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Atafu Tokelau Community Group participate in Te Tiriti-based wānanga

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Atafu community supports idea of talanoa and a Te Tiriti-based wānanga (citizens assembly) by local iwi Ngāti Toa for the community to talk about issues facing Porirua.


Porirua community leaders, including the Atafu Tokelau Community Group (ATCG), have supported the idea of talanoa and a Te Tiriti-based wānanga (citizens assembly) by local iwi Ngāti Toa for the community to talk about issues facing the city.


“Nikau Foundation was thrilled to support this valuable asset for the Tokelauan community, issuing a grant for $8000 to support key operating costs for the centre.”

Zechariah Reuelu represented ATCG at the online hui with more than 100 people from 80 Porirua organisations meeting to discuss how to make the concept work effectively.


The framework would include talanoa in the form of a regular standing forum for Porirua’s community leadership to engage each other on issues at grassroots level and a Te Tiriti-based wānanga for the wider community to deliberate and make recommendations.


Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Chief Executive Helmut Modlik​ had the idea of a citizens’ assembly for a while, with it coming from a workshop with the Ministry of Health in 2020 to figure out how to boost vaccination rates.


“One of the first questions that was asked was what have we done as a nation previously that was available to all citizens universally that we could learn from,” he said. “We couldn’t think of a single public policy outcome that has ever been universally deployed across the entire nation.


“We were living in a society whose civil institutions and formal arrangements were not designed to ensure a universality of anything.”


He also said the lessons from 2020 showed the community and the authorities needed to work together to achieve universal and near universal benefits for the people.


On behalf of ATCG, Zechariah Reuelu said: “We are talking about what could become a model for our nation Aotearoa, to benefit everyone.”


The meeting was originally scheduled in-person at Takapūwāhia Marae before it was moved online out of concerns for Covid-19 and influenza.


Material for this story was taken from an article published by Stuff.


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