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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pumautanga deal signed

Te Arawa tribes are celebrating the first stage of the comprehensive settlement to their historic land claims.

More than 300 people were on hand at Te Pakira Marae in Whakarewarewa this morning for the signing of a revised deed of settlement.

It includes a formal apology for historic treaty breaches, transfer of 19 land blocks including three in the Whakarewarewa thermal valley, and more say in the management of Crown-owned land in the region.

Negotiator Rawiri Te Whare says Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa agreed to modify its deal so forestry aspects are included in a comprehensive settlement with other Central North Island Iwi.

That should be finalised by the end of the month, bringing Te Pumautanga affiliates $42 million in accumulated rentals and $2 million a year in income.

“The cash component is linked with the forestry settlement and so our own Te Pumautanga settlement relies on the forestry settlement being agreed and signed between the Crown and CNI iwi in order for the cash component of it to come across to Te Pumautanga,” Mr Te Whare says.

He says a lot of the division and rancour which surrounded the 2006 deed of settlement has gone away because of the progress made on the wider CNI settlement.


Meanwile, one of the leading critics of the earlier settlement proposal is endorsing today's deal.

Te Ururoa Flavell, the Maori Party MP for Waiariki, says there have been significant changes in the process over the past year and a half, in particular the actions of new Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen in driving a wider settlement of central North Island forestry claims.

He says members of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa are going in with their eyes open.

“There has been enough debate, discussion and whatever I might say about it is probably a little too late other than the sense that we have to support iwi where they believe they’re going ahead with the best deal they can get and under the conditions now that it has been coupled in the with biggest CNI claims, there are some benefits that will come to iwi,” Mr Flavell says.

He still has major concerns over the way Ngati Whaoa has been included in the settlement, and hopes a side deal can be done to give the iwi fair treatment.


It's back to basics for kohanga reo.

The National Trust has launched a 25 year plan to revitalise the movement.

Chairperson Timoti Karetu says the plan will strengthen the fundamentals of whanau and te reo Maori, while still giving individual Maori language nests the leeway to tailor the curriculum for their areas.

He says Maori should be the only language spoken in kohanga reo.

“The initiative is going to be that there will be kura reo for those whose language is minimal but even though they may not be able to serve in the kohanga proper, they can be sort of adjuncts to the kohanga, they can provide food services, cleaning services, all those other things that are necessary also for the smooth running of a kohanga, and thoe ones who have the language will go into the kohanga proper and use the language while they are with the children,” Professor Karetu says.


Second time round could be the trick for Te Arawa.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen today signed a revised deed of settlement with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa covering the historic claims of 11 of the Bay of Plenty confederation's iwi and hapu.

It includes an apology, cultural and financial redress and the return of 19 land blocks including parts of the Whakarewarewa thermal valley.

Negotiator Rawiri Te Whare says Te Pumautanga will also participate in the Central North Island collective forestry settlement, which is due to be signed in two weeks.

He says much of the opposition around the original deed signed in 2006 has died away.

“The issues and the tensions that existed then don’t exist now. There’s been a lot more mediation going on and the CNI has provided a lot more opportunities for all of the iwi within the central North Island, including those hapu of Te Arawa who sat outside Pumautanga,” Mr Te Whare says.

Over the past six months all claimants within the central North Island have been much more willing to work together and take into account each other's interests.


Northlanders are being warned their love for kaimoana could put their health at risk.

Jonathan Jarman, the Northland medical officer of health, says more than half of the region's 22-thousand strong Maori population have at least one feed of collected shellfish every two weeks.

But a Northland Regional Council study shows only three of the 17 Northland sites regularly tested for contamination are consistently safe.

“We're talking about traditional shellfish collection sites. These are areas that have provided a food basket for centuries and more and more people are looking at these food baskets because of the costs and the pressure on families,” Mr Jarman says.

He'd like to see iwi given resources to test sites so they can impose local rahui when shellfish is unsafe to eat.


Seventeen contemporary Maori artists with international profiles have joined for a special exhibition to mark Matariki.

Bloodlines opens at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts on the Wellington waterfront tomorrow.

Kaaterina Kerekere, one of the curators, says most of the artists know one another from their days as students at Toihoukura in the Gisborne polytechnic, and if they’re not already whanu, they feel like whanau.

Kaaterina Kerekere says the artists will run workshops for rangatahi during the show.


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