Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuatara trip ban upsets iwi

A top of the South Island iwi is upset the Department of Conservation has nixed a plan for tourists visits to Stephens Island.

Ngati Koata are kaitiaki of both the island, also known as Takapourewa, and the tuatara who live there, and have signed a co-management agreement with DoC.

Spokesperson Roma Hippolyte says Ngati Koata has a minority share in Tuatara Maori Ltd, and backed the plan to helicopter small groups of visitors to the island.

“We really believe that if policies and procedures by this company were of an even higher standard than DoC themselves used for people landing on Takapourewa, that there shouldn’t have been an issue for DoC to grant the concession,” Mr Hippolyte says.

Ngati Koata will seek a meeting with DoC about its continuing relationship.

MAOIR LAND OVER-VALED FOR RATES

An independent review of local government rating has found many councils over-value Maori land for rating purposes.

It says because Maori land can't be sold on the open market, it shouldn't be rated on the same basis as general land.

Review chairperson David Shand says a new basis needs to be found for rating Maori land, which takes into account its cultural context and the restrictions of Te Ture Whenua Maori Act.

He says councils also need to improve the way they interact with Maori landowners.

“We found too many councils who just don’t take the time to train their staff, and this means being an owner of Maori land is a bit of a nightmare. You write letter after letter and you get nowhere and nobody pays any attention and nobody’s interested, and nobody’s empowered to act anyway,” Mr Shand says.

Central government should work with councils and Maori to develop consistent policies across the country for dealing with overdue rates on Maori land.

NUNNS TO HAVE CONTRIBUTION ACKNOWLEDGED

A musician credited with reviving taonga puoru is to be recognised by the Lilburn Trust.

Richard Nunns says the award is a tribute to all the Maori artists and musicians who have been part of the Maori music renaissance.

Mr Nunns has spent 40 years researching traditional Maori instruments and unlocking the mysteries of their sound.

With songwriter Hirini Melbourne and instrument maker Brian Flintoff, he traveled to marae all over the country and museums around the globe to piece together the puoro puzzle.

He says much will remain unknown.

“It's a small miracle that the people have remembered what we have and shared it with us and we’ve been able to piece together some of the korero and also, within a vector of probability, we have reinvigorated the sounds. We can’t say that it is exactly how it was because we have no kind of connection in living players who learnt in a traditional way, but we think that we're pretty close,” Mr Nunns says.

If he gets time between concerts and teaching, he'd like to finish a book on taonga puoro started by the late Hirini Melbourne.

JOINT MARKETING NEEDED FOR FISHING SECTOR

A call from one of the country's largest Maori fishing companies for the industry to work more closely together.

Ngai Tahu Seafoods has reported a before tax profit of $9.2 million in the year to June, on revenue of $76 million.

Chief executive Geoff Hipkins says it shows moves to restructure the company are paying off, including last year's 20 million dollar write off of its Cook Strait Seafoods and Pacific Trawlers acquisitions.

But he says there are parts of the fishing business which are still too dependent on outside forces.

“I have a look at hat happened with greenshell mussels. Despite what the politicians say, that’s turned into a commodity. The only people making money are the importers in the United States etc. There is a good case for rationalisation of that marketing effort so we’re not played off against one another. As a result prices are being driven down unnecessarily,” Mr Hipkins says.

Ngai Tahu's aggressive move into the retail sector is paying off, with its six Pacific Catch outlets in the Wellington region particularly strong.

NO EXCUSE NOW FOR RATES INACTION

The head of an independent review into local government rates says the government should now have enough information to tackle long-standing issues with Maori land.

The review recommended a new basis be found for rating Maori land, which takes into account its cultural importance and the fact it can't be sold outside the immediate descent group.

David Shand says the review panel came up against the long history of grievances and problems Maori have had with the rating system.

“This has been around too long. People have to get their act together. This is central government and local government. Obviously Te Puni Kokiri has got to take a role here. It’s been around far too long and we’ve done the most comprehensive job of anyone in accumulating all the issues and putting them on the table,” Mr Shand says.

He says councils also need to train their staff to deal sensitively with Maori landowners.

MAORI INTERNET SOCIETY SEEKS MAHI ALIAS

The Maori Internet Society is trying to make the New Zealand Internet bilingual.

It has put up a proposal that names in the dot nz namespace be reachable in Maori - so web sites ending with dot co dot nz could also be reached by keying in dot mahi dot nz.

Dot net could become dot ipu, dot org is dot ropu and schools become dot kura dot nz.

Society chairperson Karaitiana Taiuru says it's an alternative to creating another set of domain names for Maori organisations, and complements efforts to create a Maori language interface to the Google search engine.

“It will definitely dispel the myth that the Maori language is dead or there’s no place for Maori language in technolgies such as the Internet. I think it will put us on the world map again saying yes we’re Maori, we’re actually ahead of every other indigenous culture in the world by proposing this,” Mr Taiuru says.

The Domain Name Commissioner, Debbie Monahan, says the plan is technically feasible.

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