Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Claims deadline looking achieveable

The Minister of Treaty Negotiations says settling the central North Island forestry claims will make a 2020 deadline for settling all historic claims more achievable.

A collective of iwi presented a settlement proposal to Michael Cullen last week involving the transfer of 90 percent of the forests in the region to a central trust.

Dr Cullen says the initiative led by Tuwharetoa chief Tumu te Heuheu built up strong momentum for settlement, after earlier attempts went off the rails.

“And that momentum built up. People really realized the train was leaving the station and wanted to be on board and wanted to be part of it. There’s broad agreement around that there should be a single arrangement for managing the forest land and also a real understanding that this only settles the commercial forest lands claims, that each individual iwi will have further discussions with the Crown around other elements of their claims,” Dr Cullen says.

There's still some work to be done over public access rights to the forest lands and how the settlement benefits will be allocated among iwi.

FREE TRADE JUST WHAT NGAI TAHU NEEDS

The chief executive of Ngai Tahu Seafood is off to Beijing this weekend to see if the iwi can capitalise on the New Zealand-Chine Free Trade Agreement.

Geoff Hipkins is following in the footsteps of Ngai Tahu Holdings chair Wally Stone, who is already in the Chinese capital as part of a 192-strong New Zealand business group.

He says it's an excellent deal for this country.

“When you look at the actual states, China is New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner. From China’s point of view, we are number 50 on their list. So they’ve obviously used New Zealand as a test case, as a blueprint to work through this free trade mechanism and agreement, so that’s a real plus for us and a real boost,” Mr Hipkins says.

The seafood industry has taken a pounding in recent times because of high fuel prices and the whole dollar, but the prospect of developing long term business in what is already an important market has excited the sector.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

If gangrene in the toes and frightening statistics doesn't dissuade smokers, maybe pleas from their tamariki might.

The Auckland Tobacco Control Research Centre is running a research project in which students at south Auckland intermediates compete to win a computer by sponsoring a member of their whanau to quit smoking.

Director Marewa Glover says the centre wants to see if the Keeping Kids Smokefree project reduces the uptake of smoking by changing the behaviour of parents.

“A lot of parents think that children mainly take up smoking because of their peers or who they’re hanging out with or because of actors smoking in the movies but parents actually play a much more important role than they think and they do have the power to turn it around and break the cycle with their kids,” Dr Glover says.

Parents and family of the students can get free stop-smoking support.

MAORI PARTY FREE TRADE STANCE “HUMBUG”

A veteran Labour MP says the Maori Party's opposition to the free trade agreement with China goes against Maori interests.

Dover Samuels says Hone Harawira, the man who beat him for the Tai Tokerau seat, is showing his lack of vision.

Mr Harawira says his caucus has major concerns about China’s lack of respect for human rights and the environment, and China’s repression of dissent in Tibet should make Maori concerned about its respect for the rights of indigenous people.

Mr Samuels says those issues can be addressed better once the door is open.

“I've heard a lot of humbug coming out of Hone, taking about the treaty, talking about sovereignty, talking about human rights. I’ve heard it all before. It’s all negative claptrap when we have some of the major corporations, the major businesses that are owned by Maori have a real opportunity to sell our wares, sell our products, to enter into trade agreements with different companies in China,” Mr Samuels says.

He says Maori own the biggest New Zealand fishing company trading into China, and Maori farmers in other sectors are also major exporters there.

CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS HAD RESONANCE IN AOTEAROA

A Maori lawyer who specialises in international indigenous issues says Martin Luther King had an influence on a generation of Maori thinkers.

This week is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the African American human rights campaigner in Memphis.

Moana Jackson says Maori in the late 1960's and early seventies drew inspiration from the writings of Doctor King and others like Malcom X, Eldridge Cleaver and Angela Davis, who visited New Zealand last year.

Their influence on events like Land March and Bastion Point occupation should not be underestimated.

“African American writers were influential not just in terms of the strategies they espoused but also the hope that I think they gave to other struggles and people such as Martin Luther King and other African Americans have a big role to play,” Mr Jackson says.

TAINUI PADDLES TAKE WAKA DOWN RIVER

Tainui kai hoe are recovering after four exhausting days on the Waikato River.

The paddlers, who were nominated by their marae, travelled from Lake Karapiro to Te Puaha O Waikato to reconnect with their tupuna awa and learn about environmental issues affecting the river.

Coordinator Tahi Rangi Arthur says it will be a life changing experience.

“They just loved it. We had a bit of a korero after it and everyone just couldn’t get over it and the experience they had and the feeling they have for the river now from what they had before, so it’s good that we can share it around all our marae so they can look at the environment effects and just get that spiritual connection back into our river,” Mr Arthur says.

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