Relations with New Zealand government strained . . .
Māori leaders have been staging two major protests in New Zealand over land use and family separations, straining relations with a government that has received accolades for a ‘compassionate' style of governing. A proposed housing development at a sacred Māori site drew an estimated 5,000 protesters, with additional protests held across the country. Protesters have called on the government to buy the land and return it to Māori while criticizing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s “lack of leadership” and “ignorance” concerning treaty obligations. Ardern maintains that the government will not intervene in a private land sale.
“Uplifting” of children a family separation practice . . .
Simultaneously, protests have erupted over family separation policies: in the 2017-2018 year, 290 Māori babies were taken into state care – a practice eerily called “uplifting.” Accusations of institutional racism are rife. The practice only recently entered public discussion when media recorded officials in a maternity ward attempting to take a seven-day-old baby from its young Māori mother. Thousands of Māori and allies have protested since, including in front of Parliament. The dispute is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.
Shared issues . . .
Indigenous land rights and family separation are high-profile, divisive issues in both New Zealand and Canada. Multi-faceted processes of reconciliation and new forms of decolonization are ongoing in both countries, although solutions are anything but easy.