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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Whanau a Apanui foreshore deal

Another foreshore and seabed settlement will be confirmed today.

The treaty negotations minister will be at Te Kaha in the eastern Bay of Plenty to sign an agreement in principle with Te Whanau a Apanui on its territorial customary rights claims.

The deal is expected to be similar to that signed by neighbouring Ngati Porou earlier this month.

Dayle Takitimu, a negotiator for the iwi, says the signing will happen after the document has been discussed clause by clause with the whanau and hapu at the hui a iwi.

She says during the four years of negotiation, the iwi has sought to get legal recognition of the mana its hapu have over the foreshore and seabed.

“So we've been trying to work out how that recognition should be worded in law, and then what sort of instruments can give effect to that in law so that we can actually look at the successful implementation or the enduring implementation of that mana,” Ms Takitimu says.

There will be extensive consultaiton before any final agreement is signed.

AHUWHENUA LIFTING FARMING STANDARDS

A national award is being credited with lifting the performance of Maori agribusiness and farming.

Roger Pikia, one of the judges of the Ahuwhenua Trophy, says all 10 entries are of a high standard.

Seven of the contestants are employed by trusts, and three are independent owners.

This year's competition is for dairy farms, with sheep and beef enterprises in the spotlight next year.

He says the opportunity the competition gives farmers to get expert scrutiny of their operations and benchmark them agains their peers is raising standards.

“We're definitely seeing improvements on farm performance, business performance, financial performance right across the board, and then governance capability, particularly as the corporate farmers that we are, so we’re seeing that performance being lifted across the board which is very pleasing to see and it’s being reflected in the bottom line,” Mr Pikia says.

Judging starts next week with the winner announced in June.

OLD BOOKS INSPIRE NEW TEXT

The creator of a new Maori language textbook says the time was right for a new approach.

Te Reo Taketake - Ko te Pu is being launched today in Hamilton.

Author Rapata Wiri, from Waikato University's school of Maori and Pacific Development, started on what will eventually be a three-book series when he was teaching Maori at the University of Hawaii.

He says neither the Te Whanake series nor John Waititi's 40-year-old Te Rangatahi series suited his needs.

“I looked at Hoani Waititi’s book and I found it a little outdated. It had kids riding to school on horses and a family riding a Bedford truck. I though, that my be a little old to use as a textbook,” Dr Wiri says.

He intends to trial Te Reo Taketake in universities and high schools.

FREE TRADE WILL HURT MAORI WORKERS

A proposed Free Trade Agreement with China is raising red flags for the Greens.

Metiria Turei says while agricultural and forestry will benefit from access to China's markets, Maori in manufacturing jobs will be hit hard.

She says the reforms of the 1980s are an indication of the risk.

“A Treasury paper showed that Maori were much worse off 10 years after that trade liberalization had begun than they were before it and Maori in particular because the jobs losses were in that manufacturing, working class level jobs and that would be the same with the free deal with China,” Ms Turei says.

She says any agreement should be based on fair trade rather than free trade, with protection of the environment, human rights and worker rights built in.

WANANGA LOOKING AT $4 MILLION PROFIT

The new chair of Te Wananga o Aotearoa says the country's largest Maori tertiary institution has a solid platform for growth.

Richard Batley from Ngati Tama and Maniapoto was elected to the past as part of the organisation's transition out of Crown management.

The Crown stepped in three years ago after rapid growth raised doubts about the wananga's financial stability.

Mr Batley says those doubts have been laid to rest, and it now in a better position than many of the polytechnics.

“We have an unaudited result for 2007 of between $4 million and $4.5 million. We enter the new year predicting that we will have a similar result. That is quite rare in the current tertiary environment, so relative to other tertiary institutions, you might say we are comfortable,” Mr Batley says,

About 40,000 students are enrolled, half of them non-Maori.

COASTAL RESERVE SOUGHT AT TANGOIO

Hawkes Bay Maori want the Hastings District Council to buy a coastal block they say is a significant waahi tapu.

Marama Laurenson, the council's cultural and heritage advisor, says the 3 hectare block near Tangoio Marae is the site of a former pa and canoe landing area.

She says it's important to proceed reasonably quickly because the land is part of a subdivision.

“If in fact we’re too tardy about it they may end up selling the land to somebody else and we’ll have to start again in our negotiations with new owners. That’s probably the only risk. But the goodwill from council is there and the goodwill is there from Tangoio whanau whanui to work with us to meet their needs and we’ve had very good meetings with the landowners,” Ms Laurenson says.

The Hastings District Council's Maori joint committee is looking at a reserve management plan to cover the pa site.

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