Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pahauwera marae razed

Ngati Pahauwera of the northern Hawke's Bay are having a tangi today for Te Huki Marae at Raupunga, which was virtually destroyed by fire last night.

Firefighters from Wairoa and Puturino were called to the blaze just after midnight.

Colin Culshaw, who helped build the whare with his cousin Sandy Adsett in the early 80's, says the whanau had been renovating the kitchens and memorial hall.

“Our memorial hall is gone. I watched it collapse last night. On the inside we had done carvings, No one in New Zealand had seen a hall like it, because we had all our in there, inside. It's so sad,” Mr Culshaw says.

Fire safety officers and police are still investigating the cause of the fire.


Bay of Plenty Maori are celebrating a decision by the Local Government Commission that downsizing the Bay of Plenty regional council will not affect its three Maori seats.

Environment Bay of Plenty wanted to cut its number around the table from 14 to 10, but the commission has ruled only one general seat in the Rotorua ward can be axed.

The commission said each Maori seat represented a separate community of interest, which outweigh population considerations.

Hawea Vercoe, a member Rotorua District Council's Te Arawa standing committee, says the decision is the right one given the different tribal affiliations of the council's Maori constituents.

“I'm pleased about the local government commission’s decision. It says that someone’s thinking and that someone believes in proper representation from Maori as the treaty would have it,” Mr Vercoe says.


A former New Zealand Rugby League standoff and the only Maori to coach in the NRL, says the Kiwis will be forced to field a young squad against Australia in the ANZAC test in Brisbane in a fortnight.

Tony Kemp says the Kiwi leadership ranks have been thinned by retirements and the knee injury sustained by David Kidwell at a family barbecue over the weekend.

29 year old Kidwell, from Otautahi, has been in devastating form since switching from Melbourne to the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the end of last year.

Mr Kemp says Kidwell's season-ending injury robbed him of the chance of captaining his country.

“Unluckiest accident ever, especially with the New Zealand captaincy up for grabs. I’d say he would have been a frontrunner for that. We have lost another senior player. We’ve lost the likes of Reuben Wiki, Stacey Jones, and Nigel Vagana last year, and to lose David Kidwell who is basically the four leaders that have taken them through the last two tri-series, it’s just going to be interesting to see who he names as the skipper of that Kiwi team,” Mr Kemp says.

Kiwi coach Brian McClennan will have to look at younger players like Sonny Bill Williams and Benji Marshall to lead the troops in the Anzac test.


The Green's Maori affairs spokesperson says the Government's review of water management is ignoring Maori customary interests.

Metiria Turei says Maori mare put at a disadvantage because day to day management of water is in the hands of local government, who tend to rank Maori interests below those of agricultural and commercial users.

She says that is unlikely to change without firm direction from central government.

Ms Turei says Government is assuming the Crown has the final say in how water is managed, but that remains to be tested against Maori customary title.

“There is a huge assumption, and the law has said that assumption isn’t justified, and they will have to try to prove they’ve got ownership and in the absence of that proof, then customary title remains valid, and that’s a perfectly reasonable legal position, but the Government just refuses to accept it,” Ms Turei says.

She says the government's first obligation should be to upholding Maori interests guaranteed in the Treaty of Waitangi.


A member of Te Arawa's local body standing committee says Environment Bay of Plenty should reconsider its plan to move its head office from Whakatane to Tauranga.

The regional council has just been knocked back on its plan to downsize itself, with the Local Government Commission ruling that only one general seat could disappear, and the three Maori seats must stay.

Hawea Vercoe says that's a good outcome for Bay of Plenty Maori, and the council should now reconsider some of its other plans.

Mr Vercoe says the estimated $25 million cost of the relocation is just the start of the bill.

“Every year the costs of operating out of Tauranga as opposed to out of Whakatane are going to be a lot more as well, and who is going to pay that? We’ll see an increase on our Environment Bay of Plenty rates,” Mr Vercoe says.

Most Maori in the region live in the eastern bay, so they face increased costs when dealing with environmental matters.


The top Maori secondary student in the country says many of his peers don't extend themselves because they don't want to be seen as out of the ordinary.

16-year-old Mataanuuku Parata did his early schooling at Te Kura Kaupapa o Waiu, before a stint at Rotorua Boys High and 7th form at Lytton High School in Gisborne.

Mr Parata says many high school boys don't push themselves hard enough.

“Lot of my mates here, they all have that sort of aahua, but muyself, I always wanted to do my fam,ily proud, and donlt really worry about anyone else,” he says.

Mr Parata is working a year on the family farm in Ruatoria before heading for Waikato University next year.


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