MAORI ACTIVIST CHALLENGES COOK ISLANDS GOVERNMENT

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Mita claims to ‘educate people’ on ‘indigenous rights’

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands Herald, Dec. 29, 2011) – The New Zealand based activist Bruce Mita who has mounted a crusade to educate the Ui Ariki as to their indigenous rights, has reacted calmly but firmly to a move by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister (who is Minister for Sea Bed Minerals) to refer a proposed media release by Mita to Crown Law and Police for their opinion as to whether Mita could be liable should the media release be printed.

Mita requested the Herald consider printing the almost 5,000 word article however, due to references to legal issues, its length and the need for balance, the Herald referred a copy to the DPM’s office for comment.

Mita’s proposed statement and the DPM Office’s reaction were reported in the Herald of 14 December 2011.

Now Mita has advised the Herald that the "Importance here is to educate the people in regards to their indigenous rights...that they together with Te Ui Ariki hold the Mana in their hands not the Cook Islands Government."

Mita advised, "What’s important to understand is that the information provided in the (proposed) article is factual and is backed up by international standards, UN charters, etc. Perhaps, the Cook Islands Government should have done their homework in the first place. The old adage ‘truth hurts’ appears to be the case from the Minister’s response. Furthermore, to have Crown Law and the Police look into the matter is interesting. What do they hope to achieve? They can’t change history. Interesting none the less."

Mita is challenging government’s rights in relation to exploitation of the sea bed mineral resource.

The DPM’s office is yet to advise the Herald of the opinions received from Crown Law and Police.

Cook Islands Herald

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