Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, February 04, 2008

Apology will take work

Sorry is only the first step.

That’s the advice Hone Harawira has for Australia’s new prime minister, who has offered to make a formal apology to the country’s Aboriginal population.

The Maori Party MP made a stir last year he left a parliamentary trip early so he could visit outback communities around Alice Springs, shortly after calling then PM John Howard a racist bastard for his policies towards Aboriginals.

He says Kevin Rudd is moving in the right direction, but previous policies like taking children from their parents will take
generations to repair.

“The first step is to acknowledge fault and I think on behalf of the Australian government someone had to do it. It’s been a long time coming. So the apology is appropriate. It’s what is the next step. Because any assumption that that is going to be enough to repair over the past couple of hundred years is wrong. There needs to be more than just an apology,” Mr Harawira says.

MAORI FISHERS SEE TRIPLE THREAT

The Maori fisheries settlement trust may reach out to environmentalists in a bid to preserve its interests in the fishing industry.

At the Te Ohu Kaimoana annual hui in Wellington on Friday, there were warnings that lobbying by environmental and recreational groups, and unnecessary proposals like the government’s shared fisheries plan, were undermining the value of Maori commercial fisheries.

Ngahiwi Tomoana, the trust’s deputy chair, says Maori take seriously their responsibilities to ensure fisheries are sustainable, and are concerned that some groups are acting on emotion rather than good science.

He says more dialogue might help.

“There's attacks coming from all directions from the environmental lobbyists from the ministry, from recreational, so we talked about taking the front foot approach by meeting those groups early, start talking to them kanohi ki te kanohi, and find ways around these issues before they gets confrontational,” Mr Tomoana says.

TRADE TRAINING REVIVAL NEEDED

Special trade training schemes could be the answer to the low number of Maori doing apprenticeships.

Figures released by the Minister of Maori Affairs indicate only about half the number of Maori have signed on to the modern apprentice scheme as might be expected, based on population figures.

Wiremu Doherty, the director of Maori at Manukau Institute of Technology, says the Industry Training Organisations are failing in their duty to Maori.

He says most Maori tradespeople came through the training schemes run by the old Department of Maori Affairs, which ended 20 years ago.

“We have a very quickly aging population in certain trades where the next wave of people coming through to keep the continuation occurring is not there. Hence the urgency in reestablishing schemes such as the Maori trade training schemes,” Mr Doherty says.

NGATI TOA HOSTILE TO NEIGHBOURS’ SETTLEMENT

Porirua-based Ngati Toa Rangatira says a proposed settlement with Taranaki Whanui claimants leaves nothing for other Wellington claimants.

Chairperson Matiu Rei says the Waitangi Tribunal has found Ngati Toa was unfairly excluded from early Wellington land sales, so it has struggled to get its interests in the city recognised.

Under an agreement in principle now out for consultation, Port Nicholson Block Claimants are to get $25 million in cash, land at Shelly Bay, a $120 million property portfolio to be leased back to the Crown, and the right of first refusal over other Crown properties in the area for 100 years.

Mr Rei says that’s a problem for overlapping claimants.

“A raft of properties will be held for 100 years giving Taranaki Whanui rights of first refusal. Now what that means is there are very few Crown properties left within Wellington to satisfy the Ngati Toa claim,” Mr Rei says.

He says the Crown seems to have made the same mistakes as in the disputed Tamaki Makaurau and Te Arawa settlements, where it failed to leave anything for other iwi with traditional connections to the same areas.

MARAE YOUTH PROGRAMMES COULD STEM VIOLENCE

Marae based youth programmes are being mooted as a solution to south Auckland’s youth gang problems.

A wide range of people attended a hui at Manurewa on Friday to discuss the suburb’s violent summer, with a further hui being held this week to take some of the proposals forward.

Anne Candy, Manukau City's deputy mayor, says the community has resources which aren't being used in the way they could be.

She says one suggestion was for the 25 marae in Manukau to host youth programmes.

“Getting those kids down to an environment that they may not be used to, because they may be third generation urban, but you’re also involving the kaumatuas, the kuias, the kappa haka, the history of their area,” Ms Candy says.

Other suggestions included appointing street wardens in the area.

WARDENS IN CHARGE OF WAITANGI PEACE

The head of the Ngapuhi Runanga says people shouldn't be concerned about their safety during treaty commemorations at Waitangi this year.

The Prime Minister has indicated she won't be attending events on the lower Te Tii marae where she has faced abuse and jostling in the past.

Sonny Tau says security this year is the responsibility of the reinvigorated Maori wardens and he's confident they're up to the task.

“The wardens have been designated as the lead agency for security with all our Maori liaison police from all over the country coming in to assist and I think they should be commended because it’s a huge undertaking for them to take the lead in the security,” Mr Tau says.

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