Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Te Roroa joins settlement queue

The Te Roroa claim is back on the table as the Government cranks up the pace of settlements.

An agreement in principle was signed with the Northland hapu on the eve of the last election.

But the settlement has gone nowhere over the past three years because of concern by some of the minor parties that the quantum was set too low for the post-settlement organisation to be financially viable, and that some important waahi tapu around the Waipoua forest wouldn't be included.

The Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, says it's one of a number of claims where rapid progress is now being made.

“Getting close with Te Pumautanga. We’ve certainly been working on Whakarewarewa and a host of others like Pahauwera and CNI of course, up north on Te Roroa, pushing on with the Tenths Trust, getting very close with the joint committee on Waikato and next month I think will be a great time for a lot of people,” he says.

Mr Horomia says claimants are putting internal wrangling aside so they can focus on the future.

GREEN WARY OF MMP PUSHBACK

National’s plans for a referendum on MMP are being viewed skeptically by the Green's spokesperson on Maori Affairs.

Metiria Turei says while there could be ways to make MMP more effective, and review must be conducted on a level playing field.

She says before the original referendums on electoral reform, advocates for MMP were running cake stalls to fund their awareness campaigns while National’s backers were pumping millions of dollars into urging people to stick with the first past the post.

“As long as there’s some equity so the real issues can be put out there and not distorted by either side, that would be a really important thing to do. But I think MMP is working really well for all of us who’ve never had proper representation in here, and I’d hate to see that go,” Ms Turei says.

KAEO BAND BRINGS REGGAE TO CHURCH AND THE ROAD

The Maori love affair with reggae shows no signs of abating.

Far North whanau band 18-14 is on a nationwide tour to promote its new album, Jah Rydem.

The eight-piece ensemble includes bandleader Patu Colbert, two of his sons, a niece and a nephew.

Mr Colbert says the name comes from the year when Samuel Marsden first brought the gospel to Oihi in the Bay of Islands.

“We started in church in Kaeo. I wrote some songs and the community started to like listening to our music so it sort of grew from there,” he says.

1814 play Mount Maunganui tomorrow and Auckland on Saturday.

WHANAU PAY AND PAY FOR WAR DEBT

Maori whanau are still feeling the effects of the Vietnam War decades after the fighting stopped.

Ngaroimata Reid... whose uncles served in Vietnam.... says soldiers returned home changed men.

She says it affected the leadership in many Maori whanau and communities, as veterans like her uncles Witi and Andrew McMath made it home but died young of cancers and other diseases.

“We lost our uncles back then. Although they were still living, they had in effect died back there in the war. Their character had changed, their mood had changed, and that had significant impact on our whanau, our whanau leadership, with them dying really young it meant our younger men had to step up and fill the void that they'd left,” Ms Reid says.

While yesterday's Crown apology to Vietnam Vets was a good start, more needs to be done for the widows and whanau of servicemen.

PAUL QUESTIONS MINDS OF THOSE SET FOR SETTLEMENT

Public consultation has started on the $500 million Treelord settlement of central North Island claims.

A meeting is going on now at the Wairakei Resort near Taupo, addressed by officials from Treasury and the Office of Treaty Settlements and representatives of the Central North Island Iwi Collective.

The deal will put 90 percent of the Crown's forests in the region into a company owned by the collective.
The government says it is keen to hear from members of iwi who claim an interest in the forests, but are not part of the collective.

Maanu Paul, who is opposing the package, says the first meeting in Rotorua last was short on detail, but what did come out doesn't look good for his Nga Moewhare hapu, which he claims has title to about a third of the Kaingaroa forest land.

“Who in their right mind would forsake $71 million and accept $14 million for their share of the accumulated rentals that came off their lands. Who in their right mind would exchange title in their land for shares. And who in their right mind would go into a system which gives them 6 percent rather than 30 percent of the assets that will be in this holding company,” Mr Paul says.

He says people are being asked to support the settlement without getting the full facts about what's in it.

ENVIRONMENT FILM FEST HAS MAORI THEMES

Environmental films fill the big screens in Palmerston North from tonight in the fourth Reel Earth fourth film festival.

More than 50 independent films from 33 countries will make their New Zealand or world premiere.

Director Brent Barrett says one of the New Zealand entrants is KaiMoana, which looks at how after 20 years of the Quota Management System, three companies hold the bulk of the quota, and several fish species are in decline.

He says there are many films with a Maori or indigenous perspective.

“When you start to talk about issues of environmental justice, you are also caught up with issues of social justice and very quickly you do move into that sphere where you are dealing with content coming from indigenous filmmakers talking about issues those indigenous communities are facing in the environment,” Mr Barrett says.

There will be a nationwide Reel Earth Festival highlights tour from June.

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