23 May 2014

Maori address UN over land rights, customs

7:42 pm on 23 May 2014

A Maori delegation to the United Nations' Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues have expressed concerns about protecting their land and customary rights.

The forum has been held in New York over the past two weeks and attracted people from almost every continent - many of them had never left their country before.

The BBC spoke with a group that included a Maori delegate from New Zealand, a Masai representative from Kenya, a Sioux spokesperson from the United States, and two other African delegates.

They discussed their shared concerns over how to protect their lands and traditions - and held late-night sessions preparing to deliver speeches at the UN.

In a statement issued to the forum by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, he reaffirmed New Zealand's support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.