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Friday, February 09, 2007

Iwi suspicious of shared fish plan

Iwi representatives gathering in Wellington today will be asking whether the Fisheries Ministry is trying to rewrite the Maori fisheries settlement.

The fisheries settlement trust is holding a workshop on the ministry's Shared Fisheries discussion paper, which claims competition between commercial, recreational and customary fishers means changes are needed in the management of fisheries like snapper, crayfish and kahawai.

Te Ohu Kaimoana policy manager Mr Lawson says the proposals come as a shock at a time iwi are just starting to take delivery of their settlement quota.

“If you have a full and final settlement, then who should decide it is no longer full and final and should change. It’s going to be a big issue for iwi to find when government says full and final it means that iwi must live with it, but government can go ahead and change the rules,” Mr Lawson says.

The Maori stake in the species under review is worth about $80 million, and the iwi will be looking for compensation if there is any quota reduction.


A new study on bilingual Maori education has warned against taking children out too soon.

Head research Stephen May from Waikato University's school of education says kura kaupapa and te reo Maori units in mainstream schools are effective for teaching and learning.

But he says parents need to stick with the programme if their tamariki are to excel in Maori, English and other academic subjects.

“One of the things that the report tries to show very clearly is that actually if parents and whanau take out their tamariki too early. That’s the worst possible thing to do. They need to stay in bilingual immersion education as long as possible and then they’ll get not only the bnefits of learning te reo but also the long term academic benefits as well,” Professor May says.

He says there is still a lot of research to be done on the value of Maori medium education for Maori.


The humble kumara is the focus of a study that aims to shed light on the extent of travel undertaken by the ancestors of Maori.

Andy Clark, a PhD student at Massey University, says by using DNA techniques, scientists hope to prove that early Polynesians traversed the Pacific a thousand years ago, bringing kumara back from South America.

Mr Clark says the findings will add fuel to the debate on pre European Maori contacts.

“Scientists are reluctant to say that anything’s conclusive, but I think together if you look at the bulk of evidence – the dna, the linguistics, the connection of the word kumara which is used by South American Indians and Polynesians, and sailing technology, it’s looking very likely,” Mr Clark says.

The research should also pin down which strains of kumara were introduced to Aotearoa by early whalers and sealers.


Te Ohu Kaimoana fisheries settlement trust believes handing a greater share of key fisheries over to the recreational sector is unlikely to promote sustainabilty.

The trust is holding a workshop in Wellington today for iwi to learn about the Governemnt's Shared Fisheries discussion document, which proposes new management structures for species like snapper, crayfish and paua.

Te Ohu Kaimoana policy and operations manager Laws Lawson says iwi have a long term commitment to the fishing industry, and they want more certainty than the proposals offer.

“It's pretty unusual to find then that government might look to give a greater share to the recreationalists, who are the only group who aren’t required to report what’s going on, so it’s difficult to know you’re heading into more sustainably managed fisheries when a greater part of the fishery is no longer going to have recording information on what's caught,” Mr Lawson says.

Iwi will want compensation if their quata is cut as a result of the shared fisheries proposals.


Maori parents are being encouraged to put their names up for school trust elections in March.

School trustees association chairperson Lorraine Kerr says Maori give a valuable alternative perspective to boards.

She says while the Tomorrow's Schools reforms of the late 1980s aimed to improve community input, Maori have been reluctant to stand.

Ms Kerr says many Maori underestimate the value of life skills they have acquired.

“I think as long as any Maori have the confidence to stand, all the better for the school. It’s got to be a good thing if you’ve got Maori trustees on your board. It gives a different perspective on the treaty, the dual heritage within Aotearoa,” Mrs Kerr says.

About 15 percent of school trustees are Maori, but there is always room for more.


A Gisborne language nest has been almost totally rebuilt to make it safe for tamariki and staff.

Administrator Pele Paenga from Kimihia Kohanga Reo says the pre-schoolers spent the past six months in temporary quarters at Te Poho O Rawiri Marae because of problems exposed last winter.

She says once repairs started, the kohanga discovered the problems were even more extensive than it expected.

“It practically caused us to close the kohanga. Our bathrooms were flooded, we had continuous leaks, our roof was caving in, and then it got to the point where it was leaking in our kitchen,” Mrs Paenga says.

The repairs were paid for with discretionary funding from the National Kohanga Reo Trust.


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