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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Foreshore bill faces rocky passage

The president of the Maori Party says he expects it will be a struggle to get the party's Seabed and Foreshore Act Repeal Bill past its first reading.

The bill was drawn out tf the ballot yesterday, the first draw since it was put in, and it is likely to come before Parliament on the next members' day on October the 25th.

Professor Whatarangi Winiata says the Maori Party now needs to step up its consultation with other parties.

He says the party can't take anyone's support for granted, but there are principles at stake which should win support across party lines.

“The position of Maori on property rights has become clearer to other members of Parliament, certainly the National Party and others, including the Greens, see the merit in the Maori position,” Winiata said.


NZ First MP Pita Paraone claims his Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Bill will preserve the integrity of both the Maori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal.
The bill, which came out of the ballot yesterday, will bar High Court and Maori Land Court judges from serving on the tribunal.

Mr Paraone says it will address the possibility of bias or interference in the current system.

“The concern is that if there is a decision that is made in the Maori Land Court, the possibilities could lead to an eventual claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, and so we just want to endure that the integrity of the court and of both jurisdictions, that is the Waitangi Tribunal and the Maori Land Court, are maintained,” Paraone said.

Auckland University associate law professor David Williams says the use of judges to run commissions of inquiry is a well established tradition, and the quality of Waitangi Tribunal reports could suffer if some of the best available experts in Maori law and history are barred from serving.


Manurewa Marae will this weekend resound to the sounds of haka and waiata as Auckland secondary schools compete for the top kapa haka title.

Organiser Elanor Biddle from Te Wharekura o Manurewa says the theme of this year's Te Ahurea Tino Rangatiratanga competitons is Te Whakapaapaatanga o Nga Maunga, the stories of the mountains.

Ms Biddle says the schools have a lot to choose from.

“Tamaki Makaurau with its unique and dynamic landscape is home to many maunga, and the theme for this year’s event if for our rangatahi to research and understand the history of the area and their relationship to the geography of Tamaki Makaurau,” Biddle says.

The competition feature top judges such as Tawhirimatea and Kaa Williams and Taiaha Hawke.


Nationals' Maori Affairs spokesperson says while his party is unlikely to support the Maori Party's bill to overturn the Foreshore and Seabed Act, it is willing to have a close look at what is on offer.

The members bill in the name of Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia came out of the ballot yesterday, and could be put before Parliament as early as Wednesday week.

Gerry Brownlee says National also wants the act overturned, but for different reasons to the Maori Party.
He says support would depend on how the bill advances National's argument.

“One of the interesting things for us is that it appears that the Maori Party bill may confirm that the vast majority of the foreshore and seabed around this country is in Crown ownership. We have always said this is unsettled law. I don’t know of any New Zealander who doesn’t have a very strong affinity and love for the coastline of this country, and we want to see that protected and enhanced,” Brownlee said.


A descendant of Hone Heke's eldest brother says he wants backpay from Britain.

David Rankin from Te Matarahurahu hapu of Ngapuhi says the third article of the Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed by his tipuna, guarantees Maori the rights and privileges of British subjects.

Mr Rankin says that should mean British retirement pensions and other entitlements.

“I want backpay. I want it all to be backpaid for our parents, or grandparents, our great grandparents,and our great great grandparents who were all alive after the signing of the treaty. This is what Heke fought for,” Rankin said.

David Rankin says he'll be filing the claim with the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of Te Matarahurahu.

Mr Rankin's claim is not part of an umbrella Ngapuhi claim, which is currently being worked into shape by a Ngapuhi working party.


One of the contributors to a report on what schools may look like in future says new technologies and a decentralised learning environment may help Maori students increase their education achievements.

John Langley, the Dean of Education at Auckland University, says the Secondary Futures, Students First report predicts schools may specialise in different curriculum areas, and students may take different subjects at different schools.

Doctor Langley says educators need to be more open to different ways and places that learning happens.

“Learning doesn't just take place in schools. It certainly doesn’t just take place in one school. If you look into the future and you look at the growth technology has had, it provides huge opportunities for all people in all different sectors of society to access learning, information, knowledge in ways they haven't before,” Langley said.

John Langley says increasing use of technology to deliver course material should help mean Maori and Pacific Island students in living in poorer communities can get the same access to course material as those in more elite schools.


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