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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ngai Tahu structure overhaul call

A former director of Ngai Tahu Holdings says the South Island tribe needs changes to its structure to make representatives more accountable to its beneficiaries.

Richard Parata says the way Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu is elected is good for ensuring the individual marae communities are represented.

But Mr Parata says the system does not give a say to the thousands of Ngai Tahu beneficiaries who have little or no interaction with their marae.

“Representatives need to be more accountable to the beneficiaries. They simply are not. We have 18 marae, we have 37,000 beneficiaries, and only six out of the 18 include a system where beneficiaries can actually vote,” Parata said.

Richard Parata says he would like to see Ngai Tahu give all beneficiaries the chance to vote for a board which could be responsible for the tribe's $600 million in assets.


The Ngati Wai Trust Board says taking sand from the Matapouri estuary could be good for the health of the environment.

Chief executive Addie Smith says the board was satisfied with the consultation process adopted by the Northland Regional Council, which has given consent to move 18 thousand cubic metres of sand from the estuary to an adjoining sandspit.

Ms Smith says sand has been moving from the beach into the estuary.
She says Ngati Wai was consulted because the erosion threatened some Maori blocks on the coast.

“So we know that the processes have been in place. Whangarei District Council has always consulted with us all along thw way. We favour the move of the sand because with the geographic change and the weather, over time the sand out in the bay has washed into the estuary part and collected there,” Smith said.


The Maori midwife's association Nga Maia says numbers are well short of what is needed to cope with the Masori birth rate.

The issue was a major cause for concern at Nga Maia's annuml meeting in Christchurch.

Spokesperson Henare Kani says only 100 Maori midwives hold current practicing certificates.

He says that is a real issue for Maori women who want help from other Maori during delivery.

“This year there'll be 60,000 babbies born in Aotearoa, and 12,000 will be Maori babies. To cope with that amount, we will probably need to have 300 or 400 midwives, so we’re well short to cope with our own birthrate, let alone anyone else's,” Kani said.

Henare Kani says there are about 3000 certified midwives nationwide.


A former member of the board of Ngai Tahu Holdings has spoken out against the chief executive of the South Island tribe's runanga.

Richard Parata stepped down from the board in June, and is now campaigning for greater accountability in the tribe.

He says the Ngai Tahu structure was deliberately set up so its commercial arm acted independent of the tribal government, but with the runanga chief executive providing a line of communication between the two bodies.

Mr Parata says that has broken down, in part because runanga chief executive Tahu Potiki attended only five board meetings in the five years to June.

He says the health of the tribe is at stake.

“The way it was structured is the holding corporation would make the money so the tribe could spend it, or it could be spent on the tribe, and those dividends we produce each year, unless you have good governance and good management, they will simply wane,” Parata said.

Richard Parata says Ngai Tahu needs to overhaul its voting structure to make it more accountable to beneficiaries.


The Maori midwives association, Nga Maia, is working with Ngati Raukawa aims to create positive kaupapa Maori birthing experiences for women and their whanau.

Nga Maia kaitiaki kaupapa Henare Kani says the Whakaohooho i Te Mauri programme includes kaupapa Maori antenatal education.

Henare Kani says early results are promising.

”Out of that came six resources that we’ve just finished having evaluated, and we’ll make them available to whanau groups and hauora groups and anyone else who wants to do kaupapa Maori antenatal programmes,” Kani said.

Henare Kani says Nga Maia is also trying to address the shortage of Maori midwives, with only 100 certified nationwide.


A Maori physical education teacher says Maori should return to traditional games to educate tamariki.

Wairoa College teacher Val Irwin of Ngati Kahungunu and Tuhoe says tamariki are hugely interested in Te Reo Kori, the language of movement.

Mr Irwin presented his philosophy of Maori physicality to the recent International Congress of Health, Physical Education, Dance, Recreation and Sport in Wellington.
He says the simplest things can be used for teaching.

“When you get a button and you put it through some string and you wind it up and you get ‘what’s that sound?’ and the adult of that was the porotiti, not to mention the tops, the kites, the stiles, all the aquatic games, the running games,” Irwin said.

Val Irwin is about to undertake his PHD in the field of Te Reo Kori at Waikato University.


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