30 Oct 2013

Call for trans-Tasman talks on Maori wardens

7:36 am on 30 October 2013

The Maori Council says the New Zealand and Australian governments both need to talk about how legislation covering wardens in Aotearoa could be extended to include the growing number of Maori wardens across the Tasman.

Both Queensland and Victoria are reporting a steady increase in the number of volunteers wanting to become Maori wardens.

However, a Maori Council deputy chair, Des Ratima, says technically they can't really call themselves Maori wardens in Australia.

He says it was the former Maori Wardens Association which gave those in Australia permission to use the name Maori wardens.

But Mr Ratima says the volunteers in Brisbane and Melbourne aren't covered by the laws that govern their New Zealand counterparts.

He says trans-Tasman talks are needed to discuss how the wardens in Australia could be incorporated under the same legislation as the Maori Wardens in Aotearoa, or whether Australia could copy New Zealand laws.

Mr Ratima says it comes down to protecting and enhancing the identity of the Maori wardens across Australasia.