Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tears at river deal signing

About 1000 people from iwi in the Tainui waka gathered on the banks of the Waikato River at Ngaruawahia about noon today to witness the settlement of Waikato-Tainui's historical treaty claim.

The mechanics of the deal, a Guardians of the River group which includes the iwi, was spelt out in December's agreement in principle.

Today's announcement included the fuel - a contestible clean up fund to which the Crown will contribute 7 million dollars a year for 30 years.

Waatea News reporter Mania Clark says Waikato Tainui has waited a long time for this day.

It was a very emotional day for all the iwi of Waikato Tainui who witnessed this historic moment, the recognition and return of the mana of their tupuna awa.

Tears of remembrance and joy flowed down the cheeks of young and old to acknowledge Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, Sir Robert Mahuta and those whose ancestors had long fought for recognition of their role as kaitiaki of the awa.

Negotiator Tukoroirangi Morgan says it’s a good starting place: a contestible clean up fund which allows further study to investigate whether there will be any more costs that haven’t been foreseen.

He says if there needs to be more money put in, the Crown has agreed to pay.


The Greens have challenged the Maori Party to go public with its environmental policy.

Maori affairs spokesperson Meteria Turei says it's a critical area in this year's election.

She says neither Labour nor National's policies are strong enough, and while the Maori Party has supported green initiatives, it's time it spelled out exactly where it sits.

“We're yet to hear any details of their environmental policy. They have good principles on which to base they base their environment policy around kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga whanaungatanga, all good principles, but there’s a lot of detail that needs to come out,” Ms Turei says.


Health managers hope a new training centre in south Auckland will to boost the number of Maori health workers.

Bernard Te Paa, the manager Maori for Counties Manukau District Health Board, says a centre for health innovation to be built next to Middlemore hospital will cater for up to 500 trainee health workers.

He says it's hard to get Maori to study away from where they live, so it's important to create opportunities in areas like south Auckland which have a high Maori population.

“It's going to be a bit of a centre for any new innovation at all and to have it situated out in south Auckland has got to be good for Maori because it’s where a huge amount of the population is. We’re going to be right there at the hub where new innovations come in, get explored. That’s really positive for us,” Mr Te Paa says.


A new book is raising questions about last October's police action against alleged terrorist training in the Urewera.

Terror in Our Midst, published this week by Huia Publishers, brings together a range of academics, historians and activists, many of them from Ngai Tuhoe.

Editor Danny Keenan from Victoria University says it arose from discussions at the university's Maori studies department of analyses of the police action by lawyer Moana Jackson.

He says the writers couldn't comment directly on the evidence the police may use against those arrested in the raids, but they are able to put the incident into historic, social, political and international context.

“The police have to show their hand eventually and they are going to have to do that during depositions and the question is to what extent are they going to force through arms charges against some of these people who were arrested who were clearly, form what I’ve been able to discover, the arms charges are drawing a long bow to say the least,” Dr Keenan says.


Maori hopes for guaranteed representation on the Auckland City Council have been quashed... at least until 2010.

The council's Finance and Strategy Committee has voted against bringing in either separate Maori wards or a Single Transferable Vote system.

Denise Roache, the councilor for the Hauraki Gulf Ward, says a lot of Maori live in the city ... and they need a guaranteed voice at the table where decisions are made.

The first-term councilor, who affiliates to Tainui, Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Huri, says most councilors refuse to acknowledge the special status of Maori.

“There seems to be a lot of ignorance from councilors who continually say things like ‘we should have seats for Pasifika, we should have seats for Asian people.’ Yes, those people should be represented. However, we have a specific duty for representation because of our partnership, our founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, it comes back to that all the time,” Ms Roache says.

It may require intervention, either by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance or by central government, to force councils to take their Treaty responsibilities seriously.


Scholar and artist Bob Jahnke says many Maori artists find it difficult to push their work in the academic environment.

Professor Jahnke, the head of Maori Studies at Massey University, is one of the speakers at this weekend's Toi Awhio Research Symposium at Te Wananga o Aotearoa's Palmerston North campus.

He says Maori students and teachers often don't do themselves justice in the way they present the portfolios which are used for marking or grant funding.

“A lot of the art educators in the wananga area, like most Maori, tend to be a little bit reticent about putting themselves forward and this whole drive in terms of performance research outputs, it’s really about the kumara calling the kumara sweet, which is kind on an antithesis to a Maori approach I guess,” Professor Jahnke says.


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