Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Multiple land not right for housing need

The Minister for Building and Construction is pouring cold water on the idea multiply-owned land is the answer to Maori housing needs.

Shane Jones is working on a new consent process which will allow councils to automatically approve some basic house designs, as long as there are no engineering problems with the site.

He says while high land prices make the idea of building on whanau or hapu land attractive to many Maori, it has not proved practical in most areas.

“Building on multiply-owned land is a really good contribution. The difficulty is a lot of our remaining blocks of multiply owned land are not really proximate to where the population pressures are,” Mr Jones says.

Taurangamoana may be the only urban area still with reasonable amounts of Maori land suitable for papakainga housing.


An urgent hui is will be held in Northland tomorrow to push for a greater Maori say in whale strandings.

Tui Shortland from the Ngati Wai Trust Board says changes to the Marine Mammal Protection Act will affect the role Maori have in strandings as well as the way taonga can be taken from whales.

The hui at Roma Marae in Ahipara is the first time the Department of Conservation, has consulted with Taitokerau Maori on the issue.

She says the proposed changes don't go far enough.

“The current Marine Mammal’s Protection Act doesn’t recognise Maori and in the past we’ve seen science prioritized above customary resource recovery and those things concern us and we see them still happening in other areas,” Ms Shortland says.

She says the Act needs to reflect the range of responses different iwi have to whale strandings.


A Ngati Porou artist has tackled the foreshore and seabed legislation in corrugated iron.

Chris Bryant's new work Ahuriri and the Sublime Ripple has opened at the Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery.

He says coming home to Napier after years away allowed him to look at the landscape with fresh eyes.

The sculptures look at the environmental destruction of the Tutaekuri river, the way land is used, and the control of the takutai moana.

“The corrugated iron has become a metophor for the moana because of its lovely shape and I’ve been working with just cutting out the corrugated iron to create images of Te Matou o Maui which as we know is Maui’s fishhook but which Pakeha would see it would be an outline of Hawkes' Bay,” Mr Bryant says.

Ahuriri and the Sublime Ripple runs until April.


The co-leader of the Maori Party is blaming the Office of Treaty Settlements for a dispute which threatens to derail a far north settlement.

Members of a whanau of Ngati Aukiwa hapu have occupied a house on the Stony Creek Station near Kaeo because they don't want it returned to a wider group representing all of Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa.

As the current landowner the OTS has had to clear the group several times, and Ngati Kahu fears that vandalism and security costs will make it harder for the property to be returned as a working farm.

Tariana Turia says the process used by the OTS creates huge division.

“They enter into agreements which in the end create conflict between whanau and I think that’s really really sad and I’m very sorry to hear that this whanau are at the point of losing their whenua and I guess my view is kia kaha, kia maia, kia mau,” Mrs Turia says.

She says the Government is aware of problems with the Office of Treaty Settlements, but refuses to act.


A 160-year-old Northland fighting pa has been honoured for its design.

The Institute of Professional Engineers has named Ruapekapeka a national site of engineering significance.

Ripeka Taipari, who chairs the Ruapekapeka management trust... says the pa was built by Kawiti for one 10-day battle with British troops in the Northen War, then abandoned.

“The most distinguished engineering feat was the fact they had no tools, so how did Maori build trenches that deep without any tools? How did they move trees that were some two feet across without any tools, and how did they do all of that from the time the British left Ohaewai to come down to Ruapekapeka,” Ms Taipari says.

The trust has improved access to the pa just south of Kawakawa, and it's now planning a visitors' centre.


The decision by Fidel Castro to step down as president of Cuba has brought back memories for one Maori nationalist.

Ripeka Evans, along with Donna Awatere and Josie Keelan, went to an international youth festival on the Caribbean Island state in 1978, shortly after they were evicted from Bastion Point.

She met President Castro and his brother Raul, and was impressed by his exceptional ability as a communicator.

“Me with my bad Spanish could pretty much understand what he was saying without the benefit of the translators that we had. He is an imposing character that emanated leadership really wherever that you went to,” Ms Evans says.

She says while the change in leadership may not mean a change in ideology, it could lead to a thawing of relations with the United States, which has maintained a blockade for almost 50 years.


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