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Claims give council new sense of purpose
The 16 member New Zealand Māori Council taken at the Hui a Tau of the Council in Rotorua @ Mathew Tukaki

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The new chair of the New Zealand Māori Council says the Waitangi Tribunal’s shift from historical claims back to kaupapa or contemporary claims has given the organisation a new sense of focus.

Henare Mason from Te Arawa and Tuhoe took over the role at the council’s AGM this weekend from Sir Taihākurei Durie.

It’s part of a process of reinvigorating the roopū, which struggled for relevance for many years as iwi organisations asserted themselves.

Mr Mason says the council can work effectively with iwi as well as take on issues affecting all Māori, which it has been doing by fronting up on claims such as those asking why Māori have inequitable health outcomes.

“How does the crown continue to fulfil its obligation to Māori and by what measure with they do that. That is very much on the agenda of the New Zealand Māori Council. So we are deeply involved in the Waitangi Tribunal kaupapa claims beginning now with the health ones and we’ve had some early successes in that and those are going to be the markers of confidence to say ‘oh yes, there is a purpose,’” Mr Mason says.


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