(Te Mana Akonga) The New Zealand Maori Council has achieved a number of gains for Maori including the adoption of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in the State Owned Enterprises Act 1986, the reform of Maori land resulting in Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, the 1989 Maori Fisheries Act and the 1992 Sealord’s Act. The review of the Maori Community Development Act 1962 should be seen as another opportunity for Maori.
“Despite its timing, and the number of issues being addressed within the Act, the review of the Maori Community Act 1962 should be seen as an opportunity for Maori development rather than a hidden agenda to dissolve the New Zealand Maori Council or put constraints around the Maori Wardens”, says Ivy Harper, Tumuaki of Te Mana Akonga.
“Anyone looking at the Act can see that it is archaic, irrelevant in a number of areas and this needs to be addressed”, says Harper. “I have participated in one of the consultation hui and intend joining another, and the general feeling at that particular hui was that the Act needs to be updated so that it is more relevant and so that it can better support the Maori community”, says Harper.
“A further consensus of the hui was that the New Zealand Maori Council should stay, the Maori Wardens need their autonomy and both the Council and the Warden
“Te Mana Akonga is of the view that there is still a huge role for the New Zealand Maori Council to play in the future. Ideally it would have been better if there was a greater inclusion of the New Zealand Maori Council within the consultation process and while public consultation at any time is not always welcomed due to its timing, it is hoped that some positive changes and benefits will come out of this process”, says Harper.s need to be adequately resourced, administered and supported so they can continue to develop a strong kaupapa”, says Harper.
“There were a number of recommendations out of the 2010 Inquiry supported by the cross-party Maori Affairs Select Committee that got this review underway. I think a further one should be an examination of Te Puni Kokiri and how it currently supports the Maori Wardens”, notes Harper. “There have been some concerns from Wardens around the delays in approving warrants and also around the support from Te Puni Kokiri and this also needs to be addressed”.
The submissions deadline for comments on the Maori Community Development Act 1962 is 30 September 2013.