Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Manukau restores iwi mana over Pukaki

Whanau from a marae next to Auckland Airport are celebrating Manukau City's purchase of their former lagoon.

The lagoon in the Pukaki crater was drained almost a century ago, and has been used as a speedway track, a market garden and a farm.

The council has paid $6 million for properties around the crater rim and the perpetual lease of the crater floor.

Mayor Barry Curtis will visit Pukaki Marae this morning to discuss a shared management plan for the site.

The marae secretary, Maahia Wirihana-Takaanini, says the mana whenua are grateful at the efforts the council has made to implement the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal's Manukua Report, which investigated the Pukaki saga.

“We want to acknowledge the commitment of the council to the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal claim and we’re looking forward to how we can support each other in looking after this wahu tapu for the enjoyment of all,” Mrs Wirihana-Takaanini says

Pukaki Crater is one of Nga Tapuwae o Maraaoho, the footprints of the volcano god.

VIOLENCE PREVENTION SCHEME COULD BACKFIRE

A veteran Women's Refuge worker says a government-sponsored family violence intervention programme won't work for Maori.

Work and Income case managers have been instructed to call in Child, Youth and Family and other government agencies when they suspect violence is happening in a family.

But Mereana Pitman, Refuge's national project manager, says the policy was launched without consultation with the Women's Refuge movement.

She says half Refuge's clients are Maori, and many are reliant on government agencies like WINZ.

“When that becomes known that that is what WINZ will do to you when you go there, then our people are not going to go there. They’ll go underground, and that means they’re not accruing what is due to them, because they’re afraid that their children will be taken,” Ms Pitman says.

VICTORIA CROSS TO WIREMU APIATA

The Minister of Maori Affairs says all New Zealanders should be proud of the efforts of Victoria Cross winner Willy Apiata.

The SAS member won the military's top award for bravery for rescuing an injured comrade while under fire from Taleban troops in Afghanistan in 2004.

Parekura Horomia says Maori have always had a strong presence in the New Zealand defence forces, and Corporal Apiata's deeds will now be part of New Zealand's military folklore.

“What it does is expose is the effort that Maori soldiers have always put in but I think in a sense the actual action that happened is more than outstanding, it’s real high level bravery, and that we’ve warded him this tohu is a great thing,” Mr Horomia says.

FOMA HITS BACK AT COURT JUDGMENT

The Federation of Maori Authorities says a new Court of Appeal judgment throws into doubt any agreements Maori make with the Crown.

The Court yesterday refused to block the transfer of 50 thousand hectares of Kaingaroa Forest to the government for use in a Te Arawa land claim settlement.

Federation spokesperson Paul Morgan says the plan is in breach of the 1989 deal which led to the Crown Forest Assets Act.

The court says it can't make a declaration condemning the government's move because of a 1941 decision that the Treaty of Waitangi can't be enforced in the courts.

Mr Morgan says the Crown isn't being held to account.

“We live in the 21st century. An agreement’s been entered into by parties that clearly knew what they were entering into. Those matters should be honoured. We don’t bneed to look 100 years back into what’s transpired in the past. Common sense should apply and people should act in good faith,” Mr Morgan says.

PUKAKI TO BECOME PUBLIC RESERVE

One of the best explosion craters on the Auckland Isthmus is to become a public reserve.

The Manukau City Council has bought land and leases in the Pukaki Crater near Auckland Airport for $6 million.

Maahia Wirihana-Takaanini, the secretary of Pukaki Marae on the edge of the crater, says the loss of the land and the draining of the lagoon in its centre was a long-standing grievance for tangata whenua.

She says it's a far-sighted action by the council.

“If it becomes a reserve it will be protected. The wahi tapu will be protected for us and enjoyed by generations to come, so we’re delighted with the purchase,” Mrs Wirihana-Takaanini says.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis and his officials will visit Pukaki Marae this morning to discuss shared management of the crater reserve.

WARMER HOMES A HEALTH PROJECT FOR HERETAUNGA

Many Maori homes in the Hawkes Bay will benefit from an innovative home insulation programme.

Te Taiwhenua O Heretuanga is taking on staff to insulate homes belonging to low income Maori with health problems.

Manager Alayna Watene says the social services provider saw clear health advantage from the project.

She says many small Maori communities will benefit.

“The are 46,000 homes in the Hawkes Bay that were built prior to 1977 when insulation became mandatory. About 19,500 of those have incomes below $30,000 so we’re offering it free to those with high house needs and on low incomes,” Ms Watene says.

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