Press Release – David Rankin
Ngapuhi leader David Rankin has renewed his call for the bodies of all Maori soldiers who are buried overseas be returned home, in line with Maori tikanga.Media Release 14 March 2012
RSA to be subject of Treaty claim over Maori soldiers
Ngapuhi leader David Rankin has renewed his call for the bodies of all Maori soldiers who are buried overseas be returned home, in line with Maori tikanga.
RSA national chief executive Stephen Clarke has opposed the idea, but Mr Rankin says that the RSA is out of touch with Maori culture.
“We intend to lodge an urgent Treaty claim on this matter”, says Rankin, “and we will name the RSA as one of the organisations that is an obstacle to us exercising our cultural rights under the Treaty”.
“The claim will insist that all Maori troops buried overseas be returned home. This is in line with the guarantee of the expression of cultural which is one of the fundamental Treaty principles”. He says.
Mr Rankin claims that the Government has no right to set policies for Maori bodies. “If the Government interfered in a tangi or at a burial, there would be an outrage. As far as we concerned by stopping these bodies being returned to their ancestral homelands, they are interfering with our cultural death rites”.
Part of the claim will be to challenge the Government’s assertion that it own the remains of Maori soldiers. “No-one can own these except for their whanau and hapu” says Mr Rankin, “so our claim will request that whanau and hapu be returned this right. Anything less will be seen as a violation of our Treaty tights”.