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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 08, 2008

Pahauwera wants rocky rights

A northern Hawkes Bay hapu has asked the Maori Land Court to give it what could amount to a veto right over mining on its foreshore and seabed.

Lawyer Grant Powell says Ngati Pahauwera wants an order from the court recognising that it still exercises customary rights including using the foreshore to land waka, gathering sea water as wai tapu for medicinal use, and collecting red ochre, driftwood, pumice, stones, sand and gravel.

That makes it different from Ngati Porou, whose settlement agreement in principle signed this week is based on its customary rights as owners of the land next to the foreshore.

He says a customary rights order won't affect existing user.

“Generally speaking it’s not going to affect existing mining usage just because of the way that the legislation is framed, but in a place like Mohaka where there hasn’t been a lot of commercial activity, then it certainly can affect the extraction of resources that would otherwise be available to be applied for under the Resource Management Act,” Mr Powell says.

He says it's a test case for the Foreshore and Seabed Act which will be watched closely by other hapu who no longer own coastal land.

EVACUATIONS REMINDER OF MURU RAUPATU

The deputy mayor of South Taranaki says the Patea community has been left with more questions than answers from this week's asbestos scare.

About 300 residents were evacuated on Tuesday when after fire swept through the former freezing works buildings, filling the town with toxic smoke.

Debbie Packer says given the history of the area, the incident was hugely stressful to the mainly-Maori residents.

“Only time a lot of these whanau ever left home was during the muru raupatu so this isn’t something a community can easily take and people have said there’s minimal impact, you probably haven’t breathed in anything. Well, then why on earth have then been asked to return him and keep their windows closed,” Ms Packer says.

She says the buildings should have been demolished when the freezing works was closed a quarter of a century ago.

OPPOSITION LEADERS SWAP KEY NOTES

John Key has joined the Tame Iti fan club.

The National Party was led onto Te Tii Marae on Waitangi Day by veteran activist Titewhai Harawira, and almost immediately struck up a conversation with the ta mokoed Tuhoe rights campaigner.

He says the opportunity to meet people face to face provides a chance to get behind the headlines.

“I met him when I went to Tuhoe and I saw a side of him there where I got a chance to talk to him one on one which I think is a very different side than the one that’s presented to the public and that is a man who does a lot for young children, who looked like he’s got a pretty good heart on him, I've got to say,” Mr Key says.

He says after a year and a half in the job he feels comfortable about going in to Maori situations.

MAORI WATER SAFETY CAMPAIGN MISSED MARK

Water Safety New Zealand's Maori coordinator is begging Maori men to set a better example in the water.

Mark Haimona says a spate of drownings over the summer of Maori collecting seafood shows its message is not getting through.

He says when Maori whanau go to the water for kai, its usually the men who organise the trip ... and they don't take water safety seriously.

“You've still got that bulletproof male mentality out there that ‘I’m the skipper, I’m the captain and what I say goes,’ yet they’re coming to grief, and when you’ve got a group with you that’s unprepared and don’t have the ability to rise to the occasion when they get into danger, then a lot of trouble starts to happen and that’s what we've seen,” Mr Haimona says.

Too many people are going out to collect kai at dusk or even in the dark, when rescue services can't help them.

KEY PUTS TIME ON SEATS GOING

John Key is tying National's pledge to get rid of the Maori seats to the settlement of historic claims.

He says once those historic grievances are off the table - and the Labour-led government has set 2020 as the target for that - it will be practical to make the move.

He says the seats haven't delivered economic and social gains for Maori, and the political picture for Maori is changing.

“The power base is changing. Look at shared fisheries and the issues around that. Maori didn’t go through the seven Maori seat holders. They can and spoke to the political parties. The power is being increasingly held in the iwi and the runanga and the general interaction with Parliament,” Mr Key says.

He says MMP delivers effective Maori representation

FIRST TIME ON BOARDS FOR KARA

A Tuhoe actor makes his dramatic debut in Auckland tonight.

Seventeen year old James Kara is in the Herald Theatre production of The Cape, a coming of age story set in 1994 about four young men on a road trip from Wellington to Cape Reinga.

Kara says his background in kapa haka and drama at Waiheke High School did not prepare him for the hard slog of the professional actor.

“It's hard work but fun. My dad doesn’t reckon, I talk to him, he says ‘How was your day,’ I say “It’s quite a hard day at work today, and he just laughs. I don’t think he thinks that acting is a hard job but I find it quite hard, just because young need to be so focused mentally just to get down what you need to get down,” Kara says.

Acting may not pay the bills, so he also intends to study law.

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