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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, March 06, 2008

False criticism earns rebuke

The Minister of Maori Affairs has lashed out at critics of his reform of the Maori Trust Office.

The Maori Party joined National in opposing the Maori Trustee Amendment Bill, because they say it will take away money which belongs to the 186,000 Maori the trustee administers land for.

But Parekura Horomia says the $35 million to fund a new Maori economic development agency comes from the trustee's profits from its trading activities and investments.

“Generally the Maori Trustee would invest money at 8 to 10 percent, hand back 3 percent to the beneficiaries and the rest went into shares or hotels or whatever else. All we’re trying to do is ensure that there is transparency, that there is a report back annually and that at the end of the day there is a pool and a resource that Maori people get,” Mr Horomia says.

One result of the reform is owners will get higher interest from the money the Maori Trustee holds on their behalf.

COW CAMPAIGN GETS GREEN BACKING

A Green MP is backing a Greenpeace campaign to highlight what is says are flaws in the Government's carbon emissions trading scheme.

Its flagship, Rainbow Warrior, is in the country for six weeks.

Meteria Turei says the fails to address the damage being done to the environment by dairy farmers, who are getting a five year break from the emissions regime.

“At some point they’re going to have to bear the full cost of what it is they subject the rest of us to which is that most of our rivers, you can’t swim in, you can’t drink from, most of them are causing high levels of pollution further downstream and it’s affecting things like our eels and other freshwater fish species, so it’s great that Greenpeace is doing it,” Ms Turei says .

Maori farmers make up a big part of the dairy sector.

ANNIVERSARY OF COOK LANDING SOUGHT

Tairawhiti wants its own anniversary day.

Mike Spedding from Te Unga Mai Trust, which educates New Zealanders about Maori and European voyaging traditions says the current date is overshadowed by Auckland's anniversary falling on the same day.

He says an October date would be more appropriate.

“Gisborne being the site where that first formal meeting took place between tangata whenua and Captain Cook in 1769, which happened in early October, so the suggestion we put to council was they may like to think about changing their day from the Auckland anniversary to the Tairawhiti anniversary and have that some time in early October to coincide with that anniversary,” Mr Spedding says.

Gisborne District Council will look at the issue at its next full meeting.

WAIPAREIRA GEARS UP FOR SCHOOL FIGHT

Waipareira Trust wants an overhaul of the way Maori children are taught by mainstream schools.

Its chief executive, former MP John Tamihere, says an education summit in April is just the start, and the urban Maori trust will make direct contact with all 93 schools in West Auckland.

He says Waipareira is developing programmes to address the needs of the small minority of Maori students whose family background makes it hard for them to get ahead - but schools could do a lot more for the rest of Maori students.

“We can not as leaders in our community accept that 54 percent of Maori boys failing the secondary school system because by the time they get to secondary school they’re not geared up to participate in the curriculum, so they’re streamed into the dummies classes and streamed out of the schools into low skilled jobs or crime, because there’s only two options for them,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the education system only seems to respond to confrontation rather than cooperation.

GOLDIE PORTRAIT BRINGS ANCESTOR BACK IN FOCUS

A painting up for sale in Auckland this month unlocks some important history for Ngati Paoa.

Sleep Tis a Gentle Thing by Charles Frederick Goldie is a painting of Hori Te Ruinga Pokai.

Glen Tupuhi, the chair of Ngati Paoa Trust Board, says many tupuna sat for Goldie to help pay for accommodation during lengthy land court cases in Auckland.

He says Hori Pokia was one of the leading rangatira of the late 19th century, whose name appears on many land records.

The painting's value for Ngati Paoa is in the subject rather than the artistic merit of the composition.

“Whilst we can from hindsight look back and critique Goldie’s license he exercised and the romantic titles he gave these tupuna, were it not for people like Goldie, these paintings and this part of our history, whilst there are records of it, there would not be pictures of our tupuna to be able to put a face to the korero,” Mr Tupuhi says.

The painting will be auctioned at the International Art Centre on March the 19th.

DEVELOPMENT SQUEEZES OCEAN BEACH HAPU

A Hawkes Bay hapu is fighting a planned 1000 home development on its front door.

Ngati Mihiroa has lodged its opposition to an application for a plan change by Hill Country Corporation, which wants to build 1000 homes at Ocean Beach.

Mike Mohi, the chair of Waipuka Incorporation, says that's right next to two Maori owned blocks.

He says the intense land use will affect the character of the area, damage heritage sites and could close off access to the beach by members of the 1000 strong hapu.

“You've got as lot of houses that are envisaged next door, a lot of people. You can’t get away from that fact, that it will impact, it doesn’t matter what you say, it will impact on the environment,” Mr Mohi says.

Ngati Mihiroa has its own plans to lease sections to hapu members for housing.

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