NZ govt must action UN recommendations

Academics from around the world have gathered at the eighth Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga educational conference to discuss indigenous futures.

They say while NZ remains a beacon of hope for other native nations, more has to be done at a government level to support global indigenous communities.

Charles Menzies is a professor at The University of British Colombia.  He says, "It's actually a beacon of hope.  It's really sparked an international shifting of thinking that comes from this place in the Pacific."

With hundreds of indigenous rights issues taken to the UN yearly, academics say the challenge for our government is to take their reports and recommendations seriously and to encourage other governments to do the same.

Associate Coordinator of Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, Jacinta Ruru says, "We need to take seriously our responsibilities as a nation in this world and to do that we must listen to what the United Nations is saying.  The United Nations is an expert body with a mechanism there around indigenous people.  If we don't listen and if we don't action on those recommendations that are coming through that is going to be at the peril of our own futures."

Although some are of the view that New Zealand is ahead on indigenous matters, according to Sir Tipene O'Regan we're behind Canada when it comes to constitutional issues and he says we shouldn't be proud of where we're at.

“It’s not good for Māori here in New Zealand to be boastful or arrogant, there’s a lot more work to be done yet.”

Six hundred people from a hundred nations are expected to attend the conference at Waipapa Marae, Auckland, this week.