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Māori are descended from people who have always seen the value of travel and exploration.

Since as far back as oral histories extend, travel and transportation has been integral to Māori. Polynesians were voyaging around half the globe, at a time when Europeans had not yet ventured beyond the coast of their own continent.

Māori people are descended from Eastern Polynesians who travelled to New Zealand over 700 years ago. New Zealand was the last significant land mass to be discovered. It was likely located in a voyage of discovery that marked the final stage of Polynesian migration, today regarded as some of the greatest acts of travel in world history. Different iwi and hapu trace their whakapapa to various waka, which voyaged to New Zealand on subsequent and deliberate voyages of colonisation. Today, these stories of transport to Aotearoa form a key part of Māori identity.

Aotearoa’s transport system has undergone changes since the early travellers of the nation.

We want to build on our understanding of te ao Māori in transport today to evolve and strengthen the system and ensure that progress improves the wellbeing and liveability of Aotearoa New Zealand and all its people.

As a signatory to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Te Tiriti), the Crown has an obligation to uphold Te Tiriti in all its interaction with Māori.

The Crown needs to demonstrate that it is actively living up to these obligations, while recognising that the Māori-Crown partnership is an evolving relationship.

While our knowledge is currently limited, we know that Māori are inequitably impacted by the transport system.

The first stage of He Waka Maiangi is about creating a stronger evidence base, which will include gathering qualititative data. This knowledge will then be shaped into a narrative report that will outline areas where aspects of transport policy and planning could be improved to deliver better outcomes for Māori now and into the future.

We will continue to update this webpage and provide new material as the project progresses.

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