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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Tribes: Fishing Ministry ignores treaty

A Maori fishing industry group is challenging the Fisheries Ministry to start treating Maori as a treaty partner.

The Treaty Tribes Coalition is hosting its third annual Maori fisheries conference in Napier.

Chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says Maori are tired of responding to the ministry's poorly designed solutions to ill defined problems.

He says in the years since the Maori Fisheries Settlement confirmed the significant relationship between Iwi and the Crown over fisheries, the ministry has worked to whittle away the gains.

“We of the tribes can improve the performance of the ministry and we would rather work shoulder to shoulder than currently where we react ing. We’re looked upon like any other stakeholder, rather than as treaty partner. Not only are we the treaty partner, we have huge interests in every sector,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says fisheries minister Jim Anderton told the hui last night that his door was open for discussion - and he'd be taking up that invitation at the earliest occasion.

COW DIET CHANGE COULD SAVE LAND AROUND LAKES

A new multi-party group is looking for practical ways to improve the water quality in Rotorua's lakes.

Rick Vallance from Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands is chairing the Land Use Future Board.

He says cleaning up the lakes is not as simple as putting the boot into farmers, and the board will be encouraging wide ranging research and discussion.

Even dieting can help, with a new study showing the amount of nitrates emitted by cows can be halved through a change in feed.

“Out of the whole 100 percent farm currently in pasture at the moment it may be possible to take 20 percent out and put it into trees on the steeper less productive slopes, do something with the flat land, fiddle with the cows a wee bit, and lo and behold you may reduce your total footprint by 50 percent but make more money,” Mr Vallance says.

About 70 percent of the land around the lakes is owned by Maori.

WARDENS NEED PAY FOR TOUGH JOB

The man charged with enhancing the relationship between the police and Waikato Maori wardens wants the wardens to be paid.

Police pouwhakataki Anaru Grant says the Hamilton Maori Wardens intervention project, which involves weekend patrols of licensed premises and known trouble spots, has reduced offending in the city centre.
He says it's a significant contribution to the work of the police.

“There's no way that our wardens should be doing the mahi for nothing because at the end of the day they are volunteers. If you put it in man hours, the cost would be huge. It’s our business community and all the other government agencies, if we all come together and we say okay, let’s put some money towards our wardens to help our people on the streets,” Mr Grant says.

The wardens are seen as non-threatening, and they're able to persuade intoxicated people to be taken home, lessening the chance of trouble on the streets.

AQUACULTURE SETTLEMENT A NO SHOW

A Maori fisheries conference has heard that Maori are still to receive any benefit from the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Act.

Consultant Graeme Coates told the Te Matau a Maui hui in Napier that since the Act came into effect three years ago, the whole industry has stalled.

He says marine farmers are looking for strong and positive leadership from government to overcome the complexities of the law.
Meanwhile, the settlement Maori thought they were getting hasn't come through.

“From the period January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2008, iwi Maori would get 20 percent of any new aquaculture management area. That couldn’t happen because there were no new applications or any granting of any new aquaculture management areas throughout the country,” Mr Coates says.

The Crown is now working through a valuation process so it can buy marine space for the settlement, but it will be at least another five years before it is required to hand over any to iwi Maori.

MAORI NEEDS HAVE PLACE AT CITY TABLE

A former Tamaki Makaurau MP says any moves to create a supercity in Auckland must take Maori needs into account.

John Tamihere says he's not opposed to amalgamation, if there's a convincing business case.

But he says his West Auckland-based Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust is not going to give up the rights it had confirmed through its claim to the Waitangi Tribunal on the status of urban Maori authorities.

“You don't bowl over communities of interest that are very special and have special rights. Our rights are ambulatory. They walk with me. They crystalise where I sit. What we won’t do is contest Resource Management Act issues, that’s mana whenua, not a problem. But any issues that impact on Maori: health, welfare, education - and local government does that all the time - justice, we’ll be standing up for a say and we will want a seat at the table,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the 2002 Local Government Amendment Act he was involved in gave councils the power to create greater representation for Maori, but those powers aren't being used enough.

FILM GUIDE FOR MAORI ENVIRONMENTS WELCOMED

A Maori actor and broadcaster is welcoming a new guide for filming in Maori communities.

Waihoroi Shortland, who played Shylock in the Maori Merchant of Venice, says producers and directors often blunder in their depictions of Maori communities and events.

He says Maori tales are dramatic, entertaining... and often complex, such as the stories behind so called body-snatching.

That's why they need to be told accurately and authentically, and that's where Brad Haami handbook Urutahi Ko-Ata-Ata will help film and tv crews.

“Yeah anything that allows people to cast their mind over the minefiled that is kaupapa or tikanga Maori must bring some good,” Mr Shortland says.

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