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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Te Arawa leader makes way for younger team

Te Arawa kaumatua Anaru Rangiheuea is stepping down from the Te Arawa Maori Trust Board after 32 years.

Mr Rangiheuea has spent the past four years as chair of the board, during which time it achieved a settlement of its historic lakes claim.

He also served for six years on the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

Mr Rangiheuea says now Te Arawa has settled its lakes claim, the time is right to take a less active role in iwi affairs.

He says his time on the Board was rewarding.

“I hope that I was able to give something back in the 30 year term I’ve been on the board, to the people of Te Arawa, not only to my hapu, which put me there in the first place, but my job is to serve all of Te Arawa,” Rangiheuea says.

KAIKOHE SUPERMARKET BLESSING TOO LATE

A Ngapuhi kaumatua says a Maori blessing ceremony given to the rebuilt New World supermarket in Kaikohe was much too late.

Ron Wihongi says the supermarket is on the site of a significant Ngapuhi battleground.

The supermarket burned down a year ago, and has just reopened.

Mr Wihongi says he refused to take part in the blessing.

“They asked me to clear the place and I said oh, it looks like the reversal to me. This place should have been cleared form the very beginning, It should have been done by our people,” Wihongi says.

The supermarket includes bilingual signs in Maori and English, the first for a member of the New World chain.

BRIAR GRACE SMITH FILM GETS NZOA BOOST

A film about a Maori boy coping with the death of his twin has received a $500 thousand boost from New Zealand on Air.

The Strength of Water was written by Briar Grace-Smith, and it will be made by Auckland production house FilmWorks for broadcast on Maori Television.

Additional support is coming from the New Zealand Film Commission and German interests.

Film Commission board member Tainui Stephens says the project is a special one.

“The Strength of Water is a wonderful Maori story and script written by Briar Grace Smith. It’s going to be a fabulous film. I’ve got so much goodwill I guess for this project,” Stephens says.

MAORI CONCERNS A TOPIC IN RATE REVIEW

The head of a government review of the rating system says Maori concerns will be taken into account.

David Shand says the three member panel has until next June to come up with a report on the sustainability of rates as the major revenue source for local government.

Maori landowners have long standing concerns about the services they get from councils, and the effect of the valuation system on their land, especially in coastal areas.

Mr Shand says those issues will be canvassed.

“We're expecting to have quite extensive consultation with iwi and with any others in the Maori community who want to make comments. We do realise the land valuation issue is a big issue for the Maori community and we have undertaken with the minister that we will engager in a very extended process of consultation with all interested parties,” Shand says.

TOP OF SOUTH ISLAND REPORT DELAYED

The head of the Blenheim-based Rangitane iwi says the government's failure to properly resource the Waitangi Tribunal is behind delays to the completion of a report on top of the South Island claims.

The tribunal has informed the various iwi that it will not complete its report until the end of next year.

Richard Bradley says Rangitane is ready to start negotiating a settlement, but that is unlikely to happen without a report in hand.

Mr Bradley says the tribunal is trying to cope with high staff turnover.

“I have some sympathy for the judge and the other members of the tribunal. It’s damn hard to actually get a report out on time if your staff are going to work for other government departments who pay better money,” Bradley says.

Richard Bradley says the delays are making it hard for the various iwi to keep their negotiating teams together.

MAORI ART PRICES RISE

An Auckland auctioneer says prices for work by Maori artists are is on the rise.

Ben Plumley, the head of the fine arts division at Webbs, says work by artists like Selwyn Muru, Para Matchett and Shane Cotton are fetching higher prices, and Ralph Hotere continues to set records.

Mr Plumley says trend is driven by younger buyers.

“They're getting younger and younger and there’s a real generational shift taking place in the marketplace now and maybe the older generation, maybe they weren’t as interested in younger Maori art, or contemporary Maori art, but younger people today definitely are interested, and I think that’s part of the reason for the shift,” Plumley says.

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