Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, June 11, 2007

10,000 steps to health

Massey University's Te Pumanawa Hauora Maori health research programme is considering giving Maori pedometers and encouraging them to walk their way to health.

Director Chris Cunningham says the 10-thousand steps programme is a way to encourage people to maintain a reasonable level of fitness as they get older.

Dr Cunningham says it's a practical response to research that show high levels of diabetes and heart disease among Maori, especially Maori men as they enter their 40s and become less physically active.

He says 300 Massey staff and students have been issued pedometers, and over 12 weeks they are being tested for weight, circumference and blood measures such as insulin and glucose.

“We're just trialing this as a process to understand how much support do I need to give a Maori person or a whanau, how much support do they need to be able to stick to a habit of increasing physical activity to maintain wellness, and that’s kind of a classic public health approach, but we’re trying to do it in a Maori sense,” Dr Cunningham says.

As a public health initiative, it's a lot cheaper than giving 600,000 people personal trainers.

WAI 252 MOVES INTO FINAL WEEK

The claimants have spoken. Now it's the Government's chance to say if it believes Maori have any treaty interests in native plants and animals that need to be protected.

The Waitangi Tribunal is sitting in Wellington this week to hear closing submissions from the Crown on the long-running Wai 262 claim.

Grant Powell, the lawyer for Ngati Kahungunu claimants, says during evidence hearings, officials from various government departments seemed to concede they should do more to protect Maori interests, but closing submissions filed with the tribunal take a much harder line.

“The Crown submissions have taken a lot more, it’s almost like shutting up the shutters, and saying basically ‘No, there isn’t anything here to answer at all,’ which is not what their witnesses conceded in cross-examination over Christmas and the New Year,” Mr Powell says.

He says the Crown lawyers haven't responded with many of the issues the claimants put before the tribunal.

NGATI WHAKAUE LOKIING TO QUIT THE FARM

Ngati Whakaue Lands Trust wants to turn its farm on the eastern edge of Rotorua into a mixed commercial and residential development.

Chairperson Rick Vallance says it is seeking a zone change to allow shops, houses and parks on the 1500 hectare Wharenui Station.

Mr Vallance says the trust has already shut a dairy unit on the land because of concerns over the effect of dairy run-off into Lake Rotorua, and it doesn't believe its future is in farming.

“Farming is capital intensive, but it doesn’t yield much cash, as anyone who knows farming knows. So this is a way of getting a greater benefit to the owners,” Mr Vallance says.

The Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands Trust is trying to take a long term view of its assets, rather than get bogged down in day to day detail.

VOLCANIC HERITAGE BRINGS WORLD OF TROUBLE

Ngati Whatua o Orakei has called taihoa on a push to get Auckland’s volcanic field declared a world heritage site.

The plan was supposed to be announced on Saturday at Maungawhau or Mt Eden by Prime Minister Helen Clark, but the event was postponed at the last minute by the Department of Conservation.

According to a contentious agreement in principal for settlement of Ngati Whatua’s central Auckland claims, the Orakei hapu is supposed to get ownership of three of the volcanic cones, including Maungawhau.

Chairperson Grant Hawke says DoC failed to put tell hapu what was going on.

“We ended up on our tables with an invitation list of about 150 organisations and iwi organisations to be present on Saturday morning for this launch and we just didn’t have any idea how it had come about without any consultation processes by DoC,” Mr Hawke says.

The Conservation Department has asked to meet with Ngati Whatua tomorrow to apologise for the incident.

Meanwhile, the Waitangi Tribunal will release its Tamaki Makaurau Settlement report on Friday, which is expected to be critical of the way the Crown failed to consult with other iwi with interests in Auckland.

TREATY PRINCIPLES TO FORE AGAIN

A lawyer in the long-running Wai 262 indigenous fauna and flora claim says the Crown has to be constantly reminded the Treaty of Waitangi is a partnership.

The Waitangi Tribunal is sitting in Wellington this week to hear the Crown's final submissions on the claim, after nine years of hearings.

Grant Powell, who represents Ngati Kahungunu claimants, says while the claim has taken on a huge scope, it is about many of the same principles of partnership and good faith established by earlier claims.

“It is a belated picking up of some of those principles and applying them across the board to the local government regime, to the resource management regime, to the Conservation Cat regime, biosecurity, biodiversity, those sort of things, and finding out what the place of Maori is within the legislative framework. Because unfortunately, New Zealand has never really had that discussion,” he says.

Mr Powell says the Crown's final submissions ignore many of the concessions already made by departmental witnesses, and its lawyers are likely to face some tough questioning this week from the tribunal.

WARETINI HITS JACKPOT AGAIN WITH BRIDGE

Maori balladeer Dean Waretini has an unlikely hit in Moscow.

The Christchurch-based singer is best known for his song the Bridge, recorded over 30 years ago.

Mr Waretini says a friend wrote Russian words to the tune, so he cut a new version.

He says the mix of Maori, English and Russian works well with the classic melody.

“That's the name which means in Russian Parent’s Home, that’s what he wrote, and to my surprise and everybody’s surprise they’ve actually put it on a play list in rotation there in Moscow and I thought to myself ‘Oh my god, hit the jackpot again,’” Mr Waretini says.

He will hold a concert at Christchurch's Theatre Royal in August to raise funds for a Russian tour.

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