Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta says she will support the promotion of more Māori women to positions of power.
“If I can support other women to reach their leadership potential or to be able to exercise their leadership and influence in ways that can transform Māori development then I’m going to do it,” she says.
Speaking to Māori Television’s Native Affairs, the minister said the recent appointment of Rawinia Higgins as the first female chair of the Māori Language Commission was overdue.
“Too few women have had the chance or the opportunity to have positions like that and for Māori women [it's] much more difficult because we have a male-dominated society and while the paepae is the paepae, in terms of the kitchen- it's the kitchen and nothing can happen without the kitchen. In fact, if you look across iwi organisations, they are run more by women,” she says.
Mahuta says Te Puni Kokiri had become the punching bag of government agencies. But she also believes Māori are quick to criticise and she expects to see more collaboration between all in the Māori sector.
“We are harshest on ourselves and when we are over that we are harsh on everybody else. I guess it’s about our determination to be fiercely Māori in our own country and stand up for things that are important to us. I think its important part of our character, our people, it’s just how we are hard-wired."
Mahuta says after 20 years in parliament, she is ready to enforce change.
“There’s a new generation coming through. They’re ready, we’re ready. I hope NZ is ready.”
Mahuta also reveals her own personal challenges on Native Affairs, tonight at 8pm.