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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 12, 2007

Samuels loses Matauri partition bid

The Maori Land Court has knocked back an attempt by Labour MP Dover Samuels to carve out a block of beachfront land from the Matauri Bay incorporation.

Mr Samuels said the incorporation agreed in 1988 to partition off land which had belonged to his stepfather.

But Judge David Ambler says Mr Samuels waited far too long to bring the case - and he only did so to avoid the fall-out of Matauri X's disastrous investment in a failed water bottling business, which left the incorporation with a debt of more than $6 million.

Kevin Gillespie, the incorporation's court-appointed administrator, says development of the land for leasehold sections is well advanced.

“The roading is just about completed. Sections have been marked out. There’s some latter stages that will be done a bit later on, but we’ve now got it in a position where the people can get access to the sections and hopefully over the summer months we’ll get some more sales. There are about 40 sections sold so far, but we need to at least double that to get to the break even point,” Mr Gillespie says.

Mr Samuels' court action cost Matauri X about $50,000 in legal fees.


Otago University researchers have found marked ethnic differences in childhood obesity rates.

Ailsa Goulding, from the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, says the National Children's Nutrition Survey found extreme obesity affected one in 10 Pacific Island children and one in 20 Maori children, compared to one in 100 Pakeha or other children.

She says many parents don't associate fatness with bad health.

“They see large children and they think ‘nice large child’ but perhaps it’s not quite like that, perhaps those children are already on the path to getting far too heavy,” Dr Goulding says.

Childhood obesity has been linked to the prevalance of diseases like diabetes among Maori adults.

Whakatane's indigenous university is still waiting to see how much can be salvaged after a suspicious weekend fire.

Whakatane police are investigating the blaze which broke out at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi just after four on Sunday morning.

Hirini Moko Mead, the chair of the wananga council, says it could disrupt some departments.

“It's damaged one of the smaller buildings at Awanuiarangi and the home of the education department, and I believe the damage is quite extensive,” Professor Mead says.

Staff are waiting for police and fire investigators to complete their reports.


Iwi are calling on Parliament to reject a change to the Fisheries Act which could lead to widespread quota cuts.

The minister, Jim Anderton, wants to be able to cut catch levels if he doesn't have enough information needed to say the species is sustainable.

The primary production select committee was deadlocked on whether the bill should go forward, so it is due to be reported back unchanged.

A statement signed by iwi leaders representing more than half the Maori population says it's a power grab by the minister.

Mark Solomon, the chair of Ngai Tahu, says Mr Anderton's shared fisheries proposal to shift catch from the commercial to the recreational sector failed because of widespread opposition, so he's now trying again through the back door.

He says rather than punish commercial fishers, the minister should look at reporting requirements and bag limits in the recreational sector.

“I'm entitled to take 15 kahawai a day. There’s no way in the world my family of six could eat 15 kahawai. I’m allowed to take 10 blue cod. Again, no way could my family eat it. In Kaikoura, I’m entitled as a family to take 900 cockles a day. That is absolute nonsense,” Mr Solomon says.

He says iwi feel insulted by Mr Anderton's claims they are sops to the industry who don't understand how the quota system works.


Northland's medical officer of health says overseas-trained doctors may need a crash course in New Zealand diseases.

The Northland District Health Board is planning to swab the throats of all Kaikohe schoolchildren next year, so it can pick up streptococcus A infections which can trigger rheumatic fever.

Jonathan Jarman says the illness strikes about 20 children a year in the region, and in recent years they have all been Maori.

Rheumatic fever can cause heart damage, which lessens life expectancy.

Dr Jarman says many doctors trained in the United Kingdom and other places don't treat strep A throat seriously, because the risk of complications is so low in their home country.

“When those doctors come to New Zealand, they’re extremely well trained doctors, but of course we have some diseases in New Zealand that are different from what they may have experienced in the country that they come from, and rheumatic fever is one of those diseases,” Dr Jarman says.

A similar swabbing operation in Whangaroa schools has cut rheumatic fever in that area.


A programme about an apparent hate crime has won a Maori-owned production company this year's Media Peace Award.

Takatapui, an indigenous gay, lesbian and transgender series on Maori Television, explored the unsolved murder of Stanley Waipouri, who was bashed to death.

Producer Jude Anaru from Front of the Box Productions says the award is special because it says the programme made a contribution to battling violenece.

She says cast and crew were physically and mentally exhausted by the shoot.

“It was told by the whanau and friends who spoke about their personal loss, about their personal anger, about their personal feelings about liosign someone who was so dear to them, and we managed to hop onto it pretty quickly after the event. Even though it was a few months after the event, everything was still fresh in their mindsm” Ms Anaru says.

Front of the Box was also highly commended for its documentary ‘Taa Moko’ which screens at the Oceania Film Festival later this year.


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