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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Move to resolve Muriwhenua impasse

Far North tribes have agreed to work together to bring home a long-delayed treaty settlement.

Representatives of Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Ngati Kahu, Ngati Kuri and Ngai Takoto, as well as the Muriwhenua Runanga, met ministers Mita Ririnui and Parekura Horomia in Awanui today.

The Crown has already made offers to Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri, but it's now proposing a regional forum be set up to discuss barriers to a comprehensive settlement.

Rima Edwards, the chair of the Muriwhenua Runanga, says after more than a decade of Crown officials working to fragment the claimants, it's positive they're working together again.

“There was a one voice to reunite and to complete this kaupapa as Matiu Rata and Sir Graham and the old people started it in 1986 and that spirit was very much there today. Without each other, we simply ain’t going to get to home base, and every speaker acknowledged and realised that today,” Mr Edwards says.

The forum will try to resolve any differences before a hui next month with the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Michael Cullen.

PARATA, QUINN CANNON FODDER FOR NATIONAL

National is building up a slate of Maori candidates to fight for the list vote in unwinnable seats.

List MPs Tau Henare and Paula Bennett are contesting the west Auckland seats of Te Atatu and Waitakere respectively,

Mita Harris, a Conservation Department community relations manager, is flying the flag in Mangere, while former bureaucrat Hekia Parata takes on Winnie Laban in Mana, and former Maori All Black Paul Quinn tackles Trevor Mallard in Hutt South.

Leader John Key says they'll all have a role to play in National's future,

“They come with a wide range of skills. Hekia obviously with a wide range of experience and talent and knowledge on the public service side. Paul Quinn, lot of commercial experience. Mita, great young guy, he’s run fo us before, and there’s a few others as well, so that is all coming together pretty nicely for us and I think will allow us to present a good picture going forward,” Mr Key says.

National is not fielding candidates in the Maori seats, which it has promised to abolish if it becomes government.

MAORI BATTALION REMEMBERED ON HAKA STAMP

The Maori Battalion has made it to the mails.

New Zealand's Post's new Anzac Day stamp issue includes an image of the battalion doing a haka in Egypt in 1941.

Spokesperson James Te Puni says the issue also remembers Gallipoli, the Somme, Passchendaele, Le Quesnoy and Vietnam.

“Theme of the issue is stories of nationhood and when we think about Maori soldiers serving in the battalion and in other battalions, they have paid the price if you like for today’s generations and that’s the spirit we really want to honour,” Mr Te Puni says.

NEW MOANA WAIATA TAPS ITALIAN STORY

As we count down to Anzac day, that's a new song from Moana Maniapoto.

It's from her soon to be released fourth album ... Wha..

The Tuwharetoa entertainer wrote Te Pae o Te Riri ... which means heat of the battle ... as a tribute to the Maori soldiers from the 28 Battalion who died overseas.

They including her great uncle, Lieutenant Kupa Haniaora, who died at El Alamein.

She was inspired by an Italian partisan song with a similar theme.

“I thought it would be quite interesting to write a song from the point of view of a woman here in New Zealand whose husband or sons or brothers were going off to fight in Italy and to ask the Italians to take care of these young soldiers as if they were their sons or their family members,” Maniapoto says.

MINISTER HOPEFUL AFTER MURIWHENUA MEETING

The Crown is offering to fund a regional iwi forum to pave the way for a comprehensive treaty settlement in the far north.

Mita Ririnui, the associate Treaty Negotiations Minister, and Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia met with representatives of the five Muriwhenua tribes at Waimanoni Marae near Kaitaia today.

The Crown has already made settlement offers to Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri, but Mr Ririnui says it's come to realise that individual claims can't be settled in isolation because of the shared interests in the closely-related iwi.

“There are a number of areas they share as a collective that the Crown is wanting them to make some decision upon, as to how we progress those particular areas, like Te Oneroa a Tohe, the Aupouri forest, a few Landcorp farms, and we put to them a similar proposal as we put to the central North Island iwi, given they all have shared interests in the central North Island forests,” Mr Ririnui says.

He says the positive mood of today's hui indicates progress can now be made, more than a decade after the Waitangi Tribunal reported on the Muriwhenua claims.

HEADSTONE UNVEILING FOR DON SELYWN AT TAUMARUNUI

Maori from the world of film, television and the arts will make their way to Taumaranui on Saturday to pay their respects to the man who blazed a trail for them.

It's a year since actor, filmmaker and teacher Don Selwyn died.

His headstone, prepared by his lifelong friend, artist Selwyn Muru, will be unveiled at Taumaranui Cemetery at 1 o'clock.

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