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Maori Party: Honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Maori Party: Honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Maori Party is calling on New Zealanders to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, as we celebrate the International Day of World Indigenous Peoples (August 9).

Dr. Pita Sharples, Maori Party MP for Tamaki Makaurau said “today is a reminder that we as tangata whenua are not alone in our struggle for recognition and our fight for equality. Today we join with our indigenous brothers and sisters around the world who have shared our experiences of colonisation, broken promises, and injustice, but are working hard to make the world a safer and more culturally inclusive place for our children.”

“This year’s theme is also a timely reminder to look at the quality of our relationships with each other – whether as Treaty partners; as whanau, hapu and iwi or as neighbours.”

“173 years ago the Queen of England and her representatives entered into a relationship with tangata whenua. Te Tiriti o Waitangi remains our founding document and the basis of the relationship between Maori and others in this country.”

“We have spent almost two centuries fighting to have this constitutional document recognised in Aotearoa, and over that time we have made slow progress towards creating enduring change for our next generation.”

Dr. Sharples said “In 2008, when the Maori Party first entered into a relationship with government, we negotiated to have a constitutional review to look at the place of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in this country. We also negotiated to have New Zealand sign up to the UNDRIP, which I announced at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in April 2010.”

“While these are important steps towards recognition of indigenous rights and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, there is still much more to do.”

“Racial discrimination and hatred is still present in our society. There have been numerous examples of this portrayed in the media over this last year, and we are concerned that once again the ‘race debate’ will pit New Zealander against New Zealander.”

“We want to see cultural competency and identity valued in every organisation and community. And it needs to be everywhere - we have had a recent example right here in Parliament where two Labour MPs kicked up a fuss during our pohiri for our youth parliamentarians. We want better for our future”

“We also have many people with money and means promoting anti-Maori sentiment, falsely portraying the idea that Maori are somehow privileged. I don’t know what privilege they are seeing, but when an entire group of people are poorer, dying younger, having more health issues and are effectively marginalised that does not look like privilege to me.”

Dr. Sharples said “while we have come a long way as a society, we wonder whether we have made the progress we had hoped for, or whether the face of discrimination and marginalisation has simply changed form. The Treaty of Waitangi, and honouring agreements with Indigenous people, is central to ensuring wellbeing moving forward.”

“And this year, while we celebrate our strength as indigenous people around the world, we are also mindful of the work that needs to happen right here in Aotearoa to progress the promise we signed up to in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and achieve true justice for our whanau and future generations.”


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