Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Auckland settlement unravelling bad signal

The Prime Minister says she'd be sad to see the Auckland land settlement unwound because of a challenge to the Waitangi Tribunal.

The tribunal is preparing its Tamaki Makaurau Settlement Process report on claims by several iwi they were pushed aside in the rush to settle with Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

Last week it raised questions about why the Office of Treaty Settlements held back documents which challenged the historical research used in the negotiations and criticised Ngati Whatua's refusal to talk to cross claimants.

Helen Clark says a tremendous effort was made towards the end of Ngati Whatua leader Sir Hugh Kawharu's life to complete the settlement with the hapu.

“That was done to general acclaim in the Auckland area. The city council was very positive about the relationship and the enhanced relationship with title of iconic land returning to the hapu, so for that to now be unwound I think is a pretty bad signal, and I’d be pretty sad to see that happen,” Ms Clark says.


A director of an award-winning Auckland Maori tourism venture says more rangatahi should consider careers in the sector.

Melissa Crockett from Potiki Adventures says overseas visitors respond to the enthusiasm young Maori bring to their New Zealand experience.

Ms Crockett, whose background includes youth work with troubled teens, says few young Maori saw Maori tourism as a career option, but many would do well as tour operators or guides.

“They've got that value within them of manaakitanga being paramount and they also have so much other knowledge within them that they don’t think is anything special but that tourists do, so it’s all of those basic legends, it’s all of that understanding of connection to whakapapa that most rangatahi have knowledge of,” Ms Crockett says.


An organisation representing more than 500 blind and visually impaired Maori is looking for people to read talking books in te reo.

Ngati Kapo national manager Christine Cowan says there is a lack of material for the blind in Maori, and what there is is extremely popular.

She says finding readers with the appropriate skills seems to be the hardest part.

“There's always been great demand to have readers who have the ability to read in te reo. For a lot of our members it’s a great joy to access information in te reo,” Ms Cowan says.

The issue will be on the agenda at Ngati Kapo's southern regional hui at Rapaki marae in Lyttelton over the weekend.


A long-mooted plan to build a visitors centre at Cape Reinga is on the go again.

Former Fullers managing director Mike Simm has been brought in by Enterprise Northland to work with Ngati Kuri and Te Aupouri on the project.

Mr Simm says landscaping should start in October, with building over the next two years.

He says many visitors regard New Zealand's northernmost attraction as a geographic experience like Lands End in Britain, but they should also be able to learn about its cultural significance of Te Rerenga Wairua and its unique fauna and flora.

“We've got to get DOC involved in getting them to interpret those elements, get the met service and others to interpret the significance of the geography of the place, and of course there is this overriding Maori cultural issue which is so important and so interesting is we can interpret it in a way that engages people and encourages them to delve into the elements that interest them,” Mr Simm says.

He says it's an ideal project to use some of the advanced interpretive technologies which are being pioneered at Rotorua's Te Puia arts and crafts institute, where he is just finishing three years as deputy chair.


Associate health Minister Mita Ririnui says a free meningitis vaccine campaign will be of particular benefit to Maori.

The Government has added the Prevenar vaccine to the National Immunisation Schedule at a cost of $68 million over the next four years.

Mr Ririnui says Maori tamariki have higher rates of pneumococcal meningitis and the vaccine is a safe way to bring down those rates.

“This particular vaccine has been proven to be safe in many countries around the world and this is good news for many New Zealand families, Maori and non-Maori, particularly with Maori as we know from history that as usual Maori will be disproportionately affected by these types of diseases, so that’s good news for us as Maori,” Mr Ririnui says.

All babies born in New Zealand from the start of next year can receive the vaccine at six weeks, three, five and 15 months through their GP or Primary Health Organisation.


The head of Canterbury University's Maori studies department says any moves to tackle gangs needs to address the needs of gang members as well as public safety issues.

Rawiri Taonui says banning gangs in the wake of the death of a two-year-old Wanganui girl would just fuel an already volatile situation.

He says a two-pronged approach is needed.

“One that tries to increase the level of safety for the general public and young people and children and all those sorts of things, and then on the other hand the things that will address the real underlying issues about good housing, getting back in contact with their culture, providing them with constructive role models, and so on and so forth,” Mr Taonui says.

He says gangs have proved resourceful in getting around tougher laws.


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