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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 01, 2008

CNI iwi looking beyond settlement

Central North Island iwi are looking ahead to what happens after they complete their historic claims.

The Government has agreed to hand over 90 percent of the region's Crown forest lands to the Central North Island Collective.

It will include almost $250 million of accumulated rents.

Tamati Kruger, the collective's spokesperson, says details of the deal are being finalised as quickly as possible.

He says the speed it has come together, after 20 years of failed attempts, is a tribute to the goodwill and trust built up in recent months by the 18 iwi involved.

They'll be trying to keep that spirit of cooperation alive once the forest is returned.

“After that point you’re really talking about commercial relationships and commercial realities, and so a new set of relationships needs to be explored there. The things that we generally agree upon is that we like that to be by choice of iwi rather than everybody being put on an express train and locked in to some kind of collective commercial enterprise,” Mr Kruger says.

He says the iwi are discussing possible regional investments outside forestry.

CHILD POVERTY RAISED CONCERN AMONG TEACHERS

The primary teachers' union says its time for those concerned with child poverty to speak.

Laures Park, from NZEI Te Riu Roa, says a report by the Child Poverty Action Group that one in five children in New Zealand lives in poverty squares with the experience of teachers.

She says lack of food, poor housing and other social factors affecting their ability to learn.

“If we can actually ensure that the children are well fed, have warm bedding to sleep in, actually go to sleep and have all those opportunities, to go to school is a plus. They’re not going to school and thinking ‘no I can’t think about this because I’m hungry.’ You can’t think if you’re hungry,” Ms Park says.

She says children don't complain, so someone needs to speak on their behalf.

UK BASED PLAYERS NEEDED FOR KIWI STRENGTH

Rookie Kiwi coach Steve Kearney of Te Atiawa ki Whatarongotai has named his first test team to tackle the Kangaroos on May 9.

Seven Maori have been named in a 19-man squad for the centenary test... including Lance Hohaia and Thomas Leuluai in the halves.

Commentator Te Arahi Maipi says with the loss to injury of key talent like Benji Marshall, there's pressure to get in-form players like Brent Webb released by their British clubs.

“Brent Webb is absolutely vital to the Kiwi’s success, particularly when you look at the other people who have been named in the outside backs. It is going to be dependent on his ability to inject himself into the line. Also his safety at fullback. He has been in tremendous form since moving to the Leeds Super Rhinos in the Super League,” Mr Maipi says.

FOREST DEAL A SIGN MAORI MOVING ON

The Minister of Maori Affairs says the proposed Treelord deal shows Maori are keen to move on the historic treaty settlement process.

The Government has agreed in principle to a plan to hand 90 percent of Kaingaroa Forest land and $250 million in accumulated rents to a collective of 18 Central North Island iwi.

The other 10 percent will be saved for claimants who stay out of the collective.

Parekura Horomia says the speed the deal came together shows the settlement process is coming to a head.

“This year it's gone pretty quick but it’s not too dissimilar to a lot of the settlements at the moment. People have just got to that time where a lot of our old people who were involved have moved on and people want to tidy up and get on with life for the future and I think that’s what we’re seeing with the central North Island settlement,” Mr Horomia says.

LAW SHOULD PREVAIL IN FOREST CLAIMS

But one of the claimants standing outside the Central North Island collective says the Crown has no right to ignore the law covering forestry claims.

Maanu Paul from Nga Moewhare, a hapu of Ngati Manawa based around Murupara in the centre of the Kaingaroa Forest, says the Government has repeated the mistakes of history by talking to the wrong people.

He says it should have been using the process laid out in the 1989 Crown Forestry Assets Act, rather than cutting quick deals with the collective lead by Tuwharetoa chief Tumu te Heuheu.
“Tumu te Heuheu can be the ariki for Tuwharetoa, but he is certainly not the ariki for us. I’m our own ariki, so on the basis of that, mana is being trampled, tino rangatiratanga is being unjustly removed from us by the Crown,” Mr Paul says.

He says keeping 10 percent of the forest back for other claims isn't good enough, because Nga Moewhare has historic title to a third of the land under Kaingaroa.

ZONE CHANGE DOESN’T SUIT WHANAU BARGAINING POSITION

The original Maori owners of land now used for Paraparaumu Airport want Kapiti District Council to hold off on a zone change until they finish talking to the airport company.

George Jenkins says Te Whanau a Te Ngarara, is looking for a way out of the mess created by the 1995 sale of the airport, when the National Government bypassed the offer-back provisions of the Public Works Act.

“If land is no longer required for the public work it was taken for, then it should be offered back at current market value. What is happening is simply an extension of what the Ministry of Transport was doing when they owned the land pre-1995, allowing businesses to operate on the land who have no relations to a core airport business,” Mr Jenkins says.

The full council meeting next Thursday is expected to rezone some land to allow a $400 million retail and business park development.

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