Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 23, 2006

Claim process could come under tribunal eye

The Waitangi Tribunal has called a judicial hearing on whether it should inquire into the Government's treaty settlement process.

The hearing in Wellington on November the 22nd follows a challenge by Kaipara iwi Te Taou to the government's proposed settlement of Ngati Whatua's claims in Auckland city.

Tribunal acting chairperson Carrie Wainwright says the Te Taou claim is just one of many alleging the Crown's settlement policies and practices are creating fresh treaty breaches.

She invited representatives from more than 40 claims around the country to the conference.

Te Taou spokesperson Lou Paul says his iwi just wants the Auckland claims tested in an open forum.

“We thought we put the issues forward a the last conference, and there was overwhelming support for Te Taou to receive that urgent hearing, which would have then allowed all the other competing claims to also place submissions before the tribunal, so this has taken a lot of them by surprise,” Paul said.


Owners of Maori land leased to Carter Holt Harvey have asked the Waitangi Tribunal to look into the Commerce Commission's failure to take their concerns into account when clearing Carter Holt's forest estate for sale.

The Commission says North American fund manager Hancock Natural Resource Group can buy the 250 thousand hectares of forests, including more than 30 thousand hectares on Maori land.

Kokakotaea Forest Corporation director Glen Katu says the commission refused to hear submission on the effect of the deal would on Maori landowners.

“What we are doing is going to the Waitangi Tribunal to say that here is a claim from a number of forestry owners that we believe we have been disadvantaged by the Commerce Commission not giving us the chance to speak on that particular proposal and perhaps listen to why they shouldn’t approve the transaction,” Katu said.

Glen Katu says the landowners are keen to talk with Hancock about how they can buy back their leases for a fair market price.


Newly-appointed Maori Heritage Council member Mike Spedding is investing in the heritage of the Tairawhiti area.

The former director of the Tairawhiti Museum says like many parts of the country, the area has a dual Maori and Pakeha heritage which should be celebrated.

Mr Spedding says education is the key to understanding, and he is doing what he can to build the next generation of people who will have a respect for the past.

“I'm working for the Tairawhiti Polytechnic here in Gisborne, and they’ve asked me to help design and develop a qualification in heritage and museum studies, so we’re hoping to have that running in the first semester of 2007,” Spedding said.

Mike Spedding, the newest member of the Historic Places Trust's Maori Heritage Council.


Maori landowners say billionaire Graeme Hart's sale of Carter Holt Harvey's forests may come unstuck because their rights as indigenous people haven't been respected.

North American fund manager Hancock Natural Resource Group has been cleared by the Commerce Commission to buy the 250 thousand hectare estate.

Glen Katu from the Te Kuiti-based Kokakotaea Forest Corporation says about a fifth of the forests are grown on Maori or Crown lease land, but Maori have been shut out of the sale process.

He says the landowners have been in touch with the Forest Stewardship Council, whose accreditation is needed if the forest owner is to sell its timber for the best price.

“Part of that accreditation process does provide for working with indigenous people such as Maori in a way that furthers their development as well as the forestry company’s development, And obviously that is not something we have seen to date from Carter Holt Harvey,” Katu said.

Glen Katu says Maori landowners just want the chance to buy back their forest leases at a fair market price.


More gambling profits need to be channelled back into helping problem gamblers.

That's the view of Hokianga-based community health worker Hohepa Topia.

Mr Topia says the government is making huge amounts of money from
gambling, but seems unwilling to put the resources into dealing with its
negative effects.

He says the impact can be seen in any Maori community.

“The problem has to be everywhere, because people can see it. All you have to do is go past a TAB, you’ll find our own people going in and gambling. Pokey machines are everywhere. They should tighten up on rules and regulations, and gambling organizations should be made to be more accountable,” Topia said.

Joe Topia says much of the money that is currently directed toward the problem is thrown willy nilly to organisations without clear directives as to how it should be spent.


A Maori cooking show is making big inroads into Food TV.

In Kaiora, chef Anne Thorp puts together traditional cuisine prepared for her Maori musical guests, who reciprocate by playing waiata.

It was originally put together to screen on Maori Television, but was quickly picked up to screen on Sky's food channel.

Dishes like Horopito carpetbag steak, and koura e tamure or crayfish and snapper salad, must have gone down a treat with the channel's producers, because Ms Thorpe's show is now being shown overseas.

“Well since the Kaiora programme went on the food channel, it’s been picked up by TVF International, one of the biggest distribution companies in the world for television programmes, it has headlined their cooking programme at Cannes, it’s up on the big screen,” Thorp said.

Anne Thorp says the distributors plan to fly her to the south of France early next year, to cook for the international producers.


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