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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 23, 2008

Budget big idea not fully formed

The Federation of Maori Authorities is lukewarm to a Budget plan for a new Maori business support agency.

The Government has committed $40.5 million to set up Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand, with a further $35 million to come out of a restructuring of the Maori Trust Office.

Paul Morgan, the federation's deputy chair, says it's good to see that much money targeted to Maori, but more work needs to be done on the Maori Trustee and Development Bill, which sets up the new agency.

“As it currently stands in the bill, FOMA is not supportive of it. But we feel there should be further discussion and development of what is proposed to something that can meet the strategic interests of Maori economic development over the next two decades,” Mr Morgan says.

The budget also included $23 million to separate the Maori Trust Office from Te Puni Kokiri, and $17 million dollars to beef up the Maori Wardens.


Ngati Whatau has invited park managers to Orakei Marae today to hear an indigneous perspective on how public open spaces should be run.

Ngarimu Blair, the Orakei hapu's resource manager, says it's a break out session from an international conference being held in the city this week, which was organised without input from tangata whenua.

He says Maori and Australian Aboriginal participants wanted to challenge the high handed way many local governments manage open spaces.

Because of its treaty settlement, Ngati Whatua has a unique perspective to bring to the issue.

“Really we wouldn't make any process unless we had title to the land, and that’s been proven time and time again. It really is about title, mana in the land, because without it, there’s lots of nice people we go to lots of meetings with but at the end of the day we need decision making power to have values and principles actively provided for,” Mr Blair says.

On Sunday, the 30th anniversary of the day 222 people were arrested on Takaparawha Bastion Point, there will be s remembrance and reconciliation ceremony on the occupation.


Fifty years ago, five Maori artists working as teachers in Northland exhibited together at Auckland University.

Tonight the Auckland City Art Gallery revisits that first show of Maori modernism, which featured paintings, sculture and ceramics by Arnold Manaaki Wilson, Ralph Hotere, Muru Walters, Katerina Mataira and the late Selwyn Wilson.

Ngahiraka Mason, the curator of Turuki Turuki! Paneke Paneke! - When Maori Art Became Contemporary, says it was an extraordinary group who went on to inspire and mentor several generations of Maori artists.

To coincide with the launch, the Auckland City Art Gallery is hosting talks on the work by Marilynn Webb and Jonathan Mane-Wheoki.


The Federation of Maori Authorities is welcoming the long promised overhaul of the Maori Trustee.

Yesterday's budget included $23 million dollars to allow the Maori Trust Office to stand alone, separate from Te Puni Kokiri.

The Trustee looks after more than 100,000 hectares of often uneconomic Maori land for more than 180,000 owners.

Foma spokesperson Paul Morgan says that's an indication a restructure is finally going ahead 20 years of reviews, reports, and prevarication.

“Reform is to go through and it needs to go through so the Maori Trustee is independent, there’s funding required to support the servicing of the current beneficiaries, the land owing interests, and the infrastructure of the Maori Trustee which is quite run down,” Mr Morgan says.

Foma still have major reservations about a new Maori business support agency which is funded through the budget, and believes the government needs to consult further on the idea.


Meanwhile, accelerated progress on treaty issues is reflected in this week's Budget.

The Government is putting an extra $5.3 million over four years into the Office of Treaty Settlements to help it meet the target of settling historic claims by 2020.

It's also appropriating $400 million over the next four years for historic treaty settlements, including $60 million for the next financial year.

That's not the total that will be spent on settlements - the central North Island deal now heading towards a deed of settlement will involve the transfer of more than $200 million in accumulated rents held by the Crown Forest Rental Trust.

There's also money for the Waitangi Tribunal to help with archiving - the claim process is generating warehouses full of documents which are overwhelming the tribunal's resources.


Te Wananga O Aotearoa's helping hand has decided to stick around.

Jeremy Morley, who was appointed by the Crown manager three years ago to sort out a financial crisis sparked by the institutions rapid growth, has shifted over to become its new operational chief executive.

He says by paring it back to the core, the wananga has been able to come back stronger.

Mr Morley says he came in as part of a team from accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers to do a short term restructuring, and found himself buying into the wananga's vision.

“I have this altruistic streak in me that I like to see everyone get the best opportunities they’re entitled to, and wananga offers that opportunity, not just in Maoridom but to New Zealanders as a whole in second chance learning, it picks up the disenfranchised and gets them back into education with better outcomes for a better style of life and puts them back into the workforce,” Mr Morley says.

He says there's a lot of people in the wananga who want to make a difference.


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