Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fisheries boss Glaister quits early

The man who united Maori, commercial and recreational fishing interests has quit as head of the Fisheries Ministry.

John Glaister announced today he is returning to Australia for family reasons after less than three years on the job.

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the sectors were united in opposition to the shared fisheries policy developed by Dr Glaister.

The proposed policy would take quota from commercial operators to make more available for recreationalists.

Mr Tau says Dr Glaister's time at the ministry was valuable in that it woke up tribes to the value of their fisheries settlement allocations.

“He's pulled them out of their comfort zone and made them realise they have a significant investment in the recreational sector, in the customary sector of course, and in the commercial sector,” Mr Tau says.

Dr Glaister's successor needs to understand the Maori and treaty dimension of the New Zealand fisheries environment.


A proposal to restrict access to some official records in a bid to cut down on identity fraud is especially bad for Maori, according to an Auckland historian.

Graeme Hunt is critical of the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Amendment Bill.

Mr Hunt believes it's an attack on press and academic freedom that locks up records which have been public since 1848.

He says Maori could be caught out because their understanding of family, is wider than in a European sense.

“Whanau can encompass hapu, iwi, it can encompass people who are not directly related family members, but they form part of the wider whanau, and my concern is if this bill goes ahead it will be very very difficult for Maori families in particular to undertake family research,” Mr Hunt says.

He says being able to research family connections is a fundamental right for every New Zealander.


Injuries to key players is the biggest concern for Maori rugby coach Donny Stevenson ahead of the team's departure for the Churchill Cup in England.

New Zealand Maoris will play three games in its bid to retain the cup.

The first is against Canada on May the 25th.

Stevenson says there is a lot of talent available, but there is always the risk of injury.

“The closer we get to the tournament the harder it is because there’s sort of no recovery time, so any injury can be quite critical to our selections,” Mr Stevenson says.

The team assembles in Auckland on May 14.


The amended anti-smacking bill has been hailed as a good compromise by Maori Anglican leader Hone Kaa.

Dr Kaa joined yesterday's march on Parliament in support of Green MP Sue Bradford's bill to amend section 59 of the Crimes Act.

He supports the bill because of his first hand experience of the impact of violence on Maori whanau.

Dr Kaa says an amendment brokered between Prime Minister Kelen Clark and National leader John Key, which reiterates the ability of police to use their discretion in taking cases, was a face-saving way of getting the bill through.

“It was a good compromise. It still allows for police intervention but it leaves the discretion with the police. What is odd of course is that discretion was always there, but what it does do now is the amendment now spells out the level at which the police might use that discretion,” Dr Kaa says.

He's pleased to see the Christian right kicked into touch.


The chair of Ngati Whatua hapu Te Uri o Hau says it shouldn't be necessary for the Government to buy back coastal at Te Arai, just south of Mangawhai.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter says the government is considering buying back the land, which includes the breeding grounds of rare birds.

The department did not object when the Crown sold the land to Te Uri o Hau as part of its 2002 treaty settlement.

Mr Kemp says the hapu's development plans take into account the need to protect the natural features.

“We only want to use 5 percent of the land for building to make our money. The rest will be in parks and camping grounds so that there’s access way for the whole of the community. But if the Crown wants to pay us the money and go and do that, well that's fine,” Mr Kemp says.

The development can make a considerable contribution to the future welfare of the hapu, so it won't sell the land cheaply.


The Asthma and Respitory Foundation's Maori services director says Maori parents need to become more aware of asthma symptoms.

New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the world, with more than half a million school days a year lost to asthma-related absences.

Sunny Wikiriwhi says while the prevalence of asthma among Maori and non-Maori is about the same, the symptoms for Maori are more severe.

“Maori require hospitalization twice as often as non-Maori. Our tamariki for example quite often have more days out of school because of respiratory illness,” Ms Wikiriwhi says.

The Asthma Foundation has established a Maori reference group to address the issues underlying the high Maori asthma rate.


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