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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 19, 2008

Freehold carrot for Waitara talks

A Te Atiawa negotiator is raising the possibility of freeholding residential sections the Taranaki tribe hopes to get back in its raupatu settlement.

The High Court has rejected leaseholders' claims that the New Plymouth District Council's plan to sell about 800 sections in Waitara breaches the Fair Trading Act.

That clears the way for the council to sell the land to the Crown for use in a settlement.

Grant Knuckey says now the case is over, it's time to get some of the emotion out of the debate.

“We've got a history of being landlords for leasehold property and we develop good relationship with our tenants so it’s time for the leaseholders to consider direct negotiations with us about what the options are in terms of possibly freeholding,” Mr Knuckey says.

Many Te Atiawa members live in Waitara, and the iwi is keen to see the town grow.

TAPSELL SCORES INIVERSITY JOB IN SOUTH

Otago University has snapped up Auckland Museum's unwanted tumuaki Maori to head its school of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, Te Tumu.

Paul Tapsell was laid off last month as part of a controversial overhaul which involves the shedding of almost 100 jobs, including a dozen from the Maori department.

David Skegg, Otago's vice-chancellor, says Dr Tapsell's expertise in anthropology and ethnology will be valuable to the university.

“Of course he's best known as a museum ethnologist and a guardian of Maori taonga. He’s a first rate academic. He had first class honours from the University of Auckland. He’s got a doctorate from Oxford University. He’s been a post-doctoral fellow in Canberra. We’re convinced Paul is the right person to lead our school of Maori studies,” Professor Skegg says.

Once Dr Tapsell takes over at Te Tumu next February, the acting dean, Michael Reilly, will be appointed to a personal chair in Maori, Pacific and indigenous studies.

HEPATITIS LURKING IN SIZEABLE POPULATION CHUNK

Thousands of Maori are unknowingly living with a chronic disease.

It's World Hepatitis Day, and the Hepatitis Foundation says only a quarter of the 50 thousand New Zealanders living with the curable Hepatitis C have been diagnosed.

Chief executive John Hornell says about 5 percent of Maori over fifteen have incurable hepatitis B.

It can be managed with antiviral medication, but untreated it can lead to liver failure, cirrhosis and cancer.

He says risk factors include needles, including tattoos, surgery and acupuncture, working in the sex industry or health care, having family members with hepatitis, or getting a blood transfusion before 1992.

“If you think you are at risk, you must go and get tested for it, and if you’ve got it, you then have to be followed up. To ignore the problem is just as bad as not being tested. If you have Hepatitis B, there are treatments you can go on if your clinician thinks it will benefit you. The vast majority of people with Hepatitis B will live a normal healthy life,” Dr Hornell says.

The disease is hard to diagnose because of its lack of symptoms.

PHOTOS BRING BACK MEMORIES OF BASTION POINT MORNING

Old land rights protesters were out in force at Auckland Central Library this morning to open an exhibition marking the end of the Bastion Point protest 30 years ago.

That's when 700 police backed by army and navy personnel arrested 222 people who were occupying Ngati Whatua's ancestral whenua at Orakei.

Alec Hawke, who is organising events around the anniversary, says it was a defining moment in New Zealand history.

He says there were many fine photographers around to record events as they unfolded during the long occupation and the arrests.

“John Miller, Gil Hanly, we also have from people who were within the camp, Margaret Jones’ private collection, other photographers, other private whanau collections, and paraphernalia that has been collected by the library and archived, so it is a pretty comprehensive collection of photos,” Mr Hawke says.

Other anniversary events this week include a panel discussion at Waipapa Marae on Thursday, hui on indigenous land management of Friday and a commemoration ceremony at the marae on Sunday.

BROADCAST FUNDING TOO FOCUSED ON TE REO

A veteran maori broadcaster says it's time for a rethink of funding for Maori radio and television.

Te Mangai Paho is tonight celebrating 500 thousand hours of Maori language broadcasting.

Derek Fox says while the funding agency can be congratulated for the amount of Maori which has been aired, its policy of only funding te reo Maori broadcasting has been detrimental to wider Maori interests.

“That was not their brief as far as I’m concerned. Now my brief was that they actually needed to get quality Maori broadcasting on the air, and if that was in the language, so be it. But what about the huge number of our people who, for reasons other than their own failures, couldn’t understand Maori. How do they get on and where do they turn to get the real story of what's happening with Maori issues,” Mr Fox says.

There needs to be a focus on quality rather than bulk funding of anything in the reo.

TOO MUCH UNCERTAINTY FOR FORESTRY

The president of the Forestry Institute says lack of certainty round the government's carbon trading scheme is creating unnecessary problems for Maori landowners.

Andrew McEwan says the issue was front and centre at the institute's conference in Palmerston North last weekend.

He says forestry should be an important part of New Zealand's response to climate change, but the way the government is interpreting its obligations under the Kyoto Treaty made little sense.

“It'd be much better if the government’s domestic policy was simply aligned to can we encourage more forests. And if you encourage more forests, you’ll actually do something for climate change. But I’m afraid that government policies over the past few years and the way policies have changed have discouraged more forests,” Mr McEwan says.

While Maori and Pakeha landowners face similar challenges, the complex nature of Maori land ownership means it can be hard for managers to respond quickly to changing conditions.

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