Leader gives separatism idea thumbs down

Last updated 05:00 24/05/2013
Wikitoria Keenan
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ
Wikitoria Keenan
Emma Bailey
CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ
EMILY BAILEY: The Maori activist says New Zealand should establish Maori reserves with separate laws.

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A Taranaki Maori leader does not support a Parihaka activist's ideology of "indigenous reservations" for New Zealand.

Emily Bailey was reported in yesterday's Taranaki Daily News as saying New Zealand should establish Maori reserves with separate laws.

Te Atiawa Iwi Authority chairwoman Wikitoria Keenan - making it clear she was speaking from a personal perspective - said she did not agree with the ideology.

"When I read that, I thought it's an interesting idea.

"But personally, no, I wouldn't support it," Ms Keenan said.

Te Atiawa is the region's largest iwi with 10,000 registered members in Taranaki.

Ms Bailey made the calls for "separate indigenous reservations" following this week's release of the Independent Police Conduct Authority's report on the 2007 Urewera raids, which criticised many aspects of the police actions.

Bailey, her partner Urs Signer, Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara were found guilty of firearms charges in March last year following Operation Eight, the Urewera raids.

Ms Keenan said Maori had adapted to societal changes introduced by early European settlers to New Zealand.

"We're integrated into the community to such an extent that I don't support it [Maori reservations]," Ms Keenan said.

"I think we definitely should retain our own values, our own language and our own ways of working but I think that needs to be done in the wider community."

From what she had observed, Maori youth in particular were not interested in separate rules and law for Maori.

"The younger kids that are coming through have a totally different view altogether.

"They're much more in tune with what's going on. They have a far more global view."

Attempts by the Daily News to speak to other Taranaki Maori leaders yesterday were unsuccessful.

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