A new Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement signed today between Aotearoa New Zealand and Canada will formalise work to improve outcomes for indigenous peoples, and enhance indigenous to indigenous relationships, said Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson.
Mr Jackson said the collaboration underpins a shared objective of creating and sustaining better outcomes for Indigenous peoples.
“It’s a chance to share openly the lessons learned and facilitate dialogue on what our governments can do for our indigenous peoples now and in the future,” he said.
The arrangement, signed off by Mr Jackson and Canadian Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, aims to promote and facilitate the economic, social, cultural, and environmental advancements of indigenous peoples through relationship development, improved knowledge sharing, and stronger collaboration.
“Both governments acknowledge the pivotal role indigenous people play in the prosperity and wellbeing of their communities, as well as the contribution they make to the national economy,” said Associate Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta.
The signing is part of a week-long visit from Minister Hajdu and her delegation, which includes Deputy Minister for Indigenous Services Canada, Gina Wilson, and representatives from First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The delegation will go on to meet with iwi, Māori groups and service providers, culminating in a visit to Waitangi.
Discussions with Ms Hajdu will cover significant recent achievements, such as establishing the Māori Health Authority and the introduction of Matariki as the first public holiday informed by mātaraunga Māori, as well as ongoing work to improve whānau wellbeing and Māori economic prosperity, including Whānau Ora and the Māori Economic Development Advisory Board.
“We have much to learn from each other, and we are honoured to host a delegation as committed to advancing the wellbeing of their indigenous peoples as we are,” Ms Mahuta said.
Canada is doing substantial work on its National Action Plan to support UNDRIP, and working on eliminating violence against Indigenous women and girls. A shared focus for both countries is around the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, she said.