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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Te Taou challenges Auckland deal

A small Kaipara tribe is leading the charge against the proposed settlement of Auckland land claims.

The government has signed an agreement in principle which gives Ngati Whatua o Orakei $10 million and the right to buy any surplus Crown properties on most of the Auckland isthmus.

Lou Paul from Te Runanga o Te Taou says the Office of Treaty Settlements has accepted Orakei's version of history without allowing it to be tested before the Waitangi Tribunal.

Mr Paul says it is continuing more than 150 years of colonial policies which have pushed Te Taou off the land.

“Some people might refer to us as a lost tribe. We don’t consider ourselves to be that. I suppose the process of alienation, of what happened to Te Taou’s interests. They were one of the eight recorded original tribes of south Kaipara, including Tamaki, and were virtually declassified out of existence,” Paul said.

The Waitangi Tribunal is holding a judicial conference in Auckland on September 19 on whether it should give Te Taou an urgent hearing.

NEW PLYMOUTH CARPARK IRKS HAPU

New Plymouth Maori are fighting a plan to build a car park on a culturally significant site.

The land, a popular foreshore reserve, was returned to the Ngati Te Whiti hapu by the Maori Land Court last year.

It is now leased by the Puke Ariki Land Trust to the New Plymouth District Council.

Ngati Te Whiti descendant Wharehoka Wano says a plan to extend an existing carpark onto the reserve has come out of the blue, and there are better ways to use the land.

“The problem I suppose is the council hasn’t consulted well with local hapu. There’s lots of opportunity what we could down in that area. We want to put a memorial, maybe a whare of some sort, as long as we have the option to decide what we want to do there and have some input,” Wano said.

Wharehoka Wano says the reserve was part of Ngati Te Whiti's Puke Ariki pa, which was established in the 1600s.

NOT A PRAYER FOR SCHOOL ATTACK

The Prime Minister says the government had no part to play in guidelines for religion in schools.

National Party Education spokesman Bill English has claimed the Government withdrew the guidelines on religious instruction after pressure from parents, and Anglican Bishops and himself.

But Helen Clark says the proposed guidelines came to light because of a report by Education Ministry officials to a select committee.

“Never come near the Cabinet, never came near me as Prime Minister, doubt it ever got near the minister. The Education Ministry then got a volley of complaints because basically people handle it satisfactorily as it is, and they’ve now said they’ll leave it alone. Now Mr English can’t go round saying ‘the government’ changed its mind when frankly, ‘the Government’ had never heard of it,” Clark said.

TURIA LAYS DOWN LAW ON KOHA

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has laid down the law to her colleagues about the way they will handle koha.

A party caucus meeting yesterday tried to do some damage control over statements made by its MPs defending Labour MP Taito Philip Field from allegations he took cash donations from Samoan constituents.

Both Hone Harawira and Pita Sharples admitted getting cash koha or gifts from supporters without issuing receipts.

Mrs Turia says the party now has clear rules about koha.

“When people give any member of the Maori caucus money they are being given that money as members of the Maori Party. The money will go into the party or it will go into the electorate budget,” Turia said.

Mrs Turia says Parliament needs to look at the whole issue of gifts and donations for MPs.

WARDENS WANT CRACK AT PRISON TRANSPORT

A west Auckland Maori warden says the organisation could do a better job transporting prisoners than the private security firms now doing the job.

Jack Taumaunu says the alleged murder of teenager Liam Ashley in the back of a prison transport highlights the need for a different approach.

Mr Taumaunu says Maori wardens have unique skills they could bring to the job, but they tend to be overlooked.

“I'm very very concerned with the prejudicial system against our Maori wardens out here from the Corrections and the Justice system. We’ve been waiting, hoping and praying that someone will give our Maori wardens a crack at some of this stuff because private security companies are in this for one thing and that’s money for their back pockets,” Taumaunu says.

Jack Taumaunu says Maori wardens often know the prisoners and their family histories

VACCINATION POSITIVE DESPITE RISKS

The results of the meningococcal B immunisation programme have been positive for Maori families.

The programme has come under fire from critics who say the health ministry is experimenting with the health of children.

But programme director Dr Jane O'Hallahan says there has been a significant drop off in new cases among Maori children, particularly in Auckland and Northland.

She says there is now an effective vaccine, and that has given Maori families confidence to get their children seen.

“Many Maori parents have sadly had this disease in their whanau and we are really please with the way Maori parents have responded in accepting this new vaccine for their children and their faith in the programme is showing good results, because we are now seeing a significant drop off in the disease in the. Maori population,” O’Hallahan said.

Jane O'Hallahan says there always risks in any programme.

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