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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 13, 2007

Maori key to disaster relief

Local authorities need to involve iwi and marae networks more in their civil defence planning.

That's the view of Massey University researcher James Hudson from Ngati Awa and Ngai Tuhoe.

He's done a report for the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science on the role of marae and Maori communities in disaster recovery.

Mr Hudson says Maori take a leading role in the clean-ups after events like this week's storms in Taranaki and Taitokerau, but their contributions are seldom recognised.

He says civil defence authorities should open up the lines of communication.

“The main players seem to be iwi social service and health providers because they’ve already got those networks among the whanau, they’ve got those networks amongst the Maori community in terms of the mahi they do with hauora and Maori housing, they already have experience in terms of mobilizing their communities. All they really need to know is what's going on,” Mr Hudson says.

Civil Defence should involve marae and hapu representatives in their training, and put civil defence kits on marae.

MAORI PARTY NOT STAUNCH ENOUGH FOR RADS

The Maori Party has come under fire for not backing up one of its MPs.

Lawyer Annette Sykes from Ngati Pikiao says if the party wants to be effective, its messages need to be consistent.

She says instead of supporting Hone Harawira's attack on Australian PM John Howard, the party went into damage control.

Co-leader Pita Sharples rebuked the Tai Tokerau MP for getting personal in his comments, against party kaupapa.

But Ms Sykes says Mr Howard's planned intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory is worthy of the strongest language.

“If the Maori Party accepts that a policy is racist, then surely it follows that the person that developed the policy or is imposing the policy is also racist in the way that the policy is being developed and imposed,” she says.

Ms Sykes says there is no need to apologise to John Howard.

FILM GETS NOMINATED FOR LOOKING BEAUTIFUL

The producer of a film about a five year old Maori girl's first days at school says it looks like a million dollars.

Hawaiiki has been nominated for the short films section in next month's New Zealand film awards.

Libby Hakaraia says the film has already won international acclaim at Toronto's ImagineNative Film Festival, where it took the Best Short Drama Award, and it's been picked up for film festivals around the world.

“We put it up because we believe the film, in terms of the craft of it, the look of it, is a really beautiful film. The crew worked really hard and produced something that has a beautiful look to it. We make these films on really limited budgets and really they just pulled out all stops and it just looks a million dollars,” Ms Hakaraia says.

Hawaiiki will screen tonight at a Matariki short film festival at Corban Estate Arts Centre in west Auckland.

MAORI KEY TO DISASTER CLEAN UP

A Massey University researcher says Maori are a key part of clean-ups after natural disasters like this week's storms.

James Hudson from Ngati Awa and Ngai Tuhoe has studied the role of marae and Maori communities after floods in the Bay of Plenty and Manawatu.

He says communities quickly swung into action, but their efforts are seldom recognised or used by civil defence authorities.

“It's just a lack of awareness on the local authorities’ part at what resource are actually available that Maori authorities have, particularly service providers, particularly runanga and marae. They really don’t seem to be aware of just how we can, as Maori, mobilise ourselves,” Mr Hudson says.

Civil Defence should involve Maori in training and preparation, so the lines of communication can be opened immediately disaster strikes.

HOUSING PART OF APA SETTLEMENT PACKAGE

Ngati Apa is looking forward to getting more people back on its ancestral lands once its treaty settlement is signed off.

The Rangitikei tribe yesterday signed an agreement in principle for a $14 million settlement.

Most of the settlement will come from the handover of Crown forest lands, but some significant sites and two lakebeds are also in the package.

Ngati Apa also has a right to buy the land under Ohakea air force base, Bulls police station, and the Turakina and Whangaehu schools.

Negotiating team member Pahia Turia says a key part of the cultural redress for the 5000-strong tribe is land for housing.

“We've been able to secure nearly 100 acres for papakainga housing throughout the Ngati Apa rohe, so we see that as the opportunity to reestablish ourselves as Ngati Apa communities in those respective hapu areas,” Mr Turia says.

It could take another year to finalise the settlement.

KAHUNGUNU GOES WITH FIORDLAND LOBSTER FOR GIVE YEARS

Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa iwi Ngati Kahungunu has signed a deal which will see a Southland company catch, process and export all its crayfish quota for the next five years.

Harry Mikaere from the Kahungunu fisheries asset holding company says as part of the deal, the tribe has taken a shareholding in Fiordland Lobster.

He says it will get full market price for its catch, while managing the risk in the industry.

Fiordland Lobster already processes more than 450 tonnes of live crayfish a year.

MAORI PICKED FOR SUNDANCE WORKSHOP

Two Maori filmmakers have scored an invite to the presitigious Sundance laboratory for independent producers.

Libby Hakaraia from Whenua Films and Lara Norcroft, from Blue Bach Films leave for the United States at the end of next month.

Ms Hakaraia says as well as workshopping film ideas, the laboratory will give them valuable contacts within the film industry.

We're always talking about making films with other investors in terms of big big films that we can’t afford to make here, so we’re going up there with a kete full of ideas and who knows,” Ms Hakaraia says.

Other Maori filmmakers who have benefited from the Sundance experience include Taika Waititi, Ainsley Gardiner and Rhonda Kite.

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