• Indigenous peoples in Aotearoa

    Indigenous peoples in Aotearoa

    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.
  • Peoples

    Māori are the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa (New Zealand). 15 per cent of the 4.5 million population of Aotearoa is Māori
  • Rights

    2010: New Zealand endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Current state

    Although New Zealand has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the rights of the Māori population remain unfulfilled.
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  • Aotearoa / New Zealand

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.

Special Rapporteur releases report on situation of Maori people in New Zealand

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.

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UN Special Rapporteur concludes visit to New Zealand

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.

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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:

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About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. Download here.

Contact IWGIA

Classensgade 11 E
DK 2100 Copenhagen
Denmark
Phone: (+45) 35 27 05 00
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
CVR: 81294410