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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Foreshore deal credited to minister

The Minister of Maori Affairs is being accused of favouring his own tribe over others.

Ngati Porou is due at Parliament this morning to sign a settlement recognising its customary rights over the foreshore and seabed around the East Coast.

Tariana Turia, the co-leader of the Maori Party, says the government has opened the doors for the iwi because of the presence in Cabinet of Parekura Horomia, the MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti.

“The minister of Maori Affairs is prepared to advance the rights of his iwi ahead of all the others and there are many iwi who have historical rights. In fact, it was shown in the Court of Appeal that the rights of iwi had never been extinguished,” Mrs Turia says.

Today's deal is expected to give coastal hapu the right to develop management regimes and set bylaws for their foreshore.

Te Whanau a Apanui in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is close to a similar deal, and it's likely to serve as a template for other parts of the country.

MAORI BUSINESS CHALLENGED TO ENTER NEW ERA

Maori businesses are being encouraged to play up their cultural strengths.

A discussion paper written for the ministry of Maori development by the Institute of Economic Research says Maori are succeeding in business, even if most organisations don't have a public profile.

Leith Comer, the chief executive Te Puni Kokiri, says Maori can lead the way for the wider New Zealand economy.

He says a focus on building strong relationships which recognise cultural differences helps Maori in non-European markets such as China and Japan.

“We are in the business of creating long term sustainable business relationships with new friends and the way you do that is through establishing and putting time and effort into making sure the foundations of those relationships are sound before you start building on those with commercial activity,” Mr Comer says.

He says businesses can capitalise on international interest in things Maori, such as the fascination with ta moko.

GOLF COURSES SUB PAR FOR STREET NAMES

The naming of streets is a hot topic in Taranaki.

The developers of a $40 million Bell Block subdivision have proposed to name the seven new streets after famous golf courses.

But Grant Knuckey from Puketapu hapu says names like St Andrews Parkway and Pebble Beach Court reflect neither the Maori nor the European history of the area.

He says street names give a sense of place for locals.

“People need to have a sense of place where they live. If it becomes the same as names in New York or somewhere else doesn’t in my view give some sense of place which is pretty important really,” Mr Knuckey says.

The council has asked the iwi to suggest names, which could be a way forward.

CONSERVATISM A BLESSING FOR MAORI COMMERCE

The head of Te Puni Kokiri believes Maori businesses are well placed to withstand any global downturn.

The Ministry has just launched a discussion paper, A time for change in Maori Economic Development, written by the New Zealand Institute for Economic Development.

Leith Comer says the Maori sector is the sleeping giant of the economy, which is slowly waking up.

He says as if the crisis hitting United States financial markets pushes larger economies into recession, the conservative nature of Maori business may prove an asset.

“If you look at the 1987 share market crash in New Zealand, it had minimal effect on Maori businesses because Maori businesses are cautious and therefore not at the high risk area and therefore able to withstand shocks,” Mr Comer says.

He says the Maori way is to develop long term relationships, which can lead to strong commercial ties.

COMMISSIONER HAPPY WITH UN ENGAGEMENT

Genuine engagement is how the Race Relations Commissioner describes the relationship between the government and the United Nations on Maori issues.

In the treaty issues section of his annual report, Joris de Bres says there were significant developments on the Waitangi front.

Te Ururoa Flavell from the Maori Party says the report is a farce because it ignores the government's attitude towards UN inspection and its vote against the Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

But Mr de Bres says outsiders can't be expected to solve New Zealand's problems.

“I think the issues raised by the UN are in some cases pretty complex because they’re about the whole nature of our constitution, they’re about the whole nature of the Waitangi Tribunal, the settlements process. They’re big issues which have in a sense been both in operation for some time and challenged for some time,” Mr de Bres says.

He says the Government has already responded to some of the UN's recommendations by reinserting references to the Treaty in the school curriculum, and voting down a bill to delete references to the Principles of the Treaty from legislation.

BILLBOARD TO BE DEDICATED

A billboard carved for Waitangi Day is being dedicated in a ceremony in Auckland this morning.

Carvers Blaine Te Rito and Mike Davies put the finishing touches to the work outside Maori Television's Newmarket studios yesterday, placing paua in the eyes.

The design is of a waka with two figures representing the crown and tangata whenua, to celebrate the relationship between the two partners in the treaty.

Mr Te Rito says billboards usually have a short life, but his work has a life after Newmarket.

Because so much work has gone into it they’re looking at moving it eventually from here to the Aotea Centre for the international indigenous television broadcasting conference at the ned of February and form there it will be moved up to the National Waitangi National Trust in the Bay of Islands,” Mr Te Rito says.

Footage of the pair carving the work will be run on Maori Television tomorrow.

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