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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, June 23, 2008

Waikato Tainui signs off on vision

Waikato-Tainui is celebrating a milestone in protection of its awa.

The Guardians Establishment Committee, made up of iwi, Crown and local government representatives, has disbanded after presenting its vision and strategy for restoring the Waikato river.

Waikato-Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the committee, which was set up in March, has come up with a strategy that all stakeholders can be a part of.

“The vision is for a future where a healthy river sustains abundant life and prosperous communities who in turn will be responsible for restoring the health and well being of the river for generations to come. Now that’s a pretty significant vision because it sets bottom lines and a core strategy that does with that that provides a roadmap for implementation,” Mr Morgan says.

A permanent guardians group will be set up once the Crown and Waikato Tainui finalise the deed of settlement for the river claim, which is expected before the end of the year.


It's the end of a ground-breaking partnership.

After 10 years of working together to provide government-funded programmes to Maori and Pacific families in West Auckland, the city's Pacific island Fono has indicated it wants to go it alone from Waipareira Pasifika.

John Tamihere, the chief executive of Te Whanau o Waipareira, says the break-up was probably inevitable, despite the similarities between the target groups.

“We must assert the fact that we have absolutely different rights from the Pacific Island community. They are part of the Crown. We are part of a treaty relationship that has different constitutional rights. We will start to assert those rights. So it’s regretted we’ve come from being collaborators or complementary to being competitors, but they’ve chosen to go down this path,” Mr Tamihere says.

Waipareira Pasifika runs Family Start, Parents As First Teachers and the West Auckland Youth Services contract.


A Ngai Tahu scientist is using music to raise the profile of New Zealand's most endangered species.

Gemma McGrath has put together a compilation CD, Music 4 Mauis, featuring songs by The Black Seeds, Ariana Tikao, Don McGlashan, Pitch Black and other bands.

It came out of a tour the Otago University masters student made of last summer's music festivals to raise awareness of the plight of Maui and Hector's dolphins.

“I think it's about getting into people’s hearts, stirring up the wairua a bit, because if you can do that and get the dolphins in there, then the conservation ethic and the kaitiaki just naturally looks after itself. Because these dolphins are kaitiaki,” Ms McGrath says.

Her concern was spurred by seeing a dramatic decline in the population of Hector's dolphins during seven years she lived in Kaikoura.


National's Maori Affairs spokesperson is promising to clamp down on spending if he is given control of Te Puni Kokiri after the election.

Tau Henare has attacked the Ministry of Maori development for spending $240,000 on staff conferences last year.

They included a three-day relationships and information national hui at the New Zealand International Campus at Trentham, which cost just over $500
a head for the 132 staff who attended.

Mr Henare says he ran a lot tighter ship when he was minister between 1996 and 1999.

“I'm all into professional development and making sure your workers have the skills for the job but if it’s just to have a yarn with each other, like team building, well maybe they can do that in lunchtime,” he says.

Mr Henare says Te Puni Kokiri has lost its focus, and needs to get back to developing policy and monitoring other government departments, rather than handing out money to sports groups.


Human remains held by Canadian museums have come home.

Four koiwi tangata or bones and two toi moko or preserved heads were placed in a waahi tapu at Te Papa Tongarewa last week.

Te Herekiekie Herewini, the national museum's repatriations manager, says the items from three separate institutions were taken from New Zealand between 100 and 200 years ago.

He says the next task is to establish who the koiwi tangata were.

“And if we can confirm their provenance we usually negotiate with the iwi that they most likely belong to around returning them back to the hau kainga. If we are unable to locate where they come from originally, we’re looking at establishing either a regional urupa or a national urupa for the tupuna,” Mr Herewini says.

Another toi moko is likely to be returned later this year from Montreal, along with koiwi from the United States.


A veteran actor says Maori actors and writers need to look beyond the established theatre as an outlet for their work.

Rawiri Paratene will be taking part in Matariki Playwrights, a forum in Auckland next weekend to discuss the current state of Maori drama in the city.

He says over the years he has seen few Maori in theatre audiences, even for Maori productions.

That's a wero or challenge for the talented young Maori playwrights coming through.

“Maybe they shouldn't bother with Downstage, which is dying anyway. They shouldn’t bother with Auckland Theatre Company, which has kind of niched itself for a different market that doesn’t include us. Maybe they should take their plays to where the Maori audience is, and the Maori audience goes to kapa haka. Maybe they should set up a festival circuit there. There’s their audience, thousands and thousands and thousands of them,” Mr Paratene says.


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