New Zealand adopts UN Declaration on Indigenous rights

The UN celebrated New Zealand’s signing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People on Monday.

Maori singers celebrated the signing with traditional Maori song.

New Zealand’s Minister for Maori Affairs, Pita Sharples, acknowledged that recognition of the declaration was a long time coming.

Representatives of the Maori community applauded the signing, three years after the declaration was adopted by the UN.

Pita Sharples, New Zealand’s Minister for Maori Affairs said: “New Zealand support for the declaration represents an opportunity to acknowledge and restate the special cultural and historical position of Maori as the original inhabitants, the ‘Tangata whenua’ (indigenous people) of New Zealand. It reflects our continuing endeavors to work together to find solutions and underlines the importance of the relationship between Maori and the Crown.”

New Zealand, along with the United States, Canada, and Australia originally voted against the declaration in 2007, though Australia has since endorsed it.

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