Indigenous rights from the New Zealand Perspective
Malaysia-New Zealand International Symposium on Indigenous Peoples Rights and Studies
Judge Sir Edward Taihākurei Durie, September 2017
« New Zealand officials, frequently impose on Māori their own cultural views or misconceptions of what they believe to be the Indigenous, or Māori, culture. They may do so with good intentions, or they may believe that assimilation is best for all. But each such imposition erodes the capacity of Māori to maintain their own culture and their survival as a people. It also erodes their capacity to contribute to New Zealand society by capitalising on their own cultural strengths.
I propose to look at three ways in which Māori are prone to cultural imposition, even inadvertently, and will look also at the impacts that each has on Māori people. I will measure the conduct complained of against the standards expected of state officials, in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People (hereafter called UNDRIP).
The three examples of bad interventions which have been, and continue to be destructive in my view, are first and probably foremost, a failure to provide properly for Māori collective interests; second, to work with Māori representative institutions; and third, to comprehend Māori legal concepts. »
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