Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Historians crucial to claim progress

The director of the Waitangi Tribunal says finding enough specialised historians is now the main obstacle to progress on claims.

The Government has boosted the tribunal's operating budget by 25 percent so it can meet its objective for completing all inquiries into historical claims by 2015.

The government has set 2020 as the date for all such claims to be negotiated and settled.

Darrin Sykes says the extra $7.7 million spread over the next four years will put the tribunal in a better position to get the resources and expertise it needs.

“Getting historians involved in the treaty sector is very tough for all involved, Crown, claimants and the tribunal. It’s a very small sector. The additional funding will be a significant improvement in terms of being able to recruit historians in the sector,” Mr Sykes says.


The chief executive of Te Ohu Kaimoana says the Maori fisheries trust is attending this week's International Whaling Commission meeting to support other indigenous people, rather than to push for an increase in whaling.

Peter Douglas says indigenous rights will be a major part of the agenda, with the United States pushing for renewal of the five-year Bowhead whale quota for its indigenous hunters.

New Zealand supports the move, but Japan is threatening to oppose it unless the definition of indigenous whaling is widened to include some of its own activities.

Mr Douglas says Te Ohu Kaimoana is there to learn what it can, because there is a broad range of Maori opinion about whaling.

“There're Maori people who want to preserve whales, there are people who want to utilise whales that are beached. There are even some who want to go hunting whales again for commercial purposes. So we’ve got to be able to understand as many of the issues as they arise in the sort of forums so we can have as informed a position as possible,” Mr Douglas says.

Maori have appreciated the support they have got from other indigenous peoples in the past on fisheries issues.


A Taranaki duo who met while studying Maori at Victoria University has released its first album to coincide with New Zealand Music month.

Ngarua is Acushla O'Carroll from Nga Ruahinerangi, Ngati Ruanui and Te Atiawa, and Christine Waitai-Rapana from Ratana.

Ms O'Carroll says they've been working on their self-titled debut for six months.

The songs, all in Maori, talk of issues like language revitalisation, the Treaty of Waitangi, Mount Taranaki, and the Maori Queen.

Ms O'Carroll says they're still not sure if a career in music awaits.

“We just want to get our waiata out there to nga iwi Maori katoa o te motu, and from there if people kind of pick it up and run with it then we’re definitely keen to do some small kind of tour probably to different marae or different strongly Maori populated areas, where out music will be most appreciated,” Ms O'Connell from Ngarua.


The head of the National Maori Wardens Association says thought may have to be given to paying wardens for their time on the streets,

Peter Walden says the $2.5 million in the budget will pay for training, uniforms, communications and some regional coordinators.

He says the one-off funding is welcome, if overdue, but long term the Wardens need some sort of secure income.

“All the wardens, it is a labour of love, they love what they’re doing, but they need to be, with some urgency, recognised that you can't be voluntary in that field for ever,” Mr Walden says.

The role of wardens is also being reassessed.


A nutrition hui in Rotorua tomorrow will look at some innovative tribal initiatives to improve Maori health.

Christina McKerchar, the national co-ordinator for Agencies for Nutrition
Action, says the three-day event is a chance to evaluate models used to combat obesity diabetes and heart disease in Maori communities.

Ms McKerchar says some iwi are actively spreading health messages, such as the Ngati and Healthy programme on the East coast.

“A lot of our iwi have been working on hauora for a while. I think Ngati Porou Hauora, they’ve done really well, and they’ve done some incredibly research in this area and they’re really taking control,” she says.

A healthy eating multi media campaign will be launched at the conference.


Maori wanting to break into tourism are being urged to took no further than the associate minister for tourism, Dover Samuels.

More than 400 tourism operators are in Rotorua this week showcasing their products to travel wholesalers and international journalists.

Prime Minister Helen Clark says it's encouraging to see the number of Maori operators who have taken stalls.

Ms Clark says Mr Samuels has been a great advocate for Maori tourism, and people can learn from him.

“Well you can probably say Dover was one of the first operators, because he had to motel up at Matauri Bay and of course the diving, so he was up there entertaining, showing people how people lived at Matauri Bay down the ages, getting them out on the water, showing them traditional fishing skills, so yeah, he was one of the first,” she says.


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