Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 26, 2007

Terror case moved to Tamaki

The action against Maori sovereignty advocates and environmentalists now moves to Auckland.

The Rotorua District Court was today cleared of spectators and supporters before the appearance of Tuhoe activist Tame Iti and two co-accused.

The Crown successfully sought to transfer the firearms charges against the three to Auckland for a special joint hearing with 14 other co-accused next week.

Mr Iti's lawyer, Annette Sykes, says the action has brought no credit to police in the Rotorua district, who are already suffering from the after effects of the trials brought against colleagues and former colleagues as a result of historical claims made by Louise Nichols.

“This particular police unit here is not one that is easily trusted in our community any more, for a whole variety of reasons. We’ve also had in this particular situation in this region, we’ve also had senior police officers now convicted of perversion of the course of justice,” Ms Sykes says.

Annette Sykes says people are extremely skeptical that a new report about assaults against police should come out days after police had attacked and traumatised the community of Ruatoki.


National Maori organisations are swinging in behind a new group set up to tackle child abuse.

Paora Maxwell from Te Kahui Manaaki Tamariki Trust says the endorsement by Te Putahi Paaho, which includes Kohanga Reo, the Maori Council, Congress and the Maori Women's Welfare League, shows the concern Maori feel about abuse in their communities.

Mr Maxwell says the trust intends to take a different tack to other violence prevention groups, which focus on parenting skills.

“What we plan to do is advocate for and lobby for tamariki Maori and whanau. It’s a huge kaupapa and we’re not naïve enough to think what we will do will a panacea for all ill but we are sure we can make a contribution,” Mr Maxwell says.

Te Kahui Manaaki Tamariki Trust is holding a hui in Auckland this weekend to work out how it can help Maori organisations become more effective in tackling abuse.


Maori architects, engineers, planners and landscapers are meeting in Hastings today to talk about what impact they can have on cultural landscapes.

Karl Wixon from Hawkes Bay consultancy Wiki Design says the public spaces where people work and play can tell stories about culture.

He says Maori want more say in the way New Zealand's landscapes are developed.

“There's a lot of our whenua under pressure from regulatory frameworks, from commercial developers which are governed by territorial authorities, but also an absence of our presence and our aahua in our public spaces,” Mr Wixon says.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says last week's police raids shouldn't be seen as an attack on Maori.

Tuhoe activist Tame Iti and two co-accused yesterday had their cases transferred from Rotorua to Auckland.

They've been remanded in custody to appear with 14 others at a special hearing next Thursday and Friday on firearms charges.

Parekura Horomia says people have been over-reacting, and they should wait until all the facts come out.

Mad Pakeha and excited Maori are not a good mix when you start getting into this forum, and the issue round the last three or four weeks with Tuhoe and the arrests made around all the country wasn’t just about Maori. It was Pakeha round the country too, so we need to be a bit more honest about what this exercise is about,” Parekura Horomia.


Meanwhile, a leading Te Arawa kaumatua is backing Tame Iti,

Anaru Rangiheuea, a former chair of the Te Arawa Maori Trust Board, supports police taking action against unregistered firearms.

But he says suggestions terrorism is involved strains credibility.

“I've know Tame Iti for a long time, and I don’t believe his motives connect to any form of terrorism. He’s an activist and a known activist. He will develop himself to the extent that his performance is to prove his tino rangatiratanga,” Mr Rangiheuea says.


New Zealand First has thwarted a bid by the Maori Party for a review of the treaty settlement process.

Pita Sharples, the Maori Party's co-leader, says the Office of Treaty Settlements is causing new breaches of the treaty rather than resolving old ones.

But despite National Party support, there weren't enough votes on the Maori Affairs select committee to address the situation.

“Government is not prepared to have a review of its procedures of the OTS, and Pita Paraone of New Zealand First, Winston’s party, supported them,” Mr Sharples says.


It's puha and Ponsonby this weekend, as Northland's Hatea choir meets Auckland's Heaven Bent gospel singers for a celebration of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The choirs are holding a concert at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Khyber Pass tomorrow night.

Haatea topped the choral section at this year's Te Matatini national kapa haka comps.

Heaven Bent member Dave Christenson says the choirs were first brought together during this year's Waitangi Day commemorations by Bishop Kitohi Pikaahu, who invited them to stick around and reflect on what the treaty meant.

“We went up there and for the first time for many of us stayed on the marae, experienced our traditional New Zealand culture, and we just had such a wonderful time. It was an amazing weekend and we came away with some wonderful feelings, not just for ourselves but our country as well and the potential for our country,” Mr Christenson says.

Te Wairua o Waitangi will also feature poet Kevin Ireland.


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