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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 02, 2006

Te Arawa settlement chance of lifetime

Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa chairperson Eru George says the iwi accepted the $36 million settlement on offer so kaumatua would get a chance to see it in their lifetime.

Mr George says there were calls to hold off the settlement for at least another year, but the signing went ahead in Rotorua on Saturday.

He says concern for elders played a big part.

“Having a person like Andery Rangiheua sitting round a table saying that he wants to see a settlement in his lifetime, that was the determination that moved us on. The team we had working with us the management, the negotiators, and of course the executive council, got to be praised for their determination in moving on, getting out of that grievance mode,” George said.

Eru George says what is being returned, including 50,000 hectares of forestry land, is only a small part of what Te Arawa lost.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Don Brash's comments on ethnic identity are a deliberate grab for headlines.

The National Party leader has come under fire for saying that intermarriage meant Maori were no longer a distinctive group, as they would have been when the treaty of waitangi was signed in 1840.

Peters says either Don Brash is displaying a shallow understanding of the issue, or he is playing it up for political advantage.

“What Don Brash is sort of saying is that’s not a bad headline, I’ll grab that, but when he’s asked a second, third and fourth question what he means, he’s got no darn idea. This latest denial that Maori are an ethnic group is utterly extraordinary and you won’t find any world group looking at New Zealand who wold say that is a rational sane statement he is making,” Peters said.

Winston Peters says New Zealand First believes policies for Maori must be based on individual need.


Sports commentator Ken Laban says Australian clubs are recognising the need for support networks for young Maori players looking to make their mark in the National Rugby League.

New Zealanders might be surprised at the number of Maori players involved in second tier competitions across the Tasman.

Mr Laban says Wiremu Wepu, who is a cousin of the All Black halfback Piri Wepu, scored the winning try in yesterday's Jersey Flegg Final, while Paramatta player Marcus Perenara dropped a field goal against the Newton Jets in extra time to carry his team to victory in the final of the Premiere League.

He says clubs are setting up supportive environments for their young Maori players.

“They feel they they’re not doing the greatest job looking after some of those young boys coming into the professional environment, and many of them are taking some of the more established Maori and whanau that are over there and using them in advisor roles to set up homes and support networks for some of the boys coming over from New Zealand,” Laban said.

Ken Laban both grand finalists, Melbourne and Brisbane, have Maori on their playing rosters who will force their way into top side over the next couple of seasons.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says Don Brash is deliberately promoting negative stereotypes about Maori.

Dr Sharples says the National Party leader always has something bad to say about Maori.

He says Dr Brash is feeding false stereotypes, such as claiming there is a treaty gravy train.

“If you promote one line about negativity about a people, then people buy iunto that. Look at the treaty claims, how it’s been touted as a gravy train. Heavens above. Less than one percent of what the land which was confiscated was worth has been returned to the people. How can that be a gravy train,” Sharples said.

Pita Sharples says Don Brash is casting back to his divisive Orewa speech in 2004 to shore up his poll ratings.


The dean of Auckland University's law school says a preferential quota for Maori tends not to be filled, because there are so many qualified Maori candidates coming through the normal enrolment process.

National leader Don Brash referred to the process in a newspaper opinion column today, saying if there are relatively few Maori at the law school, it is because of individual choice rather than any fault of the Government.

But professor Paul Rishworth says 10 percent of the Auckland law school's 1800 full and part time students are Maori, and the 32 preferential places on offer only played a small part.

He says a career in law atttracts many Maori.

“Well obviously there’s a whole area of practice that reflects the Maori dimension of New Zealand. Law firms with practices dealing with the post settlement treaty assets and so on, and I think that’s the thing we are looking at in the law school, our own Maori dimension, It’s not a just about looking back at the pasty, it’s not a grievance sort of things, it’s also about structures for the future,” Rishworth said.

Paul Rishworth says the law school needs to attract Maori and Pacific Island students so the legal profession reflects society as a whole.


The head of Te Arawa's Nga Kaihautu tribal executive, Eru George, says the tribe is proud of its history, including its links with the Crown.

A $36 million treaty settlement with about 60 percent of the Bay of Plenty confederation has drawn fire from Te Rarawa treaty claim negotiator Haami Piripi, who says Te Arawa got a more generous settlement offer than his Kaitaia-based iwi because of its historical friendliness to the Crown.

Mr George says it's true Te Arawa fought on the Crown's side during the land wars, but the people were making the best decisions they could in the circumstances.

“For us as far as far as Te Arawa is concerned, maybe some of our people did wirk with the Crown, they did. It would have been in duress in some cases also, the fear of losing their land if they didn’t participate, and I guess it’s unfair for him to make a general statement like that,” George said.

Eru George says Te Arawa is getting back just a fraction of the land it lost due to colonisation.


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