United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Twenty-Second Session Item 5(g) Interactive Dialogue: - International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022 2032) - CEDAW General Recommendation No.39 on Indigenous Women and Girls

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Statement submitted on behalf of Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development)

Tēnā koutou katoa, greetings to you all.

Recent weather events all around the world have highlighted the critical connection between people’s health and the health of our planet.

Climate change has an impact on Indigenous women, especially their role in climate adaptation and mitigation, and their knowledge-sharing systems. As outlined in CEDAW Recommendation 39, Indigenous women and girls have a leading role in global movements to improve planetary health.

Through their knowledge, wāhine Māori (Māori women) have the tools and expertise to lead sustainable environmental practices.

Aotearoa New Zealand calls on all States to work in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, including women and girls, to address the growing concerns of climate change in a sustainable way and ensuring that no one is left behind.

The Government has established a strategy and action plan to work to eliminate family and sexual violence which disproportionately affect wāhine Māori.

The Waitangi Tribunal’s Mana Wāhine Inquiry is also investigating the Government’s historical and ongoing breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi which have prejudiced wāhine Māori. A core claim is the alleged denial of the inherent status and knowledge constructs of wāhine Māori, and the systemic discrimination and inequities experienced as a result.

The Tribunal’s guidance will be a valuable contribution, supporting the Government’s work of recognising the rights and aspirations of wāhine Māori.


When proclaiming 2022-2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, the General Assembly acknowledged the role of Indigenous women in the intergenerational transmission of traditional knowledge, languages and practices. Wāhine Māori have been at the forefront of the revitalisation of the Māori language for many years now.

Aotearoa New Zealand is pleased to reaffirm its support for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages.

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Māori Language Petition which led to the establishment of immersion schools, the Māori Language Commission and a range of national, community and Māori-led initiatives.

We now focus on the path to 2040, when we will commemorate 200 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which provides the partnership framework to foster the mutual benefits of language revitalisation.

The Māori Language Act 2016 enshrines this partnership framework and sets out two strategies. One is led by Te Mātāwai – who acts on behalf of iwi (tribes) and Māori people, and focuses on revitalisation in Māori families, homes and communities. The other is led by the Government to create the conditions for revitalisation. Our shared vision is for the Māori language to be ‘He reo Mauriora’ or ‘a living language’, with at least 1 million speakers by 2040.

What the Indigenous-led, nationally supported response to recent weather events has shown us is that cultural revitalisation does not have to be an afterthought. Indigenous language and knowledge should be treated as essential to community resilience.

This decade is an opportunity to advocate for language revitalisation and to learn from other Indigenous movements who are drawing strength from their traditional language and systems of knowledge. We call on all States to take concrete actions over this decade to revitalise Indigenous languages and to support Indigenous peoples as they lead the way.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou – Many thanks to you all.


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