The NZ Māori Council are delighted to be a part of the Telecommunications Spectrum signing ceremony at Parliament.
Māori participation in the telecommunications sector can be traced back to 1876, when Māori gifted the land for the first undersea telegraph cable. Later, the first international voice call from Aotearoa was reputedly between Sir Apirana Ngata and the then Australian Prime Minister.
The first words are believed to be “Kia ora”.
The government has agreed to support legislation to create a new Māori Spectrum entity which will hold, on behalf of Māori, 20% of all future allocated commercial spectrum. Some spectrum is to be assigned immediately including a portion of 5G spectrum to be allocated this year.
Mr George Ngatai, Co-Chair of the New Zealand Māori Council, noted:
“This is a historic day for all Māori. This is an agreement that provides what we have long argued for: that spectrum be allocated to Māori. Access to spectrum opens a new page in the long history of Māori telecommunications participation and enables the growth of jobs, skills, and opportunities in a sector that is vital to contemporary Māori development”.
The claimant groups are Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i Te Reo (Wellington Māori Language Board) and the New Zealand Māori Council, and groups with a long association with Māori interests in spectrum including Te Huarahi Tika Trust, Māori telecommunications industry specialists and the Iwi Chairs Forum. These groups have a decades long history of advocating for spectrum for Māori.