15 Apr 2013

Latin govts seeking better relationship with indigenous peoples

6:45 am on 15 April 2013

The Federation of Maori Authorities is impressed with how governments in some Latin American countries are now more willing to support and develop the social and economic well-being of their indigenous peoples.

Chairperson Traci Houpapa was part of the New Zealand Government's Latin America trip and spoke to government ministers in Mexico, Columbia, Brazil and Chile about engaging more with their First Nations people.

She said political leaders in those countries saw the benefits of dealing directly with their Indian communities and how it would lead to positive outcomes for them.

Ms Houpapa said there seems to be a genuine desire to forge better relationships, particularly the Chilean government which wants to engage with the Mapuche people.

But she said the Mapuche and Chilean government have realised they both have a considerable way to go before they achieve the same level of engagement the New Zealand Government has with tangata whenua.