Sunday December 17, 2017   Last updated 11:36AM
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Census question spells hope for Hikairo

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A Kawhia iwi is celebrating changes to official iwi classification which allows it to emerge from under the shadows of its neighbours.

Tony Spellman from Te Runanganui o Ngati Hikairo says since the Waikato Tainui Raupatu settlement it has been treated as hapu within confederation, rather than an iwi in its own right.’

The change came after the runanga challenged the way Statistics New Zealand classified iwi for the census.

He says it should also change the way Hikairo interacts with local bodies who up to now have often given more weight to competing interests.

"This new recognition means we can say we have an important mana whenua right to speak in our rohe and to be understood as speaking in our rohe almost to the exclusion of some others, not all others, but some others who want to speak for us. We have always said no one speaks for us apart from us, and we can actually make that claim a little bit more solid now," Mr Spellman says.

FULL INTERVIEW TONY SPELLMAN

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