MEDIA RELEASE: 14 May 2019.
A tribal leader of Te Whakatohea, an Eastern Bay of Plenty Iwi in a prolonged dispute with the New Zealand government over Treaty recognition and settlement negotiations, has today criticised the handling of the United Nations Secretary-General’s visit to Aotearoa which is due to finish this afternoon.
Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair, Peter T Selwyn, said: “Wellington is in violation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi Treaty of Waitangi 1840 and to exclude the matter of decolonisation from the agenda and not to consult or invite indigenous leaders to meet Mr Guterres is discourteous and provocative.”
Mr Selwyn was reacting to the arrival on 12 May 2019 of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Aotearoa: “The visit was publicly announced by the NZ government with less than a week’s notice on 6 May 2019 and engagements were evidently arranged without input of tribal authorities beyond an event hosted by Ngai Tahu in Christchurch before he flies out. This is a sanitised tour conducted by the occupying power from which Mr Guterres will gain no understanding of the colonial situation that exists in our territory.”
Mr Selwyn said: “Mr Guterres’s message of peace, co-operation and global climate change awareness is an important one, however the indigenous peoples’ message of self-determination is an important one that Mr Gutteres must be made aware of when he is in Aotearoa. He ought to have been advised to decline any visit to Aotearoa that did not include a discussion with tribal leaders on the matter of the Treaty and our relations with the Crown.
“A visit by Mr Gutteres that does not include an audience with Hapu leaders on the problem of colonial predation and Treaty settlement negotiations appears to be a high-handed collusion of both the United Nations and the Wellington government to omit the authentic voices of the nation. Given the critical reports from two previous UN Special Rapporteurs on New Zealand’s indigenous rights record it is disappointing – and to their shame – that our plight has been over-looked.”
“I have today sent a letter to the Secretary-General informing him of the Hapu position and the situation in Aotearoa,” said Mr Selwyn, “and I have stated to him that our Hapu will advocate for the Question of New Zealand to be resolved with the assistance of international intervention should the regime in Wellington persist with a policy of intransigence. At present they remain incapable of conducting or concluding a credible settlement of Crown claims in our territory and reparations for their military invasion of 1865 and occupation. The United Kingdom is our Treaty counterpart and the British Queen our protector no matter what attitude prevails in Wellington. The absence of a security crisis necessitating the engagement of the higher organs of the UN in this question is entirely due to the supreme restraint shown by the Hapu towards aggression and Treaty violations of the NZ government”.