11 Apr 2012

Tainui back idea of BOP `tribal parliament'

6:47 am on 11 April 2012

Tainui iwi would be willing to help the Te Arawa iwi set up a tribal parliament in the Bay of Plenty, says spokesperson, Rahui Papa.

It's a wonderful idea and the whanaungatanga (process of getting to know each other) links between the iwi are very strong, says Mr Papa.

If leaders such as Toby Curtis need any assistance, then his tribe will be more than willing to lend a hand, he says.

Mr Curtis, chairperson of the Rotorua-based Te Arawa Lakes Trust, says some members of the Te Arawa tribe are looking at the possibility of creating a tribal parliament.

Initially floated a few years ago, the concept gained momentum at the trust's annual meeting in March, and Mr Curtis says an organisation has been set up to investigate the details of setting up a single tribal body.

Development of such a superstructure will build on the work by a number of tribal groups in areas such as business, fisheries, sports and kapa haka.

If Te Arawa can set up a tribal parliament, it would help unify the tribe, benefit its people, and provide positive gains for descendants both in New Zealand and overseas, he says.

Mr Curtis says a group set up to investigate the idea, will receive help from members of about a dozen Te Arawa organisations.

He says the Kauhanganui or the Waikato-Tainui Parliament model appeals to him, because both tribes have similarities.

Te Arawa rohe covers a vast area and many of the iwi's descendants live overseas.