Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Housing plan deck of cards

The head of a Hawkes Bay iwi is skeptical the Government's new housing proposals will help it address its peoples' needs.

The Government plans to identify public land which can be used for housing development, and to create a new agency to boost the supply of affordable homes.

Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngati Kahungunu says the plan doesn't address issues of income and existing debt levels which stand in the way of many Maori buying their first home.

He says the Hastings-based Heretaunga Taiwhenua is working with a private developer to build 138 houses near Flaxmere on land the iwi bought 20 years ago.

“None of the previous policies and activities and strategies of the ministry of Housing have been able to connect with our local situation. Maybe this one will. Maybe it won’t. But we are going to carry on anyway,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says if Crown land is available for houses, iwi should have first call.

BRADFORD SUPPORTS ABORIGINAL APOLOGY

Today's apology to the stolen generation by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd brought back memories for one New Zealand MP.

Not the Maori Party's Hone Harawira, who was in Canberra for the kupu muru hara, but the Greens' Sue Bradford.

She visited the Aboriginal tent embassy outside the Australian parliament in the early 1970s, when it had just been set up, to give the support of New Zealand's unemployed rights movement, and has followed the long struggle for justice.

“The Australians are so far behind us but reading the text of that apology it’s a fantastic first step that neew government over there is taking and good on them and great that Hone is there to tautoko as well,” Ms Bradford says.

NEW PLYMOUTH HIKOI ACROSS SITES

The New Plymouth District Council has unveiled a new walk to raise awareness of significant Maori sites.

Spokesperson John Leslie says the Oakura walk takes in Te Koru Pa on Surrey Hill Road, which was internationally significant because of what can still be seen of its pre-European defences, stone-faced scarps and storage pits.

He says the council has waahi tapu on many of its parks and reserves, and the walks help the public acknowledge and respect these areas of significance.

“I think it's about showing people where these places started. A lot of our place names obviously have Maori names as well so we explain to people what the name means, a lot of the time it relates to the foliage within the plantings in the park, and we can relate that back to the settlement when the Maoris were there,” Mr Leslie says.

The council runs guided walks with the Department of Conservation and Puke Ariki museum.

HOUSING PLANS FAIL TO ADDRESS MAORI LAND USE

A Green MP is questioning why the Government's new housing plans are silent on Maori land.

Kaitaia-based Sue Bradford says the government is aware of the obstacles Maori face from councils and banks when they try to build on multiply owned land.

It's something another Northland list MP, Labour's Dover Samuels, has raised often.

But she says Maori hoping for something in yesterday's housing affordability package would have been disappointed.

“This was an issue that the government has given particular attention to yesterday which I think was a good thing, and some of the new proposals they’re putting up are really good, but there are a lot of people and a lot of situations that have been left out and continue to be left out and I couldn’t see any references to housing on Maori land which have been brought so often to our attention and are so often ignored,” Ms Bradford says.

GEEKFEST IS NAUMAI’S PLACE

Wellington is awash with web developers this week for the annual Webstock geekfest.

Tahi Tait from Naumai dot com says it's a great place to get schooled up on emerging internet trends and standards.

His Rotorua-based firm has a mission of connecting at least 600 marae communities to the Internet, and it has already built pages and trained content managers for more than 100.

He says it's sent some of those content managers along to soak up what they can.

“I think it's really critical at this stage that we have more than just a presence. Maori are one of the highest users of the Internet and we’re an emerging population that really gets this new technology, so we are going to be the biggest users of all the new technology that comes out,” Mr Tait says.

He says the relative youth of the Maori population means the internet offers a way for hapu to reach out to their members.

WAI ORA TIME FOR MARAE

It's wai ora time for many rural marae.

The Ministry of Health plans to spend more than $3 million this year upgrading drinking water at 19 marae and Maori communities this year.
Paul Prendergast, the ministry's the principal public health engineer, says protecting and treating water supplies can be a struggle for small communities.

The Drinking Water Assistance Programme advises communities on what they need to do, and can fund up to 90 percent of capital work.

The Drinking Water Assistance Programme has identified $11 million of projects to be done this year.

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