Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 25, 2006

Te Waka Kai Ora looks to species ownership, control

A spokesperson for Maori organic growers association says the government has failed to protect Maori interests in traditional plant and animal species.

Te Waka Kai Ora is a late entrant into the Waitangi Tribunal's long running Wai 262 Claim on indigenous plants and animals.

Mataatua representative Maanu Paul says the association will give evidence that the creation of the Australia and New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority is not only a lessening of New Zealand's sovereignty but a betrayal of Maori tino rangatiratanga as guaranteed by the treaty.

Mr Paul says the organic growers have a direct stake in the outcome of the claim.

“We bridge the ao tawhitu, the stone age of the Maorim, and we bring it forward to the international arena, where we say our livelihoods, which have their genesis in our tikanga, our whakapapa,is about to be taken away from us,” Paul said.

Maanu Paul says the government must ensure international drug and chemical companies can't patent or claim intellectual property in New Zealand's native species.

GREEN SUPPORTS STUDENT PROTEST

Green's Maori affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei says yesterday's hikoi to Parliament by Maori students association Te Mana Akonga was a timely reminder of the government's lack of commitment to Maori.

The students were protesting the pressure put on the wananga sector and the axing of support programmes like Manaaki Tauira grants.

Ms Turei says the programmes need to be revived or replaced by something which will ensure more Maori can complete a tertiary education.

Metiria Turei says programmes which benefited Maori were the victims of a racist backlash as the government responded to National Party attacks on supposed race-based funding.

KAHUNGUNU LAUNCHES LANGUAGE WAKE-UP

Hawkes Bay iwi Ngati Kahungunu has launched a language strategy to address the falling number of native speakers in its rohe.

Runanga chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says the Nga Toki Matarau Whakaoho strategy calls on Kahungunu people to whakaoho or wake up and start learning and using their own dialect.

Mr Tomoana says the proud expression of tribal dialects at the tangi for the Maori queen at Turangawaewae over the past week, showed the value of language retention.

“Toki matarau is all eyebrows to be raised when speaking our reo. At Turangawaewae there was nothing spoken but te reo, and it’s just fantastic if we could start generating that amongst our communities,” Tomoana said.

INDEPENDENT RATES INQUIRY GIVEN CHANCE

Greens local governemnt and Maori Affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei says she is prepared to give the government's independent inquiry into rates a chance.

Ms Turei yesterday abstained from a National-backed motion to have the local government select committee mount its own
inquiry.

She says the select committee can always revisit the issue if the independent inquiry fails to deliver.

Ms Turei says a key concern of the Greens is the impact of the current system on Maori, with many councils taking an inconsistent approach to issues such as remission of rates on Maori land.

“They have different policies, some are more draconian than others, some are very good, some are not, and Maori get caught up in owning land they can’t develop, for whatever reason, but sometimes still having to pay rates on it for thing like water and sewerage and those sorts of things, so we really need to look at the fairness of that,” Turei said.

Metiria Turei says the Greens are also concerned at the way Maori land is treated for valuation purposes, and the fact that muliply-owned land does not qualify for rates rebates.

SMOKING ACTION TOO SOFT FOR HEALTH WORKER

Maori health worker Waerete Walters says the government could do more to stop tobacco sales, which she says is behind far too much Maori ill health.

Mrs Walters says millions of dollars would be saved in health funding if there were fewer smokers.

She says it's a problem the Government can do something about:

“I know it's up to us to look after ourselves but you know smoking is the biggest killer for us as Maori, but still the government allows it to be produced here, manufactured here, just so us as Maori can keep on being sick, so all these professionals can have a job,” Walters said.

TRAVELERS KEEN ON MAORI EXPERIENCE

The woman judged the country's top young tourism professional says travelers are keen to get a flavour of Maori culture during their stay here.

29-year-old Melissa Crockett from Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu and Te Rarawa won the New Zealand Tourism Industry award for her work with Potiki Adventures, which offers day trips an other tours around Auckland.

Ms Crockett says Maori elements pervade every aspect of the Potiki Adventures experience.

“We do karakia before we take people snorkeling or kayaking or go into the water. We teach them the traditional karakia for food. If we’re out in the bush doing a bush walk we will talk about rongoa Maori, our traditional plant medicines, and we will do the Maori creation myth standing at the base of a giant kauri tree, things that give them a tangible sense of how Maori culture is incorporated into New Zealand life,” Crockett said.

Ms Crockett says she and co-director Bianca Ranson started Potoki Adventures because they saw an under-exploited niche market for Maori tourism in the nation's largest city.

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