NZ firm admires respect given to Maori in B’ville

National, Normal

The National, Thursday June 20th, 2013

 A MAORI consultancy firm helping to develop an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea says Maori are highly-respected by political leaders in Bougainville.

Tuia International has an office in Buka where it is giving the Autonomous Bougainville Government advice on writing its legislative policies and expanding its economic potential.

Director Mike Taitoko told Radio New Zealand News said Maori had been forging some great relationships with PNG and Bougainvillean government officials for quite some time – and they respect the political status that Maori had in New Zealand.

He said Maori were hugely respected in that area of the Pacific because New Zealand took part in peacekeeping campaigns and negotiations during and after the political crisis in 1996 and 1997.

New Zealand eventually brokered a peace agreement between Bougainville leaders and the PNG Government in 2000, which led to the establishment of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Taitoko said Bougainville political leaders had a high level of respect for the way Maori conducted their business and their participation at political levels.

There are plans to hold a referendum for Bougainvilleans to choose whether they still want to be an autonomous region of PNG or become independent.