The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples releases report on situation of Maori people in New Zealand. The advanced unedited version of the report examines the situation of Maori people in New Zealand on the basis of information received during the Special Rapporteur's visit to the country from 18-23 July 2010 and independent research.
Aotearoa / New Zealand
Indigenous peoples in Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Māori are the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Although New Zealand has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the rights of the Māori population remain unfulfilled.
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted
New Zealand endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010.
New Zealand has not ratified ILO Convention 169, an international legal instrument dealing specifically with the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples.
The Māori peoples
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British and Māori iwi nations in 1840. There are two versions of the Treaty, an English-language version and a Māori-language version.
The Māori version granted a right of governance to the British and promised that Māori would retain sovereignty over their lands, resources and other treasures.
However, the Māori version Treaty has limited legal status and accordingly, protection of Māori rights is largely dependent upon political will and ad hoc recognition of the Treaty.
Main challenges for the Māori
The gap between Māori and non-Māori is pervasive. Māori life expectancy is 7.3 years less than non-Māori, household income is 78 per cent of the national average, 45 per cent of Māori leave upper secondary school with no qualifications, and over 50 per cent of the prison population is Māori.
Potential progress for the Māori
In 2016, Matike Mai Aotearoa, an independent iwi-led working group on constitutional transformation, released its report on an inclusive constitution for Aotearoa. The report is based upon hundreds of meetings, submissions, and discussions with Māori peoples, and includes consideration of possible foundational values for a new constitution, such as community, belonging, and conciliation.
The working group identifies 2040 as an aspirational goal for some form of constitutional transformation for Aotearoa. Its recommendations include the need for discussions on constitutional transformation to continue, as well as formal dialogue between Māori, the Crown and local authorities, and establishment of a further working group. Also, it recommends that by 2021, a dialogue is initiated with the Crown to organise a Treaty convention on constitutional transformation. The government has not commented on the report.
James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, carried out a country visit to New Zealand from 19-23 July 2010. During his visit the SR assessed the situation of the Maori people, in follow up to the 2005 visit by his predecessor, Rodolfo Stavenhagen.
UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation and Fundamental Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya has concluded his visit to New Zealand. As “troubling” inequalities persist between Maori and non-Maori, New Zealand must press ahead with efforts to improve the human rights of its indigenous people, a United Nations independent expert said at a briefing on 23 July.
International: UNPFII Welcomes New Zealand's Endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Statement of Mr. Carlos Mamani, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) Mr. Carlos Mamani, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), welcomed New Zealand’s endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, issuing the following statement: