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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hat trick of settlements in urgency

Prime Minister Helen Clark says as parliament comes to a close Treaty settlements are right at the top of the Government's agenda.

She says there will be great joy across Maoridom with the passing of legislation for three major treaty claims and two more bills getting their first reading this week.

“Are we ever busy with treaty settlements. Let me tell you the full story here because it’s a fantastic story for Maoridom. We are going to pass three significant settlements through all their remaining parliamentary stages, right through to the third reading and then off to the governor general for signing,” Ms Clark says.

The first - the Central North Island forests land collective settlement - will to be passed on Thursday.

The Affiliate Te Arawa iwi and hapu claims settlement will follow, then the Te Roroa Claims settlement around Northland kauri.

Helen Clark says at the same time two major pieces of legislation - the Waikato River Settlement Bill and Port Nicolson Block Bill affecting central Wellington will get their first reading before parliament closes.

WINIATA DEMANDS TREATY PARTNER STATUS IN COALITION

The Maori Party want to be Treaty partners rather than coalition partners in any post-election government.

Its president, Whatarangi Winiata, says a precedent was his restructuring of Anglican church to share power along Treaty lines.

The three houses or the church, tikanga Maori, tikanga Pakeha and tikanga Pacifica, preside over their own affairs but come together to make decisions affecting the entire church.

He says if the Maori Party sweeps the seats it will be perfectly placed as the tikanga Maori house within parliament.

“Our current electoral system has provided for seven seats to represent the Maori partner, and if all of those are within the Maori Party then it can be said that the Maori Party, its representatives in the House, form the tikanga Maori house,” Professor Winiata says.

The Maori Party won't make a final decision on which major party they will align themselves with till the 2008 election result is well and truly confirmed.

SHIELD WIN BRINGS SMILE ON LAST DAY OF LIFE

While Wellington celebrates the efforts of their Ranfurly Shield winning rugby team... a number of players and officials are making plans to cross the Cook Strait for the funeral of Maori rugby legend Jim Joseph.

Mr Joseph... father of Wellington coach Jamie Joseph... died in Blenheim on Sunday night after losing his battle with lung cancer. He was 70 years old.

He played 142 matches for the Marlborough Red Devils mainly at tight-head prop between 1963 and 1977... winning the Ranfurly Shield in 1973.
He was a cornerstone of the Marlborough team, played for the NZ Maori... and came close to being an All Black.

Jim Perry, a contemporary of Mr Joseph says on and off the field he was a sight to behold.

“He was a quietly-spoken fellow, but you could see the reverence that was there from the rest of the players. They looked up to him as one of the leaders of the whole team, so almost like a kaumatua if you like,” he says.

Jim Joseph's funeral is Wednesday afternoon at the Wairau Pa Marae and will be followed by his burial at Maori Island cemetery in Grovetown.

MAORI PARTY OPTS FOR MAJORITARIANISM

The president of the Maori Party says they will align themselves with whomever the Nation votes for.

The Maori Party, which could hold the balance of power after the election, says it will not decided who it may align itself with until it has consulted widely with its supporters after the election.

However Professor Whatarangi Winiata says the party is unlikely to go against the way the country votes.

“It can be said that the Maori Party will be very careful not to stand in the way of the preference being expressed by the nation. If there is a cluster that shows a clear majority, I expect that the Maori Party will not try to upset that,” Professor Winiata says.

He is confident the party will win all seven Maori seats.

TREATY SETTLEMENTS AT TOP OF ORDER PAPER

Prime Minister Helen Clark says the Government's commitment to Maori is born out by its determination to get legislation for three major Treaty settlements passed before parliament closes this week.

The Central North Island forests land collective settlement will be passed on Thursday morning, to be followed by the Affiliate Te Arawa iwi and hapu claims settlement and the Te Roroa Claims settlement covering Northland kauri forests.

“You can see that as this Parliament comes to the end of its business, Maoridom is right up there at the top of the agenda,” Ms Clark says.

At the same time two major pieces of legislation - the Waikako River Settlement Bill and Port Nicolson Block Bill affecting central Wellington will get their first reading before parliament closes.

She says this will please many Maori throughout the country.

DOCUMENTARY MARKS LIFE OF COMPOSER KOHINE PONIKA

The release of a CD single of one of Maoridom's influential composers is a preview to a documentary on her life.

The life and works of Kohine Te Whakarua Ponika, titled 'Ka Haku Au' will be screened on Maori Television later this year.

Ngahuia Wade a granddaughter of Kohine Ponika, who affiliated to Tuhoe and Ngati Porou, says the documentary and its soundtrack is a chance to expose the person behind some of Maoridom's enduring songs.
Unlike other composers of the time... who took popular Pakeha tunes and put Maori lyrics to them... Kohine's work was totally original.

“Most people will know some of her songs but they won’t know she was the composer. She never read a note of music. She lived in Ruatoki and then she moved to Turangi, so she wasn’t a city dweller or anything like that, but she wrote these compositions that have stood the test of time,” Ms Wade says.

Kohine Ponika's songs were loved by people such as Sir Apirana Ngata who played her songs throughout the East Coast and were soon captured by many other iwi around the country.

Ngahuia Wade says the release of 'Poi Porotiti Atu' will be heard on iwi radio.

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