Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

FOMA, Maori Council seek leave to appeal

The Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council are off to the Supreme Court to challenge a Court of Appeal judgment that there is no special relationship between Maori and the Crown.

The two national Maori organisations and Ngati Tuwharetoa want to stop the Crown taking ownership of a third of Kaingaroa Forest and turning it over to a Te Arawa group to settle land claims.

Paul Morgan, the federation's executive vice chair, says appeal papers were lodged yesterday.

He says the proposed Te Arawa settlement ignores the Crown's duty to act in good faith towards Maori.

It's also in breach of a 1989 settlement which set up the Crown Forestry Rental Trust to manage the forestry claim process.

“Our position is it's a contract and on that basis, the fact that it’s an Act and a trust deed, we believe that’s enforceable and we’re seeking leave on those grounds,” Mr Morgan says.

The Waitangi Tribunal will tomorrow release a report which is expected to be critical of the proposed forestry settlement.

WAITANGI RESORT TO GET $6M UPGRADE

A major Maori asset is getting a $6 million upgrade.

The Copthorne Bay of Island Resort Hotel at Waitangi, which is 51 percent owned by the Tai Tokerau Maori Trust Board, is getting another 35 rooms.

BK Chiu, the managing director of Tai Tokerau's joint venture partner, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand, says it will take the total number of rooms and suites to 180.

He says it will allow the hotel to keep up with increased demand from tourists, conferences and domestic travelers.

“We'll be building on top of one of the current wings. Most of these will have the views. The key is to blend in with the environment, so you find the construction is all in a very traditional timber frame. In fact we are building a big traditional New Zealand house, in line with the environment and the architecture,” Mr Chiu says.

The joint venture is also making a large donation to the upgrade and upkeep of the neighbouring Waitangi National Trust visitor centre.

MAORI RUGBY NEEDS TO AIM FOR ALL BLACK PLACES

A veteran rugby commentator says there could be a challenge getting more Maori into the All Blacks.

The World Cup squad is light three Maori, with Piri Weepu, Rico Gear and Troy Flavell being denied tickets to France.

Keith Quinn says that still leaves Leon McDonald, Luke McAllistair and Carl Hayman, who he rates as one of the best props in the world.

He says Maori have been such an important part of All Black rugby, ways must be found to encourage a new crop of talent.

“We only have to look at the personalities who have come out and been fantastic parts of All Black rugby in history like George Nepia, like Sid Going, like Buck Shelford, Waka, Hika, Tane. There’s no question about the contribution, but the challenge perhaps now is to work harder, to get it back to where it is out of a team of 30, there are six or seven or eight or nine of Maori background who are in the team,” Mr Quinn says.

CHALLENGE TO FORESTRY SETTLEMENT

The Government's settlement of Rotorua land claims faces a double challenge.

Tomorrow the Waitangi Tribunal releases its report into the use of Crown forest assets in the settlement with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.

Other Te Arawa hapu, neighbouring iwi and national Maori organisations challenged the inclusion of a third of Kaingaroa Forest in the deal.

And the Federation of Maori Authorities, the Maori Council and Ngati Tuwharetoa yesterday asked the Supreme Court to overturn an Appeal Court decision that the courts could not interfere with the government's plans.

FOMA spokesperson Paul Morgan says the Court of Appeal tore up an earlier judgment that the Crown must protect the interests of Maori.

“They've said that it’s not effectively applicable in New Zealand law in the New Zealand law of equity. We’re arguing that that’s an inappropriate decision, and that there is a fiduciary duty under the Treaty of Waitangi, and they have a duty of care responsibility, an obligation to act in good faith on those matters,” Mr Morgan says.

LAYER FORUM IN WELLINGTON

Maori legal issues are on the table elsewhere today.

Some of the top lawyers working in treaty claims, resource management, Maori land and fisheries are sharing their insights and experiences at the sixth Maori Legal Forum at the Wellington Town Hall.

Conference chair Russell Karu says the forum has become a valuable place for people to catch up on highly specialised areas of the law.

“It's a chance to get together and discuss these issues and to actually be able to deliver some key messages on some of the key areas that Maori organisations, the complex areas that Maori organisations are dealing with at this moment,” Mr Karu says.

CROWN HAS HAND IN ABUSE

Auckland District Health Board's tikanga Maori advisor says some for the blame for an upsurge in violence against children should be laid with Crown agencies.

Naida Glavish says when cases of child abuse involving Maori whanau hit the headlines, all Maori take a hit.

She says Maori must shoulder much of the responsibility, but are not alone.

“In the prisons, who heads the top of that? Who heads Corrections? Who heads everything really, where Maori are involved? Certainly Maori are not at the top making those decisions,” Ms Glavish says.

Crown agencies need to communicate with each other and with Maori community groups when dealing with dysfunctional whanau.

FLAVELL LACK COUNT COUNT AGAINST ABS

The All Blacks will regret leaving Troy Flavell at home.

Thats's the prediction of sports commentator Ken Laban.

He says the three Maori players dropped from the World Cup squad ... Flavell, Rico Gear and Piri Weepu ... have an imposing physical presence.

He says the big lock knows how to make his mark at top level.

“Big, aggressive, he’s a brute, never takes a backward step. Look at the turn around of the Blues from 2006 to 2007. The question is, who’s had the biggest impact over that turn around,” Mr Laban says

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