Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Water claims won't affect publlc access

Maori Council member Maanu Paul says the public has nothing to fear from Maori pushing for greater say in what happens to the nation's water.

Tuwharetoa has called a national hui on the issue for next month at Pukawa, on the shores of Lake Taupo.

Mr Paul says the issue is being framed in the same way as the foreshore and seabed debate, with a deliberate attempt to mislead the public by insinuating Maori would deny non-Maori access to water.

“There does not exist anywhere in New Zealand a place or piece of water that has been denied to the public of New Zealand by Maori. But what they want to do is to confiscate that right of Maori and create licenses and sell it off to multinational water companies, because that is where the value is in water,” Mr Paul says.

The Government denies its proposed Sustainable Water Programme of Action has anything to do with ownership or privatisation of water.


More needs to be done to attract young Maori into the financial sector.

That's the kaupapa of the annual Maori accountants network hui, which is being held today at Victoria University's Te Heranga Waka marae.

Chairperson Roger Dalton says many Maori see accountants as middle aged Pakeha men in suits huddled over their adding machines in dimly lit offices.

He says that's not the case, and rangatahi especially need to see that young Maori accountants have a valuable contribution to make to Maori business and development.

Mr Dalton says the sector needs more Maori input.

“There’s like 625 Maori accountants who are registered with out parent body, the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, Now that sounds like a lot, but out of a total membership of 29,100, that works out to be 2 percent,” Mr Dalton says.

Many Maori accountants work for large organisations with few other Maori staff, and the yearly hui is a way for them to stay in touch.


The organiser of this weekend's United Nations Association conference in Tauranga says he'd like to see more Maori involved.

Gray Southon says many people don't understand the work done by the UN, or how they can contribute.

Maori got a taste of the UN in action last year when special rapporteur Rudolfo Stavenhagen visited the country and wrote a critical report on race relations in the wake of the foreshore and seabed debate.

Mr Southon says he sent the panui round a wide range of Maori organisations, but was disappointed at the response.

“Only about four or five groups were able to come along which highlights the difficulty of organisations in coming to terms with the importance of the UN, but it’s something we need to work towards,” Mr Southon says.

He says international stability is important to New Zealand as we trade with over 140 nations.


A Gisborne District Councillor says the independent inquiry into local government rates is too narrow, and a separate inquiry is needed into rating of Maori land.

The three member inquiry was in Gisborne this week consulting tangata whenua in an area where the skyrocketing value of coastal land and meant many Maori landowners have been hit with massive rate increases.

Atareta Poananga says while the panel seemed sympathetic to many of the concerns Maori raised, its terms of reference could mean little will change.

“What we think this might end up as is really a patch up job to placate various sectors of Auckland rating. Really, that‘s where this review came from and what we are concerned about is if Maori issues will not get a fair hearing,” she says.

Ms Poananga says the rating system fails to take Maori cultural values into account, including the fact Maori land is not for sale.


Maori accountants are looking at how they can contribute to Maori economic development.

Roger Dalton, the chair of the Maori Accountants network, says the annual hui in Wellington today and tomorrow will focus on te whakatipuranga - or growing our future.

He says it will look at the unique demands facing Maori working in the financial sector, and challenge Maori accountants, politicians and business leaders to outline strategies for the future.

“Where do we see the Maori economy in 20 years? Where do we want it to be. Where is it now, and what do we have to do to make it stronger? That’s what we want to pull out of those discussions and have a really good discussion about that,” Mr Dalton says.

Only 2 percent of the 29,100 registered accountants in New Zealand institute are Maori.


The new director of Southland DHB's Maori health programme says the biggest impediment to delivering services is the lack of staff with the skills to work in Maori communites.

Erina Rewi says as well as the board's own resoruces, there are four Maori health providers in the deep south.

Ms Rewi says that gives her a place to start, but as in all regions including the big cities, people will be the critical element.

“Maori workforce is a rare species anyway. We struggle to recruit staff who have the set of skills required to deliver effectively on Maori health,” Ms Rewi says.

She'll be looking for progress in treatment of chronic diseases which are killing Maori in disproportionate numbers, like diabetes, cancer, heart and respiratory diseases.


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