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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tamaki claim back on the table

The Government is meeting Auckland cross claimants in an attempt to break an impasse over its Tamaki Makaurau settlement with Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

Paul Majurey, the lawyer for the Marutuahu tribes, says a hui is planned later this month between the Office of Treaty Settlements and Marutuahu, Ngai Tai, Ngati Te Ata and Te Taou and Kawerau a Maki.

Despite not having the votes in Parliament to get settlement legislation through, Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton says the Crown has a good faith obligation to honour the agreement it made with the Orakei hapu.

But Mr Majurey says the Crown should heed a Waitangi Tribunal finding that that 90 million dollar deal was flawed, and should be put on hold until settlements are reached with the other iwi.

“What we clearly have in mind is exactly where the tribunal was at and that is the whole proposed settlement is flawed, and all the elements of redress, cultural, commercial, first rights of refusal, are all on the table as far as we're concerned,” Mr Majurey says.

The hui will discuss resourcing of claimants, commissioning independent historical research, mandating issues, setting up a single negotiating table over cultural redress sites like Auckland's volcanic cones.

CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR BIOTETHICS MAVENS

The new Maori members of the Bioethics Council are expecting some tough challenges ahead on how competition between culture and science can be resolved.

Massey University professor Huia Tomlins-Jahnke, former Ngai Tahu chief executive Tahu Potiki and from Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi researcher Brett Stephenson have joined founder member Waiora Port to bring a greater Maori perspective to the council.

Ms Tomlins-Jahnke says her involvement in hapu-based research has exposed her to debates about the tikanga of science.

“Because there is no one view around any of these issues. Which is one of the reasons why the consultation activities are going to be so important. One of the roles of the council is stimulating dialogue around cultural and ethical and spiritual aspects related to bio-technology,” she says.

One of the issues the council will have to grapple with is pre-birth testing.

ROMANS GONE FOR A BURTON

Ngapuhi artist Lisa Reihana has given Rome artlovers a taste of colonial New Zealand.

Her video installation Native Portraits has just finished a two week run at Roma University's contemporary gallery.

It's based on the colonial era photography of the Burton Brothers, and includes short performances of Maori doing a wero and other actors wearing 19th century costumes.

She says it got a great response, despite the language difficulties.

“The Italian people spent a long time looking at it and were really really interested and intrigued by Maori culture, so I spent the whole evening chatting and gesticulating and speaking very bad Italian, but I really liked the way culture and history is really important to them, and how they really wanted to know about New Zealand and what happens here,” Ms Reihana says.

Another installation by Lisa Reihana, Digital Marae, opens this Saturday at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth.

OTS COMMITTED TO SETTLEMENTS FOR ALL

The Office of Treaty Settlements says the Crown is keen to get settlement with all claimants to the Auckland isthmus.

Talks have started with overlapping claimants including the four Marutuahu tribes, Hauraki Maori Trust Board, Ngai tai Ki Tamaki, Ngati Te Ata, Te Taou and Kawerau a Maki.

OTS director Paul James says a series of meetings between the OTS and the claimants will test scenarios and look at possible ways forward.

“The Crown maintains its goals of continuing to seek settlements of all claims in Auckland. The focus is the process of talking to those overlapping groups face to face and finding a way through what are some complex and difficult issues with those groups.

Mr James says the Office of Treaty Settlements is continuing to talk to Ngati Whaua o Orakei about ways to advance their settlement, which is stalled because the Government can’t get enough votes to pass it.

BURMESE SAFFRON CRACKDOWN WORRIES GREEN

The Green Party's indigenous person's spokesperson wants the government to take stronger action over Burma's crackdown on democracy protesters.

Metiria Turei says the pressure needs to go on the country the military dictatorship has renamed Myanmar.

She says reports are coming in that monks and other protesters are being rounded up and carted away by the truckload.

“New Zealand were leaders in issues round East Timor and South Africa and we can take that position with Burma as well. What we have failed to do is act swiftly. If we truly support communities and people having control of their own lives and their own country, then we need to support the Burmese people and their struggle for freedom,” Ms Turei says.

She says the current restrictions on visits by members of the regime do not go far enough, and economic sanctions should be considered.

ACADEMIC ARGUMENTS FOR SPOUSAL TAONGA

Marriage may not be a taonga for everyone.

A Maori academic says a claim by Tauranga woman Rosina Hauiti that her Tongan tane is a taonga isn't well founded in the culture.

She says expelling her husband as an overstayer breaches articles two and three of the Treaty of Waitangi.

But Rawiri Taonui, a senior lecturer in Maori Studies at Canterbury University, says taonga are usually things valued by the collective - such as land or language.

He's intrigued by what arguments may be put up by the Hauiti-Fonua whanau.

“We all believe that our tamariki are taonga. That’s true. So by extension I suppose you could argue mums and dads, husbands and wives are taonga of a sort as well,” Mr Taonui says.

He says the odds of the tribunal agreeing to hear the case are probably less than 50-50.

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