Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Court races ahead with Forest Trust challenge

The Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council are full steam ahead with their confrontation with the Government over the Crown Forestry Rental Trust.

The High Court has set aside two days next week to hear their challenge to the Te Arawa land settlement.

The Government intends to take n 50 thousand hectares of the Kaingaroa forest and more than 60 million dollars in accumulated rent from the trust, and then hand the land over to some Te Arawa iwi.

Federation chairperson Peter Charlton says the plan breaches the Crown Forestry Rental Trust's establishment deed.

“What's at stake here in this particular case is the Crown stands to take $63 million which we believe may belong to the iwi and hapu of Te Arawa, and it sets a precedent if they are able to get away with it, and we may have problems in the future,” Mr Charlton says.

In an associated action, the High Court yesterday ruled that the Crown Forestry Rental Trust make no payments to the Crown or Te Arawa until the court has made its decision, and that trustees should take part in next week's hearing to ensure all issues are covered, but they should not take up any position on an outcome.


A project aimed at curbing childhood obesity has won a $1 million boost from the Waikato DHB.

Project Energise was launched two years ago and now involved 10 thousand children.

District Health Board member David Gilgen, a GP for Te Whare Hauora Whanau in Hamilton, says staff from Sport Waikato act as personal trainers at 60 Waikato schools helping with nutrition and physical activity.

“And what's exciting about Project Energise is it’s translating through to the families and into the homes, so we’re getting parents’ involvement to the entire programme and philosophy of Project Energise,” Dr Gilgen says.

He hopes all schools in the country will eventually be able to take up the Energise programme.


An unfinished waka buried in a swamp for more than 150 years has gone on permanent display at Otorohanga Museum.
Restoration co-ordinator Nan Owen says it has taken almost five years to dry out Te Waonui o Tane so it can be shown to the public.
Mrs Owen says the 13 metre totara waka offers insights into the way canoe were built.

“It's a very revered revered taonga. It has a lot of mana. It’s a unique taonga nationwide in that it’s the only ancient dug out canoe – half dug out – waka found still on its carving site, and the roots are still on the log,” Mrs Owen says.

Te Waonui o Tane is owned by the Crown, but the museum is allowed to keep it after building a special house and setting up a management partnership with tangata whenua.


Ngati Hineuru and Ngati Tu are celebrating a win in the Environment Court against the expansion of a wind farm planned for a ridge west of Hawke's Bay.

The court overturned a consent from Hastings District Council allowing Hastings-based lines company Unison to add an extra 37 turbines to the Te Waka Range on the Napier-Taupo Road.

It has permission to build 15 turbines, and Hawke's Bay Windfarms has consent for a 75-turbine farm nearby.

The court said that's enough, and any more would offend Maori spiritual values, including the site's history, water and sacred areas.

Jolene Patuawa, a lawyer for the two hapu, says it's a particularly sensitive site.

“It's the site where Maui’s uncle’s waka was turned to stone after he pulled up Te Ika a Maui (North Island) so it was a site which was verry significant to both those tangata whenua and to all tangata whenua nationally,” she says.

Jolene Patuawa says Unison should consulted tangata whenua properly before it selected the site.

Unison says it will appeal.


A Northland health worker is encouraging marae to develop risk management plans for their water systems.

Tahi Morton from Northland District Health Board's public health unit is working full time on improving the quality of drinking water in smaller communities and marae.

Mr Morton says marae have to cater for large numbers of people at short notice, so they need systems in place to make sure things go smoothly.

He says marae need to take a good look at their supply and look for any contaminants like sprays, dirt or sewage.

“Some water supplies, they get rainwater. We want them to have a look at it, and look at it and say ok, if the spouting needs to be cleaned, let’s get out there and clean them. The roof needs cleaning, let’s clean that, and the tank. Let’s just do what we can do,” Mr Morton says.

There is government funding available for improving water supplies.


Taika Waititi's film Eagle Vs Shark has been picked up for UK distribution.

Film Commission sales manager Kathleen Drumm says Optimum Releasing plans to release the quirky romantic comedy in early August, two months after it goes on to North American screens.

Ms Drumm says Optimum is a fast growing distributor which handles a lot of major independent films.

She says there were three distributors bidding for the rights, and the commission was able to win a good deal.

“It's the most lucrative UK deal that we’ve done since The World’s Fastest Indian, and when you compare the budget of that film with the very small by comparison Eagle vs Shark has, it’s quite an extraordinary achievement,” Ms Drumm says.

Eagle vs Shark, which cost less than $2 million to make, will also be screening at the Cannes Film Festival next month.


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