Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 02, 2007

Solomon tells runanga he won't be sidelined

Ngai Tahu chairperson Mark Solomon has rejected an attempt to sideline him.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu held a press conference today to announce that Mr Solomon would remain as kaiwhakahaere, but his deputy, Don Couch, would chair all meetings and be the runanga spokesperson.

Mr Solomon says that is unacceptable and he refuses to be fettered in his role of representing the South Island tribe.

He says his critics have never explained what he has done wrong, nor have they revealed what their purpose is.

Mr Solomon says the ball is now in the runanga's court, but the continuing division is causing huge damage to the tribe's reputation.

NATS’ TEST PLAN NO HELP FOR HARRIED TEACHERS

Massey University Maori Studies professor Taiarahia Black says National's plan to require more standardised testing of primary school pupils will swamp schools with paperwork and divert effort from important areas of the curriculum.

The party also wants schools to report on where they and their pupils rank against other schools.

Professor Black says there is not much new in the proposal, and there is little which will benefit Maori students.

“Where are the social indicators, Maori language, science, culture, custom. These are all things that impact on what’s already in place, What other aspects can National offer to clear a pathway for the current initiatives that are in place,” Professor Black says.

He says teachers are already weighed down by report writing and the need to allocate scarce resources.


POLICE LIAISON SAYS TAHA MAORI NOT ALWAYS IDEAL

The Auckland Police iwi liaison officer, Huri Dennis, says taha Maori intervention methods aren’t right for all young Maori offenders.

Senior sergeant Dennis says a taha Maori approach can help change the behaviour of rangatahi, usually where the police have whanau support systems they can tap into.

But he says a growing number of young Maori don't have those networks.

“There are those rangatahi that don’t have whanau, whether by way of choice or not. They’ve been on their own for a long time. And to be quite honest the state, the system perhaps or even the gangs have become their whanau, so it’s a complicated issue to an extent, in terms of the ahua, but I believe in some of the interventions, they’re not that hard,” Mr Dennis says.

UNDEMOCRATIC STRUCTURE CITED IN NGAI TAHU BATTLE

Ngai Tahu's leadership crisis is a sign its organisational structure isn't properly democratic.

That's the view of Ngapuhi academic Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and Indigenous Studies at Canterbury University.

Mr Taonui says while the process of regional appointing executive members may have worked in the early years after the South Island iwi's treaty settlement, it is now leading to a gap between ordinary members and those at the top.

“Ngai Tahu's system of some runanga appointing through the marae committees has probably been fairly efficient in the start up phase, but it’s now obvious they need to fix that, and if they go to dully democratic elections, I think you’re going to get a better standard of behaviour at the top,” Mr Taonui says.

He says there are also dangers in being too democratic, as Tainui found in 2000 when its tribal parliament was too slow to respond to a crisis in the executive.

MA TE REO GRANTS OPEN FOR APPLICATION

A South Island Maori language advocate says a community grant scheme administered by the Maori language commission is leading to innovative ways of encouraging use of te reo.

Applications for this year's round of Ma te Reo funding opened today.

Hana O'Regan says initiatives designed and administered by government often fail because they don't get buy in from Maori communities.

“If the community decides what they want you’re that much more likely to have a better product that’s coming out of that investment, because it’s really relevant to what the people actually needing and what the people want, and it’s timely as well,” O'Regan says.

The Ma Te Reo fund usually receives about six times more applications than the one and a half million dollars it has available.

FLOODS HIT NORTHLAND MARAE

Big clean-ups are underway at many Northland marae for one of the busiest weekends on the Maori calendar.

Taitokerau police iwi liaison officer Paddy Whiu says worst hit in last week's big wet was Matangirau Marae at Whangaroa. Several Hokianga marae were also damaged.

“There are other marae where there water supplies have been interrupted so they’ll be working hard there to get their water supplies gong again and bearing in mind this weekend is Easter weekend and a lot of our families come home for this weekend for either unveilings or family get-togethers, so they’ll be trying to get those services back into play,” Mr Whiu says.

Maori settlements need to work with the region's councils on infrastructural improvements which could lower the risk of flooding.

TAMANUHIRI CHIEF PRAISED NEIGHBOURS

Ngai Taamanuhiri chief negotiator Na Raihania says the Poverty Bay tribe's fishing settlement wouldn't have been achieved without the support of neighbouring iwi.

The iwi has become the first to secure its full settlement by reaching agreement with neighbours on their boundaries.

It will now get $1 million in inshore and freshwater quota, to go with the $700 thousand in shares and deepwater quota it has already received.

Na Raihania says the important thing for Ngai Taamanuhiri was to maintain its tikanga through the process.

“We've struggled and fought and built strong relationships in our own sphere of influence, that allowed us to move through. And I do take this opportunity to mihi to Rongowhakaata, Mahaki and Ngati Porou amd Kahungunu because we are all in that SMA 2 area together, And it was really building on those strong relationships that allowed us to move forward,” Mr Raihania says.

Ngai Taamanuhiri will get an immediate gain from no longer having to pay lease costs for its quota.

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