20 Apr 2010

New Zealand adopts UN declaration on rights of indigenous people

10:47 am on 20 April 2010

New Zealand has adopted the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous people.

The unheralded decision was conveyed in a speech by the Minister of Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples, this morning to the United Nations in New York.

His statement acknowledges that Maori hold a special status as tangata whenua and have an interest in all policy and legislative matters.

New Zealand was one of only four countries to vote against the declaration on the rights of indigenous people in 2007.

The Prime Minister, John Key, says New Zealand has always supported the overall aspirations of the non-binding declaration, and already implements many of its provisions.