Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Whangarei tough on rates shirkers

A Whangarei District councilor says the problem of non-payment of rates on Maori land will need help from central government to resolve.

The Whangarei Council has voted against write off outstanding rates totalling almost $1.2 million.

Kahu Sutherland says it's disappointing 700 thousand dollars of that is owed on Maori land, and he hopes some of the landowners will eventually pay up.

But he says there are problems with the way the rating system treats Maori land, which only central government can fix.

“A lot of it is non productive and a lot of the Maori landowners don’t live there, so contacting them and determining those details is really pretty difficult. But having said that, a lot of it is extremely valuable property. It is coastal property and carries high values, There is a whole raft of issues pertaining to Maori land rates,” Sutherland said.

Kahu Sutherland says the Whangarei council's iwi liaison committee will attempt to tackle the problem.


The Green Party spokesperson on Maori Affairs says indigenous women MPs from around the Pacific are challenged by having to work within both traditional and western political structures.

Meteria Turei is attending this week's Commonwealth Parliamentarians Association workshop on gender equality in the Pacific region.

She says as in the Maori community, many of the visiting MPs must balance the expectations of their tribal communities with their responsibilities as parliamentarians.

Ms Turei says it is a responsibility few Pakeha MP's have to deal with.

“There’s a whole other leadership structure that they have to engage with, based on completely different principles in the Westminster Parliament. You’ve got to be too different kinds of people in some ways to deal with both structures, and that’s something Pakeha MPs just don't understand,” Meteria Turei said.


Northland iwi Ngapuhi is reassessing its relationship with Kingitanga.

Kaikohe kaumatua Judah Hei Hei is organising a hui in the town on Friday to discuss how Maoridom's largest tribe should respond to the new Maori king, Tuheitia.

Mr Hei Hei says issues which need clearing up include deciding who should speak for Ngapuhi at the hui Tuwharetoa is calling at Pukawa next month to discuss new structures for Maoridom.

He says the relationship between Ngapuhi and the Kingitanga has changed over the generations.

“The attitude of Ngapuhi towards Kingitanga is totally different to that of yesterday. They now have a lot more understanding of tikanga and respect towards it,” Hei Hei said.

The hui will be held at the offices of Te Runanga O Ngapuhi at 10am.


A Wellington group is raising the alarm over a a government review of water rights.

The Takutai Moana Poneke Collective is holding a hui at the Wellington central Library tonight at which lawyer Moana Jackson will discuss the implications of what's known as the Sustainable Water Programme of Action.

Hui supporter Meteria Turei, the Green's Maori affairs spokesperson, says the review could lead to privatisation of water rights.

Ms Turia says the Resource Management Act provides for Maori input into the decision making process over water use, but it never seems to happen.

“Section 33 which enables a council to delegate a decision to iwi authority, which has never been used, will again get ignored. Councils do it with other organizations around water, and this is a classic opportunity to enable Maori decision making, but I can almost guarantee it won’t happen,” Turei said.

Meteria Turei She says the Sustainable Water Programme of Action ignores the cultural connection Maori have with the resource.


Prime Minister Helen Clark says the enthusiasm with which Maori women are embracing business should be an inspiration for all.

The number of Maori women running their own businesses increased 46 percent over the past decade, according to the Ministry of Womens Affairs.

Ms Clark says it is the result of a lot of hard work over the years by organisations such as Dame Georgina Kirby's Maori Women's Development Incorporation, which offers loans and mentoring for Maori women.

The entrepreneurial nature of Maori as measured by international research is also a factor.

“Maori women I understand come out as the most entrepreneurial group in the world. I think it’s just so fantastic, so exciting, and to see Maori women coming out of unemployment not only into jobs but into setting up their own businesses is just inspirational,” Clark said.


An initiative aiming to improve the health of tamariki within the Hauraki District Council boundaries, could be extended through the wider Hauraki rohe.

Waihi-based Te Korowai o Hauora this week became a provider of the Family Start programme.

Chairperson Harry Mikaere says the contract will be managed in conjunction with the Hauraki Maori Trust Board, and will allow better co-ordination among government and private agencies working with at risk families.

“This is focused on the young mothers who are at a high level of risk, The project fits nicely too with Hauraki Trust Board and Te Korowai o Hauora and fits nicely with the nation building strategy the board is developing right this moment,” Mikaere said.

Harry Mikaere says if the three-year contract proves successful, Family Start will be introduced in the rest of the Hauraki region.


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