Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Claim chance to change relationship

The lawyer for Ngati Kahungunu treaty claimants says the Wai 262 claim is a real chance to change the way the Government deals with Maori people.

Grant Powell opened the final hearing on the claim at Orakei Marae in Auckland with a summary of the evidence the Hawkes Bay iwi has submitted over the past nine years.

Mr Powell says the multi-iwi claim quickly expanded beyond its original focus on indigenous fauna and flora because at its heart are the Treaty of Waitangi guarantees of tino rangatiratanga, which has been translated as everything from chiefly authority to full sovereignty.

“What is the proper place of Maori within the New Zealand legal framework, within the intellectual property framework, within the environmental management regimes, within local government. We’re always going to have unresolved issues, so the faster we can grasp hold of it, complete this claim and get on to working through the issues, the better,” Mr Powell says.

MAORI KEY PART OF HOSPITAL ACTION

Maori and Pacific Island workers will have a big say in whether an offer to avert rolling strikes in the country's public hospitals will be accepted.

2000 members of the Food and Service Workers Union will vote later in the week on whether to accept a 50 cent an hour pay rise.

Union spokesperson Alistair Duncan says they're workers whose efforts go largely unseen.

“We estimate that 60 percent, that’s six out of 10 people are either Maori or Pacific Island, and these really are the invisible heroes and heroines of our public hospitals. They’re the cleaning staff. They’re the orderlies. They’re the food services. They’re not doing work that is seen as glamorous, but without them the hospital simply doesn't function,” Mr Duncan says.

BONES PART OF CANNIBAL BREAKFAST

The secretary of a Taupo land trust says the discovery of human skeletons on the land is no reason to stop a $30 million dollar subdivision.

Andrew Kusabs from Hiruharama Ponui Trust says the majority of owners agreed to give developers Symphony Group an 80-year lease over a small part of the 800 hectare block.

A small minority who objected started occupying the land when bones were found last month.

Mr Kusabs says the bones, and the 140-year-old female skeleton found last year, were not in a known urupa, and there is no reason to think any other bones will be disturbed.

“The area takes its name from Ponui Pa. Ponui is the fighting pa of Ngati Rauhoto a tia, which is further down the road, and there’s every prspect that someone got killed and was left behind, or it might have even been part of a cannibal breakfast. You don’t really know what’s happened there,” Mr Kusabs says.

The subdivision will give the trust could have an income until the forest of the rest of the block matures, and it has saved the best lakeside land for a serviced camping ground for owners.

DAIRY FARMING THREAT FOR MAORI LAND

Greens Maori Affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei says Maori should be wary of switching their land to dairy production.

Ms Turei says World Environment Day today was a good opportunity for Maori to consider the way they use their land.

High dairy prices is encouraging many dry stock farmers to convert, but Ms Turei says the environmental price may be too high.

“There's a big push at the moment for Maori industry to look at ways of becoming more sustainable in terms of environmental impacts. A lot of our Maori business in agriculture is in sheep and beef. There is growing dairy across the country, and I think we need to be careful about our investment in dairy,” she says.

Ms Turei says run-off from dairy operations can pollute waterways, affecting the Maori communities who collect kai downstream.

WORKS STARTS FOR NEW KURA BUILDING

Work has started on the country's newest purpose-built kura.

Te Kura Kaupapa o Puao o te Moananui a Kiwa has received $5.2 million to build a new facility on the site of a former Intermediate in the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes.

Principal Katene Paenga says since the kura started in 1990, it has occupied classrooms in the former Tamaki Girls High and other schools.
He says despite such limitations, it has built up the community and whanau support needed to guarantee a steady flow of students.

“The Karaka family, the Nathans, the Nichol whanau, whaea Esther and all of the principals, were the force behind Puao always going forward, and now we’ve reached the stage we’re getting a new school,” Mr Paenga says.

The kura is seeking composite status, so it can take children from primary to secondary levels.

TAONGA SPARKS BETTER UNDERSTANDING

The head of the Marlborough Museum says ancient taonga can be a catalyst for better understanding across cultures and generations.

The museum has just opened Kei Puta Te Wairau, an exhibition of taonga from the region.

Steve Austin says nearly three quarters of the Marlborough's residents been in the area for less than 10 years, so the exhibition gives them a different view of the place they have come to live.

“A number of artifacts are made from pakohe, which is argillite, an interesting stone, it’s harder than iron. There are a number of artifacts found on the Wairau Bar, fishhooks which were found at Rarangi. It’s a great exhibition from that point of view,” Mr Austin says.

Other taonga include a carved whale rib, stone sinkers, and a raincloak made from the nei nei tree which grows in the Wairau Valley.

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