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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Negotiation bias raised lawyer's hackles

Lawyers representing Waitangi Tribunal claimants are asking whether their work is still relevant.

Ohakune-based Mark McGhie, who is working on both the Whanganui and East Coast inquiries, has drawn attention to a letter from the former treaty negotiations minister, Mark Burton, to the Ngati Porou Runanga.

The runanga was told there was no downside risk in its bid enter direct negotiations because "completing a tribunal process will not increase the amount of redress the Crown offers Ngati Porou".

“That has general application, that the Crown is saying ‘really there’s no need to have Waitangi Tribunal hearings, let’s just go direct to negotiations.’ Our concern is that the Crown are not aware of the treaty breaches or the effect of them, so they’re trying shortcuts which are not appropriate,” Mr McGhie says.

He says the Crown still seems to be working on settlement figures worked out 15 years ago, when the National Government set a $1 billion cap on claims.

The deputy chair of the Waitangi Tribunal, Carrie Wainwright, has asked the Crown to clarify whether tribunal findings affect settlement offers.

MARK OFFERS COUNTER TO AL JAZEERA VIEW

New Zealand First's Maori Affairs spokesperson is accusing a Maori Party MP of painting a distorted view of race relations for overseas viewers.

Ron Mark and Hone Harawira are both appearing on a programme on race relations and last month's anti-terror raids, which will be broadcast on global news network Al Jazeera next week.

Mr Mark says when Maori are excelling in business and education, harping on about the raids and subsequent hikoi sends the wrong signals.

“We now have one message going out which says we’re a bunch of people with tattoos screaming and ranting against the oppression that’s been foisted upon us by the Pakeha who seek to abuse us and that we’re all up in arms and worse we’re justifying the use of arms to achieve a separatist nation within the nation,” Mr Mark says.

He says Al Jazeera viewers will get the impression Hone Harawira speaks for all Maori - which clearly he doesn't.

MOANA MANIAPOTO BACK AT WORK ON WHA

She took time out last night to be pick up an arts laureate, but Moana Maniapoto is back at work today on her fourth studio album.

After pioneering the use of traditional Maori instruments and musical forms on her earlier albums, Ms Maniapoto is still looking for ways to make haka and poi a natural part of her brand of pop.

She says her success is due to the team of musicians and performers around her, including her new producer.

“Working with Simon Holloway who did the arrangements for Moko, he’s very clever. He never roll his eyes when I come in with a song and never goes ‘gee, really,’ so that's good,” Ms Maniapoto says.

Wha will be released early next year.

HARAWIRA REFUSES TO BE SILENCED

Protester turned politician Hone Harwira fears Maori will be silenced because of anti-terror laws.

The Maori Party MP says proposed changes to the legislation will scare many Maori off from protest, even if they have legitimate cause for complaint.

He says Maori have a right to protest injustice.

“If anything is making me angry, it’s the sense that Maori people are going to start getting scared to speak up and I say to people rage against that, don’t stand for that, speak out and take action when necessary to defend the rights of your people from the ongoing theft of Maori land and the ongoing oppression of Maori rights,” Mr Harawira says.

He has spoken out against the anti terror laws in an interview on global news channel Al Jazeera, which will be broadcast next week.

TYROEN NEWSON YOUNG ENGINEER OF THE YEAR

The Young Engineer of the Year always had a passion for the job.

Tyrone Newson, who is of Te Rarawa and Tongan whakapapa, picked up his title at the Engineering Excellence Awards at Te Papa in Wellington last night.

He is currently managing major terminal extension projects at Auckland Airport for engineering consultancy Beca.

The award also acknowledges his contributions to the profession and the community, which includes founding the South Pacific Indigenous Engineering Students group while at Auckland University and a Maori staff group at Auckland City Council.

His father, Bobby Newson, says his son always knew what he wanted to do with his life.

“Ever since he left college it’s the only thing he wanted to do and even while at college. He’s always been that type of person when he puts his mind to something he stays with it and he achieves it,” Mr Newson says.

TOP OF SOUTH HISTORIES CAPTURED IN BOOK

Maori families from the top of the South Island have had their stories told.

Te Ara Hou - The New Society, the second volume of the Te Tau Ihi O Te Waka series by historians John and Hilary Mitchell, was launched in Wellington last night.

While the first volume dealt with covered the early myths and legends of the Nelson and Marlborough tribes, Te Ara Hou deals with the colonial period.

John Mitchell says they've tried to flesh out previously incomplete stories.

“Some of the bits and pieces are known. Some of them are in the local versions of history, but again we’ve tried to dig out the detail, get the Maori perspectives on some of those stories and also get the written record absolutely accurate with places, names, dates spelt out very clearly,” Dr Mitchell says.

Te Ara Hou will have separate launches in Blenheim and Nelson next week, so the descendants of the whanau can participate.

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