Foreshore and seabed information   |   Indigenous Peoples' Rights

Iwi sign international Treaty on indigenous rights

28 November 2007

Twenty-three iwi, hapu and hapu collectives have today ratified the United League of Indigenous Nations Treaty at a hui in Whakatane.

The treaty, which has already been signed by indigenous nations from Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand, establishes an international political and economic alliance. The treaty seeks to advance the common interests of indigenous nations on the impacts of climate change on their homelands, promotes trade and commerce among Indigenous Nations, brings cultural properties under the protection of the laws of Indigenous Nations, protects the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and asserts traditional rights to cross international borders.

The hui was hosted by Te Hono o Mataatua (The Mataatua Assembly), which represents the interests of the iwi of Mataatua and sent a representative to the original signing ceremony.

Dr Hirini Mead, Chairman of Te Hono o Mataatua and Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, one of the original signatories to the treaty, said, "Today marks an important step in the promotion and enhancement of the rights of indigenous nations. It is clear from the failure of the New Zealand Government to endorse the United Nations’ Declaration on Indigenous Rights that we have to take action to ensure we protect our rights."

Dr Mead also noted, "By signing this treaty we create a strong statement between a wide range of indigenous nations across the world that we need to work together and have a common voice to advance the interests of indigenous peoples and protect our cultures."

Dr Mead said that he expected more iwi to sign once they had the chance to discuss the treaty among themselves.

The signing was witnessed by representatives of the Sucker Creek Cree Nation on behalf of the original signatories.

Ngati Awa
Media release

Indigenous Peoples' Rights   |   Peace Movement Aotearoa