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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Forestry trustee resists asset grab plan

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust will resist any plans to use some of its $85 million in retained earnings for a Maori development bank.

A Te Puni Kokiri working party is looking at the practicalities of a Labour election promise to review the roles of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, Maori Trust Office and Poutama Trust in financing Maori economic development.

Crown trustee Angela Foulkes says the trust, which uses the interest from rents on Crown forestry land to fund claim research and negotiation, was set up after negotiations between the Crown and Maori.
She says any changes to its trust deed would require fresh negotiations between the parties.

“We are conscious that there has always been a muddying of the role of the trust, but the trustees are very clear that we implement the trust deed on behalf of Maori and the Crown, and it’s not for one or other party to decide we should do it in a different way,” Foulkes says.

Angela Foulkes says the retained earnings are needed to ensure there will still be resources to properly fund claims even after major forests like Kaingaroa are settled.


National Party MP Paula Bennett says her party can work with the Maori Party while still challenging some of the things it stands for.

Ms Bennett was one of a National Party group led by leader Don Brash who last night dined with Maori Party MPs Tariana Turia, Pita Sharples and Te Ururoa Flavell.

It is the first time the parties have met since Mr Brash's comments about Maori blood quantum.

Ms Bennett says they discussed a range of issues, including youth binge drinking and welfare dependency.

“There are areas in common and there are areas where we see certainly we know the outcomes we want, and the differences are sometimes working out the path how we get there. Now it would be a pretty boring world if we were on the same path and not challenging each others in the way that we thought and the things we wanted to get done,” Bennett says.

Paula Bennett says the parties are hoping to meet again soon.


The man whose song The Bridge remains a favourite waiata for Maori, says the song paved the way for other Maori artists singing in te reo.

Dean Waretini recorded the song in the late seventies, about the long running industrial dispute surrounding construction of the Mangere Bridge.

He says at the time it was released, radio stations baulked at playing contemporary waiata Maori.

“It was a huge battle to get airplay, and I persisted with radio stations, 1ZB I wrote letters to request the Bridge song and that’s how it got airplay. It was the first Maori song to break the barrier in the Pakeha world. That song opened it up for everybody,” Waretini says.

Dean Waretini says he's planning to come out of retirement for a three city tour early next year.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says money held in trust for Maori could be better used.

Mr Horomia says Te Puni Kokiri, the Maori Trustee, the Crown Forestry Rental Trust and other groups representing Maori interests may be more effective if they combine their collective wealth.

He is waiting for a report from consultant Whaimutu Dewes on the potential benefits of a collaborative approach.

“Asked them to investigate the possibility of better usage of funds collectively, and it’s not another grant area. It’s about adding value. This is not going to anyone else for the funds, they are already there. We should bring the might together and make it available for our people,” Horomia says.

Crown Forestry Rental trustee Angela Foulkes says any changes to the trust's deed would require negotiations between the Crown and the Maori appointers.


Greens Maori affairs spokesperson says the Government is dropping the ball on treaty education.

Metiria Turei says she is impressed by the work of the Pakeha treaty education network Project Waitangi, which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Ms Turei says the network is doing what the government is failing to do, and moves to drop the treaty from the school curriculum which will make the problem worse.

“The failure of the draft curriculum to mention anything about treaty issues is a way of entrenching racism in the community, because it is not recognising it is Pakeha who need information and need understanding and need support to understand what Maori are talking about when we talk about the issues of colonization,” Turei says.

Metiria Turei says it is not the job of Maori to teach Pakeha what the treaty means.


One of the oldest known Maori wooden taonga is being returned to the Te Rarawa people, at least on a temporary basis.

The Kaitaia lintel is thought to be over 800 years old.

It was found in the Tangonge swamp near Kaitaia in 1920 and has been held at the Auckland Museum ever since.

Chanelle Clark, the museum's curator Maori, says the carving has been loaned for display at the Te Rarawa festival in Kaitaia.

Ms Clark says the tribe wants a bigger say in its future.

“It's going to be there for the rest of the week for the celebrations, and then we will be heading back up there to pick it up and bring it back to the museum, but they have said the next time they ask for it, that will be it, it won't be coming back,” Clark says.


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