Clark’s indigenous rights record challenged at UN

Environmentalist and indigenous rights advocate travels to New York to speak at the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues

Environmentalist and indigenous rights advocate travels to New York to speak at the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues

SPEAKING AT THE UNITED NATIONS: Known in Gisborne as "the non-plastic Maori", Tina Ngata is an environmentalist who has been living mostly free from plastic for the past two-and-a-half years. More recently she travelled to the United Nations in New York to highlight Helen Clark's history on indigenous rights. Ms Ngata said like any job, track records matter, and as Ms Clark had failed to stand up for indigenous rights on many occasions as leader of New Zealand, she needs to be held to account. Picture by Paul Rickard

WHILE Helen Clark has Government support in her bid for the top job at the United Nations (UN), there are concerns here about her record on indigenous rights.

Gisborne’s Tina Ngata, an environmentalist and indigenous rights advocate, made a trip to New York last week to speak at the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues.

She questioned Ms Clark’s ability to stand up for indigenous rights as secretary general, pointing out that when in government Ms Clark did not sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, labelling it “divisive and unimplementable”.

Ms Ngata, who blogs as “the non-plastic Maori”, was speaking at the two-week long forum on how the UN can implement the declaration and better promote indigenous rights.

“If the UN is seeking guidance on how to protect and promote indigenous rights, then it needs to start with the leader,” said Ms Ngata.

Ms Ngata, of Te Whanau o Hinerupe, highlighted the 2005 Foreshore and Seabed Act and 2007 Urewera Raids as other examples of of Ms Clark’s inability to stand up for indigenous rights.

Requesting UN consider responsiveness to indigenous rights

She recommended that the UN “specifically consider responsiveness to indigenous rights as criteria for the role of secretary general”.

Ms Ngata said her speech drew support from many other indigenous leaders and rights advocates from around the world who were in attendance.

The speech was not a personal attack on Ms Clark, said Ms Ngata. If she was using her leadership of New Zealand as a credential for the job, then her track record when it came to indigenous rights should not be ignored.

“Some of her supporters will say that she was simply part of a racist regime and could not stop those things happening. Well if they think the UN is any different, then they have a thorough misunderstanding of how the system works.”

She said Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, who heads UNESCO, showed leadership in standing up for indigenous rights when UNESCO supported Palestine’s bid to join their organisation in 2011, and did not back down after the United States suspended funding.

The Maori Party has also stated it unequivocally does not support Ms Clark’s bid for the UN top job.

“There is no doubt that New Zealand would be proud to have Helen Clark in that role but there is a history that remains unsettled with our people and we would expect that she would be making apologies to our people for the way in which they were treated.”

WHILE Helen Clark has Government support in her bid for the top job at the United Nations (UN), there are concerns here about her record on indigenous rights.

Gisborne’s Tina Ngata, an environmentalist and indigenous rights advocate, made a trip to New York last week to speak at the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues.

She questioned Ms Clark’s ability to stand up for indigenous rights as secretary general, pointing out that when in government Ms Clark did not sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, labelling it “divisive and unimplementable”.

Ms Ngata, who blogs as “the non-plastic Maori”, was speaking at the two-week long forum on how the UN can implement the declaration and better promote indigenous rights.

“If the UN is seeking guidance on how to protect and promote indigenous rights, then it needs to start with the leader,” said Ms Ngata.

Ms Ngata, of Te Whanau o Hinerupe, highlighted the 2005 Foreshore and Seabed Act and 2007 Urewera Raids as other examples of of Ms Clark’s inability to stand up for indigenous rights.

Requesting UN consider responsiveness to indigenous rights

She recommended that the UN “specifically consider responsiveness to indigenous rights as criteria for the role of secretary general”.

Ms Ngata said her speech drew support from many other indigenous leaders and rights advocates from around the world who were in attendance.

The speech was not a personal attack on Ms Clark, said Ms Ngata. If she was using her leadership of New Zealand as a credential for the job, then her track record when it came to indigenous rights should not be ignored.

“Some of her supporters will say that she was simply part of a racist regime and could not stop those things happening. Well if they think the UN is any different, then they have a thorough misunderstanding of how the system works.”

She said Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, who heads UNESCO, showed leadership in standing up for indigenous rights when UNESCO supported Palestine’s bid to join their organisation in 2011, and did not back down after the United States suspended funding.

The Maori Party has also stated it unequivocally does not support Ms Clark’s bid for the UN top job.

