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Tuhono Campaign For Iwi On Track

Tuhono Campaign For Iwi On Track

Some 85,000 Maori voters have taken advantage of the opportunity to connect with their iwi during the first month of the Tuhono campaign.

Dan Te Kanawa, the chief executive of the Tautoko Maori Trust which manages the service, says the initial response of nearly 25 per cent has been extremely encouraging but the 18 to 29-year-old age group - which represents nearly 30 per cent of Maori electors - have not acted upon the message yet. Their response rate is only about half of the 30 year and over age group.

"For the first time ever, Tuhono enables each elector of Maori descent to provide their name, address and iwi affiliation to their iwi while also ensuring their information is automatically updated via the electoral system," Mr Te Kanawa says. "More importantly, it will ensure iwi are able to keep in touch with and enhance accountability to its members. We urge those Maori who have yet to complete and return their Tuhono forms to do so immediately."

More than 353,000 electors of Maori descent were sent a Tuhono affiliation form in the post at the beginning of May seeking their consent to pass on their name, address and iwi affiliation to their iwi and any other Maori organisations they specify on the form. These include Maori trust boards, iwi organisations recognised by Te Ohu Kai Moana - the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission for the purposes of Maori fisheries allocation, and organisations recognised by the Crown for Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

Mr Te Kanawa says many iwi organisations have found it extremely difficult, time-consuming and expensive to keep track of their people in order to achieve the required levels of communication and accountability to their members.

"Because the Tuhono campaign will assist all iwi by enhancing their registers, we are confident that iwi organizations will become more proactive in communicating the importance of the Tuhono initiative to their individual members, especially the need to complete and return their consent forms as soon as possible. Widespread participation in the Tuhono campaign by Maori is the key to achieving a successful outcome for iwi organisations to develop reliable registers and for the interests of their members in terms of communication, accountability and benefits, particularly with the impending allocation of fisheries assets and Treaty of Waitangi settlements."

Some 36,000 Maori voters - equivalent to a large iwi - did not receive a form in May because they had failed to keep their electoral information up to date. The main reasons for not receiving a form are that they are not registered on the electoral roll; their contact details were incorrect and need to be updated; or when they enrolled, they didn't indicate they were of Maori descent.

"We hope that these people will make an effort to update their details by re-enrolling," Mr Te Kanawa says.

People whose iwi is not listed on the Tuhono form can print their iwi in a clear space on the bottom right hand corner of the form. Those who do not know their iwi can tick the box - 'I don't know my iwi'. To enrol or check if your enrolment details are correct, visit www.elections.org.nz or phone 0800 36 76 56. More information about Tuhono is available on the website - http://www.maori.org.

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