Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Trustee stays under Crown thumb

National is questioning what independence of the Maori Trustee will have if an amendment bill now before Parliament is passed.

National and the Maori Party voted against the bill when it came up for first reading last night.

The bill will split out the Maori Trust Office from Te Puni Kokiri and use some of its accumulated profits to create a new Maori development bank.

Georgina te Heuheu says National is concerned at the governance proposed for the new bank.

“The Government calls it independence but of course that’s questionable as well because of course it’s set up by the Government, and the Government appoints the chair, appoints the board so that’s not necessarily independent as far as Maori people are concerned,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

National believes the profits being used to set up the bank should instead go to beneficiaries of the 100,000 hectares of Maori land the trustee administers.


Most marae have got the messages about healthy eating... now its time to tackle the home.

Chad Paraone from Let's Beat Diabetes says a Counties Manukau District Health Board survey identified some of the factors driving the increase in type 2 diabetes among Maori in south Auckland.

He says Maori are getting the message about exercising and cutting back on fat and sugar ... but too many still eat more than they need.

Mr Paraone says cutting down on portion size will help cut waistlines and cut the diabetes which is reaching epidemic proportions.

“It impacts on that individual, impacts on the whanau, impacts on their work behaviour, and if diabetes is not managed well, there are some quite traumatic things that can happen. You may have limbs amputated because of damage to nerves. Blindness can occur, heart disease and things like that,” Mr Paraone says.

Initiatives to tackle diabetes include putting kaiwhakahaere into marae communities to encourage physical activities.


An Irishman's fascination with traditional Maori instruments is behind a collaboration now in rehearsal at Raglan.

Donal Lunny, a renowned musician and authority on traditional Irish instruments, has been matched up with a group including singer Whirimako Black and taonga puoro expert Richard Nunns.

Bronwyn Christianos, the organiser of the Greenfire Islands project, says it's sounding good for the premiere show in Wellington this weekend.

“It's kind of electrifying because we talked about, by keeping these two traditions, honouring them both and working with them in dialogue together, something completely new was likely to be created. Something unknown, something completely magic. And it’s already starting to happen. It’s quite spine tingling actually,” Ms Christianos says.

After its Wellington International Arts Festival show, Greenfire Island will play at Womad in Taranaki and Auckland's Aotea Centre on St Patrick’s Day.


The Maori Party is justifying its about face on the Maori Trustee Amendment Bill.

The party had told the government it would support the first reading of the bill, which will split the Maori Trust Office out from Te Puni Kokiri and use some of its assets to create a new Maori development bank.

But last night it voted against the bill going to select committee.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says the decision was made at caucus on Tuesday.

“We had intended to send it to select committee and let all this stuff come out but I guess it’s about making a stand when you have to and just the idea of that taking $35 million of the beneficiaries money and lumping it with trustee money and saying ‘here’s the new project’ was just something we couldn't do,” Dr Sharples says.

A spokesperson for the Minister of Maori Affairs says the $35 million for the new statutory corporation comes from accumulated profits from the Maori Trustee's 80 plus years of operations, and not from the money held in trust for Maori landowners.


Marae trustees from Whakatohea now have a clearer understanding of their responsibilities.

A governance seminar was held today in Opotiki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, involving marae trustees and representatives from both local and central government.

Dave Herewini from Opipi marae says the hui was a valuable opportunity to discuss environmental issues, council planning requirements, and tax obligations faced by marae.

He says the trustees were left with plenty to think about.

“It always came down to the charter – the charter that the trustees had to work in with the committee and the rest of the hapu, and how they have to come to an agreement within that charter. We all decided when we came out that we were so glad we came along to be informed because we really haven’t had this information come our way in a collective group like this for all these authorities,” Mr Herewini says.


The Maori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand has putea for post-secondary Maori art students.

Te Waka Toi's Maori arts advisor, Haniko Te Kurapa, says over the past decade the $4000 scholarships have helped artists like Nigel Burrell, Shannon Wafer, Amy Ratana and Israel Birch to make the leap to mainstream and international success.

He says people working in music, fashion and film can also apply.

“I've been looking at all the past recipients and it’s very heavily visual arts so it would be great to hear from musicians coming through, more weavers, opera singers, and theatre people too. Because I know there’s a lot of our young Maori in the theatre arena,” Mr Te Kurapa says.

Applications for the scholarships close at the end of the month.


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