Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 07, 2008

CNI deal good for development

The Minister of Maori Affairs says the proposed central North Island forestry settlement will be a powerful force for development in the region.

A cluster of iwi put a proposal to the Government on Friday to put more than $400 million in Crown forest land, forestry licenses and accumulated rentals into a trust, to be managed collectively.

Questions of allocation will be determined later by the iwi, according to tikanga Maori principles.

Parekura Horomia says the plan could resolve a problem which has been simmering for 20 years, and it makes sense to treat the forests as a single commercial asset.

“A lot of iwi in this cluster, they’re not new chums at business management or anything else. There are some iwi in there that need a lot of help and I think the great thing is those that are kosher in business will certainly help those others, and I think it is exciting,” Mr Horomia says.

A lot of detail still needs to be worked out before the Crown can accept the settlement.


A group of Aborigines from the Northern Territory is here to look at how Maori manage fisheries assets.

Samuel Blanasi, the deputy chair of the Northern Land Council, says they're positioning themselves for the outcome of a court battle by traditional owners from Blue Mud Bay in the Gulf of Carpenteria for exclusive access to waters between the high and low tide mark.

A federal court ruled in favour of the traditional owners, but the case is under appeal.

Mr Blanasi says while the legal environments between Australia and New Zealand are different, his council can learn a lot from iwi.

“We're looking to track information to take back with us to Darwin, Northern Territory. We’re only looking for facts so we know how we are going to do ours when we start negotiating our deals with the fisheries and the mud crab and the commercial fisheries,” Mr Blanasi says.

the group will attend this week's Treaty Tribes fisheries conference in Napier next week before heading home.


There's a new twist in the fight by a Rotorua hapu to stop the expansion of the sulphur city airport.

Blanche Hohepa-Kiriona from Ngati Uenukukopako has lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal for protection of the airspace over Ruamata Marae.
She says planned extensions to the runway to cater for international flights poses a threat to the marae and its associated kura.

The hapu has already made compromises for the airport.

“In the 1960s we were forced to move our whare tupuna, Uenukukopako, to where he currently stands, because the Crown and local government declared our tupuna as an obstruction of the flight path. This was despite our whare tupuna being there before they introduced the flight path,” Mrs Hohepa-Kiriona says.

She says the noise of the planes drowns out karanaga and whaikorero, and the vibrations make nails pop out of the meeting house roof.


A boycott of Ngai Tahu businesses to show solidarity for two pilots jailed for stealing greenstone has been labeled misplaced aggression.

David and Morgan Saxton are serving two and a half years in prison terms for stealing $800,000 worth of pounamu.

A trust has been set up a trust to raise funds donations for the Saxtons' appeals, and some of their supporters have called for a boycott.

Tahu Potiki, the chair of the Otakou Runaka and a former Ngai Tahu chief executive, says any concerns about the conviction and sentence should be taken to the court, rather than the tribe.

“Ngati Tahu has very little ability to influence a court in terms of the nature of the sentence. All they were able to do was identify to the police that they believed that stone was being taken without a licence. After that, it was out of Ngai Tahu’s hands and clearly in the hands of the police system, the court system,” Mr Potiki says.

He says the Saxtons are making themselves out to be the victims, when in fact it was the tribe which was the Saxtons' victim.


A Hastings urban marae is joining with police to tackle crime in its community.

Brian Smith, the sergeant in charge of the Flaxmere station, says Te Aranga Marae will today adopt the station in a special ceremony, strengthening the informal arrangements now in place.

“It's just a joining together of resources going in the same direction and it can be a place where we can go to speak to the elders and discuss community issues and try to problem solve if we have problems,” Mr Smith says.

Police will use the occasion to introduce the Flaxmere community to two new constables who will be responsible for a number of youth initiatives.


Maori feet are made for walking, and that's just what they do ... according to new research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

An Otago University study found that while only a third of Dunedin primary school children walked to school, Maori children were 50 per cent more likely to get there on foot than non-Maori children.

Tony Reeder, the director of Otago's social and behavioural research unit, says it's a good sign in the fight against obesity.

“Once children get to do some walking and actually enjoy it and perhaps do it as a group and with support from their family, whanau and friends, that it’s actually a positive thing and can be not only beneficial healthily but socially reinforcement to do it on a regular basis is an important thing I think,” Mr Reeder says.

How close families are to school and whether they own a car are major factors influencing whether children walk to school.


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