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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Treelord deal signed

Wednesday June 25

The largest treaty settlement ever has been signed.

Members of the central North Island Collective of iwi filled Parliament this morning to witness the signing of a deed of settlement for central North Island Forestry claims.

Tears, pride, passion and fiery oratory were in ample supply at Parliament this morning as a collective of Central North Island iwi signed an on-account settlement of their historic claims.

The deal empties out most of the assets which have built up in the Crown Forest Rental Trust over the past 20 years – 176,000 hectares of Kaingaroa and surrounding forests, to be run by a joint iwi company, and $220 million in rent, split roughly on population among the 100,000 strong collective.

For the affiliate Te Arawa group, its 16 percent, along with other redress in the Rotorua area, marks a full settlement.

For Tuhoe, Tuwharetoa, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Whare and Raukawa, it’s a down payment, with other redress to be worked out later.

But they will be negotiating from a much stronger financial position, able to show their people some reward for years of struggle.


Businesses who want to access the brown dollar are being offered a helping hand by the University of Waikato.

The university is offering a paper for those who need to know how to handle powhiri, hui and generally be comfortable in Maori environments.

Tom Roa, a senior lecturer at the business school, says people who are willing to engage with Maori can find they have tapped into a large market

“Businesses in particular who are interested and businesses who are at present or in the future considering working with Maori communities, iwi authorities, hapu collectives, this course will be a help to them,” Mr Roa says.


The future of Maori surfing is looking good.

That's according to Chris Malone, who has just won the open men's title at the third Annual Auahi Kore Tri Series in his home surf at Raglan with 18.5 points out of a possible 20.

He beat Brooke Elliot of Te Arawa and Jessica Santorik, who opted to surf among the boys.

Mr Malone says the Tri-series is great preparation for the Maori Nationals in October, and chance to introduce up and coming talent to competition surfing, with children as young as five taking to their boards.

Martin Matenga from Tainui, took out the longboard section, while Haami Martin won the junior men’s title.


A thousand members of central north island iwi were at the Beehive today to witness a down payment on their claims.

After the settlement deed was signed by the crown and iwi representatives, many in the crowd moved to Parliament's galleries for the first reading of the settlement legislation.

The innovative deal thrashed was brought to the Government by iwi, and removes a tricky political situation.

Twenty years ago the Maori Council, the Federation of Maori Authorities and other iwi leaders stopped the sale of state forest land.

The forests were instead leased out, and the land and rents were held by the Crown Forest Rental Trust until claims could be resolved.

Two decades on and the accumulated rents are worth more than the land, offering a tempting target for politicians.

That temptation is now gone.

Today Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen signed a deed to put the largest group of assets in the trust, the central North Island forests, into the hands of an iwi collective.

Tuhoe, Tuwharetoa, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Whare, Raukawa and Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa will share $220 million in cash and the ongoing rents from 176,000 hectares of forest for the current rotation.

They will sort out among themselves who should own the land, using principles of mana whenua.

Former Maori Affairs Minister Doug Kidd, who now sits on the Waitangi Tribunal hearing central North Island Claims, says the deal puts rangatiratanga back in the hands of rangatira.


Fifteen Taitokerau schools are taking a fresh look at their environment.

They've been given small grants from the Northland Regional Council for projects such as wetland restoration, building glasshouses and establishing native gardens.

Teresa Rudgly, the council's environmental education officer, says some schools are planting trees known for their use in rongoa or medicine, while Whangaruru school has a different garden in mind.

“With their edible gardens encourage kaumatua into the school to talk about planting cycles according to the Maori calendar to get the old knowledge and to incorporate it into what they’re doing in the school, which is really cool,” Ms Rudgley says.

She says the younger students get involved in such projects, the more likely they will be environmentally conscious adults.


Eric Rush says Tanirau Latimar won't let the All Blacks down.

The former All Black and Maori player says it was only a matter of time before the talented flanker from Ngati Rangi would pull on the black jersey.

He's been in top form for the Maori team in the Pacific Nations Cup and is a leading candidate to replace injured All Black skipper Ritchie McCaw in the scrum.

Rush says Latimer is a class act.

“He's definitely got the skills, He’s a tidy little player. Whether he’s up to All Black level yet I’m not sure. But I know he eventually will be. So he’s the type of player if he gets the chance, he won’t let the jersey down, that's for sure,” Mr Rush says.


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