Maori Women's Welfare League leader slams 'embedded Pakeha privilege'

Source: 1News

The leader of the Maori Women's Welfare League has used the organisation's national conference and 65th birthday to accuse successive governments of failing Maori.

The league's influence has been on the wane but its president Prue Kapua today reminded politicians it still has some bite. 

"The position that we find ourselves in today is as a result of the dominant Pakeha culture, they embed Pakeha privilege and the Government doesn't care, again reflective in the absence of Government ministers here today," Ms Kapua told the conference in Auckland.

She took aim at successive governments for Maori failure across decades.  

"They have failed Maori in all areas."

These days the league is focused on fighting changes to child welfare that will prevent abused children being placed with wider whanau or iwi. 

"This proposed change conjures up images of Australia's stolen generations and Canada's sixties swoop," Ms Kapua said.

And while the conference turnout was good, the organisation has been losing influence.

It was once led by legends, like Whina Cooper, with a direct line to the Beehive.

Labour MP for Hauraki-Waikato, Nanaia Mahuta, says change is needed.

"It's my strong ambition that any government would see the Maori Women's Welfare League as relevant. But here's the thing - you've got the Iwi Leaders Group and they don't have a place for the Maori Women's Welfare League. It's about time they changed," she said.