Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Perth slaying ups tension

It could be up to elders to calm tensions between Maori and Aboriginal groups in Western Australia's capital city.

An 18-year-old Maori man from Turangi was killed yesterday in a street brawl involving up to 20 Maori and Aboriginal youths in eastern Perth.

Arawa Metekingi, a leader of the city's Maori community, says there could be further battles unless action is taken soon to defuse the situation.

He says Maori elders are reaching out to their counterparts.

“There's a group here of elders that are on good speaking terms and see the elders from the Aboriginal society quite often, and they just talk and chat among themselves. There is a group here that does mediate, if they need to come in and do that. They’ve been called upon a couple of times,” Mr Metekingi says.

There has been friction between the two groups in the past.

CHURCH STANDING BEHIND TUHOE

Maori Anglicans are demanding the government and the police apologise to Ngai Tuhoe for the anti-terror raid on Ruatoki.

A meeting of the Maori Synod in Christchurch on the weekend condemned the raid and the trauma, fear, terror and humiliation experienced by the Tuhoe people.

Te Kitohi Pikaahu, the Bishop of Te Tai Tokerau, says the church can't stand by when human rights are being ignored.

“The church in the past has always stood for justice, and if it’s the church or if it’s Maoridom generally who are going to raise the issues about social justice for Maori and for all of us, well the church will stand up for that,” he says.

Bishop Pikaahu says the motion was seconded by a Ruatoki Anglican minister, Awanui Timutimu, who was caught up in last month's raid.

SUNKEN WARSHIP KEY TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Two Northland coastal hapu are banking on the frigate Canterbury to revive its home kainga.

Ngati Kuta and Patukeha are represented on the Canterbury Trust, which co-ordinated the scuttling of the ship at Deepwater Cove off Cape Brett over the weekend.

They're training their people to set up small businesses catering to the divers who are expected on the country's newest artificial reef.

Helen Harte from Ngati Kuta says the hapu want to declare mataitai marine reserve around the sunken vessel.

“The frigate coming here fitted into our fishery plan very well. It’s also a dive attraction of course, so the tourism opportunities will grow as Te Rawhiti becomes a part of a destination for the dive trail. Eco-cultural tourism is what we’re looking at,” Mrs Harte says.

POLICE-MAORI DANCE ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK

A leading Maori lawyer says the police anti terror raid on Ruatoki will set back relations between police and Maori for years.

Moana Jackson this week quit as a patron of this year’s Police College intake because of what he calls flagrant abuses of police power during the arrests of activists in the eastern Bay of Plenty and other parts of the country.

He took on the role to support Maori officers who were trying to change police culture, but says it's clear from the way the anti-terror arrests were carried out that the police don't value or trust Maori staff.

“Maori officers with considerable experience were not even consulted. The senior Maori advisory group to the commissioner was not consulted and so a lot of the artifice which had been established to try and shift the culture to work on relationships was simply sidelined and ignored,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the Suppression of Terrorism Act has eerie similarities with the 1863 Suppression of Rebellion Act, which was used to justify attacks on Tuhoe during the land wars.

POLICY FOR WHALE BONE RECOVERY

The Department of Conservation wants to hear Maori views on a simplified process for managing whale strandings.

It's proposing to assign a unique identification number to any dead whale, so any bone harvested from it can be permanently tracked.

Tui Shortland, the resource management co-ordinator for the Ngati Wai Trust Board, says it sounds similar to a system the Northland iwi already uses in its whale resource recovery.

“We name the resources as they’re divided up and as they’re distributed to different people for different purposes, and that’s the way we do it and it’s been designed by Ngati Wai,” Ms Shortland says.

Ngati Wai offered to help the Conservation Department with the consultation because of its expertise in the field, but had no response.

TOURISTS KEEN TO HEAR CONTEMPORARY STORY

A Christchurch Maori tourism venture is having to train its staff to answer questions on contemporary Maori issues.

Dave Brennan from Katoro Tours says when the firm developed waka tours on the Purukaunui or Styx river, it expected the focus would be on the area's rich Maori and colonial history.

But he says visitors are also keen to know what's happening to Maori now.

“They actually ask a lot of questions about what Maori are all about today. They’re asking about the treaty. The see things on the news and want to get a Maori perspective and we’re finding that to be a new experience for us to incorporate with the whole product,” Mr Brennan says.

The waka Te Kowhai can take up to 14 tourists - who have to paddle their own way up the river.

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