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Friday, September 05, 2008

Ngapuhi offered early treaty hearing

The Waitangi Tribunal has called a judicial conference on whether it should make an early start to hearings on the Ngapuhi claim.

Chief Judge Joe Williams told the northern iwi he was considering its view that the first hearing should be on Ngapuhi understandings of the Treaty, and it should be held at Te Tou Rangatira in Waitangi, where chiefs in 1840 debated whether to sign the treaty offered to them by William Hobson on behalf of Queen Victoria.

He says addressing such a core issue early could help the iwi decide whether to proceed to full hearings or enter direct negotiations.

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says such a hearing would be a major undertaking for the iwi.

“It is the only iwi that can take this claim. It is the only iwi that has the evidence. The Crown has no evidence whatsoever to support its whitewash of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and going to a translation of the Maori text. Hobson couldn’t understand Maori, so he got it translated. The Crown now hangs its hat on the translations,” Mr Tau says.

The judicial conference will be held at Waitangi on September 25.

RIVER TRIBES COME TO CLEAN UP PARTY

In a flurry of activity, more of the tribes along the Waikato River have been formally brought into the plan to clean up the awa.

The government yesterday initialled agreements with Maniapoto, Raukawa and Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, representing Ngati Tahu and Ngati Wheao, bringing them into the guardians framework set out in the Waikato-Tainui river settleemnt.

The Maniapoto deal also covers the Waipa River, the largest tributary of the Waikato.

Dickie Farrar, the general manager of the Ngati Raukawa trust Board, says no one body can do the job alone, and the iwi’s focus is on co-management and how all can work together to clean up the river.

LESSONS OFFERED FROM MAORI ADDICTION EXPERIENCE

Methods developed to treat Maori with addictions are being offered as offering something that also works for non-Maori.

Researchers from Christchurch's Maori Indigenous Health Institute have written a history of Maori programmes since the 1980s.

Tuari Potiki, the strategy manager for the Alcohol Advisory Council, says the guiding principle that the whanau needs to be treated along with the individual is being widely picked up.

“Things that not only Maori but other indigenous groups around the world use similar models. Aboriginals in Australia, native Hawaiians, native Americans, they all tell the same stories and they all use the same ways of working with people. More recently the non-Maori sector is starting to see some value in what we’re doing, so it’s turned around a bit,” Mr Potiki says.

CYNICAL APPROACH TO SETTLEMENTS DECRIED
National leader John Key is accusing the Government of cynicism in its treatment of treaty claims.

There have been another flurry of activity this week, with Ngati Apa signing a deed of settlement, and Raukawa, Maniapoto and Te Pumautanga o te Arawa initialling agreements to become part of the Waikato River settlement.

Mr Key says that's in sharp contrast with the first eight years of Labour's rule, where nothing happened while first Margaret Wilson and then Mark Burton had the treaty portfolio.

“You've seen a big difference in Michael Cullen being there because of his ability to sign off on those deals and partly, let’s be honest, it’s cynically been driven because it’s election year and they’re trying to make sure the Maori Party doesn’t cane them too bad in all the seats they’re fighting over at the moment,” Mr Key says.

He's keen to maintain the pace of treaty settlements in National wins the election, because it's important all iwi are put on the same economic footing.

GOOD DEAL FOR NGATI APA

Menawhile, Rangitikei iwi Ngati Apa is seeking ratification from its constituent hapu for what it calls a good deal.

Negotiators from Te Runanga o Ngati Apa this week signed a $16 million deed of settlement, a $2 million increase on last year's agreement in principle.

Chairperson Adrian Rurawhe says there's a great deal of work still to be done, and it may take another year to get settlement legislation through Parliament.

SILVERSMITH TRADES TIPS WITH HOPI MASTER

A Maori silversmith has just completed a successful exhibition in New Mexico, alongside the Hopi artist who taught him the craft.

Dargaville-based Alex Nathan has been carving silver jewelry since he attended a workshop run by Michael Kabotie in 1991.

They reunited for a show at the Glenn Green Gallery near Sante Fe, which shows a number of native American and Maori artists including Sandy Adsett, Wi Taepa and Noelle Jakeman.

Mr Nathan says it was great to catch up.

“I've developed in a certain direction using the basics that he had taught me but I’ve taken the work in a completely different direction in the way I treat the material. He still works very much in the traditional manner of the Hopi in terms of the overlay techniques. I utilize the overlay techniques but I also carve the metal as though it were wood,” Mr Nathan says.

A highlight was visiting the Hopi tribal homelands, including what's regarded as the oldest settlement in North America.

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