“There is no doubt that New Zealand would be proud to have Helen Clark in that role but there is a history that remains unsettled with our people and we would expect that she would be making apologies to our people for the way in which they were treated.”

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Steven wallace - 1 year ago
Yes, you can't apply for a position if the criteria around first nation people have been ignored. Helen Clark lost a Maori vote which her Labour Party held for years. I still say there is a divide at the very top when it comes to first nation people anywhere in the world. I will be blunt in my beliefs that it is white power/ nothing else matters. That's the attitude since time began. This has to change or we are wasting our time. Kiaora tatou ka toa Maori ora.

Nicholas Toa - 1 year ago
Too right . . . she's a shocker . . . "wreckers and haters" she labelled seabed and foreshore protesters.

Jim - 1 year ago
Kia ora koe e Kui, mo wo whakaaro hira hira, Mauriora

hakopa/Naera - 1 year ago
Yes you are so right of Helen Clark. She has the same workings as Muldoon. Some of her traits of running the country were admirable, but she failed to absolutely recognise our indigenous rights.

Tui - 1 year ago
I concur. Without malice

Hemi Pou - 1 year ago
Kara e Tina Ngata nei ra nga mihi ki a koe. Nau i whai kaha tonu ki te mauria wa tatau mamai pouritanga hoki i roto wo korero e korerohia e koe i roto o te Paremata Kotahitanga o Nga Iwi o te Ao. I nga tau e pahure ake nei, te wa koia te Pirimia o Aotearoa mai te pati Reipa, nana i takahia te kawa me ona tikanga o nga hau e wha, o nga iwi Maori ake me te mana tangata whenua. For one of her members Tariana Turia to cross the floor and vote against Helen Clark?s stand against allowing the 2005 Foreshore and Seabed Act to be included in Legislation and then to protest against the 2007 Urewera raids on innocent Tuhoe Families shows tremendous courage by Tariana. But Tariana never made this a personal attack on Helen Clark. No reira e Tina, kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui. Mauri ora

Hana Maxwell - 1 year ago
The racist history of Aotearoa, NZ is appalling. I'm impressed at the united support from other indigenous peoples. Mahi rangatira.

Wenerei - 1 year ago
Awesome, I want to meet with you and get on this waka of being a non-plastic Maori.

Katherine Pere - 1 year ago
I'm glad somthing was mentioned about
Helen Clark's record here in New Zealand. It's an atrocious record actually. She needs to
be upfront about her relations with Maori. The
United Nations is supposed to be about peace and what's good for the globe - obviously a good track record is important when dealing with the people you governed, and Helen Clark failed Maori when she was prime minister here.
We still have not been able to put the Seabed and Foreshore Act to bed. Today many people say that not putting the legislation back to the status quo has only worsened the problem.

Marama Tuuta - 1 year ago
I totally agree with you that Helen Clark should be held to account for her role in the Foreshore and Seabed Act, the Tuhoe raids, her government's back down on Closing the Gap policy, and her refusal to sign the UN's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Charity begins at home! I for one hope that they don't give her the job!!!

Maurice Hinder - 1 year ago
Kia ora Tina, one proud uncle here. I know your dad is watching over you and is one proud father. I just want to let you know that I tautoko the mahi you have undertaken. God bless, arohanui uncle Maurice (aka Tynee)

Ronnie Marua PEITA - 1 year ago
I am a Maori living in Australia.

Mia Roseanna Ututoanga/Nathan-Joyce - 1 year ago
Isn't that why Ngati Hine are at the table, because our rite are the cultural advisers - I guess this uninformed Ngati Porou Sheila failed to acknowledge and recognise that. So it's all good, we Ngapuhi have got this, we thank you for your contribution to the kaupapa but it has been addressed and dealt with. Sorry you were not up to our play. But thanks to Social Media you are now. Our Rohe Representative for Indigenous Rights is Tui Shortland who already has a seat at the table reserves with her name on it. Ngati Hine have already ranked this kaupapa but thank you for your support. Sorry you didn't lead it. Kia ora. HMSV Sovereignty Queen o te ao.

Kevin - 1 year ago
UN is about Rothchild domination and their One World Order meaning their unbridled control over all people of Earth. The UN is nothing to do with peace unfortunately, just like the so-called Ministry of Justice in NZ has little to do with justice but lots to do with denying justice. Hello Tina Pora, Arthur Alan Thomas and David Bain to just mention a few. Just imagine being in their shoes for a day to get rid of any complacency that may exist if you have not yet been dealt by the Rothchild system present even in NZ.