Indigenous peoples' rights   |   Constitutional arrangements

Te Taumata Kaumatua o Ngapuhi Statement

18 April 2005

Te Taumata Kaumatua o Ngapuhi is calling a national hui of Maori leaders at Waitangi, to discuss how to protect the integrity of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The Taumata said several recent attacks on the Treaty by the Government, had prompted the initiative.

Taumata spokesman Pereme Porter said the attacks include the privatisation of natural resources under the foreshore and seabed law; the plan to put a time limit on submitting historical claims; the attempt to rename Waitangi Day; changes to consultation requirements in the Resource Management Act; and a parliamentary constitutional review that is excluding tangata whenua.

The Taumata is instigating the constitutional summit, to consider the role of Te Tiriti in the 21st century, in July at Waitangi. Three national hui were hosted at Hirangi in the 1990s, by the late Sir Hepi Te Heu Heu, and Mr Porter said this summit aimed to revisit the kaupapa of those hui.

The council of elders is made up of senior members of the northern tribes, who meet monthly to monitor the Governmentıs performance in regard to their obligations to Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi.

This month's meeting in Whangarei considered the findings of the United Nations Committee on Racial Discrimination, on the Foreshore and Seabed legislation.

The UN committee said the new law contained "discriminatory aspects against Maori, in particular in its extinguishment of the possibility of establishing Maori customary title over the foreshore and seabed".

The taumata welcomed the United Nations' ruling, and said the recent application to prospect for ironsand on the west coast was an immediate example of how the new law impacted on Maori management of natural resources.

Black Sands Exploration, a subsidiary of China's Best Quality Life Group, has applied to Crown Minerals for a permit to mine a 3617sq m stretch of coast between Taranaki and Kaipara for ironsands.

Mr Porter said, "We are concerned with the continual alienation of our country's resources to foreign companies. The recent application to prospect for iron sands on the west coast, is the latest event in a long history of exploitation.

"We are sick and tired of being portrayed as ungrateful, greedy or unreasonable for defending our sovereignty.

"Many of our members were prepared to lay down their lives to protect this country during wartime. We have a sacred obligation as Maori to our grandchildren, both Maori and Pakeha, to protect the resources of our nation for the future, that's the real meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi to us, not money."

Te Taumata Kaumatua o Ngapuhi
Press release

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