30 Jan 2015

Non-Maori urged to connect with Maori

11:31 am on 30 January 2015

There are too many schisms between Māori and non-Māori according to a Presbyterian Church leader, who's urging non-Māori to work harder to form positive relationships with tāngata whenua.

The Right Reverend Andrew Norton, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Aotearoa.

The Right Reverend Andrew Norton, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Aotearoa. Photo: Supplied

The church is to lead the Waitangi Day dawn ceremony at Waitangi for the first time ever.

Right Reverend Andrew Norton who is the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Aotearoa said the Treaty of Waitangi needs to become a living document and he will talk about that during his speech at Waitangi on 6 February.

He said the walls that people have put up will only come down by addressing outstanding grievances and the formation between Māori and non-Māori of a relationship based on manaakitanga, or showing kindness, support and respect for each other.

Reverend Norton said everyone had a responsibility to address the injustices done to Māori.

"The Treaty needs to become a living document for all New Zealanders and that is where we see the Treaty as a gift to the nation whereby it can help us live together in a relationship of manaakitanga... those are the things we need to live out the spirit of The Treaty," he said.

He believed too many blocks had been put up between Māori and non-Māori.

"Those schisms, those walls that we put up... can only be taken down by addressing outstanding grievances and when we have this meeting across a different table. From a Christian perspective all people are created equally in the image of God.

"We all have a responsibility to address injustices but also looking forward at the way we can live together in New Zealand with respect for each other. If we could do that we would have a very different New Zealand going forward. There is a responsibility to respond to the injustices more so than we are doing and more than just settling grievances."

He said it can't be left to politicians and every New Zealander needed to be proactive.

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