Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hearing sought on Kaingaroa settlement

Claimants objecting to the proposed Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa land settlement have asked the Waitangi Tribunal for a further hearing on forestry issues.

The tribunal set aside the issues when it sat in March because it did not want to overlap with a separate High Court challenge by Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council.

Any hearing raises the risk that the tribunal may not be able to complete its report before the Government introduces enacting legislation.

The proposed settlement sparked a two pronged attack.

Some Te Arawa hapu went to the Waitangi Tribunal, challenging the way the Crown dealt with just half of the tribe.

The Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council challenged the mechanics of the deal in the High Court, saying it breaches the 1989 agreement establishing the system for settling forestry claims.

Last week Justice Gendall said the court could not stop Parliament passing laws, but if it went ahead the Crown would be in breach of its duty of good faith to all Maori.

Waitangi Tribunal presiding officer Carin Fox says now Justice Gendall’s decision is out, the tribunal can consider forestry issues.

She asked lawyers for the claimants and the Crown to make submissions this week on whether a hearing is needed, but warned there is little time left.


Anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond says her research into early European contacts with Tahiti is revealing valuable information on pre-European Maori.

Professor Salmon's Aphrodite's Island: the European Discovery of Tahiti will be published next year.

She says it was fascinating to look at the kind of society that Maori originally came from, and at the kind of things that were carried over the ocean.

Professor Salmond says the Tahitian high chiefs were distinguished by their red feather girdles.

“Well in Aotearoa, at time of first contact, when Cook was sailing around the coast for example, people came out in red feather cloaks, and I think they were an equivalent of those high chiefs of the early period, wearing the same kind of symbols, only they’d turned into cloaks rather than girdles by that time, presumably because the climate was so different,” she says.

The next book will be about what happened to Maori in the period after the arrival of the missionaries and before the land wars.


An expert in Maori potatoes says there is still a lot to be done to commercialise the ancient crop.

Nick Roskruge from Massey University is working with growers' collective to

Tahuri Whenua to find out which of about 20 different types of taewa or potatoes has the most potential.

Four varieties are already grown with the commercial market in mind, including a restaurant favourite - the purple yam shaped tutaekuri.

Mr Roskruge says the trials should remove some of the risks for growers.

“It's really about cretin gab opportunity for Maori with these foods. To be able to produce them commercially, you’ve got to be able to get enough yield out of them and have consistent quality, so the trial’s about trying to pick the best ones,” he says.

Mr Roskruge says this year's harvest was poor, because of the wet spring and cold pre-Christmas temperatures.


Wanganui iwi are pressing ahead with plans to achieve greater control of the Whanganui river.

Wanganui River Maori Trust Board member Jarrod Albert says negotiations with the Crown have stalled over issues ownership and control.

He says the Crown wants to confine iwi to the Resource Management Act framework.

Mr Albert says the river tribes want more, and are looking for ways to improve the health of the river.

“Iwi are focusing on establishing some other pathways to achieve the same outcome, in terms of the health and well being of our river, and that’s about operationalising our policy, and starting to take little steps ourselves to continue to show the leadership we have shown regarding the proper management of our river,” Mr Albert says.

He says there are few models to work on, but Whanganui iwi want more than the shared management arrangements in the Te Arawa lakes settlement.


A history of Maori rugby league is planned for next year's centenary.

The book is being put together by two West Coasters, journalist John Coffey and former New Zealand Rugby League director Bernie Wood.

Mr Coffey says given the traditional strength of league in Maori communities, it's a logical follow up to the pair's 440 page tome on the first hundred years of the New Zealand Kiwis.

He says the story should start with brothers Ernie and Opae Asher, who were part of the first Maori rugby league tour to Australia in 1908.

“Ernie remained in the game as a player and administrator for 60 years and Opae, who had been an All Black, he was considered the greatest wing of his time, and of course through the years there have been hundreds of great players,” Mr Coffey says.

The book will be a chance to recognise players like Brownie Paki, who crossed the Tasman in 1923 to play for St George.


Maori comedian Andre King is looking towards the next generation of Maori comic talent on the horizon.

The Te Kauwhata-raised comedian is one half of comic duo the Whakas - that's spelt w- h - a - k - a.

They're performing their Maori Protocol for Dummies show at the Auckland comedy festival and at a showcase of Maori and Pacific Island comedians in Manukau later this week.

Mr King says the real laughs come in their Class Comedians workshops, where they offer tips to high school students.

“Everything from stagecraft to mike technique to how to write a good gag, where you’re setting the premise, reinforcing the premise, and then hitting them with the punch line that’s a twist. And I mean I look at them and I think if I’d started when I was 14 or 15 years old doing jokes the way these guys are doing jokes, by the time these guys are my age, they're going to be amazing,” Mr King says.


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