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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Agreement signed to push forest settlement

The Government is pushing ahead with plans to use Kaingaroa Forests land to settle the historic claims of some central North Island tribes.

The move is opposed by iwi and hapu with claims to the actual forest land, and watched with suspicion by Te Pumautanga o te Arawa, whose settlement involving part of the forest is stalled.

But at Parliament today, the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Michael Cullen, signed terms of agreement with the Central North Island iwi Collective to develop proposals for the allocation of Crown-owned forest lands.

Parekura Horomia, the Minister of Maori Affairs, says the pressure is coming from Maori to get settlements completed.

“You know our people have got pretty experienced. They have seen a lot of our older people pass on. A lot of them have been doing it for a long time. There’s a bit of weariness. But through sharp wariness, they know the thing to do is get it sorted and in a lot of situations the tension isn’t on the Crown side, it is amongst ourselves as Maori,” Mr Horomia says.

He says central North Island claimants want to settle so they can get on other commercial opportunities.

The government also signed provisional agreements today with Te Arawa hapu Ngati Makino and Waitaha, and with Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.


New Zealand First law and order tough guy Ron Mark isn't upset criminals may have profited from the return of the stolen military medals.

He says getting back the haul stolen from Waiouru is worth whatever it costs.

A reward of $300,000 was paid to recover the 92 medals, and police are still seeking the thieves.

The former career soldier says it’s galling money was paid, but the alternative was unthinkable.

“What we would have mourned for decades hereafter is if we had found that the thieves were New Zealanders, that they were in country, that the medals had not left the country, and they just became so fearful of being caught with them that they destroyed them. That would have just been so unbelievably sad for us as a nation,” Mr Mark says.


Maori members of the Salvation Army have been given a taonga from the movement's earliest days in Aotearoa.

At the army's national hui, descendants of Ernest Holdaway returned a korowai, piupiu and poi gifted during to the missionary during his work among Maori more than a century ago.

Garry Melsop, the army's archivist, says they are a reminder of the contribution Major Holdaway made, especially on the Whanganui River.

“They're actually something tangible from that era, of which we have very little. It’s absolutely fabulous that we can have these items in our collection. It just helps to sort of tell the story of what has happened in our past,” Major Mellsop says.

The hui also launched a Te Ope Whakaora: The Army that Brings Life, a collection of documents about Ernest Holdaway's work and the history of Maori within the Sallys.


The Maori Language commissioner wants 2008, the United Nations International Year of Languages, to be the year te reo Maori is assured of its future.

Erima Henare says too many people take their language for granted.
But more then half the world's languages are likely to be extinct within a few generations.

“As many languages die each year as species that disappear off the face of the earth. Now we jump up and down about the animals disappearing but no one seems to be concerned about peoples’ language loss, so anything that raises awareness around language loss, around language retention and language revitalization has to be a good thing,” Mr Henare says.

At Te Papa today, the Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres, said the year should be used to develop a national languages strategy, building on the good progress made in recent years to make languages a core area in the New Zealand curriculum.


The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation wants better reporting of respiratory problems among Maori.

Jane Patterson, the foundation's executive director, says Maori are suffering a health crisis in the area.

Maori are as likely as non-Maori to get a respiratory disease like asthma and bronchitis, but they're two and a half times more likely to die from it.

She says care for Maori is fragmented, and the statistics seem to be ignored.

“You've got 21 DHBs and I’m not knocking anybody but nobody’s coordinating it, nobody’s saying this is a real issue and we’ve got to put some resources into it to make sure we really get some improvement and it’s not a health priority and so DHBs aren’t required to report on it and our view is if you have to report on something, you pay much more attention to it,” Ms Patterson says.

Maori are missing out on primary health care, and too many are living in damp and draughty housing.


New migrants in Whangarei are being offered a chance to immerse themselves in Maori culture.

The District Council's settlement support unit is organising weekend stays for migrants at Matapouri marae.

Co-ordinator Ellen Altshuler says many migrants arrive with a negative view of Maori because of what they learn from the media.

Collecting kaimoana, weaving, preparing hangi and spending time with local iwi can help change those perceptions.

She says migrants often say it's hard to meet Maori and learn about their culture.

“I think a lot of people come to New Zealand knowing a little bit about Maori and a little bit about the treaty and being very interested and curious, and finding it hard, when they get here, to connect with Maori people and to learn what they want to learn," Ms Altshuler says.

The hui will also give the 30 registered migrants a chance to learn how their presence affects Maori.


Blogger Don said...

FYI, I posted a link to this entry on a list of blogs that mention the International Year of Languages.

4:02 AM  

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