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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ngati Porou wins foreshore deal

Ngati Porou will spend the summer consulting on a breakthrough agreement which will give the tribe's hapu a say in management of the foreshore amd seabed on the East Coast.

Api Mahuika, the chair of the Ngati Porou Runanga, says after three years of talks, there is a deal on the table which gives the iwi back its mana over takutai moana.

It strengthens notification provisions in the Resource Management Act, requires the iwi to be recognised in regional plans and other statutory documents, and allows coastal hapu to develop management regimes and set bylaws.

Mr Mahuika says Ngati Porou had a strong case to take on the Government.

“That is actually part of the strength of our case, the fact that we owned those lands juxtaposed to the foreshore and seabed. That certainly made us stronger and made us different from other iwi, the fact that we still own our coastal land, I would say about 95 percent,” Mr Mahuika says.

He hopes the agreement can be finalised in February.

Many Maori workers will be looking for a boost in their pay packets come April, when the new minimum wage kicks in.

Carol Beaumont, the secretary of the Council of Trade Unions, says Maori and Pacific island workers are disproportionately at the bottom of the wage scale.

She says while the new rate of $12 falls far short of the $15 the union movement thinks is reasonable, it is welcome news.

“It's building on the momentum of removing low wages from our economy but there’s still a long way to go. It’s very important for Maori and Pacific workers because they are disproportionately represented in the lower wage area and so certainly any lift of the minimum wages, 140,000 workers will directly benefit from this change,” Ms Beaumont says.


New Zealand's treatment of adolescent sex offenders is reducing future sex offending.

A study of 682 adolescents who completed programmes in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch between 1996 and 2004 found only 2 per cent reoffended.

Robert Ford from Safe Network Auckland, which runs the biggest programmes, says treating young sexual offenders in the community has proved to be far more effective than custodial sentences.

He says it's critical to work closely with whanau, especially with Maori, who made up almost a third of the teenagers on the programmes.

“In the Kokano, in the Maori programme that we run, it’s especially important to try and make sure we work with all the family, all the whanau, all the support group that person has, and that’s an important part of making sure that the treatment programme that we provide actually works, because at the end of the treatment people are going to go back to their family, and they’re going to go back to the environment where they came from,” Mr Ford says.


Radio spectrum allocated to Maori is going to benefit the whole community.

That's the view of Bill Osborne from Hautaki, the pan-Maori company set up to use spectrum allocated to Maori under a treaty settlement.

Hautaki has just been given the right to buy a 25 megahertz block held back from the latest auction of spectrum for Wimax mobile data and cellular services.

Mr Osborne says by the time the spectrum rights become available for use at the end of 2010, it may be clearer how the technology will be used.

But he says Hautaki's success in bringing a new entrant to the mobile phone market has earned it the confidence of government.

“It is extremely valuable for Mari to be recognized as partners in the development of the spectrum and to be allocated some on the same or similar basis to hoqw the 3G was allocated I think it is testimony to the Crown’s faith now in Maori’s ability to develop that for the benefit of everybody,” Mr Osborne says.

New Zealand Communications, which will use some Hautaki spectrum, plans to launch its mobile phone network once it has built 450 cell sites.


It's the politics of envy.

That's what New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone believes is behind criticism of his leader.

He says Winston Peters has had a great year, but you wouldn't know it from listening to other MPs and the media.

“It's one thing that is never popular in this country, is a little Maori boy from a backblock place like Whananaki, succeeding in the way he has done, not only on the political stage here in New Zealand but on the (inter)national stage in his position as foreign affairs (minister), Mr Paraone says.

He says Winston Peters has outlasted many of his detractors, including those National Party MPs who kicked him out of their Caucus and cabinet a decade and a half ago.


A Maori scholarship programme is doing its bit to pump Maori blood into the health sector in Christchurch.

Pegasus Health gives six scholarships a year to Maori and Pacific Island medical students.

Wendy Dallas-Katoa, its cultural advisor, says while almost 16 percent of New Zealand’s population is Maori, just 2 percent of its general practitioners are.

“There's a huge shortage of Maori doctors in New Zealand. There’s definitely a shortage of Maori doctors in Christchurch. We can’t determine whether they stay in Christchurch, but we can help and support the workforce towards young Maori doctors who are studying in Christchurch to move towards their goal,” Ms Dallas-Katoa says.

Other Pegasus initiatives to improve services for Maori and Pacific people including workforce development and programmes to encourage greater use in those communities of general practice services.


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