Two Māori ministers are off to share the Waitangi spirit with Kiwis in the Land of Oz

If they are not hard at work in their Beehive offices, our Ministers will be busy with engagements here and there around the country – or engaged in very important business overseas.

The Point of Order Jetsetting Monitor, which registers overseas ministerial travel plans reported in  Beehive press statements, alerted us to the whereabouts of two ministers today – they have flitted off to Australia “to share Waitangi spirit with Australian Kiwis” (as the headline on their joint press statement puts it).

The statement says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta will join an estimated 5,000 New Zealanders living in Australia at Sydney’s Waitangi Festival on Saturday.

Davis made plain which New Zealanders in particular (ethnically speaking) are high in his considerations.

“This festival has been held in Sydney annually for the last 12 years and around 5,000 Kiwis who live in Australia come to it each year,” Kelvin Davis said.

“It is an important way for New Zealanders in Australia – and especially Māori – to remember and foster their connection to their homeland.

“It’s great that we can be there to share in this day with them, and let everyone know a bit more about the work the Government is doing back home,” Kelvin Davis said.

Why it is especially important for Māori to remember and foster their connection to their homeland, or why non-Māori New Zealanders in Australia are not such big deal in this regard, was not explained.

Nanaia Mahuta was less discriminatory in saying attending the festival also highlighted the importance of Waitangi Day outside of New Zealand’s shores.

“Now is the perfect time to reflect on the significance of Waitangi Day for all New Zealanders – Pākehā and Māori – wherever they are in the world.”

But then she brandished statistics which suggest the homeland for a significant number of Māori, because they were born there, is Australia.  Many others have opted to move to Australia.

“One in six Māori live in Australia, and one in three of those Māori were born here. Basically, what we are saying to them is they always have a home in Aotearoa – and around Waitangi Day is a good time to do it,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

She did not provide equivalent data for non-Māori New Zealanders living in Australia or – this would be interesting – data to show how many Māori are Australian citizens.

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