19 Apr 2013

Maori encountered controversy around marriage in 1888

10:17 am on 19 April 2013

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell who voted for same sex marriage to be legal says it isn't the first time Maori have encountered controversy around the concept of what defines marriage.

The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed its third and final reading in Parliament in a 77 to 44 vote on Wednesday night. The law will come into effect in August.

Mr Flavell says that in 1888 the Supreme Court of New Zealand outlawed customary marriages.

He says the children born were considered illegitimate, yet ironically the customary marriages were recognised for Maori Landcorp records.

Mr Flavell says there are many Maori in communities who are gay and are respected for their leadership, and they should have the opportunity to have their relationships recognised as marriage if they choose to.

But he says making same sex marriage legal is not the end of the struggles same sex couples have.

Mr Flavell says the movement of the bill is probably not enough to change some attitudes towards same sex marriage.

He says education campaigns are needed to broaden people's understanding and acceptance of the new law.