Speech for Te Aratini, Dubai Expo 2020

Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Speech for Te Aratini - Festival of Indigenous and Tribal Ideas, Dubai Expo 2020
Wednesday 17 November 2021

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Welcome

Korihi Pō, Korihi Ao
E rongo e turia no Matahau
Nō Tū te winiwini, Nō Tū te wanawana
Tū Hikitia rā, Tū Hapainga mai
Ki te Whai Ao, Ki te Ao Mārama
Tihei Mauri Ora!

Hawaiiki Tangata kua Hawaiiki-tia, oki oki atu rā koutou
Hawaiiki Tautau e tau nei, Tēnā tātou Kātoa!

Tēna tātou i runga i te tini me te rahi o ngā āhuatanga o te wā. Anei ra te reo karamihimihi ki a koutou.  He hononga tangata, he hononga wairua, he hononga whakaaro e tuitui nei ki tenei ikapahitanga whakawhiti korero, whiriwhiri tahi, whakatau anō hoki ki ngā take ngākau nui ki a tātou…

Mai e te tipua, ma e te tawhito, mai e te kahui o nga ariki, mai e tawhiwhi ki nga atua!

Acknowledgements

Al-salamu-Alaykum, greetings to you all. It is a pleasure to be with you today.

I want to start by acknowledging:

  • Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth,
  • New Zealand’s Ambassador to the UAE Matthew Hawkins,
  • the Government of the United Arab Emirates,
  • and the Emirati people, for their warm welcome and hospitality to the World, as hosts of the Dubai Expo 2020.

Introduction

The United Arab Emirates is an important partner for Aotearoa New Zealand bound in connection.

From the essential service provided by the UAE’s airlines for our international transport and freight links to our partnership bringing renewable energy to the Pacific.

Culture also connects us, with several similarities between Emirati Bedouin and Māori, including the similar traditional greeting — the Bedouin mukhashamah, much like our Māori hongi where we express the same importance of unity and trust through our shared breath.

We also both celebrate diversity, our countries each boasting more than 200 different nationalities amongst our residents.

And we have a strong, shared ambition to create a more sustainable future for all, shown through the UAE’s leadership in bringing the world together for Dubai Expo 2020 and the generosity in support Aotearoa New Zealand’s participation.

At a time when we have all faced the truly unprecedented global challenge of COVID-19, I want to acknowledge the organisers of Dubai Expo 2020 for their hard work and perseverance to bring us all together. I congratulate them on bringing Expo 2020 to life, and achieving such a wonderful outcome with more than 192 nations participating, over the next 6 months.

To the Aotearoa New Zealand team — led by our Commissioner General to Expo 2020, Clayton Kimpton — and all those who have dedicated tireless hours, days, weeks, and months of effort and energy into realising the Aotearoa New Zealand pavilion, I acknowledge each of you this morning.

To the Iwi Chair’s Forum and Tribal Leader, Mr Ngahiwi Tomoana, for his vision, leadership, and determination over the many years to bring Te Aratini to life; I thank and acknowledge you.

It is my honour and privilege to open and welcome you to this first time ever event at any World Expo: Te Aratini – a festival of Indigenous & Tribal ideas.  Ahlan wasahlan, Haere mai!

Today marks the start of Expo’s Tolerance & Inclusivity Week –  a week which focusses on how we can work together, as global citizens, to foster greater common understanding for more inclusive societies. Thank you and Mubarak to the UAE for their leadership in this vital work.

With 7.8 billion people on our planet, this week is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on perspectives and conversations about multiculturalism, co-existence and interfaith understanding, accessibility, cultural relativism, inclusive dialogue, and more.

It is right then, that not only do we celebrate the start of Expo’s Tolerance & Inclusivity Week, we kick it off with a festival!

Indigenous and tribal peoples untapped potential

For many indigenous and tribal peoples, our beliefs are grounded in whakapapa — genealogical connections — that establish relationships between people, the environment, and the spiritual world.

In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, I believe indigenous peoples’ beliefs and values can help shape the world’s much needed commitment toward empathy, sustainability, and intergenerational solutions for well-being.

Te Aratini — The Festival of Indigenous & Tribal Ideas conveys the idea of ‘many converging pathways,’ and acts as a call to ignite new and existing connections between indigenous and tribal peoples, globally.

This is more than just an event. It is a movement toward indigenous and tribal peoples' knowledge, know-how, and aspirations for, and around, the world. Te Aratini allows us to acknowledge and celebrate the untapped potential that Indigenous & Tribal Peoples offer to the world.

The converging pathways, empowerment of culture, commerce, community and conservation in the protection, maintenance and resurgence of indigenous and tribal economies, is critical now, more than ever.

This year, Aotearoa New Zealand had the honour of hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum; bringing together 21 economies, 38 percent of world’s population, and 48 percent of world’s trade to discuss matters of importance for the sustainability and economic well-being of the Asia Pacific region.  

Our indigenous values and perspectives featured prominently in APEC for the first time, which will contribute to increased economic participation of 270 million indigenous peoples in the region.

Together, we shared stories of culturalising commerce, growing sustainable indigenous economies, giving voice to indigenous interests and traditions, and acknowledging the collective resilience of our communities during these challenging times.

As part of our APEC host year, we commenced negotiations on an Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement with several APEC economies.  The Arrangement aims to deepen and grow indigenous economic and trade linkages, and support dialogue and activity between governments, between governments and indigenous Peoples, and between indigenous peoples themselves.

It signals political commitment to promote inclusive economic development and intergenerational well-being of indigenous peoples, in alignment with shared indigenous values.

Aotearoa New Zealand has also established Pōkai Ao - a government-to-government exchange, which seeks to strengthen the economic, cultural, and social links between Māori and other indigenous groups, and provide collaboration opportunities for Māori businesses and SMEs, including for international trade.

The first landmark arrangement under this programme was established with Australia just last year and I am thrilled to see the benefits for both of our indigenous peoples.

The United Nations has a crucial role in elevating the voice of indigenous peoples globally and I am honoured to share the stage today with Anne Nuorgam, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

Aotearoa New Zealand is proud to be a signatory of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP. My Government is currently consulting with Māori on how to meet our obligations under this Declaration. I look forward to hearing from Anne on her experiences.

Legacy of Te Aratini

These initiatives are important and exciting. But they are just the beginning. The next three days provides the opportunity to listen and learn from indigenous leaders and communities from across the world.

Let us ensure that this is just the start of the conversation.

Te Aratini should chart the course for continued indigenous involvement in international affairs to create a world that embraces shared, sustainable and radically inclusive prosperity.

No reira kua pari ngā tai, kua timu ngā tai, he tai ope, he tai roa e kūmea mai nei i te tai nui kia eke panuku, eke tangaroa, Haumi e! Hui e! Taiki e!