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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Foreshore deal stirring up Coast

The Government's plan to sign an agreement on foreshore and seabed rights with the Ngati Porou Runanga is stirring up long standing splits on the East Coast.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen met runanga leaders at Tokomaru Bay on Monday to finalise some of the details, and he'll be back on the coast next Tuesday to sign an agreement in principle.

According to material previously on the runanga website, it is seeking recognition for the iwi in regional plans and other statutory documents, and it wants coastal hapu to develop management regimes and set bylaws.

But Lou Tangaere, from the Ruawaipu people of Rangitukia and Tikitiki says the runanga has a history of riding roughshod over the iwi who make up the wider tribe.

“All the meeting houses along the coast, they have always been a whanau or hapu organisation, and they are the guardians of those seafood areas from Potaka, Hicks Bay, Te Araroa, Reretukuia, Tikapa right through to Gisborne,” Mr Tangaere says.

He says the government shouldn't be going ahead with the foreshore deal when Ruawaipu and other iwi are also challenging the Ngati Porou Runanga's bid to enter direct negotiations on East Coast land claims.

STUDENTS CHOOSE BETWEEN STUDY AND FOOD

The Maori tertiary students association says high debt levels are forcing some Maori to drop out.

Victor Manawatu from Te Mana Akonga says Maori students often start later, when they've already started families.

This means they're more likely to have dependents than younger students, and their debt levels can reflect that.

“They do have to put food on the table for their children. They do have a life outside of tertiary education, and they all impact on their life style, impact on their study, so you’ll see quite a few that actually drop out of tertiary study because they just can’t afford to live, put food on the table and study,” Mr Manawatu says.

The debt burden also affects the ability of Maori graduates to buy homes, which could have a long term impact on the Maori economy.

SEVENS STAR OPENING SEVEN ELEVEN

Former rugby international Eric Rush is joining an elite group of Maori players.

It's the team that's moved from grass to groceries.

The South Auckland lawyer is packing supermarket shelves as he learns the ins and outs of the trade.

He decided to become a supermarket owner-operator after talking to longtime friend Robin Brooke.

“Rob's got a supermarket of his own and Michel Scott, used to platy halfback for the New Zealand Maoris, he’s got a New World down in Taumarunui, and they’re doing really well. They’re two of the guy’s along with Vern Hayden, my boss at Manukau, they encouraged me to get into it and have a go,” Mr Rush says,

He says the first lesson he learned was no discounts, even to old teammates.

TREATY DEBATE TINIGHT AT TE PAPA

This year's deadline for submitting historical claims to the Waitangi Tribunal could add extra spice to tonight's treaty debate at Te Papa in Wellington.

First up are Mason Durie, head of Maori studies at Massey University and an expert in Maori health and development, and former Victoria University law professor Matthew Palmer, who has been studying and teaching constitutional issues at Cambridge and Yale universities.

Claudia Orange from Te Papa says the debates tend to focus on issues which have become topical in the current year.

She says even if historical claims are resolved, there will be continuing work for the tribunal in advising on relationships between Maori and non-Maori, the sharing of power and the ability of Maori to have input into decision-making processes.

“This is going to be an ongoing matter for us getting our heads together and considering new ways of looking at things. And certainly the constitution and issue arising form a possible new constitution would bring those issues to the fore. We’re not right up against those right at this time, but it would be interesting to see what Matthew Palmer has to say,” Dr Orange says.

The debate starts at 6.30, and it will be broadcast by Radio New Zealand National.

NORTH HOKIANGA LURED TOWARDS NGAPUHI CLAIM

The Ngapuhi claims design team is trying to draw all hapu around the Hokianga into its Waitangi Tribunal process.

Some of the marae on the north side of the harbour are caught up in the Te Rarawa Runanga's proposed settlement, even though their claims have not been heard.

Design team chair Rudy Taylor says a series of hui late last year had succeeded in shoring up support for those hapu to have their stories told.

“Our hapus are waking up now that they need to have a voice for them to stand on and relate to what the hapus are thinking. Having a strategy of runangas talking for everybody is that some hapus don’t even know what is going on, and that’s why we have these problems with communication,” Mr Taylor says.

WAINUIOMATA PIONEERS NEW APPROACH TO COMMUNITY

While south Auckland has been boiling this summer, previous trouble spots like Wainuiomata and Wairoa have been relatively quiet.

That could be because they're running a new holiday programmes under the banner Tamaiti Whangai.

It's the brainchild of Kara Puketapu, a former head of Maori Affairs.

He says the programme takes a whole of community approach, and it's being embraced by Maori.

In Wainuiomata it's run out of the former high school.

“We're up to 300 children a day. The shopping malls are empty immediately. The kids are positive and doing, they run from five years to 16 or 17 with tutors, they might have creative art, music, dancing, sport, whatever, They’re knocking on the door at bloody half past eight in the morning to get in,” Mr Puketapu says.

Tamaiti Whangai isn't restricted to holiday programmes, and it's proving an effective way to deal with a wide range of problems.

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