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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Landowners to change locks on forests

King Country Maori landowners say they will change the locks on blocks leased to forest giant Carter Holt Harvey.

Owners' spokesperson Willie Te Aho says the leases on the Pukemakoiti and Te Rongoroa blocks were included in the sale of Carter Holt's forests assets to North American hedge fund Hancock Natural Resources.

Mr Te Aho says the blocks were leased 25 years ago to New Zealand Forest products, and they can't be reassigned.

He says the owners are serving notice tomorrow that Carter Holt is in breach of the leases.

“Normally with a breach you give them a chance to remedy it, but they’ve entered into an unconditional agreement for sale and purchase, the reality is it can’t be remedied, so while the forest is still in the name of Carter Holt Harvey, we’re serving notice ion them to say that we’re reentering, so we will take possession of our lands, we will take over the security and we will change the locks on the gates,” Te Aho says.

Willie Te Aho says the owners want the wood from the forests for their own forestry companies, rather than having it locked into supply contracts with Carter Holt's mills.


Families bringing tupapaku back from overseas will be able to allow them to lie in state at a new marae at Auckland Airport, rather than have them languish in the cargo storage areas.

The marae, which opens this Saturday, is a joint venture between Auckland Airport and Tainui.

The project was championed by the late Dame Te Atairangikaahu, and her successor, King Tuheitia, will attend the opening.

Marae trustee Julie Wade says the new marae will serve a range of purposes.

“Promoting culture, being a meeting place for other cultures to enjoy Maori, a marae facility available for whanau who are waiting to receive back tupapaku, a hosting venue for visitors to or from the airport,” Wade says.


The people of Parihaka are today remembering the 1881 Crown invasion on their settlement on the slopes of Mount Taranaki.

Kaumatua Huirangi Waikerepuru says it's Te Raa o Paahua or "the day of plunder".

The invasion by 1600 armed constables headed by Native Minister John Bryce ended a campaign of passive resistance to Pakeha settlement of the Waimate Plains.

Mr Waikerepuru says the Crown's intention was clear.

“It's about the desecration of mana tangata whenua. The whole purpose was to demolish the people and the marae. That’s the whole concept of that particular event. It was the plundering of Parihaka,” Waikerepuru says.

Huirangi Waikerepuru says the community has a special ceremony to remember those turbulent times.


Plans to site a stadium on Auckland's waterfront could fall foul of Ngati Whatua's Treaty of Waitangi claim.

Tribal spokesperson Renata Blair says the Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board is still locked in negotiations with the Crown over its agreement in principle to its claims over central Auckland.

He says the claims include reclaimed land at the port.

Ngati Whatua already owns the land under the Vector Stadium across the road from the proposed super-stadium, which would need to be built by 2011.


King Country Maori landowners are fighting with Carter Holt Harvey over ownership of forests on their land.

Spokesperson Willie Te Aho says the forestry giant is breaching its lease agreements by selling its forest estate to a North American hedge fund.

Mr Te Aho says the owners of the Pukemakoiti and Te Rongoroa blocks intend to re-enter their leases tomorrow and change the locks on the forests.

He says they need the wood for their own enterprises.

“If we get the 10,000 hectares that makes up the three shareholder blocks in the Maniapoto Rereahu area, which is really under Mount Pureora, we’ve got sustainable companies which means we’ve got a sustainable cash flow of $10 million, we’ve got sustainable employment for at least 20 fulltime equivalents, so this is about economic development and it is on commercial terms,” Te Aho says.

Willie Te Aho says he expects the dispute will end up in court before the end of the month.


Gisborne District councilor Atareta Poananga says Maori want their own seats.

The Council's annual report says there was no call for separate Maori seats during the representation review, which has just been completed.

Ms Poananga says the community did ask for seats during a consultation hui at the Tikitiki RSA, but the request got lost in the council bureaucracy.

She says the Local Government Act makes it almost impossible for Maori to be heard.

“If all Maori in this district said they wanted Maori wards, the first thing is the council could veto that. Secondly the general population, that is non-Maori, have a right to say no. So it is a Mickey Mouse piece of legislation which is designed to frustrate Maori getting Maori wards,” Poananga says.

Atareta Poananga says Maori won't get another opportunity to make a submission for seven years.


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