As we commemorate what would have been Dame Whina Cooper’s 120th birthday, it is time to reflect on her commitment around protecting Māori land, says MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Meka Whaitiri.
“Dame Whina’s legacy has been front of mind for me this year as I’ve led Labour’s opposition to the draft Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill.
“This October saw the 40th anniversary of Dame Whina Cooper’s historic land march under the banner of “Not another acre more” and today we commemorate what would have been her 120th birthday.
“It is poignant to reflect on Dame Whina’s legacy as today the Waitangi Tribunal continues to hear from those opposed to the review of the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993.
“Minister of Māori Affairs Te Ururoa Flavell’s Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill risks weakening protections for Māori land, by taking control of it from the people who own it and by allowing for its status as Māori land to be removed.
“I believe this totally goes against what Dame Whina fought so hard for. I hope today Te Ururoa Flavell is taking pause to contemplate what Dame Whina achieved for Maori,” says Meka Whaitiri.