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Former Nats Form Pakeha for the Treaty

Pakeha for the Treaty (Pakfort)

What began as a movement among a small group of National Party members and supporters has now widened to include Pakeha people associated with all parties. The movement, which began life as Nationals to the Treaty (NATFORT), has now been re-named Pakeha for the Treaty (PAKFORT), under the provisional chairmanship of Sir Ross Jansen, of Orewa.

"When the concept of NATFORT became known, we were approached by others, not associated with the National Party, who expressed a wish to become involved in our movement," said Sir Ross. "We were happy to oblige and change to a more inclusive name.

"There is no doubt that there are many non-Maori New Zealanders who fully share the Maori view of the Treaty as the founding document of New Zealand, and who are determined to ensure that the Treaty retains its rightful place in our emerging constitution and in the governance of our country.

"Any doubts about the status of the Treaty as a partnership between Maori, as first settlers, and the Crown, now embodied in the Government of New Zealand, was forcefully dispelled in 1987 by the unanimous opinions of all member Judges of the Court of Appeal, a declaration of status that would bear study by some of those currently seeking political leadership in our country," said Sir Ross.

Emphasis on the name Pakeha in the group's title is not meant to exclude Maori, but rather to highlight the fact that defence of the Treaty is not just an issue for Maori. Sir Ross said that members of PAKFORT are proud the be described as Pakeha, a word that identifies them, at home and abroad, as non-Maori New Zealanders.

"We venerate the Treaty every bit as much as do Maori, because it was that document that gave non-Maori their right to live in this country and to identify as New Zealanders. For both Maori and Pakeha, this is our home, established as a bicultural state, in which there now resides a diverse and exciting multicultural society," Sir Ross declared.

As well as protection of the Treaty, PAKFORT has dedicated itself to persuading all political parties that the separate Parliamentary seats for Maori should be retained until such time as Maori themselves agree that the seats should be integrated into a single, unified system.


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