Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 02, 2007

Appeal Court rejects FOMA challenge

The Court of Appeal has turned down a bid by several Maori groups to stop the Government using part of the Kaingaroa Forest to settle some Te Arawa land claims.

Today's decision means the Federation of Maori Authorities, the Maori Council and Ngati Tuwharetoa must now consider an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Crown wants to take ownership of a third of the Kaingaroa Forest, pocket more than $50 million in accumulated rentals, and give the land to Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.

The appellants claim this breaches the agreement they made in 1989, which led to the creation of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, which holds the land in trust.

They say it’s up to the Waitangi Tribunal to say who is the rightful owner of forestry land.

But the Appeal Court backed the judgment of High Court Justice Gendall that the courts cannot stop Parliament passing laws.

It says the settlement may not be in line with the 1989 agreement, but it would be legal if the politicians say so.

PERSISTENT SMOKING RATE PERPLEXES MINISTER

Despite years of research, the Health Ministry still doesn't understand why Maori smoke at twice the rate of the rest of the population.

Associate Health minister Damian O'Connor says the figures are disgraceful, and it's an ongoing challenge to stop Maori taking up the habit.

He says more resources will be put into school programmes and Maori groups which promote the anti-smoking message.

“That's what we’ll be doing with some of that $40 million additional funding, helping some of those groups out there, Maori groups as well, who’re working one on one with people who want to give up, so we’ve been working on this for 20 years, and we have reduced the rate, but the Australians have got it down to less than 20 percent. Ours is still at 23 percent. Why is that? We’ve got to keep asking the question,” Mr O'Connor says.

Most smokers pick up the habit in their early teens.

NO MAGIC WAND FOR AWARD WINNING BUSINESS

The head of the Hawkes Bay social service provider which took away the top prize at the Maori Business Awards says the job is harder than it looks.

Alayna Watene says over two decades Te Taiwhenua o Herataunga has built up an asset base of almost five million dollars without government grants or treaty settlements.

It now employs 100 fulltime staff, delivering a wide range of services from early childhood centres, medical and dental clinics and social services.

Ms Watene says it's great getting acknowledgment from the judging panel.

“Those that have an appreciation of what management have to do to achieve what they have. I think a lot of our whanau just take it for granted what happens, that someone just waves a wand and it’s there, but it’s far from the case,” Ms Watene says.

Te Taiwhenua o Herataunga has always stressed financial transparency and sound business practices.

FOMA DISSAPOINTED AT APPEAL COURT KNOCK BACK

The Federation of Maori Authorities says the Court of Appeal has short changed it in a ruling released today.

The court said it could not stop Parliament passing a law to use part of the Kaingaroa Forests to settle claims with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.

FOMA and the Maori Council asked the court for declarations that the proposed deal breached the 1989 settlement which led to the Crown Forestry Assets Act.

The court said upheld earlier decisions that duties under the Treaty of Waitangi cannot be enforced in the courts.

Spokesperson Paul Morgan says the appellants wanted the court to hold the Crown to its promises, and the judgment has serious implications for future deals.

“We're very disappointed at their approach, their conservatism, and how complicated they can make a very simple agreement between parties, which has not been adhered to by the Crown,” Mr Morgan says.

The Federation of Maori Authorities is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.

TOURISM FIRM WINS BUSINESS PRIZE WITH ADVENTUROUS OFFERING

The winner of a Maori Women in Business award is attributing her success to the international tourism market being more receptive to cultural experiences.

Melissa Crockett and fellow Ngapuhi wahine Bianca Ranson founded Potiki Adventures three years ago to offer tours based on contemporary Maori experiences and culture

Ms Crockett says their international clients expect more than the stereotypical Maori.

“The poi twirling, tongue poking continues to be fostered by mainstream New Zealand. The kind of travelers we’re dealing with are looking for that connection to culture but they’re looking at what’s the contemporary version of it. Which is why we’ve got a brilliant niche,” Ms Crockett says.

The ranges and beaches of Auckland city provides the perfect landscape for Potiki Adventures to operate in.

MIT JOURNALISM COURSE STARTS

The new wave of Maori journalism could come from South Auckland.

25 students today started a one year diploma in Maori media, language and broadcasting at Manukau Institute of Technology.

Wiremu Doherty, the polytech's head of Maori, says the aim is to produce journalists who are competent in Te Reo Maori and English.

“We're targeting our wharekura graduates who have a very good foundation of te reo so we can actually start taking these students and giving them the courage to start playing with our te reo. Te reo Maori can go anywhere,” Mr Doherty says.

Places in the course filled quickly by word of mouth, showing the level of interest among rangatahi in a career in the industry.

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