Treaty Debate: The Māori seats in Parliament

Treaty Debate: The Māori seats in Parliament

What do you think of the Māori seats in Parliament?

On Thursday 5 February @ 6.30 – 8 p.m. two speakers will deal with this provocative issue – The role of Māori in Parliament and the future of the Māori seats.

Professor Philip Joseph and Derek Fox will discuss this topic as part of Te Papa’s annual Treaty Debate series.

Join the debate

We want to hear what you think. You can watch via our webcast, and use the chat window to give us your opinions, or to ask questions. Te Papa staff will put your questions to the debaters.

Or you could send in a question to We will ask as many of your questions as there is time for.

Join us on Thursday at

History of the Māori seats

Created in 1867 as a temporary measure, the four Maori seats continued for over a hundred years to provide some voice for Maori in Parliament.

It was often a muffled voice and one easily ignored in a democratic structure dominated by non-Māori members. But with the first elections under MMP in 1996, Māori interest in the political world expanded, numbers on the Māori electoral roll increased, and Māori were entitled to more seats.

The Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 was followed by the establishment of the Māori Party and greater political party interest to work with Māori .

All has conspired to make the Māori seats a hot topic for debate!

Dr Claudia Orange, Director History and Pacific Cultures

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