12 Apr 2024

Tauranga to host national iwi forum

7:43 pm on 12 April 2024
Charlie Rahiri

Ngāti Ranginui Chairperson Charlie Rahiri said the forum will look at today's pressing issues. Photo: Mererina Murray

Tauranga is set to host the next National Iwi Chairs Forum from 1 to 3 May.

The hui will bring together iwi leaders from across Aotearoa to deliberate on issues affecting Māori and the wider nation.

The theme for this year's forum is underscored by the whakataukī, "Ahakoa uhi uhi ngā ngaru, Ka whakaea anō te toka a Tirikawa" (Irrespective of the waves that crash continuously, Tirikawa rock remains resolute and prominent), and reflects the steadfastness and resilience required in the face of ongoing political challenges impacting Māori communities.

Ngāti Ranginui Chairperson Charlie Rahiri said the forum is a testament to Māori resilience and kotahitanga.

"The timing of the forum is especially poignant, as it aligns closely with the 160-year commemoration of the Battle of Pukehinahina (Gate Pā), a pivotal event in New Zealand's history," he said.

"The commemoration of Pukehinahina serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices of our tupuna. It inspires us to stand strong in the face of adversity, honouring their legacy through our actions and deliberations at this forum."

During the three-day event, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss a range of topics including environmental and climate, economic development, health, te tiriti and the preservation of te reo and tīkanga Māori.

The forum will also serve as a platform to share knowledge and strategies, and forge stronger ties among iwi, Rahiri said.

"Together, in the spirit of kotahitanga, we will confront the pressing issues of our time, ensuring the well-being and prosperity of our people and all Aotearoa for generations to come."

The hui comes not long after the Forum's tangata whenua caucus pulled out of a National Action Plan Against Racism citing the government's "continued racist rhetoric".

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