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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Port Nicholson claim agreement

The Crown is getting a new landlord.

The Government today inked an agreement in principle with the Port Nicholson Block Claims Team, representing more than 17,000 descendants of the Taranaki tribes living around Wellington harbour in 1840.

The offer includes $25 million cash, 17 culturally significant sites including Matiu and Mokopuna islands in Wellington harbour, Pipitea Marae and the former Wainuiomata College and Wainuiomata Intermediate.

The claimants can also buy and lease back $120 million of Crown properties, including Archives New Zealand, the National Library, High Court and Wellington Girls College.

They are also buying former Defence land at Shelly Bay, and have a right of first refusal on surplus Crown land in the city for the next 100 years.

Negotiator Ngatata Love says claims stemmed from what the Waitangi Tribunal found was the flawed 1839 purchase of the Port Nicholson area by Colonel William Wakefield of the New Zealand Company.

“The Crown picked it up and followed through, they did things again which clearly they should not have done, because they didn’t have legal title to the land and effectively examined it, and they are saying we were deprived of those lands and the opportunities,” Professor Love says.

The claim team is keen to finalise the settlement within the next year.


The High Court has knocked back Unison Networks' bid to build a wind farm on a range overlooking the Napier Taupo Road.

It upheld an Environment Court decision to overturn a resource consent granted by Hastings District Council, because the 37 turbine farm between Te Pohue and the Mohaka River would have an adverse effect on an outstanding natural landscape.

Jolene Patuawa, the lawyer for Ngati Hinerua and the Maungaharuru-Tangitu Society, says Justice Potter has strengthened the position of tangata whenua.

“The judge just really took a lot of note that the decision was quite strongly in favour of upholding Maori spiritual values. Although wind energy is important and climate change is an important issue, it doesn’t supercede those very important values for Maori, and I think she really upheld that in the decision.” Ms Patuawa says.

The decision could encourage Hastings District Council to reject an amended consent application from Unison, for a 34 turbine farm in the same area.


Ngati Awa lawyer Eddie Paul has been appointed a District Court judge.

The former Whakatane High School head boy got his start in the profession at the Grey Lynn neighbourhood law centre before taking part in a pilor project for public defenders in south Auckland.

His father, Maanu Paul, says the whanau is immensely proud of his achievement.

“He will be the first for our hapu of Ngati Rangataua, of Ngati Pukeko, of Ngati Hokopu of Ngati Awa, and the first for Ngai Moewhare and Ngati Manawa of Murupara, and I believe he’s the first also on his Tainui side from Ngati Mahanga,” Mr Paul says.

Eddie Paul is one of three lawyers in the family.


A change in the top is being credited with achieving the $170 million dollar plus settlement of claims to Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

The Government today signed an agreement in principle with the Port Nicholson Block Claims Team which includes cash compensation and expense payments or more than $30 million, transfer of almost $20 million in culturally sensitive sites, the purchase of $120 million in crown properties built on the old Pipitea kainga, and first right to buy surplus crown land in the claim area.

Ngatata Love, the lead negotiator for the Taranaki whanui claimants, says the settlement comes almost exactly 20 years after the claim was first lodged.

Talks had got bogged down until October, when Finance Minister Michael Cullen took over the Treaty negotiations portfolio.

“There was no question that when Dr Cullen came in, and he was joined by associate minister of treaty negotiations Shane Jones, there was a vitality and a new approach to matters which was heartening and we were able to work things through in a matter of weeks really rather than months,” Mr Love says.

The claim covers descendants of the four Taranaki tribes living around Whanganui a Tara or Wellington Harbour in 1840.


One of the authors of the Ngati Kahungunu Violence Free strategy says Maori are starting to take collective responsibility for domestic violence.

Mereana Pitman there is an increasing need for anti violence education that focuses on conflict resolution, rather than just offering counseling to victims and offenders.

She says there has been a shift in attitude over the past decade.

“There's a lot more awareness now and a lot more willingness to take some ownership and responsibility about what we do inside whanau. It’s not so much an issue of shame any more. It’s about how we treat each other so we share the shame. We share it and we get onto it and we do something about it rather than hide it away like we used to,” Ms Pitman says.


Six teenagers from a Palmerston North kura kaupapa are comparing their lives with young people in China.

The students from Mana Tamariki are recording video diaries during their stay at a high school in Beijing.

Producer George Andrews says the students are being directed by Mahanga Pihama and Maori Chinese director Peter Lee, with the aim of showing the results on Maori Television's Taku Whanau show early next year.

“So we're going to have these kura kaupapa kids with young Maori language directors making six video diaries of the experiences of these young people in China in the snow just before Christmas just before Olympic year,” Mr Andrews says.

He's keen to see how the students react to the screen culture of young Chinese - and how they handle the contrast between their own upbringing in a whanau environment and the Chinese experience of one child per family.


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