Māori Wardens plan mass march to Parliament

By Mere McLean

A mass march to parliament is being planned by Māori Wardens for early next year in response to the Waitangi Tribunal findings released today. 

National President of the New Zealand Māori Wardens Association Gloria Hughes says they want to reaffirm their plight to govern themselves.

Gloria Hughes wants change to happen in her association starting from the top, “Māori wardens have been waiting for this result because we felt at the hearing we needed to step up on what we were doing to actually look at our own independence and we've been looking at that for the last three years.”

The Māori Wardens association comes under the Māori Community Development Act which enables them to help Māori.  Hughes says that this act should remain with the New Zealand Māori Council and how they represent Māori in New Zealand but her association wants to be free of it. 

According to Hughes, “The urbanisation with a lot of our people has left a lot of areas of responsibility they had dysfunctional and as a result around the motu Māori Wardens were not getting assistance.”   

According to the New Zealand Māori Wardens database there are close to 900 members, currently Gloria Hughes is representing the views of 500 of those members and she acknowledges that not all Māori Warden members want to become independent.

“We will make the decision to take the stand of our own independence and we will go and do that, but we aren't saying that everybody has to do that,” says Hughes.

She says the findings from the Waitangi Tribunal released today re-affirms the plight to govern themselves which is why the mass march which will take place early next year is important. 

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