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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Treelord deal moves step closer

The Government has accepted a proposal to use its central North Island forests to settle historic treaty claims in the region.

What’s been dubbed Treelord will be the largest settlement so far, worth more than $500 million dollars.

Some 90 percent of land under the 170 thousand hectare Kaingaroa forest will go to a collective including Ngati Whare, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Rangitihi, Raukawa, Tuwharetoa and Ngai Tuhoe.

Kaingaroa and the other central North island forests make up the bulk of the lands put under the Crown Forestry Rental Trust in the late 1980s.

That was when the Maori Council's Sir Graham Latimer, the late Matiu Rata, Sir Hepi te Heuheu and other leaders successfully challenged that part of the then Labour goverment's privatisation programme.

After years of failed attempts to bring together iwi inside and around the forests, it was Sir Hepi's son, Tumu, who proposed the deal a mere four months ago.

Once Michael Cullen, who's the finance minister as well as the treaty negotiations minister, bought in to the idea of a multi-iwi collective, momentum built up quickly.

Keeping the forests together as a single business overcame fears within government that a settlement would weaken one of the country's strategic assets.

And the allocation plan put up by the collective assured ministers it will not be a repeat of the fisheries settlement, where arguments over who got what dragged on for more than a decade.


Images to mark the 150th anniversary of the King movement will make their way around the world from today.

At Turangawaewae marae in Ngaruawahia, King Tuheitia and New Zealand Post chair Jim Bolger will unveil a special limited edition stamp issue.

Post spokesperson James Te Puni says it's the first New Zealand stamp to focus on the Kingitanga.

“The purpose of these tohu or these stamps is they are almost ambassadors four our nation. So we have 200 to 300 million stamps a year that travel round the world representing what new Zealand people, culture and environment are about, so that’s a gap that we’ve had, not having a Kingitanga issues so we’re pleased that’s going to be remedied,” Mr Te Puni says.

Events at Turangawaewae today also include the welcoming of iwi from around the motu and politicians.


While New Zealand's inability to win away games in the transtasman netball series may be causing concern, hope is on the horizon.

A team of mainly Maori indoor netballers is training for the World Championships on the Gold Coast in June.

Utility player Ashley Timoko says New Zealand has a slight advantage because its players are more used to playing the 6-a-side game than South Africa, Australia and England.

She says the presence of nets all around the court adds spice.

“It makes you think because you’re in such an enclosed space and you can’t really run away from your opponents because you’re stuck between nets, so I really enjoy it,” Timoko says.


The Maori Party is being blamed for ACT's plan to stand candidates in the Maori seats.

Labour's Shane Jones says Rodney Hide sits next to the Maori Party in Parliament, and they now seem to have formed a tag team to chase the party votes of Maori.

He says ACT is even more opposed than National to the existence of the Maori seats.

“It's bizarre that they think they’ve got a dog’s show by putting Maori candidates into the Maori seats, but ACT stands for the privatisation of hospitals, schools, the privatisation of the Conservation estate and the wholesale hocking off of the Crown assets, so there’s really no common ground between the average Maori’s aspirations and what Rodney Hide represents,” Mr Jones says.


Maori and ratepayers are keeping the heat on the Kapiti Coast District Council over the redevelopment of Paraparaumu Airport.

They're trying to get the full council to overturn the vote of the regulatory management committee to rezone some airport land for a shopping complex.

Former Maori landowners say the plan proves their claim the airport should have been offered back as surplus land under the Public Works Act.

Mike Woods from the Paraparaumu Airport Coalition says it was an insult to residents who voted in new councilors to challenge Kapiti's pro-development thrust.

“There was heavy handed tactics employed by the council to stop those people voting, and that has shocked the whole community. They were threatened with legal action, all the rest of it, to abstain from voting because they had a pre-determined view on this plan change. This is Mugabe tactics. We thought we lived in a democracy but now we’re finding out we don't,” Mr Woods says.

He says if the pro-development lobby prevails on council, the coalition will have to seek justice from the Environment Court.


The largest contingent of waka seen on the Waikato River in modern times will was been gathered for the 150th anniversary of the Kingitanga.

There will be at least nine waka on the water at Ngaruawahia this week representing tribes within Tainui as well as a visitor from Nga Puhi.

Hoturoa Kerr, the kaihautu of the fleet, says the activity on the awa was bringing bring the craft of waka taua back to the people.

“For the last 30 years we’ve just had our three waka taua from Turangawaewae - Tumanako, Rangatahi and Taheretikitiki – who sort of held the fort but now we have new waka, new ideas, new paddlers, other kaumatua getting involved, and it strengthens that concept of unity the Kingitanga strives towards,” Mr Kerr says.

Tonight a new waka taua will be presented to King Tuheitia.


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