Waikato Tainui takes Government to court over 'blatant disregard' for te reo Māori

Waikato-Tainui spokesperson Tukuroirangi 'Tuku' Morgan said a case has been filed in the High Court.
Waikato-Tainui spokesperson Tukuroirangi 'Tuku' Morgan said a case has been filed in the High Court. Photo credit: RNZ.


Waikato Tainui claims the only way to stop te reo Māori being denigrated and eroded is to take the government to court.

The Waikato iwi claims the government's decision to pull back on the use of the Māori language in the public sector breaches its promise under the Treaty settlement, to protect and preserve te reo.

Spokesman Tukuroirangi Morgan said a case had been filed in the High Court.

"We are holding Winston Peters and David Seymour to account for the blatant disregard for the rule of law that continued to remind this nation that there is one law for all. These are the very two people who have breached our 1995 settlement and we will hold them to account and the only way we can do that is to take them to the High Court, which is exactly what we've done."

When a court date was set, he said, a train would be chartered to take people from Tāmaki, Auckland through the Waikato.

He believed several hundred people supporting the iwi would be in the courtroom.

Morgan, told Morning Report schedule one of their deed of settlement made it clear the Crown had an obligation to protect the language.

"The centrepiece of our way of life, is who we are as a people. It's our language. It's our culture, it's the thing that makes us distinct and unique in this country.

"The schedule to the legally binding agreement is very clear. The Crown has a responsibility to usher in a new era of partnership. And we are very clear that the Crown has breached our 1995 settlement."

Morgan said rolling back the language was the start of bigger things to come.

"There is an undercurrent that exists in this government that is totally unacceptable."

However, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith said the government took Treaty settlements seriously because the Treaty was a foundation of New Zealand and important for the country's past, present and future.

The government valued the Māori language and culture and would honour existing Treaty settlements, he said.

But he said it remained committed to the coalition agreements.