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Newsletters > Whitiwhiti Korero > English > 2011 > October

Whitiwhiti Korero: English

ISSN 1179-3007 October, 2011

In each Whitiwhiti Kōrero we look at an article of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) and see what it means for Aotearoa, New Zealand.   Continue reading…

In this issue we discuss Article 25 which states:

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

What this means 

Indigenous people’s natural resources are vital and integral components of their lands and territories. The concept includes the entire environment: surface and sub-surface, waters, forests, ice and air. Indigenous peoples have been guardians of these natural environments and play a key role, through their traditions, in respectfully maintaining them for future generations.  

How does it fit with the Treaty?

Under article 2 of the Treaty tangata whenua have the right to keep and strengthen their relationship with their lands, waters and other resources, and to carry out their responsibilities to protect these for future generations (mana whenua, mana moana, mana tangata & kaitiakitanga). Their distinct spiritual connection and relationship to their lands, waters and other resources is embodied in a verbal agreement and statement made by Hobson in what could be called religious freedom, or article 4.

How do you think Aotearoa, New Zealand measures up to Article 25?


Human rights and water promotes the human rights implications of water at a time when the supply of water, access to it, and its quality are matters of national interest. The Commission would like your feedback on this paper.

A whānau affair

Human Rights Commissioner Karen Johansen shares her story about attending the Fourth Session of the Expert Mechanism for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Geneva, July 2011.  Continue reading…

You can imagine what Billy T James would have done with a name like ‘Expert Mechanism’. In fact it is United Nations speak for a process by which elected experts on indigenous issues are able to meet to discuss, research and report on global issues effecting indigenous peoples including, of course, Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Each year since 2008, the EMRIP experts have met in Geneva for a week to discuss the work they have been undertaking, with representatives of States, indigenous non-government organisations, academics, young people and human rights commissions. The study which has been completed is, “The Right of Indigenous People to Education” and search under Expert Mechanism Studies) and the study which is complete but still to be presented to the Human Rights Council is “Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Participate in Decision Making.”

Each year, participants are invited to make statements (called interventions in UN speak) on the current study before it is finalised and presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council. This year, participants delivered their interventions on Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Participate in Decision Making and on the permanent agenda item which is about implementing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This year, the meeting was a real whānau or maybe I should say, wāhine affair : Anahera Scott, the co- principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu o te Wairoa was invited by expert Chief Willie Littlechild to open the meeting with karakia. Then New Zealand Human Rights Commission Chief Commissioner, Rosslyn Noonan, addressed the meeting in her capacity as Chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions, Anahera delivered her intervention on the  journey of her kura towards becoming a human rights kura, Tracey Castro Whare spoke as a representative of the Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust, Victoria University law professor, Catherine Iorns spoke and Valmaine Toki, Auckland University law lecturer and member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues observed.  Claire Charters, Senior Lecturer in law at Victoria University and a specialist in indigenous issues in international law, is currently a member of the EMRIP Secretariat.

Ae, the Aotearoa people were small in number and I was particularly sorry that there were no young New Zealanders taking part in the Youth Forum this year. My dream is to see whole rows of the EMRIP big meeting room filled with representatives from all around the motu including our rangatahi. Valmaine Toki writes in this issue of the profound value of participating in international indigenous meetings – the networking, the learning, the sharing and the strategising possibilities are all there. There is a problem however, and that is access to these meetings. It is not a closed door problem as T.W. Ratana found in 1924 but a funding problem.

United Nations meetings are held in New York or Geneva. Travel and accommodation are very expensive. The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations provides travel grants for participation by indigenous representatives and the funds come from voluntary donations made by countries from all around the world. This year, for EMRIP alone, there were 2000 applicants and only 54 were given grants (of which Anahera Scott was one).  We were also advised at EMRIP this year, that in four years donations have dropped by 70 per cent. For whatever reason, this is a significant obstacle for our people.

If you want to be involved in international discussions with our indigenous brothers and sisters from around the world on such issues as the rights of indigenous women, on free, prior and informed consent and extractive industries, on the right to language, on the right to participate in decision making, then start preparing your case for funding now. While a world wide appeal will be made to all States and foundations for donations, start talking to your own organisations (forget the sausage sizzles). Look also at the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations web site  The Permanent Forum holds its annual meetings in New York each May and EMRIP holds its annual meetings in Geneva each July. There is also being planned a World Conference of Indigenous peoples in New York in 2014.

