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Pakeha meeting calls for Government and Business

Network Waitangi Whangarei
PO Box 5098, Whangarei
Press Release

7 February 2006

Pakeha meeting calls for Government and Business to relate to Maori with respect

A challenging and thoughtful public meeting on the eve of Waitangi Day, contributed to one provincial city's celebration of the national day.

The meeting of more than 100 local people, predominantly Pakeha, heard five invited non-Maori speakers address Te Tiriti o Waitangi issues in the context of nation-building.

After feedback from the audience on the apparent dysfunction of some local Treaty relationships, the meeting endorsed the following motion:

"In the light of the addresses we have heard tonight, we call on the
Government, political parties, local government, businesses, and the
peoples of this country, to listen with full respect to the hopes and
aspirations of the first nations peoples of Aotearoa, and to work in
utmost good faith alongside them, for the good of these lands and
waters, and all of us."
The event was hosted by independent Treaty and anti-racism education group, Network Waitangi Whangarei.

The speakers repeated their addresses at a 'State of the Nation' forum hosted by Te Taumata Kaumata o Ngapuhi at Te Tii Marae at Waitangi, yesterday, which included speeches by Maori rights lawyer Annette Sykes, and Te Tai Tokerau educationalist Hilda Halkyard-Harawira.
The Tauiwi speakers were the Rev Bob Scott, who has recently returned to New Zealand after 14 years in the Programme to Combat Racism team at the World Council of Churches in Geneva; Dr Betsan Martin, who fasted for a week in protest at the Foreshore and Seabed Bill in 2004, and has written extensively on co-management; David James, Treaty educator and mediator at Wanganui's Pakaitore occupation; Professor Jane Kelsey, of the Law Faculty at the University of Auckland, who specializes in global economics and colonialism; and David Slack, media commentator, lawyer and author of 'Bullshit, Backlash and Bleeding Hearts'.

They discussed the need to increase trust in relationships between Maori and Tauiwi at all levels - moving away from minimal consultation and towards permanent negotiation in new co-governance relationships; the negative effect on the potential of such relationships, of entrenched governing mentalities and market-led imperatives - with new investment, foreign ownership and free trade treaties with other countries undermining the national sovereignty, rights and assets, of Maori and Pakeha citizens alike.

Speakers also pointed out the continuing racism of the seabed law which allows individual private ownership and use of the foreshore and seabed, and multinational mining and mineral rights, to remain unfettered by legislation.

The Government’s current attempt to undermine the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, was also in the spotlight.

On the plus side of the state of the nation, they welcomed increased Pakeha goodwill, understanding of cultural difference and our history; the positive contribution to national life from nga wananga Maori, Maori Television, the birth of the Maori Party, and the revival of te reo.

ENDS

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