Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hikuwai land deal stage one

Tuwharetoa hapu meet with Landcorp today to celebrate the first stage of a $103 million deal to buy eight farms on the north side of Lake Taupo.

Three properties have so far come back, Tauhara North, Wairakei Block E and Rakanui Road.

Peter Clarke from the Hikuwai Hapu Lands Trust says there is considerable debate within the iwi about the wisdom of the deal.

But he says when the Office of Treaty Settlements refused to landbank the farms for settlement of the Ruapehu National Park Claim now before the Waitangi Tribunal, the claimants moved to stop their ancestral land being sold to outsiders.

“We went through a tribunal process to try to stave it off and we still couldn’t stop it. So the alternative was to see if we could buy it, and that’s what we’re doing now. $103 million is not 103 bucks,” Mr Clarke says.

This morning's hui at Waipahihi Marae will be attended by Landcorp chair Jim Sutton, chief executive Chris Kelly and Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton.

POLICE CLEAR IWITAHI OCCUPATION

Further down the Napier Taupo Road, police yesterday cleared a protest group from a disused outdoor pursuits centre.

Area Commander Bob Burns says the Iwitahi Centre was occupied for several weeks by members of the Ngati Tutemahuta hapu.

The pursuits centre operators wanted to retrieve their assets, including several buildings, and landowners Timberlands wanted to clear the 5 hectare site for planting.

Inspector Burns says there were four people on isolated site when about 30 police went in at dawn.

He says the reasons for the occupation are unclear.

“It's more a split between iwis perhaps, and maybe a grievance in relation to the way the Waitangi negotiation process is proceeding. We don’t have the full facts and they haven’t been shared with us unfortunately,” Mr Burns says.

The occupiers were issued with trespass notices, and made to remove their livestock, including sheep, pigs, a goat and a horse.

NOMINATIONS CALLED FOR HEALTH BOARDS

Elections for district health boards have begun, and Rangi Pouwhare from the Health Ministry says Maori should have their say.

Ka timata te kohiringa pooti mo nga poari hauora a rohe, i te raa nei.

E ai ki nga rangahau, tokoiti noa iho nga maaori e noho ana ki teera taumata o te ao hauora, aa hei taa Rangi Pouwhare, mangai Maaori o Te Manatu Hauora, he mea nui kia eke ngai tatou ki teera taumata noho ai.

FARAH PALMER PUT ON MAORI RUGBY BOARD

The newest member of the Maori Rugby Board wants to see more opportunities for Maori to rise to the top levels of the sport.

Farah Palmer, the former captain of the Black Ferns, says her time in women’s rugby gave her an appreciation of the challenges facing Maori rugby.

Dr Palmer says she feels excited about the future for Maori rugby.

“I'm also feeling rather nervous because I think I’m the first woman to be on the board, sop that will be challenging, but I’m also very humbled by it. I keep thinking I’ve done my dash in rugby and then other opportunities come up. I’m really looking forward to it,” she says.

Dr Palmer replaces Bill Osborne on the board.

HIKUWAI HAPU PUT UP MONEY FOR FARMS

Tuwharetoa hapu move a step closer today to reclaiming their ancestral lands.

Hikuwai Hapu Lands Trust is meeting Landcorp's chair and chief executive to mark the first stage of an ambitious plan to buy eight Landcorp farms for $103 million.

The first tranche of three properties near Taupo has come across.

All the properties are subject to Waitangi Tribunal claims, but the Office of Treaty Settlements refused to landbank them.

Trust spokesperson Peter Clarke says the hapu decided to do a commercial deal because it feared the land would be lost forever if it was sold to outsiders.

About 8500 hectares involved, including geothermal land.

LOW MAORI INTEREST IN HEALTH BOARD POLL

Lack of information and trust is being blamed for the low level of Maori participation in district health boards.

Rangi Pouwhare, the Maori relationships manager for the Ministry of Health, says DHBs manage billions of dollars for health and disability services.

He says it's vital for Maori find ways to have their say, starting with the elections.

“This is not unusual for Maori not to participate in elections and nominations. It’s from our history, normally, and I think Maori are still suspicious of the different election process with relation to STV. I think our people are still a bit unclear about how it actually works,” Mr Pouwhare says.

Nominations for health boards open today.

WAIKATO PRONUNCIATION NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

Waikato University is challenging its staff, students and the public of Hamilton and radio announcers to correctly pronounce the word Waikato.

Kua takatooria te maanuka e te waananga o Waikato ki a ngai tauiwi maa e noho ana ki Kirikriroa.

Kia tika te whakahua i te ingoa o Waikato.

Hei taa Maria Huata, maangai mo te kaupapa nei o te Whare Waananga o Waikato, Ko nga kaiwhakapaaho paakeha.

Nga mea e whakahua hee ana i te kupu nei...

Waikato University spokesperson Maria Huata on the campaign for correct pronunciation.

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