Waitangi Tribunal recommends Māori to govern wardens

Authority over the Maori Wardens
should be given to Maori. That’s the recommendation
made by the Waitangi Tribunal in their report into the Maori
Community Development Act 1962. Heta Gardiner has more. The issue is on how things
are run on the streets, but the last word came
from the Waitangi Tribunal. The tribunal took our side. They have thrown out
what the Crown believes and that is huge for us. The Maori Council took the claim
to the tribunal. At the heart of the issue is for Maori to be able to govern
the Maori Wardens. It has come out that
the Government was wrong. I support that conclusion. According to the report the administration
of the Maori Warden’s Project… So Christmas
has come early for some. But for the Minister
of Maori Development, it’s a matter of further nurturing
those relationships. This report stipulates that the wardens should be left
to their own devices, and the role of the Government
is to support them. But the Maori Council
still has their concerns. We are concerned because, since we have had such a big win, the Crown will no doubt retaliate
and have this decision reversed. Meetings between the Maori Council, the Wardens and the Crown
are expected in the coming weeks. Heta Gardiner, Te Karere. In 2007, two years before
the Minister of Maori Affairs initiated a comprehensive review of the 1962 Maori
Community Development Act, Te Puni Kokiri launched
its Maori Warden’s Project, a scheme intended
to provide training and funding to support
the Maori Wardens in their voluntary work. It was only meant
as an interim measure before being handed over to Maori. Hinerangi Goodman spoke
with the national president of the Maori Warden’s Association
in Rotorua, Gloria Hughes. Now that the Waitangi Tribunal
has released its findings on the Maori Community
Development Act, we asked the president
of the Maori Wardens Association – where to now? The aim is for the Maori Wardens to continue to gain independence
from govt legislation, as they are the ones, despite the many hassles
over the years, who know the exact nature
of their work. The president emphasises
that it’s not all about money but acknowledgement for the work
the Maori Wardens have done on a voluntary basis. That’s where we’ll be able to find
clearer guidance from the elders of that period. At this stage there are no
real plans to sit down and talk with the Maori Council. The future is in the hands
of the Maori Wardens Association and the many Maori communities
throughout the country. Hinerangi Goodman, Te Karere.

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