4:05 PM



Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia has unreservedly apologised for offending anyone over her comparison of Maori colonisation to the holocaust.



However, before making a personal statement in Parliament Mrs Turia told MPs she agreed with the description in a Waitangi Tribunal report which likened what happened to Taranaki Maori to the holocaust.



In her statement though she blamed the media, saying her speech had been taken out of context.

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"I am saddened at how my speech has been misreported and misconstrued and as a result caused distress to a number of people including colleagues in this House and my own staff."



Mrs Turia told Parliament she never meant to belittle the survivors of the holocaust.



"I was simply stating what I am sure that many New Zealanders, Maori and Pakeha, agree that Maori have been marginalised from the economic and mainstream of New Zealand life since the mid 19th century and that experience has been depressing for our people."



Earlier, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters suggested Mrs Turia believed she had licence to use the word "holocaust" because it was contained in the Waitangi Tribunal report.



- IRN