Maori Council to establish a national taskforce on racism – to rid New Zealand of racism by 2040
“New Zealand has a hidden closet of racism that has been growing and growing and something must be done to address the issue. In no-ones universe is it ok for people to be called brown dogs or n*^*er – that’s not freedom of speech that’s racism” Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of the NZ Maori Council
The New Zealand Maori Council is today launching a new National Taskforce to rid New Zealand of racism by 2040 and calling on the Maori Affairs Select Committee to launch an Inquiry into institutional racism in the New Zealand Public Service. The Council’s Executive Director, Matthew Tukaki, has said it is shameful that “New Zealand has a hidden closet of racism that has been growing and growing and something must be done to address the issue.” Tukaki has said that “we must set ambitious targets to rid the nation of racism”. Council is also preparing a case in respect of institutional racism in the NZ Police in the Waitangi Tribunal.
“We all know those snide comments and remarks hold deep entrenched views when it comes to people of color and racism in New Zealand and it’s not just a Maori and Pakeha thing – it’s a people of color issue. Maor know what it feels like to be treated as second class citizens in our own country and the issue of racism not only appears across our communities and homes its own institutions and workplaces.” Tukaki said.
“In the New Zealand Police we know this has been an issue for many years from the way our people are treated internally as serving officers and administrators right through to how policies appear to be targeting us – all we need to do is look at the current round of black SUVs driving around mostly brown postcodes – its no longer good enough that this sort of behavior is being worked on – it needs to be stamped out.” Tukaki said
“We had the recent revelation of a serving NZDF member being investigates for running a rightwing group posting all sorts of horrific content on social media. The New Zealanders who shared that horrific video online and in their online groups of the white male terrorist who took the lives of more than fifty innocent people in Christchurch – do I need to go on?” Tukaki said
“Our dirtiest little secret is not dirty anymore – right down to the racism in the workplace and in our own homes – the turn of phrase “that my next door neighbor is a Maori – to the non-promotion of our people into key roles; not because they don’t have the skills and experience but because something just rings in the head that this person is likely to be lazy and always off work. Then there are those stories of our young people struggling with life who end up in the A&E because they have taken a drug overdose – but they are seen as just another Maori with a drug problem. They tried to take their lives and the fact is drugs just happened to the means – but they were struggling. Instead they are treated through the eyes of just being a druggie and never get the help they need.” Tukaki said
“Many New Zealanders and certainly many Maori, and people of color, have a story and something is so obviously wrong. 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.” Tukaki said
“So, what do we do from here? Firstly, the New Zealand Maori Council will be convening a National Taskforce to rid New Zealand of racism by 2040. That means working together as a nation to stomp it out through better education and resources, from the sharing of stories and building a better system of race relations. The inaugural Chair will be respected Jurist, Sir Eddie Durie – Sir Eddie has vast experience and is well known within the Te Ao Maori world and amongst other ethnic groups. The group will be open to other cultures and I expect it to have a diverse background – let’s not leave people of color behind on this journey. Also, the first meeting of the inaugural group will be held in May in Rotorua.” Tukaki said
“The second phase will to ask the Maori Affairs Select Committee of the Parliament to look at institutional racism in the Public Service by holding an Inquiry – we want to see just how fat the rabbit hole goes because quite honestly, while the public service has come a long way my fear is we are not doing as much as possible as fast as possible when it comes to changing culture of the structures that are there to serve us all.” Tukaki said
“The third will be a specific Waitangi Tribunal Claim in respect of Institutional racism in the New Zealand Police – I have said time and time before the treatment of our people within the ranks and in the community is in a terrible state and we must act now without delay.” Tukaki said
“Over the coming days I will also be reaching out to a number of other representative groups but let me say this – its time for the Government, Parliamentarians and senior leaders to understand that in order to treat the problem we first had to diagnose the illness – the illness is like a toxic cancer that grows and grows until it becomes harder treat – that’s why we need to treat the problem at its root cause.” Tukaki said
The New Zealand Maori Council also wants to see a complete review of the legislation of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. Tukaki expects that resource will also make use of other campaigns that have seen huge success in other countries.