• Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand today signed a collaboration arrangement bringing together the two countries’ Indigenous peoples. (SBS)Source: SBS
The Minister for Indigenous Australians and his NZ counterpart have signed an agreement to work together to better empower First Nations people.
Shahni Wellington

28 Feb 2020 - 1:44 PM  UPDATED 28 Feb 2020 - 1:44 PM

The Minister for Indigenous Australians and New Zealand's Minister for Māori Development signed an "historic" agreement to promote economic, social and cultural advancement in Sydney on Friday.

The document, named the 'Indigenous Collaboration Agreement', signifies a commitment for both countries to share knowledge and experience to improve the lives of Indigenous people. 

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, and the Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, landed in Australia on Friday morning as part of a planned visit. 

Minister Mahuta joined her Australian equivalent - Ken Wyatt- at Admiralty House in Sydney to form the first-of-its-kind partnership.

The pair aim to promote economic, social and cultural advancement by learning from each other.

Minister Wyatt said Australia and New Zealand can draw from their similarities.

“The opportunity of having a marriage between our two cultures gives us a strength and commitment to walk together that identifies the best opportunities as First Nations peoples... but more importantly, to learn from each other." he said.

New Zealand has long been prominent leaders in preserving and celebrating traditional language and culture, partly stemming from the Treaty of Waitangi - made in 1840 upon colonisation and signed by around 500 Maori chiefs.

Under the new arrangement, Minister Wyatt and Minister Mahuta plan to meet annually, and establish communication between their respective agencies - the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) and Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Māori Development.

Aside from on-going dialogue, it isn't yet clear if the partnership will deliver any other practical outcomes.

Minister Mahuta says there will be a focus on matters of culture, trade and innovation.

“We believe Indigenous-to-Indigenous relationships can underpin a different way of economic opportunity, exploring that, sharing ideas - especially in terms of educational advancement - and importantly, underpinned by our cultural strengths." Minister Mahuta said.

"I know he believes like me that in taking a strengths based approach to Indigenous development, we can lift the well-being and support the aspirations of our peoples in our respective countries...

"But more than that, we can share the way in which these opportunities can work across the Tasman.” Minister Mahuta said.

Nova Peris acknowledged as national woman of the year
Nova Peris can now add another accolade to her name as she is recognised as the national woman of the year.