18 Nov 2013

Push to allow guide dogs on marae

6:34 am on 18 November 2013

The Human Rights Commission has sought to adjust Maori protocol to allow disabled people to bring their guide dogs onto marae.

The commission says Maori with disabilities can face many barriers in accessing their marae, including some hapu not allowing dogs, or kuri, on the grounds.

It says the matter was raised by a kaumatua, Ike Rakena, last year and the commision helped bring it to the attention of the Maori King at a hui in May.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson says at the time, there was no challenge to the idea, which was an achievement.

He says he does not know how it will develop but he hopes the idea will be shared throughout the country.

Mr Gibson says some marae will never allow disability assistance dogs because of their traditional view of kuri, but many are open to it.

King Tuheitia is supporting the idea, saying any move to improve accessibility for kaumaatua and those with disabilities should be welcomed.