26 Apr 2013

Maori Council relevance key to review - Sharples

7:08 am on 26 April 2013

The Government says the relevance of the modern-day Maori Council is one of the key points of a review of the legislation that supports the organisation.

An evaluation of the Maori Community Development Act 1962 is being carried out following an inquiry by MPs launched nearly four years ago.

The Act covers the constitution of Maori Committees and Associations and defines the powers and functions of Maori Wardens and the Maori Council.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples believes the council is still relevant. He says the organisation had a big role 50 years ago was when there was little iwi leadership.

Dr Sharples says it is only since the 1980s that tribes have come into their own and reasserted their mana as leaders of Maori people - and they are now sitting at the table with the Prime Minister.

He believes there are many issues the Maori Council can be involved with, particularly individual hapu claimants.

Dr Sharples says the review of the Maori Community Development Act is ongoing and admits the process has been very slow.