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Pacific communities encouraged to 'show solidarity' with Māori at Waitangi

Alakihihifo Vailala

A Samoan political commentator is calling for Pacific people to stand in solidarity with Māori as Waitangi Day approaches.

Speaking on Pacific mornings with Levi Matautia-Morgan, political commentator Lisa Meto Fox has emphasised the importance of Pacific people participating in Waitangi day.

“I think it’s really important that we show solidarity with our tangata whenua cousins," she says.

"Obviously, we know what it’s like to be colonised people and particularly with New Zealand still having realm countries”.

Fox’s great-grandfather was involved in the Mau Movement, a non-violent resistance group that fought for independence in Samoa.

With Waitangi Day approaching, Fox says she’s going to be attending the commemoration events.

“I’m joining Pakilau Manase Lua and former Cabinet Minister Aupito William Sio… and both of those Pacific community leaders have said that we [Pacific people] should be going to Waitangi.

“It’s crucial that we show this solidarity because what we know is that Māori and Pacific do share unfortunately so many of those negative statistics … [but] many Pacific people don’t think about the Treaty that often and how it actually applies to our lives.

Fox, who is a former unionist and lawyer of Samoan and Pakeha descent, says with proposals around cutting race-based funding, she says there needs to be more focus on social services than finding money for tax cuts.

“Maori and Pacific have a lot of needs. We might start seeing things like cuts to Whanau Ora, which a lot of Pacific health providers are funded for , like the Fono. [And] there may be cuts to housing providers.”

And following ACT Party leader David Seymour’s State of the Nation address last weekend, Fox says its important to realise many of his statements were untrue.

“His whole rhetoric around the country has gone downhill over the last couple of decades and now we’ve got so many things to fix and we’re all equal citizens in Aotearoa. It struck me as untrue and I think a lot of New Zelanders can see that.

“It’s not an equal playing field … there are enduring inequalities due to colonisation. Tangata whenua do have a special place in Aotearoa and they do have rights under the Treaty.”

With much concern from Māori regarding the new government’s proposals, she says National may well be coming to see the risks involved with pushing ahead with these policies.

“It’s really clear that National have now realised that they’re in a world of trouble with te ao Māori being very vocal and mobilising around the fact that they will not be putting up with any backward movements in terms of Te Tiriti.”

Hero Image: Politicians being welcomed onto Te Whare Runanga on the Treaty grounds at Waitangi. Photo/ RNZ/ Ella Stewart

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