Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 09, 2007

Waitangi commissioner idea supported

Auckland University law professor David Williams says there is merit in Maori Party MP Hone Harawira's call for a Treaty of Waitangi commissioner.

Professor Williams says such a commissioner would be appointed by Parliament, similar to the commissioner for the environment and the ombudsman.

He says the Waitangi Tribunal has become bogged down processing historical treaty claims and trying to resolve disputes thrown up by the Crown's settlement process, so it can't consider contemporary claims.

“The wider issues of the role of the treaty in our society, the role of the treaty in provision of health and education and the role of the treaty in local government, all of those ways in which the treaty is living in the present are very seldom the focus of the Waitangi Tribunal these days,” Professor Williams says.

He says the success of the Waitangi commissioner would depend on the performance of whoever has the role, because they would not have the power to order the Crown to do anything.


The School Trustees Association says there are support networks available for Maori trustees, so people considering standing in next month's elections shouldn't feel isolated.

President Lorraine Kerr says about 15 percent of school trustees are Maori, and and she'd like to see this number increased.

Ms Kerr says the Maori arm of the association, Te Koru Puawai o Aotearoa meets quarterly to shares korero on a range of issues.

“It's around whanaungatanga as well. Although you might be the only Maori on a board, there are in fact a few of you out there and this is one fantastic way of networking, to air issues, to work through issues, to share the good things, all those sorts of things,” Ms Kerr says.

The elections will be held on March the 29th.


Waitangi National Trust board member Pita Paraone says the trust is asking the auditor general to step into its row with the Crown over management of the Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands.

Mr Paraone, a New Zealand First MP and former chair of Northland tribe Ngati Hine, says a review of the trust's activities seems to be focusing on its financial management and about the $12 charge on visitors to the treaty grounds.

But he says the trust is forced to look around for funding sources because the endowment forest which is supposed to provide most of its income is under the control of the Conservation Department, which takes the bulk of its profits.

“We're quite happy to suspend charges if in fact we get a greater entitlement from what we believe is our asset,” Mr Paraone says.

The trust wants to Auditor General to tell it how much the forest is actually earning.


The organiser of a Maori Innovation Summit in Wellington today says Government agencies could do more to help Maori landowners.

Murray Hemi says the two day summit has been a valuable opportunity for Maori involved in farming, forestry and fisheries to network and share ideas.

He says while its important Maori cement relationships with each other, government departments and crown research institutes also have a role which the summit tried to bring out.

“Trying to encourage a lot of government agencies who ultimately have a responsibility to improve New Zealand’s economy to think specifically in a much more mature way about he opportunity that Maori land and Maori resources and Maori people provide for New Zealand as an economy,” Murray Hemi says.

The next summit may include other industries such as the creative and IT sectors.


The Maori king will be the first to receive a film about his late mother, Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

TVNZ has compiled over two and a half hours of archival footage, including coverage of the tangi that stopped the nation last year.

Te Karere news presenter Scotty Morrison says he and Tini Molyneux will be at the poukai at Hukanui marae in Gordonton tomorrow, to formally hand over the dvd tribute to King Tuheitia.

“There's a lot of different parts in the dvd and it’s not just her funeral last year, although all that footage will be included, but there also will be all the footage that Television New Zealand has collected over the years of Te Atairangikaahu, a lot of interviews, and I think it’s a really special gift we can give as Television New Zealand to the royal family down there in Tainui,” Mr Morrison says.


Maori sports commentator Te Kauhoe Wano says Troy Flavell is the right man for the job of Blues captain.

Mr Wano says the Blues lock will be watched closely by referees because of his reputation as an aggressive player, which has led to several lengthy bans.

He earned a yellow card late in the Blues' first round win over Canterbury last weekend.

Mr Wano says the towering Blues lock is is one of the best Maori players around, and the captaincy is an aknowledgment of his experience and will to win.

But the top job can make or break players.

“I think it will make him. I really do. I think he needs that responsibility just to remind him he has to keep his game on track, and that if he fails he not only falls but he brings the whole team down with him so I think it’ll be great, and just the way he played, he looked so enthusiastic,” Mr Wano says.

The Blues face the Brumbies in Canberra tomorrow night in round 2 of the super 14


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