Indigenous | National Iwi Chairs Forum

Youth and iwi leaders at the UN in Geneva discuss indigenous rights

A Māori youth group representative taking part in the UN’s Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People hopes her trip will inspire other youth to step forward.

Where the Maōri groups are making their presentations this week

Leaders from Ngā Rangatahi ā-Iwi and Ngā Pou Tumuaki ā-Iwi o te Motu (National Iwi Chairs Forum) are both making submissions in Geneva on recent changes in Aotearoa.

The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is where the world’s nations can gather together, discuss common problems and find shared solutions, Ngā Rangatahi ā-Iwi representative Shae Brown says.

“We want to make sure our voices are being heard on the issues we’re experiencing, especially with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which is a document that has changed us in many ways. And a lot of other indigenous nations want to have the same thing.”

This is a first for Shae Brown; she is representing Ngā Rangatahi ā-Iwi, and, according to the Ngāti Porou descendant, it is time for more youth to be at the decision-making table.

The group of people over there includes Pania Newton, Jason Mareroa and Shae Brown representing NRAI and Macy Duxfield and Kym Hamilton, representing Ngā Pou Tumuaki.

The trip was privately funded, and its members were personally endorsed by Aotearoa indigenous peoples organisations, which is a requirement for submitters.

Brown hopes when she comes back and she speaks of her experiences, that it inspires others to want to go to EMIRIP, to the Permanent Forum, to be involved in kaupapa like this.

“It’s been an amazing experience, and I just hope that Ngā Rangatahi ā-Iwi and we have inspired other rangatahi to get involved at a local or national level,” Brown says.