NEW ZEALAND AT THE CUTTING EDGE OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

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ROTORUA, New Zealand (November 30, 1998 - Radio Australia)---New Zealand has been praised as the world leader in the way it is handling the rights of its indigenous people.

American human rights lawyer and anthropologist Dave Stephenson says the country is at the cutting edge of international debate on legislating the recognition of indigenous cultural rights.

He was speaking is Rotorua where he gave evidence at the Waitangi Tribunal hearing of a claim relating to the control and use of indigenous flora and fauna.

The Waitangi Tribunal, derived from the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi singed by Maori chiefs and the British government, deals with land grievances dating back to the last century.

Mr. Stephenson says the outcome of the claim is likely to serve as a model for similar tribunals around the world.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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