December 12, 2017
TPK marks 25th anniversary
A former head of Te Puni Kokiri says the Maori Development Ministry has evolved over the past 25 years as it responded to the various changes of governments and ministers.
Leith Comer played a role in the formation of the ministry as a member of the advisory panel that wrote the Ka Awatea report recommending a merger of the two bodies created by the break up of the Department of Maori Affairs, the Iwi Transition Agency, Manatu Maori and the Ministry of Maori Affairs.
He was its second chief executive after Sir Harawira Gardiner and served under Labour's Parekura Horomia and the Maori Party's Sir Pita Sharples.
The ministry supports a range of programmes as well as monitoring the activities of other crown agencies.
"I think it started off being an organisation that was interested in a number of different aspects of Maori life like health, education, economic development, trade training and the like, and it wasn't until the Clark Government came in and we had Closing of the gaps (policy) and that monitoring role came in," Mr Comer says.
He says Te Puni Kokiri is necessary as long as there is a minister for Maori affairs – and it's better to have that minister inside cabinet than outside it.
Copyright © 2017, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com