In the hall outside the EMRIP meeting room was an unforgettable exhibition of photographs of indigenous peoples. At its beginning, in large text were some words by Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “The indigenous peoples of the world have a gift to give that the world needs desperately, this reminder that we are made for harmony, for interdependence. If we are ever truly to prosper, it will be only together.”

Click here Presentations to EMRIP 2011

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission) has announced the finalists for the 2011 Māori Language Awards. A total of 27 finalists across 15 categories have been identified.  Continue reading…

Glenis Philip-Barbara, Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori says, “Congratulations to all finalists, particularly for their efforts and commitment to te reo Māori. Everyone, finalists, entrants and those who participated and support the Māori language are to be congratulated. The Māori language has had unprecedented coverage in the media capturing much of the activity throughout the nation.”

“We received a number of high calibre entries this year and continue to be impressed by the range of initiatives showcasing creativity and innovation in Māori language promotion and revitalisation”.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori , in partnership with the Human Rights Commission and Te Puni Kōkiri provides ideas and resources for schools, workplaces, councils, media and community organisations to undertake activities in support of Māori Language Week and the Māori Language Awards. Human Rights Commissioner Joris deBres will be presenting the Māori Language Week Inaugural award at the event next month.

The finalists for the 2011 Māori Language Awards are: Te Reo o Taranaki Charitable Trust (New Plymouth); Kings College (Auckland); Department of Corrections (Wellington); Tokoroa New World; Te Kōtuku Rerenga Tahi Ltd (Gisborne); Insoll Avenue School (Hamilton); Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi Trust (Tauranga); Waahuu Creations (Wellington); NZ Customs Service (Wellington); Massey University – Te Kūnenga ki Pūrehuroa (Palmerston North); Wellington City Council; Kaiti School (Gisborne); Inland Revenue Department (Wellington); Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketū (Rotorua); Tokoroa High School; Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai (Rotorua); TVNZ (Auckland); South Waikato District Libraries (Tokoroa); Vodaphone NZ (Auckland); Albany Primary School (Auckland); Raukawa Trust Board (Tokoroa); The Gisborne Herald. 

For more information regarding the Māori Language Awards, or to purchase tickets, please contact Betty Hauraki on 04 471 6042 or betty@tetaurawhiri.govt.nz. All media enquiries should be directed to Debra Jensen.

Statement on Tribunal decision

The Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings Robert Hesketh says he is disappointed at a decision released by the Human Rights Review Tribunal this month on a case involving a Māori employee working for a catering company who was asked to cover her moko which she regarded as a profound expression of Māori identity.  Continue reading…

The Tribunal decision found there was insufficient evidence to make a ruling of unlawful discrimination or unlawful indirect discrimination. The case is the first time the Tribunal has considered tā moko as a potential basis for discrimination. The decision was finely balanced with the Tribunal finding that the employer did not appreciate the racial significance of the moko to Claire Haupini.

Mr Hesketh said the complainant Claire Haupini had shown great bravery in standing up for an issue that she regarded as important not only for herself but for others facing her situation. “She did not take lightly the prospect of going to court.”

Mr Hesketh said the decision by no means endorsed the actions of SRCC Holdings or gave carte blanche for employers to require Māori to cover up their moko. The Office of Human Rights Proceedings will now discuss the decision with Claire Haupini before taking any further steps.

The Human Rights Commission is currently considering a complaint received from another person who was barred from entering a bar because of his moko.

Click the link below to read the Commission’s general advice about moko

Moko: your rights // New Zealand Human Rights Commission

Maori-led conference for the Bay

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres is one of the guest speakers at a one-day conference on  Māori land, constitutional reform and local government, Māori perspectives on water, natural resource co-governance models, economic development and post-settlement futures to be held in Mount Maunganui on 31 October.  Continue reading…

The event, called Te Tōanga o Te Ra, or 'the rising of the sun/dawn', is about aspirations of empowerment and enlightenment, said organiser Bay of Plenty Regional Council Māori Policy Manager Kataraina Belshaw.

The event aims to attract local hapū and iwi practitioners as well as representatives and members of Māori land trusts and entities.

As well as Joris be Bres guest speakers include Justice Joe Williams, Auckland University Māori Studies Professor Ann Sullivan, Professor Linda Te Aho, Ngāi Tahu spokesman Mark Solomon and senior law lecturer Jacinta Ruru.

Under the Local Government Act Councils must consider ways, like the conference, to foster the development of Māori capacity to contribute to Council decision-making processes