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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rates review must consider Maori issues

A Maori lawyer says a review of rates and council funding must address issues facing Maori landowners.

Atareta Poananga, who sits on the Gisborne District Council, says Maori have a range of concerns, many of them relating to past confiscation and the use Maori can make of their land.

Ms Poananga says the land valuation system is particularly discriminatory and needs addressing.

“We don't sell our the land and the current regime is the more value your property is the more rates you pay, and of course most of us being poverty-stricken people, we’re going to have huge rises in our rates, so they’re going to have to look at a treaty based approach to the rating regime,” Poananga said.

Atareta Poananga says without substantial Maori input, the rating review will be seen as a window dressing exercise for a government which is facing pressure on the issue.

WAI 262 THE TUAKANA CLAIM

Ngati Kahungunu chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says the Wai 262 claim for fauna and fauna is the most senior of all claims.

The Waitangi Tribunal has been at Mangere's Te Puea Marae this week in the first of a final set of hearings on the 14-year old claim.

Maori are claiming the Treaty of Waitangi guarantees them tino rangatiratanga of full contol over what happens to native plant and animal species.

Mr Tomoana says the claim is so important because it goes to the heart of Maori identity and recognition.

“To us Kahungunu it’s the tuakana of all claims because it talks about who we are as a people. We want that recognized, but everything the Crown has done has tried to disrecognised and disestablish,” Tomoana said.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says Kahungunu will make its final submissions at a later hearing at Waipatu marae in the Hawkes Bay.


MTS SNAGS FREE TO AIR LEAGUE

Maori Television has secured the free to air broadcasting rights to tri-nations rugby league games.

Bailey Mackey, the channel's executive producer for sports, says League has lacked a free to air broadcaster for several years.

Mr Mackey says it's part of Maori Television's commitment to a sport which is particularly strong among Maori.

“We've entered into an agreement with New Zealand Rugby League over the broadcasting of the grassroots end or broadcasting the national premiership competition, also known as the Bartercard Cup. Securing of the free to air Kiwi rights is a further development of that relationship, really awesome part of reinforcing us as the home of New Zealand rugby league.” Mackey said.

Bailey Mackey says the first broadcast will be the Kiwis against Australia in Auckland on August the 14th.

DOVER BACKS RATES REVIEW
Dover Rates

Labour MP Dover Samuels says the Maori Caucus intends to have a strong voice on the select committee inquiry into rates and council funding.

Mr Samuels, a former Far North District Councillor, says rates are a constant source of tension between Maori and local government.

He says the rating system needs to take into account the differences between Maori and
general land.

“Maori landowners are restricted in the way they can deal with their land. The formula that is used by council to strike rates on Maori land is inconsistent with the fact Maori land cannot be sold. I would envisage local authorities would use a different method of ascertaining rates on Maori land as opposed to general land,” Samuels said.

Dover Samuels says Labour didn't support ACT leader Rodney Hide's rates amendment bill becuase it was political stunt rather than a serious attempt to address the issue

CULTURAL OBLIGATIONS RAISED AT CLAIM

A Te Rarawa tribal representative has told the Waitangi Tribunal that Maori have a cultural obligation to care for the environment.

Haami Piripi was summing up the Far North tribe's case in the Wai 262 claim for indigenous fauna and flora.

He says the government has failed as a treaty partner because it won't take the Maori world view into account in its environmental management.

“ We are part of an entire cosmology, we are part of a geneology of the environment, and so we are a species too. And being a species we are related to the trees, related to the birds, related to the plants. And in that relationship lies our sacred obligation to protect and nurture those aspects of our environment,” Piripi said.

TOURISM AWARD FOR AUCKLAND DAYTOURS

A Taitokerau woman has been judged the top young tourism professional at the New Zealand Tourism Industry Awards.

29-year-old Melissa Crockett from Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu and Te Rarawa runs Potiki Adventures, which offers day trips around Auckland with a Maori perspective.

Judges said she was a rising star and true asset to the industry.

Ms Crockett says she started Potoki Adventures because there was little else on offer in Auckland for people wanting a unique Maori experience.

“When we set up there was a cultural show, a kappa haka at the museum, which was awesome, and that was it. We thought when we travel we want to meet other indigenous people and find out not just the history, which you definitely want to know, but how do people live their lives today,” Crockett said.

Melissa Crockett says Potoki Adventures appeals to both the high end individual tourist and the younger adventure traveller.

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