The New Zealand Māori Council advocates Māori policy development and supports community initiatives that contribute to te mana motuhake o te iwi Māori. The council has a proud 50-year record advocating for Maori interests. The council has continuously exerted pressure on governments to protect Treaty of Waitangi rights with policies that further partnership, protection, consultation and compensation for Maori. This has achieved significant results for Maori in terms of land, forestry, fisheries, language and radio frequency spectrum. The unique feature of the NZ Maori Council is its statutory mandate to work for and on behalf of the greater Maori community.
He Taonga Wai
The New Zealand Māori Council believes all New Zealanders should have free access to reasonable water supplies for personal domestic needs as a basic human right, and reasonable access to natural water bodies for recreation.
Māori interest: the Māori interest is based on prior use. It is recognised by Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the common law. But is not recognised in national policy.
Māori rights and interests in freshwater comprises:
- Proprietary interests in water resources based on customary use.
- Cultural interests in the preservation of healthy water bodies. These derive from the Māori spiritual comprehension of water resources and the associated ethic of responsible use.
The New Zealand Māori Council supports the Poroti Springs Māori Land Court claim for Māori commercial and governance rights in freshwater. This ties in with the work of the Council in the Freshwater and Geothermal Inquiry currently underway in the Waitangi Tribunal.