Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Aotea hapu fight diggers

Hapu around Aotea Harbour between Raglan and Kawhia are fighting a major development on their shores.

An Environment Waikato committee is in Kawhia today hearing an application by Kevin Wrenn of Aotea Estates to move 11,300 cubic metres of soil as part of the development of 84 sections.

Hapu spokesperson Shane Edwards says that's more than 1000 truckloads of fill, which could clog waterways and lead to erosion.

He says the development is well outside what should be allowed in the area.

“Big two-storey houses and then they have boats and humans start interacting with the environment, desecrating sites, walking over pa sites, boats in the harbour and what that does to fish and all of that kind of activity that spoils what’s recognized in this region as an iconic landscape in need of protection by every government statute,” Mr Edwards says.

He says the hapu, Ngati Whawhaakia, Ngati Te Weehi, Ngati Patupoho, can't afford lawyers, so they've spent the holidays preparing their submissions for the hearing.

CITIZENS NEED LEARNING

A call for lessons in how to be a good citizen.

Veronica Tawhai from Ngati Porou is in New South Wales at the Australian Social Educators Association's biennial conference.

She says governments talk of involving voters in major decisions, but don't give them the information they need to make considered choices.
For example, the New Zealand social studies syllabus makes no mention of the Maori Seats - even though the future of the seats could be decided by referendum.

“The challenge that we have is indeed that is we want our citizens, Maori, Pakeha and everyone, to be informed and therefore empowered in such a decision, we need to immediately start working on strengthening our citizenship education programme,” Ms Tawhai says.

WANANGA TO REBUILD HAURAKI PAEPAE

There's alarm in Hauraki about the thinning ranks of kaumatua and kuia.

It's organising wananga to train people to fill the speakers' benches before the paepae is empty.

Tutor Korohere Ngapo says it wants to make sure the treasures from the ancestors remain accessible to the iwi.

“The main purpose of the hui is to get a group of people with ties to Pare Hauraki, not just people living in Pare Hauraki but all arund the motu, who would like to return and partake in some kind of forum with regards to the revitalisation of te reo Maori of course and also whaikorero and karanga,” Mr Ngapo says.

The first wananga reo is at Nga Hu Toitoi Marae in Paeroa is this weekend.

MOHI STICKS WITH TIKANGA FOR PRISONERS

Tikanga remains a path out of crime for young Maori.

That's according to Mita Mohi, who has run Maori focused programmes in prisons since 1981.

He says about half the prison muster is Maori, but many feel disconnected from their culture.

His programmes can have had a profound impact on inmates.

“You get a lot of the backbites, saying you’re going in there teaching the boys how to fight with sticks, but it’s all about instilling pride and discipline. I’ve got boys now who’ve been in prison coming out now and helping me with my programmes. It’s just really wonderful,” Mr Mohi says.

He is disappointed the Corrections Department cut short the time Bailey Junior Kuariki spent on his Mokoia Island taiaha wananga this month, because the country's youngest convicted murderer appeared to be responding positively to the discipline.

CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE HEATING UP

Maori are being urged to respond to the bill creating a carbon credit trading system.

Willie Te Aho, who is facilitating a series of climate change hui, says an iwi leadership group has been talking to officials about the issues.

But it's now time for landowners and land-based businesses to also have their say to the select committee.

“That bill form an independent point of view will have the same impact on our society as Rogernomics did back in the mid 80s and we know Maori were a big causualty of that policy so this ahs the potential to have the same impact on Maori so Maori need to be understanding of the risks and also the opportunities that exist in this bill,” Mr Te Aho says.

The first regional hui on climate change issues will be at Hastings next Tuesday, leading up to a national hui in late February.

KAWHIA TRIES LOW POWER RADIO

People living in a Tainui stronghold should know more about each other, with the launch of a low frequency radio station broadcasting on a low range frequency in Kawhia.

LLoyd Whiu, who helped set up the station for Te Runanga o Ngati Hikairo, says after just a few weeks on air, it's proving an asset to the whole community -- even if it creates a hectic home life.

“At the moment it’s based here in our garage and we’re sort of jumping back and forward from the kitchen to the radio station, home schooling to the radio station, and it’s all good fun. But that’s good for us and it means we can communicate with people on the other side of the harbour, Taharoa, and get community panui out, so it’s all about getting that community interaction between the different communities in Kawhai moana so it's fantastic,” Mr Whiu says.

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