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Welcome for Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy

NZMC Congratulates Dame Susan Devoy on her new role.

The New Zealand Maori Council has today congratulated Dame Susan Devoy on her new role as the Race Relations Commissioner.

“We are pleased to welcome Dame Susan as Race Relations Commissioner, and look forward to a close and meaningful relationship,” stated Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie, co-chair of the New Zealand Maori Council. “The office of Race Relations Commissioner, formerly known as Conciliator, has a proud history of advocating on behalf of Maori and we are sure that Dame Susan will continue that tradition.”

Sir Edward compared the function of the Race Relations Commissioner to that of the Waitangi Tribunal, of which he is a former chair, and the New Zealand Maori Council.  “Both the Waitangi Tribunal and the Race Relations Commissioner have an educative role, both investigate historic and contemporary breaches of basic human rights, and both encourage people and institutions to act fairly towards each other. But while the Waitangi Tribunal’s role is about domestic truth and reconciliation, the Race Relations Commissioner, like the New Zealand Maori Council, has the ability to advocate to Government and on the international stage, on behalf of Maori. That is a powerful role.”

Maanu Paul, co-chair of the New Zealand Maori Council, pointed to the long relationship between the New Zealand Maori Council and the Office of the Race Relations Commissioner. “In 1971 New Zealand Maori Council made submissions on the Race Relations Bill. Professors Ranginui Walker and Pei Te Hurunui Jones compared the Bill to the Treaty of Waitangi and stated that the Bill represented an opportunity to recapture the ideals embodied in the Treaty which set the course for the future of our nation. They also said that the Act should be a charter of human relations at least as inspiring as the first Race Relations Bill, the Treaty of Waitangi.”

Mr Paul said that Dame Susan had a proud history to live up to, as previous Race Relations Commissioners had striven to expose racism and set a better course for our nation. “We have watched her on the squash courts, on the road raising awareness and money to help people with muscular dystrophy and in company board rooms. She was unbeatable there, and we hope she will continue to inspire us into the future.”

Ends

Media enquiries to Maanu Paul
Co-Chair
New Zealand Maori Council

027 498 4396

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