A national taskforce is being established in an effort to rid New Zealand of racism by 2040.
The New Zealand Māori Council announced the initiative today, calling on the Māori Affairs Select Committee to launch an inquiry into institutional racism in New Zealand's public sector.
The aim of the initiative is to stomp out racism through better education and resources and build a better system of race relations.
The group’s first meeting will be held in May in Rotorua.
Matthew Tukaki, the Māori Council’s executive director, said ambitious targets should be set to rid the country of racism.
“New Zealand has a hidden closet of racism that has been growing and growing,” Mr Tukaki said.
“In no one’s universe is it OK for people to be called brown dogs. That’s not freedom of speech - that’s racism.
“We all know those snide comments and remarks hold deep entrenched views when it comes to people of colour and racism in New Zealand and it’s not just a Māori and Pākehā thing – it’s a people of colour issue,” Mr Tukaki said.
The council is also preparing a Waitangi Tribunal case regarding allegations of institutional racism in New Zealand Police. Mr Tukaki said it has been an issue there for many years.
“All we need to do is look at the current round of black SUVs driving around mostly brown postcodes. It’s no longer good enough that this sort of behaviour is being worked on – it needs to be stamped out,” he said.
“Complaints are made to the Human Rights Commission – and yet nothing ends up getting done because they themselves have no teeth. That is why enough is enough,” he said.
Over the coming days Mr Tukaki said he will be reaching out to several other representative groups.
The New Zealand Māori Council also wants to see a complete review of the legislation of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
Mr Tukaki expects that resource will also make use of other campaigns that have seen huge success in other countries.