Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Monster Manukau’s own creation

A member of Auckland's Ngai Tai iwi says problems on Manukau City Council's Tiriti o Waitangi Committee are of the council's own making.

In an extraordinary meeting this week, the council dumped James Brown from Ngai Tai Umupuia Te Waka Totara Trust from the committee, because he allegedly threatened councillors and staff.

But Pita Turei, a former member of the Ngai Tai Trust, says Mr Brown was given his status by the council, not the iwi.

“He has never represented Ngai Tai on that forum and no one from Ngai Tai put him there. Manukau City Council put him there to represent us, rather than deal with us. So they created the monster that became James Brown,” he says.

Mr Turei says Manukau City has a lot of work to do to repair its relationship with Ngai Tai ... starting with the rebuilding of its marae at Howick, which has just received resource consent three years after being burned down.

UNDER-RESOURCING AFFECTING MAORI NEWS COVER

The head of the main union covering journalists says industry pressures are contributing to poor coverage of Maori issues.

Journalists and media commentators have been looking at the state of the industry in a summit convened by the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union.

Secretary Andrew Little says he understands Maori frustration at what they see as unbalanced coverage of Maori kaupapa.

He says poor resourcing and heavy workloads means journalists entering the industry don't get the grounding they need to cover issues properly.

“They get to churn out story after story very quickly, they don’t get a chance to consider historical issues, and do research and look carefully and closely at issues and as a consequence I think the quality of the reporting suffers and I think that’s been especially the case with Maori, just a lack of understanding, and also a lack of Maori journalists,” Mr Little says.

Another specialist area today's journalists don't know how to cover is industrial relations.

KAIAPOI PALISADE FOUND IN DEVELOPMENT

Mana whenua are working with archaeologists to preserve newly discovered remnants of Kaiapoi Pa.

Part of a wooden palisade was found by contractors doing site work for the new city of Pegasus, just north of Christchurch.

Paora Tau, who is monitoring the find on behalf of his hapu, says experts from Auckland University are now on site ensuring any other finds are identified and preserved.

He says piece has an intriguing history.

“Well they believe it was a palisade from the Kaiapoi Pa from the storming by the muskets and the fire of Te Rauparaha. It used to be a waterway there. Ocean-going waka used to come right up there. Even though there’s not a lot of water there now, over time it could have floated down to where was found,” Mr Tau says.

Paora Tau says any taonga found could be displayed in a special facility planned for the original Kaiapoi pa site.

HOWICK WHARE TO BE REBUILT

An independent commissioner has given the go-ahead for Manukau City Council to rebuild a controversial whare in east Auckland.

The 1936 carved house in a Howick reserve was burned down three years ago.

Retired judge Peter Salmon says it's an asset Howick residents should be proud of, and the proposed replacement will have minimal impact on the surrounding area.

Pita Turei from Ngai Tai, which holds the mana over the area, says the consent process was unnecessarily complicated, because the council overstated the level of community opposition.

“A couple of grumpy old men didn’t like it. A couple of new immigrants from South Africa were concerned about having that many coloured people in the neighbourhood. But all the opposition against it was petty, and yet it took three years to resolve this because of Manukau City Council officers and Manukau City Council politicians,” he says.

Mr Turei says replacement carvings have been completed, and all Ngai Tai needs is for the shell to be rebuilt.

EMMA GIBBS GOING FOR NORTH MAYORALTY

A Maori environmentalist is putting her hat in for the Far North mayoralty.

Emma Gibbs says Maori make up half of the population in Taitokerau, but that's not reflected around council tables.

She says Maori communities are tired of the spin coming from their local bodies, and she represents transparency.

She also wants to encourage more Maori to come forward.

“We need a Maori in there, and if another Maori stands, and I reckon they’re better than me, I’m very happy to pull out rather than split the votes. And if you’re going for the mayor, all that’s really required of you is to have good judgment, stand up for your constituents, and the biggest thing is, I’m going to make sure that no more lies will be told,” Mrs Gibbs says.

She says the existing council has been slow to own up to mistakes, such as the repeated sewage spills into kaimoana-gathering areas.

JOURNAL SEEKING GRASSROOTS MAORI RESEARCH

A new journal is looking for original research from grassroots Maori health workers.

The Maori Health Review is a monthly digest of research from all over the world on issues affecting Maori health.

Editor Matire Harwood, a Ngapuhi doctor and researcher, says it's a quick way for medical professionals to keep in touch, without having to wade through the original papers and journals.

She says it's also a chance for Maori to strengthen their networks and share their experiences.

“I'm also encouraging Maori providers, grass level research for them, if they can’t get it published elsewhere but they think it’s really important for other providers to know about, for them to submit papers and we can include those too,” Dr Harwood says.

The publication is online at maorihealthreview.co.nz.

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