Meeting with the United Nations

A group of independent Indigenous experts from the United Nations recently visited New Zealand to assist Government and Iwi in developing a strategy and plan for the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, via a series of hui held across the country.

The delegation comprised members of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) which provides States with expertise and advice on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

On Monday 8th April the UN delegation, as well as academics, community groups and tribal leaders gathered at Waipapa Marae, University of Auckland, with the support of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, to discuss the various aspects of their work in Aotearoa New Zealand and hear directly from them about how the rights in the Declaration might be put into action in this country.

Professor Margaret Mutu, spokesperson for the National Iwi Chairs who issued the invitation to the UN indigenous experts, expressed her delight on the day that EMRIP accepted their invitation to assist with the development of an implementation strategy and plan.

“We have been reporting to the EMRIP since 2015 in an attempt to get successive governments to implement the Declaration. Implementing the Declaration provides us with opportunities to improve outcomes for whānau Māori and all New Zealanders.”

 “Through implementing the Declaration, we have an opportunity to give effect to Te Tiriti and provide constitutional certainty about the rights and responsibilities of all New Zealanders; a real opportunity to unite all New Zealanders”.

At the conclusion of their visit, the UN experts are expected to provide recommendations as to how Aotearoa New Zealand might implement the Declaration.