Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 15, 2008

Axes out for forest deal

Michael Cullen could be walking into a forest fire today when he meets with Central North Island claimants in Taupo.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Treaty Negotiations says the hui is to discuss using Crown-owned forest land in the region to settle historical claims.

He says the Crown has committed to help the collective, led by Tuwharetoa chief Tumu te Heuheu, to develop the proposals.

But Maanu Paul from the Kaingaroa cluster of forest tribes says the Government is ignoring those with direct claims to the forest land.

“As a central North Island claimant, Ngai Moewhare, Ngati Manawa are not in favour of the idea that our forests be used to settle the Crown’s debts to other people. That is just an injustice as we're concerned,” Mr Paul says.

He says if Dr Cullen wants to settle the claims, he needs to talk with the claimants, not their wealthy neighbours.


The new head of the Pacific Business Trust is looking for opportunities for Maori and Pacific Island to work together.

Richard Reid, from Te Arawa, says the trust's job is to help Pacific peoples develop and sustain businesses.

There are social and cultural reasons for bringing Maori into the equation.

He says some iwi already have investments in the islands, and discussions are under way on future collaboration.

“The big advantage Maori obviously have is the assets so for Pacific peoples we also have to be certain what are we bringing to the table ands what I see that we can bring to the table is that we have definitely got some very skilled people and I think that there are some opportunities,” Mr Reid says.

He was previously the managing director for the New Zealand and Australian operations of Japanese conglomerate Dainippon Ink & Chemicals.


The director of Maori knowledge at Te Papa says the national museum's repatriation programe has done has helped change the way institutions around the world operate.

Te Papa is celebrating its 10th birthday, and Arapata Hakiwai says from day one it flagged repatriation of koiwi tangata Maori as a priority.

With iwi and government support, it has been an extremely successful programme.

“Museums in most nations, countries are support and we’ve carried out a kit if repatriations from the United Kingdom, Scotland, South America, America and that’s great. I think the mood in the international museum arena is changing and I think Te Papa has played a leading role there,” Ms Hakiwai says.

Celebrations will continue over the weekend with classical and pipe band concerts, Cook Island drumming, kapa haka, weaving demonstrations, hula workshops and a 20 metre chocolate lamington birthday cake.


It's a kia ora day from the past today for Mahara Okeroa.

The associate minister of culture and heritage is in Arras in northern France for the opening of the Wellington Cavern museum, marking the New Zealand contribution to France's defence.

Ministry historian Brownyn Dalley says the cavern was part of a network of tunnels dug in the chalk under the town by Maori troops in World War One.

The tunnels allowed allied troops to reach the front lines three kilomtres from the town in relative safety, and to shelter up to 20 thousand people during bombardments.

“Underneath this town is a huge network of tunnels and a lot of them have New Zealand names so you can sort of trace New Zealand right from Bluff up to Russell,” Dr Dalley says.

The soldiers also did a bit of tagging, and on one wall you can find a large ‘Kia Ora’ flanked by ferns.


Twenty thousand people are expected at Hopuhopu over the weekend for the bi-annual Tainui Festival.

Forty marae have registered to compete for bragging rights in touch, waka ama, basketball, bowls, table tennis and other sports.

Hemi Rau, the chief executive of the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust, says there's also a focus on business, with businesses and professional service organisations using the hui to reach out to marae committees.

“Sixtyfive exhibitors are coming to discuss with marae trustees and committees about the products and services they provide, which is something new for us. The previous year we only had about eight or 10, but we didn’t have a high focus. However with a new tribal development unit, that has been one of the key focuses over the past 12 months,” Mr Rau says.

Waikato-Tainui gets together regularly at its poukai and koroneihana hui to discuss political and tribal issues, so the festival is a chance to hang out with the whanau and have fun.


The Health Ministry is planning a social marketing campaing later this year to encourage Maori and Pacific Island mothers to breast feed their babies longer.

Steve Chadwick, the associate minister of health, says in this country only a quarter of mothers are still breastfeeding after six months.

She says that's how long the World Health Organisation recommends feeding should continue for maximum benefits.

“We are concerned at the number of women who seem to manage to feed very well for six weeks, and then peter out by six months, and so this whole campaign that we’ll be launching this year is about trying to increase the number of women who manage to successfully feed for six months,” Ms Chadwick says.

There are many reasons mothers stop breastfeeding, including negative social pressure, having to return to work for economic reasons, and having helpful whanau who offer to bottle feed so mum can rest,


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