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Traditional remedies extinguished by Govt proposal

Press release
For immediate release (25 July 2005)

Maori traditional remedies "extinguished" by Government proposal

Ngati Whatua te Taitokero have slammed Government plans to allow an Australian-based agency to regulate Rongoa (Maori traditional remedies), saying it would extinguish the current and future commercialisation of traditional remedies.

The Government plans to hand control of the booming New Zealand natural health products sector to the Trans Tasman Therapeutic Goods Agency – which will be based in and controlled by Australia.

The iwi have written several times to Prime Minister Helen Clark, outlining major concerns with the proposal.

1. Consultation with Maori has been token at best (one four-hour hui in the entire eight years the proposal has been under development).

2. Maori are not considered anywhere in the International Treaty that agrees to establishes the new agency that was signed by Annette King.

3. The present and future commercialisation of Rongoa as a traditional medicine could be extinguished under the proposal.

4. Future opportunity for Maori to fully reveal and develop value for Tangata Whenua that lie dormant within New Zealand’s flora and fauna risk being lost.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, Ngati Whatua and other iwi including European supporters are adamant that Maori will not accept an international agency deciding which health products we the people can use to keep ourselves well.

“We as Maori are put on this earth to be Kaitiake (trustees) of the environment, the water, the forests and all flora and fauna,” said Pene Hita “Therefore we have a duty under Maori tradition to protect and enhance the world that we are born into and to leave it a better place for our Mokopuna.”

“We simply will not accept that a non-New Zealand agency can take control of the remedies that have been used for hundreds of years by our people to heal ourselves.”

“In addition, we are disappointed the Prime Minister has not taken the issue seriously enough to even reply,” Pene Hita said. “It is of great concern to our people.”

ENDS

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