Māori Council letter to Pope just attention seeking

maori coucil

New Zealand First MP Shane Jones says the Māori Council’s executive director is attention-seeking with an attack on the Catholic Church.

Matthew Tukaki has written to the Pope to ask that he formally renounce the doctrine of discovery, a 15th-century idea that European nations could claim lands if they were not occupied by Christians.

The doctrine is being blamed by some indigenous activists for the evils of colonialism, even though Portugal and Spain started building their empires before it was issued and England broke with the Catholic Church 200 years before James Cook arrived in New Zealand.

Jones says Tukaki has overstepped the mark.

“I know many Māori who are incredibly proud of their Catholic whakapapa.

It’s blended as part of identity.

The New Zealand Māori Council needs to focus on the pockets of dysfunction that are blighting the lives of some of our people and stop grandstanding and don’t utter another word attacking one of the established churches of New Zealand,” he says.

Earlier in the month at a forum Far North iwi Ngāti Kahu also raised its concerns about the Doctrine of Discovery, calling on the government to repudiate it.

Professor Margaret Mutu said it undermined the government’s commitment to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“The Doctrine of Discovery underpins our legal system and relies on the myth that white Christians are superior to all other peoples. It gives them permission to dispossess, enslave and exterminate other races, cultures and religions.”

“It was used to take the Foreshore and Seabed from us in 2005 and shapes the government’s Treaty claims settlement policies and practices today.”

“The Doctrine originated from the Catholic Church in the 1400s and despite petitions from indigenous communities, they have refused to repudiate it.

Our hope is that our Government will ask the Vatican to change its position.”


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