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Mäori Delegation Report on Political Events in Fiji

Mäori Delegation Report on Political Events in Fiji

6th June 2000

Key objectives for Mäori Delegation coming to Fiji:

  1. To give unconditional assistance and solidarity to all our brothers and sisters in Fiji

  2. To observe and monitor whether the action taken was genuinely political

  3. To hope that our presence contributed to relieving tension in Fiji

  4. To hear the perspective of those unheard, the people of the land, the Vanua

  5. To ensure Fijians are not isolated in their difficult time of struggle

  6. To report on the deeper underlying issues which created present day events

  7. To promote the long term safety and wellbeing of all people in Fiji irrespective of race color or creed, including political detainees.

  8. To investigate the validity of statements made by media and politicians against the political actions taken by Fijians.

What was achieved:

  1. Assistance, understanding and support for all our Fijian brothers and sisters

  2. Monitoring of detainees, the media, the military and political developments

  3. Recognition that no other choice existed, that political armed action was inevitable

  4. Awareness that the 1997 Constitution is flawed and caused the events in Fiji today

  5. Realization that the recognition and protection of Indigenous Fijian Rights within the current Constitution is impossible to guarantee

  6. Noted that the majority of foreign commentators in particular NZ and Australia, have limited political analysis of Fiji, and lack Indigenous grass roots experience

  7. Undisputed evidence that the will of the people motivated the political action that manifested itself in a popular uprising, a true revolution exists, which, even by Western standards is an acceptable element of the democratic process.

  8. Observed the self interest behavior of some Indians, some Fijians, and one or two Military leaders who cling precariously to status privilege and power, ignoring the immediate crisis and failing to act for the well being and long term interests of Fiji.

In conclusion the Mäori delegation believe the uprising was inevitable through a combination of an unpopular Constitution, conservative Fijian leadership whom lost the confidence of the Fijian people, and an arrogant insensitive Indian dominated Parliament. We note both New Zealand and Australian Governments have failed to understand the true political reality facing the majority of Fijians through an Indian dominated Parliament. We are satisfied that the political action taken in Fiji was in no way shape or form motivated by criminal intent by any individual or group. The will of the people was the prime motivating force, which overthrew the former Government. The popular will distinguishes a political act from a criminal act. Therefore the will of the people manifested itself in a revolt. We note that under the present stressful circumstances the Fijian people and their leaders have conducted themselves in a professional exemplary manner, they have catered to the needs of the detainees, and exercised authority and control over those people within their group.

In recognition of the above we feel the requests made by leaders of the Taukei regarding installation of an interim government are reasonable and should be accepted. The key objective being the immediate safety and normalizing of Fijian society and activity. Nothing in their requests suggests that acceptance will create instability, in fact non-acceptance will have the exact opposite effect. To secure long term peace we advise that an interim Civilian Government be given authority to take immediate control of Fijian Civilian affairs and implement measures whereby the will of the people is given the opportunity for electing another Government, chosen by the people under normal conditions. The Mäori delegation were happy to be in Fiji at this time, thank-you.

Mäori Delegation - Tame Iti - Piripi Haami - Anthony Tauni Ngatai-Sinclair

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