Māori want a relationship with the Crown that is based on the Treaty of Waitangi, Crown/Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis says.

He was in Whanganui on May 4 fronting a public meeting at Wanganui Function Centre, to get opinions on how the relationship should be.

The Iwi Chairs' Forum was over and most of those leaders had left before his hui with Whanganui people started at 2pm. About 30 were waiting to talk to him.

The Crown/Māori role is a new one. For the past 20 to 30 years those relationships have mostly been about Treaty settlements, he said. It's time for a new kind of relationship.


"It's a conversation we have never had before and although I may be a Māori MP and minister, I'm not presuming I know everything and can speak for everyone."

The Whanganui hui is the 12th in a series of about 20. There have also been 10 focus groups held in Wellington, with small business owners, the Federation of Māori Authorities, Māori Women's Welfare League and others.

The feedback has been consistent, Davis said. Māori don't want to be just another stakeholder. They are tangata whenua (the people of the land), and want to be Treaty partners.

Often they feel their views have not been heard by local authorities.

"They quite like talking to ministers but by the time things happen at grassroots level the conversations with ministers aren't reflected."

People at the hui have appreciated Davis asking their opinion.

"They're grateful that we're going out and asking, not saying 'This is what the relationship is going to look like and you are going to love it'."

Views from the hui will be recorded online, and used to decide on Davis' work in the new role. Submissions can also be made online at www.justice.govt.nz/maori-land-treaty/crown-maori-relations/ by May 30.

Davis is also the Minister of Corrections, of Tourism, Associate Minister of Education and deputy leader of the Labour Party.