Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Waikato guardians unveil strategy

The Waikato River Guardians Establishment Committee has unveiled its draft vision and strategy for consultation.

The committee includes representatives of Waikato-Tainui, other river iwi, Environment Waikato regional council and crown appointees.

Tukoroirangi Morgan, Waikato-Tainui's co-negotiator, says it's an opportunity for iwi to play an active role in restoring the health of their river.

“We have never been ever part of the management of the river. We’ve always been spectators. And while we continue to say that, here’s an opportunity now where we can make a significant contribution to the health and well being of our tupuna awa,” Mr Morgan says.

The guardians' committee is looking for ways to wrap in matauranga Maori with western science.


The Rail and Marine Transport Union is welcoming the government's buy back of rail and ferry assets from Australian company Toll.

Sam Kahui, the central regional delegate for Ontrack and a member of the CTU Runanga, says railways still has a significant Maori workforce, but it's lost many in recent years to higher paying jobs in Australia.

He says the prospect of new locomotives and rolling stock could draw many experienced workers back.

I believe as we get investment in there and get certainty of employment, there will be opportunities for Maori and other races as well but definitely we can see ourselves with some certainty into the future, as we see the investment,” Mr Kahui says.

He says conditions and career prospects in rail lines company Ontrack have improved since it came back into government hands.


The coach of the Maori All Blacks will be missing the experience of Caleb Ralph experience in this year’s campaign.

The Crusaders utility is joining Japanese club Fukuoka Sanix Blues at the end of the Super 14 season.

Donny Stevenson says older players like Ralph and Rua Tipoki make a huge contribution to the whanau culture the Maori team tries to encourage.

“Tuakana teina aspect is very strong with us and that’s why senior boys like Caleb and the likes of Rua offer it, and especially with the Pacific Cup, playing against Tonga and Fiji and Samoa, well Caleb’s been playing that for years since he first made the Maoris and he has so much to offer the team,” Mr Stevenson says.


Te Pumautanga has agreed to take in a Ngati Pikiao hapu which had been shut out of the proposed Te Arawa land settlement.

Colleen Skerrett-White from Ngati Te Rangi-unu-ora says as the result today's mediation facilitated by the Watangi Tribunal, Ngati Pikiao will hold a special meeting next month to elect an additional two trustees to represent the hapu on the settlement body.

She says the hapu, which is based around lakes Rotoiti, Rotoma and Rotoehu, will strengthen the legitimacy of Ngati Pikiao's claim to the Rotoehu forest.

“We're going to discuss with the Pikiao committee of Pumautanga issues that we have with regard to the registration of our people and the mana whenua of the Rotoehu forest we’re hoping will come back to Pikiao, and we will go through our cultural redress issues with the Crown in terms of statutory interests in some of the reserves that were taken from our lands,” Ms Skerrett-White says.

Ngati Te Rangi-unu-ora is unhappy with the way its claims have been treated, but it has been given no other option than to work in the te Pumautanga.


There's a new warning about the dangers of sharing the bed with baby.

The Rotorua Coroner has reserved his findings on four cases dealt with yesterday of babies who died in bed with their parents.

Pauline Hopa, the national operations manager for a group dealing with sudden infant deaths among Maori, says while bed sharing is a valuable traditional practice, in combination with other factors it can be unsafe.

“Some things we need to do is look at the environment in which we’re sleeping out baby. Sometimes mum’s too tired or overtired or there are too many in a bed. Sometimes adult beds aren’t made for small babies. And all of those things tend to add another dynamic to that traditional co-sleeping, baby rearing practice,” Ms Hopa says.

Maori SIDS is encouraging use of a Waha Kura - a flax basinette that can be placed in the bed or close to it.


National's Maori affairs co-spokesperson says the Government should use its surpluses to tackle things affecting family budgets rather than spending it on trains.

Georgina Te Heuheu says the government is unlikely to get much kudos from its $655 million buy back of trains and ferries from Toll Holdings.

That's because families face more immediate pressures.

“The prices of basic food items, petrol, having gone up, I’m not sure that a big buy back of the railways gives any assurance to those ordinary families struggling every day that that is going to be of benefit to them,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.


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