Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mauao deal signed off

Tauranga Moana iwi have moved a step closer to taking control of Mauao.

Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga have signed off on a final agreement which will give them title to the Mount Maunganui landmark.

Te Puke-based Waitaha, which has historical links to the maunga, also signed.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Hormia says the Government will legislate the transfer as soon as possible.

Colin Bidois, the chair of the Tauranga Moana Runanga, says while some in the iwi are concerned it's a clayton's handback, he's happy with the deal.

“I'm quite prepared to go along with it as it is, and see what happens down the line, because I don’t think that government will be interfering in the management of Mauao or interfere in any way. They’ve got a lot more to do and over the last 12 years I don’t know of one instance where the Crown has interfered in the present management of Mauao,” he says.

Mr Bidois says he's been smiling since the deal was signed.

WHITE AUSTRALIA BLIND TO BLACK

They may not be racist, but.

That's the report on white Australia from Hone Harawira, after his inspection of Aboriginal living conditions.

The Maori Party MP has sent his Tai Tokerau constitutents a lengthy report on his two day excursion to the Northern Territory last week, prompted by the Howard government's crack-down on alcohol consumption and child abuse in Aboriginal communities.

He says the poverty in the town camps around Alice Springs was shocking, but even more eye opening was how blind white Australians are to their indigenous people.

“I don't know how that happened, but they seem to completely not see them. And so the town camps are almost invisible to the people of Alice Springs. They don’t see the problem, they don’t see it’s a big fuss, certainly when John Howard comes in with a big hammer, all they can say is ‘That sounds like a good idea, let’s tidy things up here and move on,’” Mr Harawira says.

Despite the controversy back home, he says his trip got much-needed international publicity for Aboriginals.

CARVERS GETS WAKA TOI CANADA RESIDENCY

A young carver hopes a Toi Maori residency in Canada will teach him some new and some old skills.

Shannon Wafer, from Te Ati Awa, Taranaki and Ngapuhi will take part in a month long wananga in Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver, and work under master carvers to create poles and house fronts for a village in the Tsimshian Nation.

Mr Wafer, who trained at Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua, says he's already met master carver Demspey Bob and learned valuable lessons.

“When I first met Dempsey in 2001, one of the things which they had in their possession was a hand adze, a tuki. We use a double-handed tuki over here. The single-handed tuki is a tool that’s sort of been lost to us, so after meeting these people, it is being re-introduced into our carving,” Mr Wafer says.

He likes the clean lines of northwest coast carving.

OTS INQUIRY ON THE CARDS

The Maori Party believes it has the support to force a Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says a report on progress implementing Waitangi Tribunal recommendations highlights the need for such an investigation.

The Minister of Maori Affairs has boiled down a report covering 12 years and 47 reports into ten paragraphs of text and a five page table.

Dr Sharples says it's full of stock phrases and ignores the tribunal's recent blasts against the treaty settlement process.

He says the minister, Parekura Horomia, is falling down in his duty to monitor government on behalf of Maori.

“This is clearly a role that Parekura has. He’s supposed to keep the other ministers and the other departments honest in the way in which Maori are treated, and not just find ways of protecting them, and you know, there’s a time you really have to stand up and say this is humbug,” Dr Sharples says.

He expects support from National and New Zealand forst for an investigation.

MARK WANTING MORE RESOURCES FOR FOSTER CARE

A former foster child says the foster system needs more resources.

Ron Mark, who's now a New Zealand First MP, says the number of kids coming to the attention of authorities is on the rise.

But he says there aren't enough people willing to be foster parents.

And Mr Mark says despite all the rhetoric about placing within whanau, the system still can't cope with traditional whangai arrangements, such as when grandparents pick up the care of their mokopuna.

“The fact that when grandparents often say we’ll take that child off the daughter’s hands because we know she’s a drug addict, we know that she’s hanging out with bad people, we know that the child’s going to be at risk, Child Youth and Family won’t give those grandparents the same degree of support that they give to foster parents. They’re given the unsupported child benefit, but beyond that they’re whistling into the wind,” Mr Mark says.

New Zealand first want to see some alternatives, so children aren't being put in dysfunctional and dangerous situations.

GAMBLING INDUSTRY TARGETS POOR MAORI COMMUNITIES

A gambling industry critic says poor Maori communities are being targeted by the industry.

John Stansfield from Problem Gambling says the highest turnover through pokie machines is coming from places like Kawerau, Thames-Coromandel and Rotorua.

In Rotorua alone, one-arm bandits collect $364.73 for every man, woman and child.

He says the extent of the problem can be seen when gambling machine distribution is compared with the atlas of deprivation, published each year by the Health Ministry.

“The redder the map is the poorer you are, and if you put on top of that an acetate sheet and you plot where the pokie machines are, it’s a direct hit. Put in where the moneylenders are it’s a direct hit. If you then put in where the junk food is, it’s a direct hit. Now none of these communities sat down and said ‘Gee, what’s we’d really like to have is two dollar shops, moneylenders, junk food and pokie machines,” Mr Stansfield says.

He says there should be much stronger controls on gambling machines ... or they should be scrapped altogether.

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