National | Iwi

Iwi leaders face to face with new government

The coalition government has been welcomed to the National Iwi Chairs Forum for the first time in Kerikeri but the Iwi chairs have promised the government will not get an easy ride.

It is the first meeting between the coalition government and iwi chairs to discuss te iwi Māori issues.

Forum spokesperson Rāhui Papa says it has been a good experience introducing the government to different iwi leaders from around the country.

“Ka whāriki atu, ka whāriki mai, ana koirā ko te tīmatanga pea o tētehi kōrero haere ake nei,”

(Thoughts have been laid out on both sides, and that perhaps is a start for an on-going conversation.)

At the Iwi Chairs Forum, held over two days, the more than 50 leaders unanimously agreed to fight what they see as the governments “continued, sustained attack on Māori.”

Several options were agreed upon at the two-day hui, including supporting current legal action and filing new legal actions against the government, laying complaints with the Human Rights Commission and submitting challenges at the United Nations.

“The attacks by this government is on a range of fronts affecting Māori. From unilaterally redefining Te Tiriti o Waitangi through to belittling te reo Māori to removing protections for our mokopuna in Oranga Tamariki through to the dismantling of the Māori Health Authority, which was based on detailed research, and determinations of the Waitangi Tribunal - which is also under attack,” Papa says.

All three parties attended

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon was joined by both Act leader David Seymour and New Zealand First minister Shane Jones at the forum.

Although many initially thought there would be some hostility toward the government, Papa says, despite any ill feeling towards the government, the welcome went smoothly.

“I tino pai, matua rā e kore rawa rā ngā iwi rāua ko te kāwanatanga e whakaae i te kotahi rau paihēneti o te wā. Engari kia kōrerotia te āhuatanga ki ngā mahi ka taea e mātou te mahitahi.”

(It went well, considering not all iwi will agree with the government 100% of the time. But discussions on things that the government and Iwi can do together are being had.)

Heading into Waitangi weekend

This is the first time the coalition government has come face to face with iwi to run through issues that have been raised during the hui ā-motu and the Rātana Church celebration over the past month.

Leading into Waitangi weekend celebrations, Te Rūnanga ā Iwi o Ngāpuhi chaiman Mane Tahere says his iwi is prepared for the big numbers of attendees.

“We knew very well from Tūrangawaewae to te hui ā-motu tae noa ki a Rātana, tae noa ki tēnei to Waitangi that we’ll be hosting. There has been a lot of mahi, a lot of kōrero gone into the preparation but also a lot of unifying and presenting an authentic Ngāpuhi front for the motu,” Tahere says.

Te Ao Māori News will be covering the latest at Waitangi this weekend on our Facebook page.