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Hui supports constitutional discussion

13 March 2004

Te Ope Mana a Tai, a representative group of Iwi from throughout New Zealand, is pleased with the results of the hui that was called to discuss the findings and recommendations contained in the Waitangi Tribunals Foreshore and Seabed Report.

The hui had 4 clear outcomes:

1. There was support for the Waitangi Tribunal Foreshore and Seabed Report;

2. The Maori MPs must not support the Foreshore and Seabed legislation;

3. There was support for a constitutional debate; and

4. That there is growing Pakeha support for Maori on this issue.

"There was absolute support for a constitutional debate on the place of the Treaty in New Zealand. A much wider and more informed discussion on this important issue needs to take place," said Professor Margaret Mutu from the Te Ope Mana a Tai hui today. "The support today, from both Maori and Pakeha, is indicative of how this is such an important issue for all New Zealanders."

The Foreshore and Seabed legislation is intimately connected to the wider constitutional debate and should arguably be left until after that process is completed. "The reaction to Don Brash's Orewa speech emphasises the need for this discussion to occur and Te Ope Mana a Tai supports that discussion occurring" said Matiu Rei, Chairman of Te Ope Mana a Tai.

"It never ceases to amaze me how sections of New Zealand have not read the Treaty but can talk for hours about what it means. Thatís what an inquiry like this can achieve, more informed debate. Part of this debate has to also educate Maori," said Mr Rei, "Don Brash has really brought to the surface how little Pakeha and Maori interact. Few Pakeha, or Maori for that matter, truly understand what the other side thinks about the other. This discussion will help us better understand each other and strengthen the nation overall."

Te Ope Mana a Tai Media Release,
Contact Huia Lloyd, email or tel 021 484 207 if you have any media inquires.

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