Maori seats decision ‘should be for Maori to say’

National President, Prue Kapua spoke to Radio New Zealand saying Maori seats decision ‘should be for Maori to say’ and institutional racism after her opening address to the 65th National Conference of the Maori Women’s Welfare League in New Plymouth.

This year’s conference has featured speeches from Her Excellency Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM Governor General of New Zealand and Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner.

Esteemed Maori lawyer Moana Jackson spoke to the conference on Thursday about Matike Mai Aotearoa which is a working group about constitutional transformation. Moana Jackson has been described by Dr. Margaret Mutu as a ‘legal philosopher’ and a ‘magnificent mind’.

This afternoon, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler will speak about ‘The Treaty and the Constitution’. On Saturday, Amiria Reriti will facilitate a panel on ‘Women as Negotiators’. The league has a number of role models in this area who were called to negotiate for their iwi, including Mahia kuia Pauline Tangiora who is set to receive the Bremen International Peace Award.

See the full 65th National Conference Aotea 2017 programme. Next year’s conference will be held in Gisborne. Women and girls 12 years and older are welcome to join the league.

Mahia kuia Pauline Tangiora set to receive the International Bremen Peace Award in Germany

Rongomaiwahine kuia and league Life Member, Pauline Tangiora is no stranger to peace and hard work. The prestigious International Bremen Peace Award will be presented to her by the Schwelle Foundation in Germany, this November. The award recognises her work in New Zealand and overseas.

Connecting to Rongomaiwahine through her famous Mahia whaler great great grandfather John, “Happy Jack” Greening who married her great great grandmother Wikitoria Te Hei, Pauline has served Rongomaiwahine as one of seven negotiators in the Wairoa iwi treaty settlement. Rongomaiwahine is an iwi in it’s own right but were forced to negotiate with other Wairoa iwi. She is also affiliated to Ngati Porou, Te Aitanga a Mahaki and Ngai Tamanuhiri.

As a woman who is deeply connected to her own iwi, she has shared her knowledge with indigenous peoples all over the world, helping Australian Aborigines, indigenous peoples of the South Pacific, and the San people in the South African Kalahari. Her works of peace have included standing with indigenous people in Mexico against the army; campaigning alongside water protectors in Brazil; comforting children in Iraq, victims of chemical warfare.

Pauline is no stranger to hard work in New Zealand too. She has been a Life Member of the Mahia branch in the Tairawhiti region of the Maori Women’s Welfare League since 1986. According to Michael Neilson’s Gisborne Herald article, ‘Pauline was instrumental in getting books for prisoners into prisons’ and ‘has become increasingly concerned about the effects of Maori children who have been in state care.’ She is a mother of 14 children, with 52 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren

For more information about our awesome kuia Pauline Tangiora and the work that has led to this honour, click on the link to read Michael Neilson’s entire article in the Gisborne Herald.

Tatau tatau

CYF restructure may ‘breach Treaty’

National President’s interview with Radio NZ:

One of the country’s most prominent Māori groups is urging the government to halt its radical restructuring of child welfare services.

The Maori Women’s Welfare League says reforms outlined in Cabinet papers appear to weaken the role of whanau, hapū and iwi in ensuring children stayed as close to family as possible.

It is considering lodging an urgent claim with the Waitangi Tribunal in a bid to delay a bill on the restructure of Child Youth and Family.

President Prue Kapua has written to Social Development Minister Anne Tolley, asking her to hold off introducing the legislation until Māori have been properly consulted.

Ms Kapua said the proposed changes were alarming and affected Maori more than any other group because they made up the majority of children in state care.

They may be in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi, she said.

“In taking children out of the whanau, hapū involvement – that would be a breach of the Treaty.

“The issue of consultation is really important here too.”

The government plans to introduce legislation before the end of the year.



14 May 2015

The Māori Women’s Welfare League is determined to fight a move that has left Māori representation off an Independent Expert Panel on the Modernisation of Child, Youth and Family despite the fact that more than half the children in the agency’s care are Māori.

The National President of the League (Te Ropu Wahine Māori Toko I te Ora), Prue Kapua, says League members are very concerned that the Minister did not see fit to appoint a Māori onto the panel and she’s written to the Minister of Social Development urging her to reconsider the panel’s make-up as soon as possible.

“The terms of reference specifically require the panel to address how a new operating model will deliver better outcomes for Māori,” Ms Kapua says, “and yet there is no reflection of the need for expertise in tikanga Māori in the appointments made by the Minister.”

“With such a glaring omission – they can hardly call the panel expert at all.”

“In fact, without Māori expertise and knowledge we have no confidence that any of the panel’s findings or recommendations will properly address the needs of our children,” says Prue Kapua. “And we desperately need to do better – we must urgently address all the children’s needs while finding ways to reduce the alarming numbers of Māori children in care.”

The statistics are consistent. Over the past decade more than 50 per cent of the children in Child, Youth and Family’s care are Māori.

League branches and members are involved in working in the community with whanau through a number of programmes, including Whānau Toko I Te Ora through the Ministry, and have an intimate knowledge of the issues facing children, youth and whanau in their interactions with Child, Youth and Family.

“The League is more than happy to assist the Minister in identifying an appropriate independent panel member,” she said. “In the meantime we continue to wait for a response from the Minister to our letter sent nearly a month ago.”


Contact: Prue Kapua, National President, Māori Women’s Welfare League.

0274 721770

Attached: Letter to Minister dated 17 April 2015

About Te Ropu Wahine Māori Toko I te Ora

The Māori Women’s Welfare League has approximately 3000 members who belong to around 140 branches located throughout communities in Aotearoa (and even has one branch based in Perth).

Its long history dates back to conference held in September 1951 in Wellington that gathered together committees set up under the Māori Social and Economic Advancement Act 1945. Welfare committees were set up alongside the (predominantly male) tribal committees to address the lack of a women’s voice.

From the days of the first President, Dame Whina Cooper, the priorities remained consistent – health, housing, education and tamariki.

New faces, new life for Maori league

The women of Omaka Marae in Blenheim have brought back their branch of the Maori Women’s Welfare League from the verge of collapse in less than a year.

Marae committee chairwoman and women’s league leader Margaret Bond said she had lost her passion for the league, disheartened by a lack of participation.

She was ready to pull the pin last year and put the group into recess, but her daughter-in-law Donna Nepia convinced her not to, asking her to give it one last go with a membership drive.

“So we did and now we have 12 vibrant, intelligent young women who have picked up the kaupapa of the league for Omaka Marae,” Bond said.

Bond had been involved with the women’s league for about 49 years, and had learned much about protocol, cooking, Maori arts, caring for people and being an activist for Maori women as leaders.

“When we were young we were passionate about it but when you turn up to a meeting and have about 3000 other things going on and only three people turn up it’s disheartening,” she said. The 12 new women had reintroduced drive and passion into the league, and were working on a range of projects already.

Nepia said the league, introduced nationally in 1951, was an important initiative to continue.

“I was really inspired to join because of the wonderful things that women achieved in the past. I have family members who have grown up under the league and seen how they have turned out to be confident, successful women.

“They have done wonderful, amazing things for the community,” she said.

“Even though the league is for women, my sons grew up around it, because it’s part of whanau. Some say it’s just for women but it’s not, these women nurture our leaders and our men,” Bond said.

The women hosted their first community event – an outdoor movie night – last week. It was organised it in conjunction with the marae committee as a fun community event and to raise awareness of the league.

– The Marlborough Express