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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 13, 2008

Maori turned poachers

A far north iwi leader says the way fisheries are regulated has turned Maori into a nation of poachers.

Haami Piripi says that's the situation Te Rarawa wants to change by negotiating a foreshore and seabed settlement.

The iwi yesterday signed terms of negotiations with the Government under the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr Piripi says the cultural knowledge that coastal hapu can contribute should lead to better regulatory regimes, rather than the current compliance-based system.

“What it has done is turn us into a community of poachers when we really should be a community of gamekeepers. For years now we have had to operate within this regulatory environment which is compliance-driven. What we are looking for is to establish and environment in which we can manage this resource to the extent we don’t have to worry about compliance because everybody is educated into it, everybody is participating in it and everybody is benefiting from it,” Mr Piripi says.

The talks will cover Te Rarawa's coast from Hokianga to Hukatere on Ninety Mile Beach, even though the northern point is disputed by neighbours Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto.

POLITICAL FOE RECOGNISES OHIA VIRTUE

The Minister of Maori Affairs has paid tribute to a friend and political rival.

Monte Ohia, the Maori Party's Te Tai Tonga candidate, died suddenly yesterday in Christchurch.

Parekura Horomia says Mr Ohia made a huge contribution to education as a teacher, administrator and official, and his death comes as a shock.

“Monte's been synonymous with education development. That he was in a different political party is by the by. Monte was one of those battlers. He was always on about quality and he certainly will be missed,” Mr Horomia says.

Monte Ohia will lie in state in Christchurch before being taken to Wakawa Marae near Picton, where he taught for many years.

TOUGH BATTLE EXPECTED AT LAUTOKA

The Maori All Blacks will need to be on top of their game tomorrow to beat Fiji in Lautoka.

Whetu Tipiwai, the team's kaumatua, says Fiji always plays strongly on home ground, and the second round match in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup will be much tougher than last weekend's 20-9 win over Tonga at North Harbour Stadium.

He says expect a physical contest as Donny Stevenson's Maori team tries to live up to its reputation.

“Fiji's going to be hard as they always are on their home ground. Like Matt Te Pou always used to say, if you go there the Fijians fear one team, and that’s the Maoris and he says just don’t disappoint them,” Mr Tipiwai says.

Fiji beat Samoa 34-17 in the opening round.

PRESSURE FROM RIGHT ON MAORI SEATS

A Maori historian says pressure to get rid of the Maori seats comes up whenever the right wing feels threatened by the Maori vote.

A paper prepared for the Business Roundtable by Canterbury University law professor Philip Joseph argued for the seats to go because Maori were now over-represented in Parliament.

National, United Future and New Zealand First are making similar claims.

But Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and Pacific studies at Canterbury, says if the aim is to restore proportionality to parliament, getting rid of the seven Maori seats should also mean about 20 straight Pakeha male MPs are shown the door.

“You know I can see the sense in that. It would mean we get more gay MPs, they dress better. More Asian MPs, we know they can really count so they’ll be good at budgeting. And we get more Samoan and Tongan MPs and those sorts of peolle because they’re really good at putting together a feed. All the arguments that are in that report have been leveled before, dating back as early as 1906,” Mr Taonui says.

He says axing the Maori seats would unleash the biggest protests the country has seen.

MORE MAORI ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBYISTS NEEDED

The Greens say Maori lack the resources to establish effective environmental lobby groups.

Meteria Turei, the party's Maori affairs spokesperson, says there is no shortage of Maori committed to environmental protection.

But there are few with skills to lobby at government level, and most prefer a hands on approach.

She says most Maori environmental work goes into restoration work on the time, and Maori don’t have the time to lobby politicians and government.

Maori environmental lobbying could be a way to make policy make sense to Maori.

SIMPLE STEPS TO CREATE A PIUPIU

The author of a new book on harakeke says the country needs more piupiu makers.

Leilani Rickard's "How to make a piupiu" covers flax preparation and the simple steps needed to make a garment.

The former guide at Rotorua's Maori Arts and Craft Institute makes up to 90 piupiu a year.

She says her jump from weaving to writing was prompted by her mokopuna, who told her of the interest of their schoolmates in being able to make the flax skirts.

Mrs Rickard says making piupiu is labour intensive, but once you've mastered the technique it has similar therapeutic qualities to knitting or crochet.

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