Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Commission’s Visit To Cyclone-affected Areas Highlights Human Rights Challenges

Communities in Te Tairāwhiti and Wairoa have told Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission they want government and councils to support community-led responses in the recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle.

Te Amokapua Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt says “We heard loud and clear that communities know the solutions, they have the knowledge, insights, relationships, and experience that should be determining what development and recovery looks like.”

The comments come following a visit by the Chief Commissioner, Rongomau Taketake Claire Charters and Commission staff to Wairoa, Gisborne, Uawa/Tolaga Bay and Te Araroa last week.

The Commission heard that despite the aspirations of communities, many felt a sense of powerlessness and spoke of being wedged between the impacts of forestry and farming on the land and the waterways around them, the threat of more frequent and intense weather events due to climate change, and the centralisation of resources and power away from them which was aggravated by colonisation.

Hunt says “There’s a different vision that needs to be embraced here, one where local communities are in the driving seat, supported by councils and government.

There is a concern that this isn’t happening and things are too centrally driven.”

Hunt says that while the Commission was able to meet with some community leaders during their visit, there are many others whose views need to inform the ongoing recovery.

Rongomau Taketake Claire Charters, who is an Indigenous Rights Governance Partner at the Commission says local leadership is crucial in the recovery, and to realise the tino rangatiratanga of iwi, hapū, and whānau Māori in the region.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“We heard from tangata whenua along the trip of their struggle to retain Ahi Kaa (continuous occupation) because of these challenges. These are communities who have lived on their whenua for 25 generations.

The government and councils have a duty to demonstrate how they are meeting the provisions for tino rangatiratanga and self-determination as outlined in both te Tiriti o Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

That means a shift in approach from government control to a more equal balancing of power, where communities can practice self-determination, participate in decision-making processes that affect their rights and well-being and have their free, prior and informed consent sought on legislative or administrative measures that affect them.

Such an approach should influence any new legislation and policy that deals with emergency management, responses to Cyclones Gabrielle and Hale, and for local development more broadly.”

The Commission says it will continue to kōrero with the local communities it met with last week to help advance their rights and te Tiriti o Waitangi.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Newshub/Smokefree Twin Fiascos

Here’s a tale of two sunset industries. One has a track record of quality investigative reporting, and sound reportage of the 24/7 news cycle. The other sunset industry peddles a deadly substance that kills and injures tens of thousands of New Zealanders every year, while imposing significant annual costs on the public health system.

Which industry is this government rushing to assist..?


ACT: New Zealand Dodges Dopey Experiment In Prohibition

“Labour’s attempted crackdown on smokers would have delivered criminal groups a near-monopoly over the cigarette trade,” says ACT Health spokesman Todd Stephenson... More

Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More

Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.