Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Taupo land occupations ended

Taupo police have broken up two land occupations.

At dawn yesterday they swooped on a Taupo District Council property south of the town and arrested two people and removed 40 others.

In the afternoon they arrested 11 others who were preventing a development on land at Acacia Bay owned by the Hiruharama Ponui Trust.

Trust secretary Andrew Kusabs says the move is long overdue.

He says the occupiers don't have authority to speak for the trust.

“The committee of management who were appointed by the people, who were working for the people, and this little group here are people who claim they have rights that the other owners don't have,” Mr Kusabs says.

He says the occupiers have built on waahi tapu and dug long drops on an old pa site.

Meanwhile, a kaumatua involved in the other occupation says he'll be back on the land.

Tiger Wall from Ngati Tutemahuta says both the district council and Landcorp are occupying land which the hapu has never sold.

“They've got to prove to us that they own the land, come with their titles. And then we’ll leave it alone. If they can’t, we've got our title,” Mr Wall says.

He says two of the occupiers chose to be arrested so they could take the battle into the courts.

ABORIGINE CRACKDOWN NEANDERTHAL

A Maori who has worked with Aboriginal outback communities is slamming the Australian Government's planned crack-down.

Prime Minister John Howard has ordered government agencies backed by the army into the Northern Territory to enforce bans on alcohol and pornography, in what he says is a response to widespread child abuse.

Tamehana Pomana, who now works for an Aboriginal trust in Sydney's Redfern, says the answer to any community's problems must come from within.

He says the government's big stick approach won't work.

That type of reaction is Neanderthal. It’s somebody running around with a big stick and going bang bang. I would ultimately think that these communities have always provided good answers over time, but it’s just that governments of the day, they just don't want to listen,” Mr Pomana says.

He says Maori have experiences they can share with Australia's indigenous people.

KAWAKAWA RANGATAHI IN THE HOT SEAT

Rangatahi are providing valuable help to a Northland fire service.

Kawakawa Volunteer Fire Brigade deputy chief Annette Wynyard says students from Bay of Islands College are boosting brigade numbers.

“Our brigade is made up of about 85 percent Maori. Over the last three or four years we’ve had about 12 students come down and join as volunteers. It is quite difficult finding people who are available, especially during the day,” Ms Wynyard says.

TAUPO TIGER OUT THERE FIGHTING

A 69 year old kaumatua cleared from a land occupation near Taupo says he'd rather fight than talk.

Tiger Wall from Ngati Tutemahuta was one of more than 40 people rounded up by police yesterday in a dawn raid on a Taupo District Council-owned property just south of the town.

Mr Wall's group has laid claim to the Tauhara Middle lands owned by Landcorp and to other land held by the council.

The group has taken out newspaper ads ordering Crown enterprises to remove all structures from the land.

Other Tuwharetoa trusts are trying to buy the land from Landcorp, which is subject to Waitangi Tribunal claims, but Mr Wall says he disagrees with that approach.

“Our trust is trying to borrow money to buy all this land, to buy our own land back. Why should that happen. The land belongs to the Maori, why should you by your own land back. That's our fight,” Mr Wall says.

Taupo Police also ended an occupation at Acacia Bay yesterday afternoon and arrested 11 people who had been stopping a development on land owned by the Hiruharama Ponui Trust.

MAORI FEEL FOR ABORIGINAL PLIGHT

Maori in Australia are feeling for the Aboriginal communities being targeted by the Australian Government.

Tamehana Pomana, who has spent many years working in outback Aboriginal communities, says the army-backed crack down on alcohol and pornography in Northern Territory settlements is unlikely to work.

The intervention has been ordered by the federal government after reports of rampant child abuse in the communities.

But Mr Pomana says Maori know the roots of the problem lie in the colonial experience.

He says Maori have had to tackle similar issues, and they should share their experiences.

“We have a lot of Maori that are coming across. They’re very learned Maori, in all concepts in relation to society as well as their own culture and tikanga, as well as being humanitarian thinkers so I’m a firm advocate that we should be playing a greater part.” Mr Pomana says.

He says many Aboriginal groups are open to alliances with Maori.

TAINUI GET CLEARANCE FOR BASE STAGE FOUR

Tainui Group Holdings has won resource consent for the fourth and final stage of its $100 million retail development in Hamilton.

Chief executive Mike Pohio says the company can now look for an anchor tenant for a two-story mall at the southern end of the complex, known as The Base.

Tainui will do the development on its own, after this week buying out joint venture partner The Warehouse for $37 million.
Mr Pohio says the company will be trying to beat last year's $64 million operating surplus.

“We are looking to continue the momentum on The Base. It’s unlikely that in financial terms there’ll be anything other than work in process payments sitting on our balance sheet by March 31 next year but we’ll certainly be looking to get construction underway by then,” Mr Pohio says.

Tainui Group Holdings is looking to complete its Ibis Hotel joint venture development in Hamilton by December the first, and it's looking around for other acquisitions in the Waikato and further afield.

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