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Annette Sykes

Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Makino

Annette Te Imaima Sykes focuses on Māori law in her own law firm. She has been actively advocating for human rights for over 35 years and is dedicated to bringing about constitutional change. She has also been involved in the Waitangi Tribunal Claims process, addressing issues related to the cultural and intellectual property rights of Māori communities affected by government policies.

Annette was one of the first members of the Māori Broadcasting Agency, which was established after successful court claims regarding the Māori language. She also served as a founding member of Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd and was appointed Deputy Chairperson as part of the Māori Fisheries Settlement in 1989.

Annette has represented Māori in various United Nations forums and has provided advice on issues such as human trafficking, promoting a nuclear-free Pacific, and advocating for Indigenous rights. She has held important positions in several organizations dedicated to sustainable Māori development.

Currently, she is a member of Te Tai Kaha Māori Collective and acts as an advisor to the Government in promoting Māori rights, interests and responsibilities in freshwater and taking part in the Resource Management reforms. She recently became the main lawyer representing Māori in claims against the government regarding the CPP TPPA, ensuring that te Tiriti o Waitangi is respected in free trade negotiations. Above all, she is a mother and grandmother and is deeply connected to her tribal communities who have supported her throughout her career.

From neoliberal globalisation to tino rangatiratanga – what Tiriti-based globalisation should look like

Colonisation is a capitalist venture that has taken different forms over 180 years in Aotearoa. A particularly vicious form took root in the 1980s known as neoliberalism. In the name of letting “markets”, wealth, profit, greed, individualism were celebrated as core “values”. Māori were amongst the hardest hit. Over time, globalisation of neoliberalism was locked in through international trade agreements. Ironically, the neoliberal revolution coincided with state commitments to Honour the Treaty, which in practice came to mean incorporating Māori into neoliberalism, especially through Treaty settlements.

Māori have both led the resistance to neoliberalism, and become incorporated into it. Aotearoa now faces a resurgence of vicious neoliberalism at a time of deepened poverty, climate crisis, homelessness, and overt racism. Gains made through struggle that can lead to genuine transformation risk being rolled back. Resistance requires a combination of analysis, strategy, activism, and effective and respectful alliances between Māori and Tauiwi.

Annette Sykes
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