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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ngati Porou mandate given

The Crown has brushed aside loud dissent and recognised the mandate of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou to represent the East Coast iwi in the negotiation of its historical Treaty claims.

The runanga angered many of the named claimants by stepping aside from Waitangi Tribunal hearings and seeking direct talks.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen says the runanga demonstrated the strength of its support through a thorough mandating process.

Apirana Mahuika, the runanga's chairperson, says it's time for people to put their differences aside and work for the good of the whole tribe.

“We've had ruffled feathers before, even when we were discussing the foreshore and seabed, and I think that if you let ruffled feathers interrupt with positive processes, then we will lost the positive outcomes we are seeking. Because at the end of the day, statistically speaking, we have the support of a majority of our whanau and hapu,” Mr Mahuika says.

The runanga will visit all its hapu in the next few weeks to form a negotiating team, with the aim of getting a settlement by the end of the year.

NATIONAL PLANNING MORE TESTING REGIME FOR SCHOOLS

National's spokesperson on Maori education is accusing the government of having its head in the sand on Maori under-achievement.

Georgina te Heuheu says this week's education summit called by Te Whanau o Waipareira timely and important.

She says it is unacceptable for more than half of Maori boys to fail NCEA level one, and a National government will introduce more stringent monitoring of what's happening in our schools.

“We're going to put a huge emphasis on education, on standards, on parents being involved, knowing where their tamariki are in the system, how they are doing, because if no one is keeping a check on how children are doing, how tamariki are doing, how students are doing, then we are none the wiser as to how they are going to turn out at the end, are we?” Mrs te Heuheu says.

TE REO CATEGORY ADDED TO MONTANA BOOK AWARDS

The Montana New Zealand Book Awards has added a new category for books written in te reo Maori.

The judge for this year's competition is writer and editor Hone Apanui.

Awards administrator Carmen Houlahan says as well as acknowledging Maori as an official language, the category is looking towards the future.

“We do believe it’s an area that is going to grow, that there will be in the future a lot of Maori writers and publishers coming forward to do a lot more of this work. Obviously Huia Publishers are working a lot with Maori writers now,” Ms Houlahan says.

The winner will get a $5000 prize.

NGATI POROU TALKS COULD FACE HURDLE

Claimants squeezed out of Ngati Porou treaty claim negotiations are considering their next step.

The Crown today recognised the mandate of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou to represent the East Coast tribe in all its negotiations.

Lawyer Charl Hirshfeld, who acts for several claimant hapu between Tokomaru Bay and Te Araroa, says the runanga's mandating process wasn't as robust as the Minister of Treaty Negotiations says it was.

“It was only a vote taken of its own members so it was in many ways designed to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. There is a strong feeling about the identities of the constituent iwi up and down the East Coast, and that’s an issue that hasn’t been properly addressed and needs to be addressed before there is a rush towards a negotiated settlement,” Mr Hirschfeld says.

He has instructions to seek a review of the mandate through the Waitangi Tribunal.

MAORI NOT TO BLAME FOR LOW SCREENING WOES

The National Screening Unit's new Maori strategic advisor says Maori shouldn't be blamed for low screening rates.

The unit has just completes a symposium on challenges, benefits and harms of screening for various diseases and medical conditions.

Nina Scott says health services tend to blame Maori for not turning up rather than looking for ways to achieve equity.

“Is it us being not quick on the uptake or is it the screening programme not working well for us so you can’t blame us as Maori for having low screening rates. It’s the responsibility of the service to reach those who can benefit most and that’s where we need to go,” Ms Scott says.

Some Maori health providers have run extremely effective screening programmes, and the mainstream should look and learn.

TRIBUTES FLOW FOR MAHINARANGI TOCKER

Relatives and friends of Mahinerangi Tocker have flowed through her west Auckland home today to farewell the singer-songwriter, who died yesterday after complications from an asthma attack.

Her death at 52 has affected not only the Maori and music worlds but people she touched in other areas, such as those struggling with mental illness.

Green MP Metiria Turei says Tocker was an inspiration for many, including herself.

“Her music was part of my teenage awakening about what it was to be Maori and what it was to be a woman and feminism and strength and the battles so for lots and lots of us it‘s like losing someone who was with us during those really tumultuous times of figuring out who we were and how we were going to fight back,” Ms Turei says.

Mahinarangi Tocker's body will be taken tomorrow morning to Kauriki Marae in Taumaranui, with the funeral set for Saturday morning.

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