Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Waikato deal gives hope for Whanganui

The chair of the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board hopes the proposed settlement of Waikato River claims may revive the Government's interest in settling other river claims.

Archie Taiaroa says the system of joint management between iwi and regional government proposed in the Waikato-Tainui settlement is similar to suggestions the Waitangi Tribunal made in its Whanganui River Report, and it's an idea the iwi is keen to pursue.

But he says settlement talks broke down three years ago, and the government has not shown any political will to revive them.

“One realises that there negotiations are dependent on the Crown and whoever is making the claim and what the relationship between the two is at the time. We’re hopeful though that whatever the arrangement is here can assist with progressing the Whanganui iwi claim,” Mr Taiaroa says.

Whanganui groups are still considering whether to appeal Genesis Energy's consents to take water from the Whanganui for the Tongariro power scheme for another 10 years.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is brushing off a suggestion her party establishes more formal working relations with the Greens.

Green co-leader Russel Norman says since the two parties hold similar views on many kaupapa of importance to Maori, they should talk about how they can work more effectively in Parliament and during next year's election campaign.

But Mrs Turia says Mr Norman should have talked his ideas through with her first.

Surprised that they were made public before any discussion with us, but certainly we’re happy to talk to any of the political parties, and from time to time we have talked with the Greens, but of course because Mr Norman is not in Parliament, he has not been party to those discussions,” Mrs Turia says.


A special lunch in Auckland today to honour the surviving members of the 28 Maori Battalion and former Maori All Blacks has taken on an especially poignant dimension because of the death of a noted soldier and sportsman.

Johnny Collins from Ngati Porou was called back from army duty in Malaya to play for the All Blacks in the early 1960's.

He died on Wednesday in Gisborne.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says it's a reminder of how fast many of the old soldiers are slipping away.

“For the last half a dozen years I have been putting a lot of effort behind the 28 Maori Battalion as their numbers dwindle. I think it’s a great thing and certainly is a sad occasion here where Johnny Collins, who is one of the rare Maoris who made the All Blacks, he will certainly be remembered there,” Mr Horomia says.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says there are many similarities between Maaori culture and that of Taiwan's indigenous peoples.

Scientists have used DNA to find links between the groups.

Mrs Turia and other Maori MPs from the Maori, National and Green parties have been in Taiwan as guests of the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture visiting indigenous communities and finding out about the role they play in the country's political system.

She says they face similar challenges of marginalisation and loss of land and culture.

“If you listen to their story, it is our story. The significance of it is that they lost their language, so they’ve had a huge struggle to relearn and restore their reo and are using a number of mediums, similarly to us,” Mrs Turia says.

The tour was significant because it was the first time a Maori cross-party delegation has travelled together on an official parliamentary tour.


Palmerston North's Mana Tamariki school will open its new 4 million dollar complex tomorrow.

The building, which will house up to 170 pupils, was designed by Wellington architects Tennant Brown with input from sculptor Robert Jahnke, the head of Maori studies at Massey University.

Principal Toni Waho says Mana Tamariki has pushed the boundaries by including Maori immersion preschool and primary classes in the same space.

The neat thing about it is we were successful in getting the Ministry of Education to fund both parts of the building under one roof. This building has been designed so that the children begin as infants in kohanga and grow through the building and emerge from it at wharekura,” Mr Waho says.

Up to 1000 people are expected at Grey Street for the dawn opening.


The co-editor of a collection of 19th century Maori writing says old manuscripts are a valuable resource for modern language learners.

Jane McRae says the material in He Pito Pito Korero no te Perehi Maori came from a period when it many Maori were literate in their own language, and delighted in producing letters and essays for publication.

She says it's a shame so few Maori are aware of the existence of such a diverse body of printed material, because of the insight it gives into the ordinary lives of their ancestors and the social and political climate of the day.

“It's an extraordinary thing to be working with, the language as it was in the 19th century, and I think an unfortunate thing for New Zealand history, it’s an even more unfortunate for Maori who perhaps don’t know about the material of their own, there’s a lot yet to be published,” Ms McRae says.

Maori language was common in print up until about the First World War.


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