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Te Pāti Māori Join Hīkoi To Manawatū District Council

Te Pāti Māori Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is joining the hīkoi to Manawatū District Council today, led by a Te Kōtui Reo, a collective of mana whenua iwi, hapū and marae. The hīkoi comes in response to the Council voting 6-4 against the establishment of a Māori ward last week.

“Manawatū District Councillors have shamefully voted to uphold Pākehā dominance and undermine Māori rights to representation on local government. Once again we have a Pākehā majority deciding that they know what is best for Māori” said Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

“We have heard all the excuses in the book: fears of backlash, fears it would lead to more discrimination. One councillor even claimed to support Māori wards but decided the community wasn’t ready for it. That is political cowardice of the highest degree. Our communities have been ready for 180 years.

“This is a leap backwards and an insult to everyone who has stood up against racism and fought so hard for Māori wards. It goes totally against the trajectory of what we are seeing elsewhere in the country. It has been truly sad to listen to the pain and indignity suffered as a result of this Council’s lack of courage” said Ngarewa-Packer.

“Whānau turned up to the chambers full of hope, and left in tears. Now we have returned full of resolve. I am proud to be standing among such a staunch and vibrant leaders who are committed to uplifting Māori voices and improving our socio-economic circumstances.

“Te Pāti Māori acknowledges tangata whenua who have driven the campaign for Māori wards over the last decade, and all of the councillors and local politicians who have stood with us as Tiriti partners. We are calling on the Manawatū District Council reconsider their decision and stand on the right side of history” said Ngarewa-Packer.

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