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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ngati Makino tries to claw back claim

A Bay of Plenty iwi faces an uphill battle to win a treaty settlement because the forests on its land have already been given to other claimants.

Ngati Makino and neighbours Waitaha signed terms of negotiation with the treaty minister Michael Cullen last week.

Negotiator Te Ariki Morehu says Ngati Makino's mandate was recognised in 1997, but Labour's first treaty minister, Margaret Wilson, ignored the iwi.

As a result the Rotoehu Forest went to its neighbours.

“It's already been given to Ngati Awa and Tuwharetoa, and we’re not happy about that. This is what we have to work through with the government. What’s going to be the result of that? We’ve already lost it, so what are they going to do about it?” Te Ariki Morehu says.

He says Ngati Makino forced the government to the table by seeking resumption orders from the Waitangi Tribunal, which would compel the Crown to hand over certain classes of land.

NGAI TAHU WELL PLACED FOR ECONOMIC DOWNTURN

The chair of Ngai Tahu's commercial arm believes the tribe is well placed to take advantage of any deals thrown up by a predicted economic slow down.

Ngai Tahu Group Holdings reported a total net profit of $18.6 million in the six months to the end of December, including some asset sales, and it's predicting a full year profit of close to $40 million.

Wally Stone says with more than $500 million in assets and debt only a tenth of that, it can cope with tighter market conditions far better than more highly-geared companies.

“Those companies like Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation who maintain a very strong balance sheet, who have minimal debt, and therefore are lowly geared, are probably in a good position because I think right now it’s a buyer’s market and those that have strong balance sheets will find there’s a lot of very good deals available in the market right now,” Mr Stone says

Ngai Tahu's property and fishing businesses are trading well, and its tourism business expects a better second half after last year's Rugby World Cup in France kept many visitors away.

OLD NEW GROUP MAKES SPLASH AT WAIKATO FEST

They were the newest group, but Nga Pou O Roto made a big impact at the Tainui kapahaka festival over the weekend.

The Huntly-based group took third place, behind Te Iti Kahurangi and Te Pou O Mangartawhiri.

Kahurangi Muru, the coordinator, says the secret weapon was the inclusion of members of Taniwharau.

That long-standing roopu has not performing competitively since the death of the Maori queen, Te Atairangikaahu, in 2006.

“It was her whakaaro years ago for Taniwharau to go tautoko so we could get more Waikato representation, Tainui representation at Te Matatini,” Ms Muru says.

MORE DOCTORS NEEDED TO ADDRESS HEALTH DEFICIT

Northland's Maori health manager says having more medical professionals in the area will address a long-standing health deficit.

Northland District Health Board and the Whangarei, Kaitaia, Rawene and Dargaville hospitals have launched a scheme to bring senior students from the Auckland University medical school for 35 weeks of clinical practice.

Kim Tito says the prevalence of diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer lowers life expectancy among Maori, especially in areas like Taitokerau.

“They need high comprehensive services 15 years earlier than their non-Maori counterparts. If we’re really to address that sort of imbalance, then we need to have a delivery system that is operating well for Maori both at the primary care level and at the secondary level,” Mr Tito says.

The Pukawakawa scheme aims is to show future doctors how they can work with Maori health providers and other community groups, and encourage them to settle in the north after graduation.

KURA RUNANGA WANTS REVIEW FUNCTION

The umbrella group for kura kaupapa is pushing for a bigger say over the way Maori immersion education is run.

Hone Mutu, the chair of Te Runanganui O Nga Kura Kaupapa Maori, says a new framework for reviewing kura kauapapa is a step forward.

The framework requires reviewers to operate within the principles of Te Aho Matua, the philosophy underlying immersion schooling.

He says as well as oversight by the Education Review Office, the 60 kura should have some collective say.

“If we see a kura may not be up to scratch in terms of Te Aho Matua, what are our rights as Te Runanganui to say to that whanau either come up to this mark or perhaps you should look at another directions instead of kura kaupapa Maori,” Mr Mutu says.

AOTEAROA-NEW ZEALAND FORMAL CHANGE CALL

There's a new call for Maori to push for a name change for the country.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, says New Zealand was a name given by Dutch mapmakers who never visited these shores - and they spelt the name wrong.

He says it could be retained, but it's time to put it alongside a name more reflective of the people who live here.

“Although it’s an original spelling mistake from an irrelevant place in Europe where we don’t know where that is, you still have to respect that it’s built up an identity itself, and that’s where you would have to say something like Aotearoa New Zealand would be kind of a cool thing to have. It’s bi-cultural, multicultural,” Mr Taonui says.

The flag could be changed at the same time.

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