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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Tribunal mediates Pumautanga row

The Waitangi Tribunal has stepped in to try to bring together factions contesting Rotorua land settlements.

Over the past two days tribunal deputy chair Judge Carrie Waiwright and member Wharehuia Milroy have mediated between Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, Ngati Whaoa and two hapu of Ngati Pikiao.

Te Pumautanga has an agreement in principle for a settlement involving the purchase of Crown forest lands.

Colleen Skerrett-White from Ngati Te Rangiunuora says as a result of the mediation, her hapu will get representation on the Ngati Pikiao committee affiliated to the settlement body.

She says it's the best outcome they could get in the circumstances.

“Te Pumautanga never had a legitimate mandate to represent us and we have some very specific issues in terms of the settlement process. Despite our request to come and hui with us, it never happened. When we made an application to the tribunal in terms of our issues, the mediation process came out of that,” Ms Skerrett-White says.

She says Ngati Te Rangiunuora's involvement will strengthen Ngati Pikiao's claim over the Rotoehu forest.


A flax basinette is being touted as a solution to the dangerous practice of bedsharing in Maori whanau.

The Rotorua coroner this week heard four cases of sudden infant death from bed sharing.

Pauline Hopa, the national operations manager of Maori SIDs, says it highlighted the dangers of bed sharing.

She says a weaving hui later this month at Tapu-i-Hikitia Marae in Gisborne will try to spread the word on the benefits of flax bassinettes which can hold baby beside or on the bed.

“We're bringing together master weavers and health promotion people to learn how they can make these waha kura and then take that matauranga back to their rohe and share it as a way of spreading the news about safe sleeping with babies and using this traditional method,” Ms Hopa says.

A majority of the 60 or so cot deaths in New Zealand each year are Maori babies.


A new study has confirmed that Maori children are on the wrong side of the digital divide.

The Colmar Brunton survey done for the Broadcasting Standards Authority found only about half of Maori children use a computer at home, compared with 77 percent of Pakeha children and 89 percent of Asians.

Dominic Sheehan, the authority's chief executive, says that has implications for the way children are able to use new media in the future.

“Maori and particularly Pacific Island children had less access to certain sorts of media. This study of course only shows what they have at home so we don’t know how children were accessing the Internet in other places but at home the study seems to say the Maori have less access to the Internet than Pakeha or Asian children,” Mr Sheehan says.

Tamariki Maori appeared to have the same access to console games as other children.


Traditional Maori techniques like rahui could be used a part of a new strategy for managing the Waikato River.

That's part of a draft vision released yesterday by the river Guardians Establishment Committee, which includes Waikato-Tainui, other river iwi, Environment Waikato and crown representatives.

Tainui negotiator Tukoroirangi Morgan says as well as legislative change to stop pollutants going into the river, there are contributions to be made by those living alongside, including Maori.

“If you walk through the history of the Waikato River, this is no ordinary river. This was our tupuna. There are practices that still exist today or rahui and other approaches that are uniquely Maori and all of those will be wrapped into one collective approach, one unique approach to the long term co-management of the river,” Mr Morgan says.

The guardians will hold consultations during May, with the results going into the settlement being negotiated between Waikato-Tainui and the Crown.


The Greens' Maori spokesperson believes the buy back of the rail system will benefit rural Maori.

Metiria Turei says there's now a real prospect of moving some of the logging traffic off the roads and onto the rails.

She says that means extending some rail links to taken them closer to the forests.

“Over time we’re going to see more and more freight put back onto the rail. That’s what I would expect. It will be especially important in places up around Gisborne say, places where there is heaps of logging trucks along the road which cause a real hazard, especially where roads are difficult at best. Getting a lot of that traffic off the road and onto rail will make those roads much safer for the people who have to drive them,” Ms Turei says.


The national Maori rugby coach is satisfied there's enough talent available to field a strong team this year, despite the retirement of senior players.

Donny Stevenson says the departure of Crusaders' star utility Caleb Ralph to Japan creates an opportunity for another young Maori player to make a name for himself.

He says the focus is on the Pacific Cup tournament later this year.

“Maori rugby has probably never looked as strong as it has this year, particularly in the backs and the New Zealand Under 20 team. These are actually boys playing in the Super 14 like Zac Guildford, Sean Maitland, playing for the Super 14 and the New Zealand Sevens, so yeah, we're looking strong,” Mr Stevenson says.


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