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Tuhono Postcard Reminds Maori Voters

23 June 2004

Tuhono Postcard Reminds Maori Voters

Thousands of Maori households will receive a reminder postcard from this weekend urging them to complete and return their consent forms for the Maori affiliation service, Tuhono.

Some 91,000 voters of Maori descent - or 26 per cent - have so far taken advantage of the opportunity to connect with their iwi through Tuhono with returns expected to hit the 100,000 mark by the end of this month (June).

More than 353,000 Maori electors were sent the affiliation forms 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.

Koro Wetere, the deputy chairman of the Tautoko Maori Trust which manages Tuhono, is also a commissioner with the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

"The fisheries settlement is worth close to a billion dollars and iwi will each share a portion of those assets, benefits and entitlements," Mr Wetere says.

"Tuhono is the most effective and convenient way for any Maori to connect with their iwi organisation which is then accountable to its members for the wise and prudent management of these valuable assets."

Tautoko Maori Trust chief executive Dan Te Kanawa says a reminder postcard will be sent to households where no resident elector has returned a consent form to date.

"This mailout will address 10 key concerns that have emerged about the Maori affiliation service including privacy issues, lost forms and individuals already registered with their iwi," Mr Te Kanawa says.

"Through their iwi, whanau have a valuable stake in iwi assets, entitlements and benefits but their iwi can't keep in touch with them if they don't have a current address - so we're urging all voters of Maori electors to complete and return their Tuhono forms today."

The Tautoko Maori Trust is the only body empowered by legislation to pass the electoral information of a Maori elector onto authorised iwi organisations, subject to the consent of the individual elector.

ENDS

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