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Submitted by admin2 on Thu, 10/05/2012 - 3:17pm

The history of Ngāti Kahu at the UN is quite long.

Ngāti Kahu is a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and, although we do not attend every session of the Forum, this is the third time we have sent a delegation to let the other indigenous peoples of the world know what this government is really doing to Māori katoa - which is the main purpose for our membership in participation.

In 2004 the hot issue was the theft of Te Takutaimoana. The Māori employed and sent by the Crown to the UN at that time to represent Māori views were not able to tell the truth, but the iwi and hapū reps there could - and did. It was their representations that lead the UN to send Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen in 2005 to report on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Māori. His report was damning of the government. You can read it here:

In 2009 Ngāti Kahu again sent a delegation to the UNPFII to counter the Crown's spin there regards the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The representation of iwi and hapū at the UN contributed greatly to UN pressure on NZ to sign the UNDRIP, which NZ finally did in June 2010. A month later the UN sent Special Rapporteur James Anaya to do a follow up report on the situtation of Māori people in New Zealand. His report can he read here: Although he noted some improvements, he also noted more needed to be done by the government.

This year Ngāti Kahu and Te Whakaminenga o Ngā Hapū o Nu Tireni have sent a delegation lead by Professor Margaret Mutu to specifically address the issue of a written constitution for this country based on the mana whenua and tikanga of each hapū, Te Whakaputanga o Ngā Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Our iwi and hapū deemed it was important to send reps there to tell the full story, because the Crown's reps will be making out that it's constitutional review panel is the end all and be all for Māori.

Previously Margaret has gone by herself for Ngāti Kahu and has joined with other iwi and hapū reps also in attendance to try and get to as many of the meetings that take place during the 10 day session as possible. This year she is accompanied by her husband Anthony Housham. They and our whanaunga Moana Jackson of Ngāti Kahungunu are working alongside of other Māori there as part of the 'Māori caucus.'

This year the UNPFII met for ten days from 7th - 18th May. Due to work and funding constraints, our delegation were only able to be present for the first week only. Below is a report from Margaret on the work done there.