Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Walden pushes for wardens’ autonomy from Maori Council

Maori Wardens' national president Peter Walden says he has come back for another term so he can win autonomy for the organisation.

The wardens come under the authority of district Maori councils.

Mr Walden says that might have worked when the Maori Welfare Act was written in 1962, but it doesn't work now.

He says both organisations will work better if they are separated.

“We want the district Maori council and Te Kaunihera Maori to get their act together, expand their membership and representation and get on and be the political fighting arm for Maori. We have a track record. Leave us to manage our own affairs. After 38 years we’ve earned the right,” Walden says.

Peter Walden says Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia has indicated he is considering a change in status for the wardens.


Waitangi Tribunal claimant Maanu Paul says the case against the Crown in the WAI 262 fauna and flora claim is sounding very strong.

Mr Paul has joined the claim at a late stage as a representative for the Maori organic growers association, Te Waka Kai Ora.

He says he was impressed with the evidence presented last week in Mangere by northern claimants representing Ngati Kuri, Te Rarawa and Ngati Wai.

He says the tribes have a consistent message that the Crown has failed in its Treaty obligation to protect Maori interests in the natural world.

“Since the Crown has failed to actively protect them as people and them as part of the environment, then the Crown should provide compensation for the errors they have committed,” Paul said.

Hearings resume today in Tokomaru Bay, and move next week to Waipatu Marae near Hastings and in Nelson.


A hui of Ngapuhi elders has come up with a candidate to speak for iwi members living in Auckland.

The elders were concerned that too many people seemed to be speaking for the nation's largest iwi.

Hui spokesperson Wiremu Tairua says the consensus was that Corrections Department kaumatua John Komene should be the mangai or mouthpiece for Ngapuhi ki Tamaki on tribal matters.

“He knows the people in Tamaki and also he knows when he goes back to Ngapuhi he knows most of the people when Waitangi Day comes, and when he goes to Tainui. He represents the kaumatua to the police in Auckland. All of these things he is qualified to support the Maoris in Tamaki,” Tairua says.

Tairua says matters relating to the tribal homelands will be left to elders still living in the north.


Ngai Tahu kaumatua Sir Tipene O'Regan says Maoridom should not expect too much of the new Maori king in the early years of his reign.

The tribes including Ngai Tahu are discussing how they can support Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki, and they have been invited to come together in November by Lake Taupo to discuss the formation of a representative Maori body for that purpose.

Sir Tipene says the prominent role assumed by the late Maori queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, was largely shaped by the people around her such as her brother Sir Robert Mahuta and by the Tainui and Maori renaissance.

“I wouldn't expect the new Tainui ariki, Tuheitia, to have that kind of influence for some years, and that tends to throw the spotlight back to Tuwharetoa and the extent to which the ariki of that tribe, Tumu te Heuheu moves into the role his late father had amongst my generation,” O’Regan said.

Sir Tipene O'Regan says Tuwharetoa from the central plateau has always had a uniting role within Maoridom.


Waitangi Tribunal member Ranginui Walker says there is growing frustration at the delays in hearing claims from Taitokerau.

He says the tribunal encourages natural groupings of tribes to group together to speed up the claims process, but many in the north seem to want to go it alone.

Dr Walker says the tribunal has had to postpone a judicial conference with on the northern claims because the claim design group headed by Te Runanga o Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau hasn't made enough progress.

“They want to take charge of the process and lay down the kaupapa as to how the hearings will take place. They will come up with a hearings plan. The tribunal has conceded that, so the triubunal is waiting for Te Runanga o Ngapuhi to define how the hearings will proceed,” Walker said.

Ranginui Walker says unless progress is made soon, Ngapuhi risks not getting its claims heard at all.


A former union colleague of Taito Philip Field says it's time for the Mangere MP to walk.

Pressure in creasing on Mr Field as fresh allegations emerge about his dealings with constitutents and people seeking help with immigration.

Unite Union president Matt McCarten, a fellow organiser with Mr Field in the Service Workers Union, says Labour leader Helen Clark is making it very clear Mr Field is a problem she wants to go away.

“Clark has clearly withdrawn her support, so as far as a Labour MP goes, it's all over,” McCarten said.

Matt McCarten says Labour would easily retain Mangere is Field resigns.


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