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Turia calls on iwi to support access to culture

Tariana Turia
14 October, 2009
Turia calls on iwi to support access to culture
About one in five Maori have a disability and there is a growing concern they have been left behind without the help they need to take part in their culture, Tariana Turia says.

"So many of our people have disabilities but most of them don't go to their marae because they don't have the facilities needed to get through the door of the wharenui, wharekai and toilets or take part in hui because they can't hear," Mrs Turia said.

"A lot of Maori with disabilities have told me they don't want to be a hoha to anyone at their marae, but I think we all have a responsibility to ensure they are connected to their marae. Failing to do so, would mean we are prepared to accept some of our whanau miss out, feel alienated, isolated and on their own.

"I encourage iwi to start thinking about their people who have disabilities and make provisions to ensure their participation."

About 34% of Maori aged 45 to 64 years and 61% of Maori aged 65 years and over reported a disability in 2001.

Mrs Turia said under the Lotteries Grants Board's marae heritage and facilities fund, help for installing disability equipment can be sought by marae trusts.

Iwi interested in running sign language classes at their marae can contact the New Zealand Sign Language Teachers Association for help.


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