National | Blessing

Tai Tokerau iwi leaders perform ceremonial blessing for Indigenous Collaboration Agreement

Source: Nanaia Mahuta MP/ Facebook 

A ceremony to bless the newly signed Indigenous Collaboration Agreement was held at Waitangi on Saturday, led by Tai Tokerau iwi leaders.

The agreement signed between the New Zealand and Canadian governments earlier this week aims to "improve outcomes for indigenous peoples, and enhance indigenous to indigenous relationships," Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Māori Development Minister Wille Jackson said in a joint statement following Wednesday's signing in Wellington.

"Congratulations to the Māori, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and everyone involved in making this Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement possible," Canadian Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, wrote on social media afterwards.

In the lead-up to the weekend's events, Waihoroi Shortland, Pou Tikanga for the Waitangi National Trust, said the ceremonial blessing was a necessary and important step.

“This weekend’s event which has been initiated under the guidance of the Northland Iwi Leaders Forum ‘Te Kahu o Taonui’ will bring to mind the 182nd proclamation made at the signing of Te Tiriti by Ngā Puhi tohunga Aperahama Taonui who asked Ngā Puhi to cover the Te Tiriti with a Māori cloak and not the flag of England," Shortland said in a Waitangi National Trust statement on Friday.

"His advice went unheeded which eventually led to him being declared persona non-grata [unwelcome] by Ngā Puhi, and Aperahama Taonui in search of a new iwi. To complete the ceremonial blessing of the Indigenous Collaboration Agreement may in some way serve to realise his wise words.”

A pōwhiri for the Canadian delegation was held at the Whare Rūnanga at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on Saturday afternoon, followed by a formal dinner for the Canadian visitors and invited guests.

Minister Hajdu attended, as did Minister Mahuta and Māori Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis.

A special women’s breakfast was organised for Sunday morning in which women from Tai Tokerau were able to share their economic aspirations with their Canadian counterparts.

Source: Nanaia Mahuta MP/ Facebook 

"We have had the Privilege to host Minister Paddy Hajdu and her all indigenous female delegation from Kanata over the past week," Mahuta wrote on Facebook on Sunday morning.

"Our Indigenous collaboration agreement aims to ensure that greater opportunities exist between Māori and the First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples in the areas of truth and reconciliation, economic development, service delivery, education and health. We have so much to share and learn from each other. Migwitch!"