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Tangata Whenua should decide powhiri protocol

10 May 2005

Tangata Whenua should decide powhiri protocol

Community Sector Taskforce members today outlined their support for the right of Tangata Whenua to retain control over protocol at powhiri – regardless of where powhiri are held.

The statement comes in response to the issues surrounding a powhiri held last Friday at the Child, Youth and Family Korowai Manaaki Youth Justice North Centre in Manurewa.

Taskforce Co-Chair Peter Glensor said in all situations it should be Tangata Whenua, not someone else, who exercises responsibility for protocol.

"We are not entering into the debate about who was right or wrong in terms of behaviour in this particular instance. What we are concerned about is that the independence of Tangata Whenua is preserved," he said.

Taskforce Co-Chair Tony Spelman stated that he was concerned to hear of a government policy that effectively instructs Tangata Whenua on when, where and how tikanga Maori is to be practised in state sector settings.

“It is sad to see the work of kaumatua over about 50 years potentially swept away through an action like this. State sector developments in this area over the last 50 years or so were about the parties working matters through together. There is no need for Government policy to overrule tikanga Maori and it should not,” he said.

Tina Reid, Executive Director of the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations thinks this an important issue; adding:

“We believe respecting tikanga Maori, as defined by Maori, to be essential for positive Treaty relations. The community and voluntary sector is committed to a harmonious approach to working together with Maori and to the use of tikanga at all appropriate occasions.”

  • The Community Sector Taskforce is an independent body of ten community representatives, established in 2003 to continue the work developed by the joint community sector and government working parties (2000 - 2002) to develop the relationship between government and the sector.
  • ENDS

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