Thousands of protesters in New Zealand took to the streets Tuesday after the new government released its plans for policy regarding Maori rights and The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand.The protests occurred after Te Pati Maori (The Maori Party) called upon its members and sympathetic New Zealanders to protest the morning of the new parliament being opened as the New Government was being sworn in.  After the October election saw a change in the ruling party, the National Party and its right-leaning coalition proposed major policy changes regarding the rights of Maori. Chief among these policies is the removal of co-governance systems that were brought in by the previous government, a reduction in government agencies’ use of Te Reo Maori (the Maori Language) and a proposal by one of the National’s coalition partners to redefine the treaty of Waitangi in a “more modern” setting.The Treaty of Waitangi was created by the British Crown and Maori and promised certain rights and privileges to the Maori people. While the treaty in its original form is less relevant in modern times, it was codified in the Treaty of Waitangi Act of 1975 which states what parts of the treaty must be adhered to.The new Prime Minister Christopher Luxton defended the decision to change the treaty, saying that the government was endeavoring to discuss what the treaty means to New Zealanders in the modern day. King Tūheitia has called a national hui (meeting) between Iwi (tribes) to discuss the united stance that the Maori should take on the matter.

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