Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rates burden a compounding problem

A member of the Wanganui River Maori Trust Board says it's a travesty that almost two third of the $600,000 unpaid rates bill on Maori land in the region is penalty charges.

The Wanganui District Council has asked its iwi liaison groups for suggestions on how it should handle the escalating debt.

Jarrod Albert says Maori should pay rates on land which is generating income, but most of the Maori land with rates arrears is unproductive.

“Our land remains, a lot of it, undeveloped or landlocked. Therefore the rates pile up because there’s no services been provided and there’s no revenue being produced to service the block and its rates,” Mr Albert says.

The problem of rating unproductive Maori land is a nationwide concern the Government needs to address, rather than leaving it to District Councils.

PLUNKET REACHING OUT

A Maori clinical educator for Plunket says the organisation has made great strides in improving its relationships with Maori mothers and their babies.

Plunket is this week celebrating a century of service.

Meryl Ryan says Plunket started kaiawhina training for Maori nurses about 15 years ago, and it now has a Maori education team which works alongside Maori health providers.

“We're looking all the time in feedback with Maori communities and we do focus groups to see what they’d like and if they’d like things on marae, kohanga, all the different ways we can work with Maori families and encourage them to seek well child services,” Ms Ryan says.

TE PUIA REOPENS

Rotorua's Maori arts and crafts institute was reopened this afternoon after a $20 million upgrade.

Te Puia acting chief executive Anthony Cox says visitors will note an immediate difference, with the entrance to the institute and thermal valley now marked by 12 ornately carved pou, depicting the 12 heavens of Maori mythology.

Behind the gate are interpretive galleries with interactive displays of Maori taonga and on the legends and the science of how the Whakarewarewa valley was formed.

Visitors can see trainee weavers and carvers at work in the expanded workshop area.

Mr Cox says Te Puia has stayed true to its origins as a centre for preserving and promoting Maori cultural arts, while giving tourists more to see.

“Combined with the new facilities it’s really become a half day experience rather than what’s been promoted in the past as a one hour tour, yeah, you really need to dedicate a half day to see it all properly,” Mr Cox says.

He says tourist attractions like Te Puia need to periodically renew themselves.

$20 MILLION MINIMUM FOR MAORI PARTY SETTLEMENT

The Maori Party wants all smaller historical claim settlements to be topped up to $20 million.

The party's alternative treaty budget calls for an end to the billion dollar cap on claim settlements.

The cap, imposed by the Bolger National Government, is no longer policy, but party co-leader Pita Sharples says it still exists in practice because of the way relativities between claim settlements are set.

Dr Sharples says many settlements have been too small to be sustainable.

“We want a minimum of every claim to $20 million, so all those claims under $20 million have to be backed up to $20 million, because what’s happened is, the smaller tribes have got such a pittance, they had no money left to develop the land they’ve been able to buy back, which was taken from them in the first place,” Dr Sharples says.

The Maori Party would buy out the relativity clauses in the Tainui and Ngai Tahu settlements, which guarantee those tribes 17 percent each of the total settlement fund.

Ngai Tahu chairperson Mark Solomon says the Maori Party has not consulted with the iwi about its policy.

BOTICA TAKES A SHINE TO SMALL SCREEN

Frano Botica has developed a taste for the small screen.

The former rugby professional fronted a programme this week on the special relationship between Maori and settlers from the Dalmation coast.

The former All Black and Warriors player says it gave him a better appreciation of the hardships endured by his Croatian grandfather as he established himself here.

Mr Botica wants to learn more Croatian and Maori, and wants to give television presenting another go.

“My first opportunity to go on tv and present a show, so it was a new challenge for me, but it was certainly very difficult multi tasking you know, walking, looking at a camera and trying to remember my lines and talking, Although it sounds easy, it’s actually quite hard, but in the end it came across pretty well and certainly enjoyed it and would love to do some more,” Mr Botica says.

WHAKAS OFFER PROTOCOL LESSONS AT COMEDY FEST

Auckland comedy festival audiences have been getting a taste of indigenous humour.

And unlike those moments during powhiri when the whole marae dissolves into laughter, leaving the non-Maori speakers wondering what the joke was, this time everyone can get the gag.

Andre King and Figjam, also known as the Whakas, arepresenting their show Maori protocol for dummies at the Comedy Underground in Queen St tonight and tomorrow.

The pair say they're not the only Maori comics on the scene.





The Whakas will also perform their protocol for dummies in a showcase of Maori and Pacific Island comedians next week, including everyone but Willie J and JT.

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