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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

FOMA wants trustee independence

The Federation of Maori Authorities believes an overhaul of the Maori Trust Office doesn't go far enough.

A bill before parliament will separate the office from the Ministry of Maori Development and give it a development role of its own, using profits it has accumulated from investments and managing more than 100,000 hectares of Maori land.

Paul Morgan, FOMA's executive director, says the Maori Trustee already has considerable power, but his office hasn't filled the development role many Maori expected of it.

"They're providing a service now for in many cases uneconomic land interests. That’s a back room servioce. There’s a whole lot of things a Maori Trust Office with its infrastructure and people potentially could provide Maoridiom, but it would need to come under the guise of a board of directors that could give it that strategic direction and agree on a strategy and a plan," he says.

FOMA recommended the Maori Trustee be accountable to independent commercial directors, but the bill proposes it has a government-appointed board.


Kaitaia Hospital has opened a wharenui in response to calls by iwi for greater involvement.

Ross Gregory, who has led the team carving the building, says it came out of the successful campaign to keep the hospital open.

He says the carvings represent all iwi and reflect the Treaty of Waitangi.

"Right in the front I’ve got one that shows rainbows and a hongi. Now that was really the one that was brining the races together, I said it’s only through the hongi that we are going t come together, so I did a carving showing a European and a Maori doing a hongi, the mingling of their life force and so on. The rainbow was the promise from god almightly that everything will come right," Mr Gregory says.


A Parihaka artist is using poi to tell the story of the historic Taranaki community.

Ngahina Hohaia's show Roimata Toroa - the Tears of the Albatross, opens next week at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth.

Her installation incorporates 392 poi embroidered with symbols telling the story of the passive resistance campaign against land confiscation and the invasion of the coastal settlement by armed constabulary.

“The idea that I'm trying to create is that the poi is the storyteller. The ceremonial practice of the poi that I’ve based this on is called poi manu, so the poi becomes the manu, the storyteller and the messenger,” Ms Hohaia says.

She says the message of Parihaka prophets Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kaakahi is still relevant to the world today.


The leaders of Tainui and Ngai Tahu are trying to bring other iwi into their mutual assiatance pact.

The two largest post-settlement iwi signed memorandum of understanding to work together on tribal, political, legal and commercial matters.

Mark Solomon, Ngai Tahu's Kaiwhakahaere, says leaders of nine other iwi have been invited to a hui in Hamilton next week to investigate similar initiatives.

“All iwi are trying to deal in the same arena and my view is that we needs to be sharing information, supporting each other so that we grow the economy together. We just want to explain what we’re doing together, how it’s going to work and there will be an offer for others to join with us,” Mr Solomon says.

He'd also like to see iwi working closer with Maori land trusts and incorporations.


Auckland University's move to restrict enrolment is likely to be adopted around the country.

It is citing Government funding changes for its decision to scrap open entry into courses in arts, sciences, education, theology and first year law.

Peter Adds, the head of Maori Studies at Victoria University in Wellington, says funding is to be capped for the eight universities at 2006 levels - regardless of how many students who want to enroll.

That will affect many Maori with plans for tertiary study to increase their opportunities.

“Well if Maori are half the NZ population by 2050, we need to make sure the Maori half of that population has had a decent education, so that New Zealand can remain competitive in the world, and unless half our population gets the education they need, that’s simply not going to happen,” Mr Adds says.

He says the country needs to rethink its approach to tertiary education.


Hamilton Maori are making their old pa sites more visible.

Ngati Wairere has erected an 11-metre totara pou at Miropiko Reserve by the Waikato River.

Designer Wiremu Puke drew on images from colonial painter George Angus, and from an ancient paepae pataka found in the area 30 years ago.

He says the plan to put carved markers on significant sites is a joint venture between Hamilton City and Nga Mana Toopu o Kirikiriroa.

The Miropiko site is one of three pa in reasonable condition out of the 40 once active in the area.

“It was abandoned at the time of the Raupatu where our tupuna left under quite sad circumstances, went out to Hukenui and we settled out there, at Gordonton. For us, it’s a way of healing the wounds of the Raupatu, be reinstating the mana of what those sites mean to those descendents,” Mr Puke says.


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