Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Trusts need help to house people

Labour list MP Shane Jones says ways need to be found so Maori trusts can house their own people.

Mr Jones and other members of Labour's Maori caucus were in Nelson and Motueka yesterday hearing from local Maori about problems such as affordable housing.

He says Motueka iwi own land collectively, but lack of support from local government and difficulties with finance means it isn't being used for housing.

Mr Jones says it's a ridiculous situation.

“Where you have a need for lots of blue collar labour, and we need to work better with the Maori trust down there to find housing solutions so their own people can end up owning their own home, rather than being distant shareholders on blocks of land that grow in capital value, but meanwhile the shareholders can’t even afford to get into their own home. There’s something seriously wrong there,” Mr Jones says.

Housing New Zealand has shown in the past it is possible to build housing on multiply-owned land.

LIFE EXPECTANCY STILL A CHALLENGE

Taranaki District Health Board chair Hayden Wano says more needs to be done to address the disparity between Maori and non-Maori health.

New research shows Maori can expect to live longer than their indigenous counterparts overseas.

Mr Wano says while an increased focus on Maori health has contributed to a steady increase in expectancy over the past 50 years, on average they still die seven years younger than non-Maori.

“Maori men lived to about 58 or 59 in 1950 and Maori women 51 or 52, so that’s the situation about where Australian aboriginals are now, and the trend over the past 50 years of so has been in the right direction but I don’t want to lose sight of the fact there is still disparity there between Maori health and non-Maori health,” Mr Wano says.

PUKETUTU CLEAN-UP GIVES HOPE FOR HARBOUR

Waiohua kaumaatua Sonny Rauwhero hopes a plan to establish a public park on Puketutu Island in the Manukau Harbour will help clean up the surrounding mudflats.

The Kelliher Charitable Trust, which owns the island volcano, has struck a deal with Watercare Services which could mean it eventually is owned by the Auckland Regional Council or a charitable trust, similar to the one which own Cornwall Park.

Puketutu was occupied from the 12th century by Maori attracted to the area's abundant kaimoana, but those shellfish beds became unusable when sewage ponds were built between Mangere and the island.

Mr Rauwhero says Waiohua has been waiting a long time for its food basket to be restored.

“These people say they’re going to do this, they’re going to do wonders. I’m sick of waiting for them to do their wonders, so we’re still paying for it. But still, if it’s going to beautify and get things right for us up this area, well ka tautoko,” Mr Rauwhero says.

Puketutu was once home to the first Maori King, Potatau Te Wherowhero.

TE ARAI DEVELOPMENT GETS SCHEME CHANGE ON AGENDA

The promoters of an 850 unit coastal development on Maori-owned land northeast of Auckland say there should now be nothing stopping it.

Rodney District Council has accepted an application for a variation in the district plan to allow the Te Arai Coastal Lands development to go ahead.

It's a joint venture between developer New Zealand Land Trust and Te Uri o Hau, which bought the land south of Mangawhai from the government in 2002 as part of its treaty settlement.

Critics say the scheme threatens rare fairy terns and northern dotterel.

But Sir Graham Latimer, the chair of Te Uri o Hau's commercial arm, says the land was bought on the understanding it was available for commercial development.

Sir Graham says everything has been done to ensure the natural and human environment is protected.

“We've gone to no end of trouble to ensure that we set it in to society and that we will grow our people with society through Mangawhai. It is the base of everything that we stand for, so we made absolutely sure that we covered every aspect that we had to cover,” Sir Graham says.

Te Uri o Hau and its partner have already spent almost $3 million dollars on the project.

UNI WOMEN FIND BOOKISH PARTNERS

A Victoria University economist says well educated Maori women are less likely to have a Maori partner than their poorly educated sisters.

Paul Callister is leading a project looking at why fewer Maori males are participating in tertiary education than Maori women.

Dr Callister says one thing the research has thrown up is the effect of tertiary education on forming relationships.

“The well educated Maori woman, for a variety of reasons, partly because they meet partners at university and suchlike, are more likely to have a non-Maori partner,” Dr Callister says.

He says when Maori are not in work, they are less likely to be in relationships and can get marginalised.

MINISTER PROMISES NETBALL HELP

Maori netball administrators will make a beeline to the Beehive, to follow up a promise of more international competition.

Aotearoa Maori Netball chairperson Evelyn Tobin says when he visited the national Maori netball championships in Auckland over the weekend, associate sport and recreation minister Parekura Horomia pledged to do all he can to ensure Maori teams play international squads.

Mrs Tobin says the players need that sort of competition to bring out their potential.

“We're very fortunate that Parekura Horomia continues to be enthusiastic and clearly committed, so that kind of offer certainly will be picked up and followed through to something really tangible,” Mrs Tobin says.

Aotearoa Maori Netball is disappointed its efforts to get a team in the Netball World Cup in Waitakere later this year were rejected.

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