SUBMISSION TO THE SIXTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
WORKING GROUP ON INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS,
BY: Nganeko Minhinnick
Ngati Te Ata
Huakina Development Trust
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
TENA KOE ARCHANUI ME TO HEKERETARI ME TO KOMITI WHAKAHAERE -
NGA MIHI WHANUI KIA KOUTOU NGA URI RANGATIRA NGA TAANGATA
WHENUA O TE AO. NGA MEMA O NGA KAWANA, IA KOE HOKI
ERIHAPETI. TENA KOUTOU KATOA.
I BRING THE GREETINGS OF NGATI TE ATA, NGA TAMARAWAHO,
NGA MARAE TOOPU, THE HUAKINA DEVELOPMENT TRUST, TE RUNANGA O
NGATI AWA, TE RUNANGA O NGATI POROU AND MANY OTHER MAORI
REPRESENTATIVES WHOM YOU MET DURING YOUR VISIT TO AOTEAROA
WITH MR. ALFREDSSON.
My name is Nganeko Kaihau Minhinnick. I am a Maori and
an indigenous of Aotearoa. It is the practice of the New
Zealand government to paint pictures of excellent good
record of respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms
and harmonious relationships within our country. The true
position is very different.
The very fact that our people have had to travel for 3
days, 12000 miles, from across the other side of the world
to speak of the long standing grievances, of the cultural
genocide that is imposed upon our people, shows the real
We, the Maori people, should never have had to come to
the United Nations, because we have a Treaty that was signed
in 1840 between two sovereign nations. The Treaty of
Waitangi must be honoured. Extending the powers of the
Waitangi Tribunal and enshrining the Treaty in the Bill of
Rights is not honouring the Treaty which gives specific
rights to our people.
Because of the desecration of our tribal sacred burial
grounds by New Zealand Steel iron-sand mining Company, and
because of the pollution and desecration of the Manukau
Harbour and Waikato River which has deprived us of our food
supplies, and because of our problems with many pieces of
government legislation - including the very tough new powers
being given to the police in preparation for the so called
"celebrations" of the 150th Anniversary of the Treaty of
Waitangi in 1990 our tribe, Ngati Te Ata, felt we must
invite Madame Daes and Mr Alfredsson of the Secretariat to
visit our country. This visit took place in January of this
As the New Zealand government has acknowledged and
referred to your visit to Aotearoa in this forum, and the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs has freely distributed copies to
government departments and the media and general I public,
and the Associate Minister, Fran Wilde first released the
Report on Morning Comment, Radio New Zealand, I take this
opportunity to quote from the Report also.
In Madame Daes Words:
"It is therefore my most important recommendation that
the Maori people be given formal and substantive self-
government over their local and internal affairs. While
the exact powers and functions of self government
should be the subject of negotiations between the
parties, the minimum goal should be powers sufficient
for the protection of the groups' collective right to
existence and for the preservation of their identities.
To this end, a secure financial basis must be created,
preferably through the establishment of rights to land
and resources, taxation powers and, when and if these
are insufficient, the granting of lump sums for the
free use by the self governing entity. It should never
be an excuse for curtailing the powers of self-
government that these may be prone to make mistakes.
all individuals and governments make errors and learn
from the experience; without the experience they cannot
be expected to learn the lesson."
The most urgent thing, apart from stopping the
desecration to our sacred places and waterways, is that we
want the New Zealand government to honour the Treaty of
Waitangi and to work with us in establishing our real and
This goal of self-determination and self-government is
shared by very many indigenous peoples and at least
theoretically it is accepted by some governments. We believe
that self determination and self government should be
central in the United Nations Universal Declaration of
Indigenous Peoples Rights. Indeed, this should be the very
first principle in the Universal Declaration when it is
The government claims that setting up the Treaty of
Waitangi Tribunal to hear the peoples grievances is a way of
honouring the Treaty. In fact, it is simply recognition that
the Treaty has not been honoured.
The Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal is not a form of self
government - it is a palliative. Furthermore, the Tribunal
is seriously under-funded and under-resourced even after
We do not have the funds or the resources to match the
government in its endless barrage of reviews, policy
studies, commissions of inquiry and negotiations. Full Maori
participation is essential for the country. Effective
participation is not possible until we have our own resource
base and our own self government.
We hope that this point about funding and resources
will be incorporated in point 28 of Madame Daes draft
principles, on negotiation and dispute settlement.
We would like to see more emphasis in the Universal
Declaration on Indigenous Rights on International
Supervision. If the substantive principles of the
Declaration are to be effective, it is important that there
be an efficient means of vigorous international
investigation 2nd evaluation to ensure that governments meet
their obligations to indigenous peoples.
Madame Chair, we are submitting a number of documents
to the Working Group for its consideration - these include
position papers of the Maori and Crown negotiating teams in
the very important fisheries in the Aotearoa/New Zealand 200
mile Fishing Zone. These negotiations are currently
deadlocked. The Crown was forced into negotiations when the
Northern tribes of Muriwhenua took a claim to the Courts
over the traditional fisheries. We hope that Maori fishing
rights will soon be recognized.
Also, the government's Green Paper on Devolution, which
in our opinion does not go far enough in meeting Maori
requirements of self-government. We are awaiting
government's response to the widespread Maori criticism
against this document. Mainstreaming the functions of the
Department of Maori Affairs through existing government
departments is not self government.
It is opportune that the Working Group's attention be
drawn to the current Local Government Restructuring papers
included in the documentation. This Review totally fails to
take into account the Treaty of Waitangi, thus bolstering
our determination for self government.
The matter of the millions of acres of our lands that
were confiscated, and the thousands of our people who were
killed trying to protect their homelands and families will
never be forgotten, and must be redressed.
In conclusion Madame Chair, we give notice of our
intention to call for an International World Indigenous
Conference in Aotearoa in 1990.
Thank you Madame Chair.....
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