Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Budget puts $40m in Maori bank

A new business support agency and a big boost for Maori wardens are highlights for Maori in today's Budget.

There's also a surprise for Wellington.

The planned overhaul of the Maori Trust Office has run into heavy weather in Parliament, but the government’s determined to get the budget side through.

It’s spending almost $23 million to make the office a standalone organization, splitting it form Te Puni Kokiri.

The Maori Trustee and Development Bill, when it’s eventually passed,. Will also put $35m of the trustee’s accumulated profits Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand, which will provide support, advice and loans to Maori business.

In the meantime the government is putting $40.5 million of its own as capital for the new agency.

A pilot programme to increase the capacity of Maori wardens has gone national, with $2.3 million in capital funding for new vans and equipment, and $14.9 million for operational costs, mainly new regional coordinators.

$12 million over four years is going into increasing the skills and number of Maori nurses, and there’s $7 million towards what’s called a wharewaka on Wellington’s waterfront to serve as a venue for Maori cultural events and stand as a monument to the bureaucrats who came up with the idea.


A new charitable trust has outlined to Maori MPs from across party lines its goal for the total eradication of child abuse.

Hone Kaa from Te Kahui Mana Ririki says last night's meeting got a positive response.

He says the MPs admitted their problems finding common ground on many issues ... but they would consider suggestions from community groups.

“If we could come to them with a proposal and lay it before them, they would have to take a look at it and in their own words, find a single waka and paddle together,” Dr Kaa says.

Te Kahui Mana Ririki has sought funding from government agenices, and it will also target iwi groups.


Ngati Raukawa is going back on the airwaves.

Reo FM will go to air over the next couple of weeks from new studios in Otaki.

Station manager Tipi Wehi Peihana says it's not eligible for funding from Te Mangai Paho, which has a cap of 21 stations.

It has backing from the iwi's runanga and its wananga, as well as some set up money from Te Puni Kokiri

He says the station aims to reach from Paraparaumu to Bulls and over to the Manawatu.


The occupiers of Bastion Point are being described as mould breakers who changed New Zealand.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei is marking the 30th anniversary of the end of its 506 day occupation of the point, now know by its original name Takaparawha.

Lawyer David Williams, who took part in the occupation and subsequent Waitangi Tribunal Claim, told a seminar at Auckland University's Waipapa Marae today that occupation leader Joe Hawke carried the pouwhenua over the Auckland Harbour Bridge during the 1975 Maori Land March, the first such hikoi over the bridge.

He laid the first claim with the Waitangi Tribunal, after he was prosecuted for collecting kaimoana to feed the marchers, and he pointed the way for future protest when he moved to stop Ngati Whatua's ancestral land being developed for high priced housing

“The Maori Land March really I think for Pakeha opened the eyes of the nation. Maori, Takutai and all his people up at Oruawharo were talking about all these things in te reo Maori and no one understood it and no one cared. But after that land march, everyone knew about it, but what was going to happen next. What happened next was Takaparawha,” Dr Williams says.

He says the Bastion Point Occupation opened the way for the historical claim settlement process.


A successful pilot programme to support the Maori wardens is to be extended.

Michael Cullen's ninth budget has a putea of just under $15 million in operational funds for the wardens, and two point three million in capital.

This comes on top of the two point five million in last year's budget for vans, paid co-ordinators, and training run by the Police.

Tunui McLean, who chairs the Manurewa branch of the Maori Wardens, says the additional funding is recognition of the valuable work the volunteers do every day.

Other budget bonbons for Maori include just over $40 million dollars for a new Maori business support agency, $23 million dollars to separate the Maori Trust Office from Te Puni Kokiri, and $1.4 million to Te Mangai Pahoi to preserve historic Maori film and video footage.


The man who helped put Te Wananga O Aotearoa's finances on an even keel says the largest Maori tertiary institution has huge opportunities ahead.

Jeremy Morley this week became the wananga's operational chief executive after spending the last three years as a Price Waterhouse Coopers accountant working for its Crown Manager.

He says it has a strong balance sheet, plenty of working capital and sensible cost structures, which is reflected in the better programmes and service delivery.

A lot of work has gone into developing best practices and educating staff on why they need to be followed.

“You need to balance that up between what is ultimately a Maori organisation and the way the Crown entities need to operate. One size doesn’t necessarily fit all and it’s the old adage, viva la difference, but we need to make sure we don’t get ourselves back to where we were three four years ago,” Mr Morley says.

He says the wananga is an amazing institution which has been unfairly vilified.


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