins today when Tuhono affiliation and consent forms are sent to 358 000 voters of Maori descent by the Chief Registrar of Electors.

Most Maori will receive their forms today.

The mailout is part of Tuhono, the Maori affiliation service which will collect selected electoral information on consenting Mäori voters, then forward those details to the voter’s identified iwi organisations. Sir Paul Reeves, the chairman of the Tautoko Mäori Trust which has developed Tühono, says the new service is a proactive Maori expression contributing towards a prosperous future for all New Zealanders.

“The trust believes this initiative is one of the most significant for Mäori in recent times, with the potential to deliver real benefits to iwi and Maori organisations in the areas of accountability and ongoing democratic process.

“Tühono is about Mäori identity, strong and cohesive iwi, the advancement of our people and ultimately the prosperity of Aotearoa-New Zealand.”

Tuhono Chief Executive, Dan Te Kanawa encouraged all Maori to fill out their forms and return them as soon as possible and is hopeful that most would have responded by the end of May.

“It’s an easy process involving three easy steps: sign and date your consent form, identify and tick your iwi and return in the pre-paid envelope.”

Tühono is jointly funded by the Government and Te Ohu Kai Moana, the Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

Many prominent Maori have endorsed Tuhono. Shane Jones, chair of Te Ohu Kai Moana - the Waitangi Fisheries Commission: “Tûhono is perhaps the most significant Mâori initiatives of recent times, with the potential to deliver real benefits to our people. It is relevant to all Mâori and all iwi and Mâori organisations. But Tûhono is not just about iwi developing membership registers to qualify for fisheries allocations and confirming mandates for treaty settlements, although these are very important. Tûhono is about making a positive affirmation of our identity as a people, and about participating in our future.”

Sonny Tau, chair of Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi: "As the biggest iwi and with our people scattered around the motu and indeed the world, we've struggled to keep track of tribal membership. Tuhono will be the answer. It will provide us with accurate and up-dated information on those who whakapapa to Ngapuhi, no matter where they live.

This will be hugely important. It will help our people connect to their iwi, allow the Ngapuhi runanga to grow and allow us to comply with the coming fisheries allocation requirements. I urge all Ngapuhi, in fact, all Maori to fill out their Tuhono consent forms.” Mark Solomon, Kaiwhakahaere of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu:

“Tuhono is an initiative which will be of great benefit to iwi wanting to establish and maintain reliable and up to date registers of their members.

“I support this kaupapa developed and promoted by the Tautoko Maori Trust in that it promotes whanaungatanga which is a cornerstone value that Te Rünanga o Ngäi Tahu works under.”

Mavis Mullins, chair of the Maori Spectrum Trust, Te Huarahi Tika Trust, and executive director of Paewai Mullins Shearing Limited.

“Tuhono is long overdue. It is a valuable project that will assist Mâori to be more effective and accountable in the important areas of governance and management.

We have many younger Maori who work with us who are on the electoral roll who have no idea how they can connect back to their iwi organisation. Tuhono will facilitate and streamline this connection.”

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