Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wairarapa schools missed from landbank

Wairarapa iwi are attempting to stop the sale of several closed schools.

Mike Kawana from Rangitane O Wairarapa says his runanga holds records with details of the pa which existed on the sites.

Rangitane and Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Rangitane O Wairarapa assumed the properties were landbanked, so they were alarmed when the Office of Treaty Settlements were advertised them for sale late last year.

Mr Kawana says the OTS processes are frustrating.

“It would be good to see the government face to have, have them come in and talk and let them know exactly what those places, sites, areas that they’re looking at selling off to people, what they actually mean to the iwi kainga,” Mr Kawana says.

The iwi expect a report on their claims from the Waitangi Tribunal later this year.

SHARPLES ARGUE FOR ‘MUST CONSULT’ CLAUSE IN LAW

The Maori Party is hailing a few small words inserted into a local Bill as a major victory for Maori.

The Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Bill includes a requirement to consult on management issues with the mana whenua tribes of west Auckland, Ngati Whatua and Te Kawerau a Maki.

Pita Sharples says his party had to fight for the amendment.

“I had about 31 meetings before and I would not give in and we finally won it through. Why that’s so important is that this is a precedent and hopefully other iwi will insist that when there’s local laws affecting them, they’ll insist on that clause ‘must consult’ and name the hapus and iwis,” Dr Sharples says.

The bill governs what will happen on more than 27,000 hectares of public and private land on Auckland's western edge.

MAORI DOCTORS TAKE TE ORA TO NEW LEVEL

Maori doctors want to have a bigger say in the way the profession works.

The Maori doctors' association, Te Ora, has hired one time activist Ripeka Evans as its chief executive.

Its chairperson, David Jansen, says her experience at executive level in broadcasting and economic development and her academic background will be a valuable asset for Te Ora.

Ms Evans says there are now more than 100 Maori doctors and more coming through the medical schools, putting the association on a firm footing.

“There's a critical mass of Maori doctors but in terms of workforce development we’ve certainly got to look at the specialist areas and looking also across the board much more at influencing in terms of decision making, looking at things like any legislation, obviously government programmes,” Ms Evans says.

Te Ora has built strong links with Pacific rim doctors in Hawaii and Australia.

GREENS TARGET MAORIS’ PARTY VOTE

The Green's Maori spokesperson believes her party can make inroads into the Maori vote at this year's election.

Metiria Turei says Maori who connect to coastal communities are becoming increasingly aware of climate change and environmental issues.

She says parties seeking Maori support will need to clearly spell out their policies towards the whenua.

“The environmental impacts of climate change on poorer communities, of which Maori form a large part, so if you’ve got huge adverse effects like floods and droughts, that’s going to have a big impact on Maori communities, particularly coastal ones. And we have to have mitigation and protection mechanisms for them, and that’s something else Maori need to talk about,” Ms Turei says.

MAORI INFANT MORTALITY RATES DROP

The Paediatric Society is applauding a drop in Maori infant mortality rates.

Maori infant mortality is still higher than the rest of the population, but has dropped by a third in the past decade to 6.5 deaths per thousand live births.

Rosemary Marks, the society's president, says campaigns encouraging parents to keep cars and homes smoke free and to make sure babies sleep on their backs are showing some success.

She says parents needed the support of their whanau and wider community to provide a safe environment for babies.

“All parents want to do the very best for their children, so therefore we as a community have to give them the best information and make it as easy for them to do the things that they want to do. Wider whanau supporting mums to do things like give up smoking by not smoking around them or offering cigarettes and so on,” Dr Marks says.

Parents should sleep close to their babies, but not in the same bed as is common among Maori families.

TE ARAWA EYEING TE MATATINI RETURN

A return to the kapa haka nationals may be on the cards for former winners Ngati Rangiwewehi and Te Matarae i Orehu.

The Rotorua region withdrew from Te Matatini four years ago because of concerns over the national committee's direction.

Last year the festival included performances by hip hop, reggae and Pacific funk artists, as organisers tried to broaden its appeal beyond the core kapa haka audience.

Trevor Maxwell, from Ngati Rangiwewehi, says the organising committee may be reconsidering its approach, which would pave the way for Arawa to return.

“I think it's still a little bit of early days, but from what we hear it’s good progress towards us warming towards a possible return,” Mr Maxwell says.

Te Matatini will be held in Tauranga next year.

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