Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Maori Party urges land occupations

The Maori Party is urging iwi to occupy land they believe is theirs.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says the party supports the stand taken by Hauraki iwi Ngati Hei on the Coromandel Peninsula and Ngati Kahu claimants in the far north.

Those iwi are occupying Landcorp farms which the Office of Treaty Settlements refuses to landbank for their remedy packages.

Mr Flavell says it's time for Maori to act.

“We will be also be encouraging our people to head back to our tribal lands and repossess them in the next two weeks or so, as a show of strength and support firstly to Ngati Hei, but secondly as to show this government that we’ve had enough of this carry on,” Mr Flavell says.

He says today's hand back of the Whanganui Courthouse, in a part settlement of the issues raised by the 1995 occupation of Moutoa Gardens or Pakaitore, shows what can be achieved by direct action.


The interim chair of Te Arawa land claim settlement organisation Te Pumautanga says claimants opposing the settlement have missed the waka.

The Waitangi Tribunal is holding an urgent hearing in Rotorua this week to hear concerns over the deal with Te Pumautanga's predecessor, Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa.

Eru George says while some of those protesting the settlement are coastal hapu with their own specific issues, others chose to stay out because they didn't believe the Crown would settle with Nga Kaihautu.

Mr George says the splits emerged as soon as Nga Kaihautu agreed to enter direct negotiations.

“What we do have in this claimant group are people who are past their use by date. They understand the process, but it’s a process that’s been null and void for several years. And what we went down was something totally new, and there’s no level of understanding in that whole area,” Mr George says.

He says depending on what the Waitangi Tribunal recommends, Te Pumautanga may have to revisit who is covered by the settlement.


The Rangitikei, Ruapehu and Wanganui districts council are working with 12 iwi to brand their area Te Kahui Tupua or Chosen Pathway of the Prophets.

Rangitikei chief executive Leigh Halstead says its a way to embrace Maori culture and the history of the regions to promote tourism.

Mr Halstead says it has taken five years to develop the project, which has won backing from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise as a key regional initiative.

“A key ingredient of the brand is the Maori and the iwi of the three districts being able to attract people into more authentic experiences,” Mr Halstead says.

A website is being developed to promote the region and capture the imagination of potential visitors.


Ngati Kahu elder and Maori Council chairperson Sir Graham Latimer is welcoming the government's decision to suspend the sale of Landcorp farms in the far north and Coromandel for a month.

State owned enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard said today Landcorp had put the sales of Rangiputa and Whenuakite on hold for a month while the government reviewed its land sale process.

Mr Mallard said it wanted to ensure land with significant non-commercial heritage or conservation values is protected.

Sir Graham says it's a start, but a month isn't long enough to properly review the policy.

“On the other hand I’m very thankful to the Government for listening to the concerns of Ngati Kahu and Hauraki and doing something that’s positive. Only goodwill can come out of this, if they keep working that way,” Sir Graham says.

The Maori Council will ask for a meeting with the government on the policy, because of its historical role in the protection of Maori interests held by state owned enterprises.

Meanwhile a group from Ngati Kahu paid a visit today to Whenuakite Station near Whitianga to offer solidarity to the Hauraki occupiers.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia believes she has strong Maori support for her attack on the government's immigration policy.

The Te Tai Hauauru MP claims the government is trying to curb the browning of New Zealand and weaken Maori political power by favouring people from English speaking countries.

She says if Maori were dissatisfied with her comments, they would have let her know by now.

Mrs Turia says many non-Maori have written supporting her stand.

“They do believe that Maori people do have a right to say who comes into this country by right of the treaty, and the immigration policy of the government acknowledges that Maori should be consulted. Well, I’m wondering why we aren't,” Mrs Turia says.


Some familiar names could be back on the trophies at the 47th Golden Shears.

250 shearers and 100 woolhandlers have entered for the three-day competition starting in Masterton tomorrow.

Aria Mullins from Dannevirke will compete for the junior woolhandling title, 14 years after her mother Mavis won the open woolhandling championship.

At the same Golden Shears, her father Koro Mullins made the open shearing final.

Ms Mullins says her greatest support is from her family.

“But it's hard for my parents because at some shows they are judges and they tell me they’re actually harder than me because they expect a lot more from me when they’re judging me so it’s good. It makes me appreciate when I have other judge judging me,” Ms Mullins says.

She already leads the North Island junior circuit.

Another contestant with a family reputation to uphold is Tipene Te Whata, from Tautoro in Northland, whose father Hamahona was a champion in both junior and senior grades.


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