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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Heteraka honoured for creative place

Northland carver Te Warihi Hetaraka has been honoured for his contribution to the arts.

At the Local Government Conference in Dunedin today, Mr Heteraka was given a Creative New Zealand award for outstanding individual contribution, acknowledging his skill as a carver, teacher and as a mentor to younger artists.

His work includes the carvings in the Maori Affairs Select Committee room in Parliament, Terenga Paraoa Marae in Whangarei, and Waka and Wave, a collaboration with sculptor Chris Booth near the Whangarei Town Basin.

Whangarei Mayor Pamela Peters says Mr Heteraka has made a huge contribution to the town.

“The people he brings together, the kind of atmosphere he creates around himself, the generosity of spirit and of course the artistic excellence as well, so he is an outstanding individual and we’re lucky to have him in Whangarei,” Ms Peters says.

Wind and Wave is the subject of a new booklet and exhibition at the Whangarei Art Museum.

FORESHORE BILL NOT BREAK TIME FOR PARTY

A Maori political commentator says the Maori Party's failure to win cross party support for its Foreshore and Seabed Act repeal bill is not a crushing blow.

Matt McCarten, the former president of the Alliance, says while foreshore and seabed was the issue that led to the creation of the party, it has proved itself to be more than a single issue party.

National's leader, John Key, says National won't support the bill in its current form.

Mr McCarten says what the Bill says is less important than its political symbolism.

“The bill was notoriously drafted badly, but no one cares particularly about the detail. They don’t. It was a symbolic line in the sand, so to speak, and that’s what drew Maori to say it was a critical point,” Mr McCarten says.

He says the Maori Party has shown its supporters tha Maori can be at the table, and that will ensure its survival.

THEREAPEUTICS BILL VICTORY SHORT TERM

Maori traditional healers say the demise of a bill to create a transTasman agency for regulating drugs and remedies could be a short term victory.

The Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill won't be put to the vote this session because the Government can't muster enough support.

Tane Cook from Nga Ringa Whakahaere o te iwi Maori says that's good news for Maori rongoa practitioners, who were concerned at the impact of the bill on traditional remedies.

But he says the proposed changes could be effected through regulation.

“The government has been trying to look at, okay, this particular bill didn’t work, so how else can we rewrite this to look like something else but effectively it still does the same job as they wanted this particular bill to do. So I still believe yes it’s a victory, but I still believe we should be taking things quite cautiously,” Mr Cook says.

Before it moves to regulate traditional remedies, the Government should wait for the Waitangi Tribunal to report on the Wai 262 indigenous flora and fauna claim.

MAUNGAPOHATU LAND TO GO BACK TO TUHOE

The Presbyterian Church is to return land in the the Urewera settlement of Maungapohatu to Ngai Tuhoe.

It is the result of 16 years of negotiations between the church's Maori synod, Te Aka Puaho, its properties and Maungapohatu's Te Mapou Papakainga Trust.

Wayne Te Kaawa, who researched the title, says the Crown bought part of the 60 acre Papakainga block in 1923 and on-sold it to the church four years later for 10 pounds.

He says the gift will give the hapu a greater land base.

“The papakainga was supposed to be 60 acres back in the 1920s when it was set up, but it was whittled down by the government down to 10, 15, maybe 20 acres today, and th land was originally supposed to be for the Mapou papakainga but the government had other ideas,” Rev Te Kawaa says.

The land will be handed back at a ceremony at Maungapohatu on August 4.

MINISTRY CONSULTING ON BIOPROSPECTING PLAN

The Ministry of Economic Development says a controversial register of traditional Maori knowledge or matauranga Maori is only a suggestion.

The idea is contained in a discussion paper on ways to regulate bio-prospecting for plants which can be used for medicines or remedies.

Chris Kilby, the ministry's acting secretary of energy and communications, says a lot will depend on the outcome of consultation hui with Maori over the next two months.

He says some sort of protection is needed.

“Currently New Zealand has no regulations or recognised guidelines for the use of traditional knowledge, so that’s one of the key factors that we’re asking through this document of Maori and other New Zealanders of what should we do about that,” Mr Kilby says.

He says the policy may also have to take account of whatever comes out of the Wai 262 flora and fauna claim to the Waitangi Tribunal.

IWI CHALLENGED TO SUPPORT REFUGE APPEAL

Green MP Metiria Turei has issued a challenge to Maori organisations to financially support Women’s Refuge.

She says as iwi improve their financial positions with Waitangi treaty settlements, they should think of ways to improve the overall health and well being of their communities.

“It's not just about economic growth and development. That’s part of what we should use our resources for. But we have to provide support for those groups that support our women and our children,” Ms Turei says.

SWEATSHOP LABOUR AFFECTS MAORI CHOICES

Maori consumers are being asked to consider whether goods they buy harm other indigenous peoples.

Trade Aid communications manager Michaelia Ward says many of the products enjoyed by consumers in developed economies are made by sweatshop labour in poorer countries.

She says all New Zealanders should avoid products from countries with reputations for using sweatshop labour.

“We need to start thinking as global citizens, and the Maori situation in New Zealand is very similar to the marginalised communities that we work for in Trade Aid, people that have been marginalized for all sorts of reasons through global trade,” Ms Ward says.

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