Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Joint deal sought on Kaingaroa Forest

Central North Island iwi are attempting to put together a comprehensive settlement for the Kaingaroa Forest.

Representatives of some of the iwi met with Finance Minister Michael Cullen last week to find out if the Government was willing to engage, now that a proposed Te Arawa settlement has stalled.

The government doesn’t have the votes to get its $80 million settlement with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa through Parliament.

That’s because of outrage over the way the deal ignores a 1989 agreement with Maori on how forestry claims would be dealt with, and because of concerns it disadvantages neighbouring iwi who stuck with the Waitangi Tribunal process.

Thiose iw3i now have a report favouring their claims, but say the Crown has promised their customary land to Te Arawa.

Last week a group including Tuwharetoa chief Tumu te Heuheu, and representatives from Ngati Whare, Ngati Makino, Ngati Whakaue and Te Pumautanga, Met Michael Cullen to see what they could salvage.

Dr Cullen agreed to the Crown engaging with the group once mandates and other issues are sorted out, but no one is expecting quick progress.


The risk of protests is putting developers from getting involved with Maori landowners.

That's the fear of the secretary of a Taupo trust caught up in a land occupation.

Andrew Kusabs from the Hiruharama Ponui Trust was reelected at the trust's annual meeting on the weekend by almost 90 percent of the vote.

Candidates from a faction opposing the trust's lakeside residential development failed to win shareholder support.

The development has been interrupted by court challenges by the minority faction, an occupation and the discovery of bones on the site, which police say turned out to be of animal rather than human origin.

Mr Kusabs says the shareholders suffer from the disruption.

“It's a marvelous opportunity for Maori to use their lands this way, and now these developers and other developers who were considering Maori land have all flown the coop. They don’t want to know anything more about it. And Symphony, who to their credit are hanging in there despite the losses they’re incurring, to make sure this one works,” he says.

Mr Kusabs says the trust now fears the protesters will use even more extreme tactics to stop the development.


This year's top secondary school Maori speaker puts being Maori ahead of speaking the reo.

Tupoutahi Winitana from Turangi-based whanau school Te Kura o te Ahorangi won the Pei Te Hurinui Jones trophy for senior Maori at the Maanu Korero awards, topping both the prepared speech and impromptu events.

He says the language is just a vehicle for getting thoughts across.

“Thinking you can speak in Maori doesn’t make you a Maori. So if I put it in reverse, if I learn to speak Japanese, does that make me a Japanese? No. You need to think like a Maori. You need to feel like a Maori in your heart and your head you need to be there. If not, ah, ka mou mou to reo. Your language will just be that, the Maori language, nothing more, nothing less,” Mr Winitana says.

He's considering training as a teacher.


A Maori Vietnam veteran says giving veterans the New Zealand General Service Medal doesn't go far enough.

The acting Prime Minister, Jim Anderton, told the Returned Services’ Association’s annual meeting in Wellington today that the medal with a special clasp would go to military personnel, accredited members of philanthropic organizations, and accredited war correspondents, who served in Vietnam between December 1962 and January 1973.

Kingi Taurua, who was the third New Zealander wounded in the campaign, says the medal won't help soldiers and their families affected by Agent Orange herbicide.

“It is important the government make compensation and look at how the soldiers were poisoned and how they are feeling at the moment. Some of them can’t afford to go to doctors. Some are dying. That for me is more important than this shiny medal the government is going to present. It doesn’t make me happy at all. It doesn’t give men any flutter in the heart,” Mr Taurua says.

The medal was part of a deal reached last year between the Government, Vietnam veterans and the RSA.


The Green's treaty spokesperson believes high turnover and poor systems in the Office of Treaty Settlements is hampering the claims process.

Metiria Turei says the new rules on the sale of surplus Crown land are necessary because OTS's landbanking system broke down.

The Government reviewed the system after claimants in Coromandel and the far north occupied farms Landcorp wanted to sell.

Ms Turei says OTS had rigid rules which ignored the needs of individual hapu, and officials clearly didn't listen to hapu about what blocks were important.

“Because they change personnel all the time and the files are being shifted from one person to another perpetually, then any understanding of what’s important by one OTS person will be lost at the files get transferred to other people because people are leaving, they have a relatively high attrition rate of staff,” Ms Turei says.

She says government departments and companies haven't done enough to sort out Maori claims to their land.


A child advocate is promoting traditional Maori values as the way to break the cycle of family violence.

Adell Dick from Te Korowai Aroha O Ngati Whatua in Wellsford runs Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke, a programme for children affected by violence.

It tries to teach traditional values such as seeing women as tapu and children as taonga.

She says many violent parents have lost touch with those values.

“Some of them think they know but really most of them don’t even know what waka they’re from, they don’t know what maunga they’re from, and these children don’t know and so they don’t have a firm foundation to start with,” Mrs Dick says.

Her partner on Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke, her 15 year old grandson Wiremu Te Mapihi-Livingstone, will explain the programme to the first national hui of child advocates in Hamilton tomorrow.


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