Image: Sir Taihakurei Durie, Chair of New Zealand Māori Council
New Zealand Māori Council, one of the nations oldest representative institutions, has announced its getting back to "knitting" as it seeks to ensure its role as one of the nations pre-eminent partners when it comes to social policy issues. The new approach also comes with a fresh line-up at the national level with a clear focus on inter-generational change.
The work of the Council is embedded in what is known as the "Māori Community Development Act" and sets out its role as a partner with the Government when it comes to social policy impacting Māori. In a statement released today Council Chair, Sir Taihakurei Durie, outlined what the new direction meant:
“Firstly this new direction we are embarking on is very much getting back to the heart and soul of why the New Zealand Māori Council was first established – to provide guidance and insights on the challenges our people faced – our step further is not just to provide advice but to ensure that advice comes from the evidence we collect through deepening our engagement with the very smallest of Māori communities in our regions and rural areas right through to our urban populations…”
One of the new National Executive Members is former Global Head of Drake, one of the world's oldest and largest employment companies, Matthew Tukaki. Tukaki, who was elected as the new Chair of Auckland District Māori Council, outlined what the changes were and would mean:
“We have listened to our people who are both suffering in every social indicator going and feel their voices are not being heard. In the first instance we have established working groups at the national level around social policy issues from housing and housing affordability to employment and industry access, to climate change and the environment to Te Reo, Culture and education. Each of these working groups will engage Māori wherever they might be, include them in the process and generate this up to build national policy approaches. No one can deny the voice of our people when it comes to the shaping of this process and how it is presented to Government…”
Image: Matthew Tukaki, newly elected National Executive Member and Chair of Auckland District Māori Council
“We all know the data – Māori are more likely to be incarcerated, we are more likely to be long term unemployed, take our own lives, have little or no access to credit and therefore unable to afford a house let alone the rent, we are more likely to be homeless – if we are going to have a meaningful impact then we need to work together to do just that. We have developed a structure to not only give voice to Māori wherever they might be but to also engage experts in particular fields…” Tukaki said.
At the recent National Hui, the strategy the new direction was overwhelmingly endorsed as was the commitment for a regional listening hui to begin shaping the new approach.
The new working groups are (and led by a member of the National Executive of New Zealand Māori Council):
Health and Well-Being: Henare Mason
Justice, Law and Corrections: Roimata Minhinnick
Housing and Housing Affordability: Ngaio Te Ua & Marama Fox
Education and Training: Raewyn Harrison
Culture, Community and Language: Tane Cook
Access to Employment and Industry: Matthew Tukaki
Maori Wardens: Harvey Ruru
Three others have been endorsed waiting for Chair appointments:
Rangatahi / Youth
Climate Change and Environment
Image: some of the members of the newly elected National Executive and representatives from New Zealand Māori Council Districts
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