Indigenous | Kanaky

Te Pāti Māori responds to Kanak call for Māori support, France ‘suspends’ controversial electoral reform

Te Pāti Māori co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi. File photo / RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Te Pāti Māori has responded to pleas from indigenous Kanak for Māori support of their struggle in New Caledonia.

“Te Pāti Māori stand with the people of Kanaky who are fighting for their independence and their lives against oppressive French occupation,” it said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

A state of emergency was imposed for two weeks in mid-May after fatal clashes over electoral roll changes that threaten to marginalise the Kanak majority and set back their independence efforts.

This week a Kanak youth leader, Viro Xulue, raised concerns about the country’s “recolonisation” by France, which has sent military and police to New Caledonia and censured communications, telling 1News Kanak are eager for Māori to help “bring our voice to the world”.

In its release, Te Pāti Māori said, “The colonisation of the Pacific relies on the manufactured disconnection of Aotearoa from our Pasifika whanaunga. The moana does not separate us, it connects us. Just as our whakapapa is entwined with the Kanak people, so is our mana motuhake.

“Colonisation and genocide is happening in the Pacific right now.”

Te Pāti Māori also said, “Aotearoa will not have freedom until Te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa is free.”

Today (NZT), French President Emmanuel Macron announced he was suspending the electoral reform that triggered the unrest and would “give full voice to local dialogue,” a Radio France International (RFI) report says.