First Māori justice minister keen to get stuck into new role

By Whatitiri Te Wake

With incoming ministers Willie Jackson and Kiritapu Allan just putting their feet under their new desks following the cabinet reshuffle, they are quickly setting out their aims in their new portfolios. But one issue that connects them both is hate speech.

Kiritapu Allan, a former lawyer, says she has only just realised she is the first Māori justice minister.

“It wasn't something I was aware of prior to taking on the role but now I do have the role, I will be under many eyes.”

Questioned on Māori over-representation in the justice system and discrimination experienced by the rainbow community, she says she is keen to make sure the "right settings" are made.

Ministers Wille Jackson & Kiritapu Allan get familiar with their new roles following cabinet reshuffle. 

“I will work closely with my advisors and of course members of the relevant communities who feel they've been subjected to unfair and inequitable treatment across the system,” she said

New Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson is keen on diversifying the industry.

Mahuta singled out

“There has to be a stronger Māori perspective across the mainstream. All that type of kōrero will be addressed over the next week or two.”

They say issues like caricatures of Māori published in cartoons are a big concern -  Jackson sending his "aroha" to their colleague Nanaia Mahuta, who often bears the brunt of cruel images that mock her moko kauae and her weight.

“It's shocking the way Nanaia has been singled out. Some of those cartoonists will need to look at themselves. The climate is not right for that”

He refers to cartoons by award-winning Garrick Tremain, who landed in hot water in 2018 after he made light of the Sāmoan measles outbreak.

“I just think it's poor humour, I don't think that New Zealand in 2022 finds those things appealing anymore. I don't think it sends the right signals to our kids about how we should treat each other,” Allan says.

Te Ao Māori News has attempted to contact Tremain for comment without success so far.