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Māori Party Calls For Inquiry Into Colonial Monuments, Statues And Names

Māori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is calling on the Government to establish an inquiry that is focused on identifying and getting rid of racist monuments, statues and names from our colonial era.

The call for an inquiry follows the actions of activists and governments in states and countries around the world who have committed to bringing down statues and monuments that symbolise racism and oppression.

“What we are seeing right across the world, led by our black brothers and sisters in the USA, is a global push to dismantle systemic racism, including the outdated symbols of that racism,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“We still honour some of the most racist and oppressive figures from our colonial history with monuments, statues and place names in towns and cities across the country.

“I am calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her government to work alongside hapū and iwi Māori and other communities of colour in Aotearoa to undertake a comprehensive inquiry into colonial monuments and statues, place names, and street names.

“We appreciate that in many cases local councils have responsibility for monuments and place names. However, we need nationwide leadership and an expert-led inquiry with recommendations put to local councils and other relevant groups. We need to address this collectively as Aotearoa.

“We are not saying that all monuments and names from the colonial period should be brought down or changed, that’s why an inquiry should determine which of them are racist, outdated and should go. One example of what needs to change is the street names here in Taranaki of those that waged war on our tupuna, including John Bryce who was responsible for the murder of children and led the Parihaka invasion.

“We can no longer hold up people who dedicated their lives to colonialism and the oppression of indigenous and black peoples as role models or symbols of reverence and pride. We should focus on celebrating those who brought us together and fought for the peace, justice and freedom of all peoples,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

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