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Māori lawyer and activist Moana Jackson dies after long illness

Māori lawyer and activist Moana Jackson dies after long illness
Prominent Māori lawyer and activist Moana Jackson of New Zealand has died. Photo courtesy of New Zealand Tertiary Education Union/Wikimedia Commons 

March 31 (UPI) -- Moana Jackson, a prominent Māori lawyer and activist died in New Zealand after a long fight against cancer, officials confirmed Thursday.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Jackson "left a mark on an entire generation."

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"Moana Jackson was well-known domestically and internationally for his expertise in indigenous issues," Ardern told the New Zealand Herald. "He was incredibly generous with his time and sharing of his knowledge, storytelling and gentle approach."

Jackson was a scholar who shaped public debate around colonization.

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He worked for the United Nations, helping draft the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. After completing his training as a lawyer, Jackson studied in the United States, working for a time for the Navaho Legal Service.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson, Moana Jackson's nephew, said he was proud to have an uncle held in such high esteem and who had such a brilliant mind.

"Uncle Moana was a man who always waited to be called on and was never one to jump in front of the limelight," Jackson said.

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In 1988, Jackson wrote a report revealing institutional racism in New Zealand's criminal justice system and calling for a higher appreciation of colonialism's toll on Māori.

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Golriz Ghahraman, a member of the New Zealand Parliament, remembered Jackson in a post on Twitter.

"There are no words I could say beyond the outpouring of emotion and eloquence for the loss of Dr Moana Jackson," tweeted. "I will add my personal gratitude for his support and indomitable work for hate speech protections for our most vulnerable communities, in the face of white supremacy."

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