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Treaty of Waitangi in the spotlight as National leader calls for conversation on its status

Is the Treaty of Waitangi becoming more embedded in our everyday lives?

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The issue raising its head after Judith Collins says a national conversation around its status is needed. Source: 1 NEWS

The issue was raised after National Party leader Judith Collins said there needed to be a national conversation around the status of the Treaty.

It comes as change gathers pace on the ground; an example of Treaty partnership in practice is marae delivering driving licenses to those sitting tests.

Leaders say too many Māori are ending up in court for low-level license issues.

A new programme is aiming to cut that link.

“This isn't an attack on mainstream non-Māori people - absolutely not - but if we have indigenous people suffering so much, then we as a people have the responsibility to pull ourselves out of that,” says Huri Dennis of Te Puea Marae in Auckland. 

Three decades on Tiriti, or Treaty relationships, are increasing across all sectors.

“I think for the country as a whole it is slow and steady,” says Far North District Councillor Moko Tepania.

In recent years the National Party established co-governance of natural resources. Under Labour a new Māori Health Authority is on its way.

Another example - a flurry of activity at the local government level. There were just three Māori wards at the last election, now 35 councils have voted in favour of Māori wards in time for the 2022 election.

“We're 50 per cent Māori up here and it was bring a Māori voice and a Māori world view into council spaces to be a part of the conversation in terms of how we shape our district, so it was really monumental for me,” Tepania says.

But as Collins calls for a national conversation on the Treaty, some say she missed the boat.