Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ngapuhi acted on social services scandal

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the Northland tribe's runanga had acted quickly when it discovered money missing from its social services arm.

The runanga has come under fire from a disaffected tribal member over the departure of former Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services chief executive Arapeta Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton was stood down last December, then sacked when a forensic audit ordered by the runanga revealed up to a million dollars had been siphoned off from the social services agency over the past three years.

Mr Tau says the runanga's priority has been to ensure services are maintained.

“None of the services have suffered, The contractual obligations and outcomes were fully met, and Child, Youth and Family, who by and large is the contracted agency, commissioned its own inquiry at the time and they are fully satisfied that the contractual obligations were met,” Mr Tau says.

The fraud was discovered because the Ngapuhi Runanga moved to bring the social services arm under its direct control, rather than being run by an independent board.


The director of the New Zealand Export Academy says Maori busineses would benefit from sponsoring students through the course.

Mark Carrington says the Hawkes Bay-based academy is a response to a shortage of skills in the sector, with exporters struggling to recruit staff with export knowledge.

Mr Carrington says that includes the many Maori businesses involved in land-based exports, who may see the opportunity to upskill their staff.

“There was a recent business survey that identified a number of New Zealand businesses had staff that came out of the baby boom years and are approaching their retirement years, and we are hearing of a skill shortage currently, but it would be our view that that skills shortage is going to increase in the next few years as people leave the workforce,” Mr Carrington says.

The first intake for the New Zealand Export Academy will be early next year.


The head of the Marlborough Museum says the time is right for iwi to work more closely with the museum sector to ensure tribal taonga are protected.

Steve Austin says a blaze which gutted a Mangakino marae last week is a reminder of how vulnerable taonga can be if they are in marae without adequate fire protection.

Steve Austin says there are Maori now working in museums, and more dialogue is needed with iwi so taonga remain accessible but well cared for.

“There’s a real opportunity for iwi to develop facilities, if those resources are there, that do meet the criteria that a lot of museums have in terms of fire protection and security and I would say that generally iwi would find museums are worthy partners in that endeavour,” Mr Austin says.

The Marlborough Museum has just opened a new show of taonga from its region.


A lawyer involved in the Wai 262 indigenous fauna and flora claim says it's long overdue for the claim to be resolved.

Grant Powell has been acting for Ngati Kahungunu since the claim was lodged by members of six iwi back in 1991.

Mr Powell says while the Crown may try to argue the country has moved on, none of the issues raised have been resolved, and in many cases Maori seem further disadvantaged when it comes to questions of resource management, environmental protection and intellectual property rights.

He says the passage of time has taken its toll.

“Eight of the Ngati Kahungunu witnesses who have given evidence in the three Ngati Kahungunu evidence hearings have passed away. We’ve lost two of the four senior lawyers involved in the claim, lost the judge. We’ve definitely got to bring this thing to a conclusion before we lost anybody else,” Mr Powell says.

The hearing continues today at Orakei Marae in Auckland, with lawyers for Northland tribes summing up.


The principal of an Auckland kura kaupapa says Maori immersion schools face a continual battle for access resources.

Katene Paenga heads Te Kura Kaupapa o te Puao o te Moananui a Kiwa in Glen Innes, which has just secured a 5 million dollar education ministry grant to build a new five classroom facility.

Mr Paenga says the kura has been occupying various former mainstream school sites since it opened in 1990, and it has only survived because of the phenomenal support it has been able to gain from the community.

He says it's a similar story throughout the country.

“Kura kaupapa Maori is still having to prove our worth, having to say to the ministry, to the government, look, we’ve been around for 25 years now and we’re still having to demand and fight for our resources,” Mr Paenga says.

The kura aims to become a composite school, taking children from primary through to secondary level.


Tai Tokerau kicked off its Matariki celebrations over the long weekend with art exhibitions and kite-making.

Co-ordinator Jacqui Walters says the Whangarei workship attracted Maori and non-Maori alike to learn from renowned kitemaker, Harko Brown.

The Northland man flies kites competitively, and was part of a Maori delegation to the world kite flying championships held in Europe last year.
Ms Walters says it was an inspiring start to the Maori new year.

“Harko Brown is really an amazing man and it was great seeing him at work. He is so encouraging and understanding of people and their creativity and the kites were really interesting, He gave people quite a lot of creative freedom and it was fascinating to see what people came up with,” Ms Walters says.


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