Indigenous delegates and Minister Hajdu conclude trip to Aotearoa-New Zealand

News release

August 31, 2022 — Ottawa, Traditional unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

A group of Indigenous delegates from across Canada, alongside Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, have concluded their visit to Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Minister Hajdu travelled with a delegation which included Dawn Madahbee Leach, the Chairperson of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board; Brenda Gunn, Professor and Academic and Research Director at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba; Sharon Nate, Executive Director of Education for the Matawa First Nations; and Gerri Sharpe, President of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada. Minister Hajdu and the Indigenous delegation were welcomed and supported by Te Puni Kōkiri officials and Canada’s High Commission in New Zealand.

As Canada and Aotearoa-New Zealand strengthen our close and productive relationship, so do Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Māori in New Zealand. The multiple-stop visit saw Minister Hajdu and delegates meet with Māori and government leaders to share experiences and knowledge on topics such as education, economic prosperity, responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare reform, recognition of rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, amongst others. Key areas of discussion and focus on the trip included social and economic development, language restoration, cultural resiliency, and collaboration and partnership to improve the wellbeing of Indigenous people in both countries.

Minister Hajdu and the delegation were formally welcomed in New Zealand Parliament in a pōwhiri (ceremony) that included speeches, singing and the hongi, a traditional Māori greeting. Following the pōwhiri, Minister Hajdu, on behalf of the Government of Canada, and Minister Jackson, on behalf of the Government of Aotearoa-New Zealand, signed an Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement. The Arrangement will promote and facilitate economic, political, social, educational, well-being, cultural and environmental cooperation, in line with broader efforts to improve Crown–Indigenous relationships in both countries. The Arrangement builds off the momentum of Canada’s endorsement of the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement in December 2021.

The delegation also met with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, a Māori post-secondary learning institution and environment, located in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. Following the meeting, Minister Hajdu and the Indigenous delegation visited Ngāti Toa Rangatira, a Māori iwi (tribe). This visit focused on self-determination and taking a whānau ora (family-centred) approach to service design and delivery.

Other productive meetings and discussions included those with Māori and government officials, including the Honourable Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Associate Minister for Māori Development, and the Honourable Willie Jackson, Minister of Māori Development. Prior to departing Wellington, Minister Hajdu and the Indigenous delegation met with the Māori Economic Development Advisory Board. This meeting focused on how Indigenous communities are supported and enabled from family (whānau), community, resiliency, business and employment perspectives.

Minister Hajdu and the Indigenous delegation then travelled to Auckland, where meetings with Indigenous and government leaders focused on health, well-being, housing and social services. The meeting with Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust, the National Urban Māori Authority and the Whānau Ora (family health) commissioning agency provided a great opportunity to discuss the commissioning of services, family-centered care and the importance of supporting Indigenous people in urban settings.

The delegation also visited Tolaga Bay, where they toured a school and discussed climate change, as well as how local Māori leaders protected community members from COVID-19. The Minister and Indigenous delegation then met with the leadership of Whāngārā Farms, a Māori-owned initiative that ensures Māori people have a sustainable economic base to support their whānau and local community.

The trip concluded at Waitangi with a meeting with Waitangi National Trust leaders from across the country to bless the bilateral Arrangement in the same area where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in 1840. The Treaty of Waitangi guides relations between the Māori and the Government of Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Throughout the trip, Minister Hajdu and the Indigenous delegation were warmly welcomed by local Māori, government agencies, and local communities with immense hospitality and honesty. The foundation for building partnerships, exchanging lessons learned and advancing outcomes in both countries has been set, and work will continue between Canada and the Government of Aotearoa-New Zealand.


“Leading this delegation of incredible women has been inspiring, moving, and has helped to strengthen and build new relationships with the people of Aotearoa-New Zealand. Our meetings with Māori, government agencies and local communities taught us so much, and reaffirmed the need to continue our work to honour, respect, and uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Our newly signed Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement will create formal ways for our two countries to do this work together. Tēnā koutou to all who welcomed us so warmly to Aotearoa-New Zealand, and to the Indigenous delegation who joined us on this trip. We have learned a lot from each other. Now we go forward to create better futures for the next generations.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

“The deepening of the Canada-New Zealand relationship on Indigenous trade issues and inter-governmental collaboration is a powerful catalyst for change. Both Canada and New Zealand are beginning to understand the value and complexities of Indigenous knowledge and kinship. Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike prosper when Indigenous jurisdiction and authority, and cultural values and languages, are affirmed and celebrated; when fair solutions to land-related claims are implemented, and when reliable community infrastructure is realized. Sharing knowledge in partnership, and increasing the participation of Indigenous peoples within the domestic economy and international trade will benefit all of Canada and New Zealand. The relationships we create and nourish today between the Indigenous peoples of Canada and the Māori of Aotearoa-New Zealand will help ensure the wellness of our future generations.”

Dawn Madahbee Leach
Chairperson of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board

“Aotearoa-New Zealand and Canada are two countries on a similar path of reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the state. This delegation has been an opportunity to strengthen our partnership as we work toward a future determined by Indigenous voices.”

Brenda Gunn
Academic and Research Director at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

“As an Anishinaabe equay from Eabametoong First Nation, I am honoured and humbled to be on this journey, to meet those of Aotearoa who, similarly to Canada, continue to dedicate their efforts to regenerate our languages and thrive as the First Peoples.”

Sharon Nate
Executive Director of Education, Matawa First Nations

“This week’s events in New Zealand represent a positive step forward for Inuit women’s equity, participation, and recognition of leadership. While Inuit women continue to face significant barriers to full economic, social, and political participation in Canada, the signing of the Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement provides a starting point to connect with the Māori of New Zealand and share our experiences and promising practices on an international stage. Going forward, we are eager to explore opportunities to promote Inuit women, girls, and gender-diverse people, and to build strong partnerships with Indigenous people in both countries.

This trip has been very overwhelming, very meaningful, very special! The ties that Indigenous peoples feel to the land, animals, and the air cannot be broken. What we have known from the beginning of time, when human first came upon the earth, what creator gave us, we know we have to protect and give to our children and grandchildren, and all of their grandchildren to come. We are the stewards, the guardians and the teachers. This trip has is an example of our kinship and shows how we can move the rest of the world forward with us, to care for what we know is a gift.”

Gerri Sharpe
President of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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