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Time to start ‘living’ Treaty of Waitangi

Jun 29th, 2010 | By | Category: Diversity, Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Ngati toa signatures: Tariana Turia and Greg Fortuin by a a display at Whitireia, Porirua

TREATY HISTORY: Tariana Turia and Gregory Fortuin with a display of Ngati Toa Treaty signatures.


IT’S  time to take the first few bold steps and fully embrace the Treaty of Waitangi, says former Race Relations Commissioner Gregory Fortuin.

“We have been in nappies and crawling around far too long,” he told a ceremony at Whitireia Community Polytechnic to commemorate Ngati Toa’s signing of the Treaty of Waitangi 170 years ago.

“I have found preparing for this extremely hard because if this was easy we would have done this a long time ago,” Mr Fortuin explained to more than 50 guests, including Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, fellow polytechnic council member Suzanne Snively, and Whitireia staff.

“Some people are under the misunderstanding that once we’ve paid off all these damn Maoris, we’ve done with the Treaty.

“What we presently have to do is deal with the breaches of the Treaty and then start living the Treaty.

He hoped New Zealanders will be more courageous in embracing the Treaty and future constitutional arrangements, as well as the bicultural identity of the nation.

The Ngati Toa iwi – represented by kaumatua Taku Parai – along with Greater Wellington and Wellington City Councils, have recently become part of the newly established Porirua Harbour and Catchment Trust, developed to manage the harbour and focus on environmental and ecological issues.

Mr Parai spoke of Whitireia and its meaning, “ray of light”.

“As I was listening to Gregory speaking there and I saw in front of me a new day dawn in Porirua and the new enlightenment that was shared, I couldn’t help but think of the journeys that we as an iwi have taken also, and the ups and downs that we’ve managed to be able to come through and look with great hope to the future.”

Tariana Turia said she likened what was happening to a rope: “Many of us are strands in that rope and in a way, looking at the constitution for us to move forward we have to begin to plait that rope together.”

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