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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ngati Manawa claims recognised

Ngati Manawa trekked from the heart of the Kaingaroa forest to Parliament today to sign an agreement in principle to settle its outstanding historical Treaty claims of Ngati Manawa.

Chairperson Bill Bird says the settlement includes a cultural redress package and the outlines of the historic account of the iwi's conflicts with the Crown during the New Zealand wars of the 1860s and 70s, the operation of the Native Land Court and the impact of land, river and forestry development.

He says it dovetails with the commercial redress packaged signed in June, which gives Ngati Manawa 6.2 percent of the Central North Island Treelord forestry settlement.

“The most difficult part of the whole negotiation process is that the commercial redress is already signed and identified and agreed to but the sins of the Crown are still to be identified. We want to move forward and we want to get out of grievance mode and get into iwi dependency mode,” Mr Bird says.

Ngati Manawa is aiming to complete negotiation of its deed of settlement within a year.


As the chief judge of the Maori Land Court heads for the High Court bench, his job has been split in two.

Joe Williams will be sworn in at the Wellington High Court tomorrow afternoon after a ceremony at Victoria University's Te Herenga Waka Marae.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says Wilson Isaac has been confirmed as acting chief judge of the Maori Land Court.

Carrie Wainwright will be acting chair of the Waitangi Tribunal, which is assessing the 2000 claims that flooded in to meet the deadline for lodging historic claims.

Mr Horomia says Justice Williams, from Ngati Pukenga and Te Arawa, will be a great addition to the High Court.

“You know he's steeped in his tikanga and holds steadfast to his language and he’s steeped in the law and it’s a rarity when you take that all the way to the High Court,” Mr Horomia says.


Two ta moko artists are off to London for next week's International Tattoo Convention.

A Ta Moko artist says Maori Moko is currently in vogue.

Patrick Takoko and Richard Francis will represent Te Uhi a Mataora, a collective of Maori artists.

Mr Takoko says because of the skill of artists like Derek Lardelli and Mark Kopua, ta moko has enjoyed a revival from its low point of a generation ago.

“Moko sort of went into a lull because of the social climate at the time where people didn’t see it as being an acceptable art form. It’s just come out of the woodwork and it’s come in vogue all over the world,” Mr Takoko says.

He says Maori need to find some way to control the way their moko designs are used internationally.


A Ngati Kahu elder says the people managing his tribe's settlement will have to show a high level of business acumen to deliver benefits to iwi members.

Sir Graham Latimer's Ngati Kahu Trust Board was bypassed by the Office of Treaty Settlements, which chose to negotiate with Margaret Mutu's Te Runanga o Ngati Kahu.

An agreement in principle signed in the far north yesterday will give the iwi the 3700 hectare Rangiputa Station on the Karikari Peninsula, along with 1200 hectares of reserves.

Sir Graham says the success of the settlement will depend on the ability of the runanga to grow the assets and make the farm pay its way.

“It's always been hard farming in the north, but getting up there is harder still. If you run into the drought period, six months have gone just waiting on the grass to regrow,” Sir Graham says.

A $7.5 million dollar component in the settlement for marae redevelopment and housing will only go a small part of the way to addressing the social need in the tribe.


Meanwhile, a Labour list MP says claimants need certainty about when their issues will be heard.

Dover Samuels says when it assesses the 2000 claims that flooded in to meet this month's deadline on historic claims, the Waitangi Tribunal needs to protect the queue of pre-existing claimants.

He says some groups who have been waiting a long time.

“Well even up north there we’ve got claims that have been in the pipeline 10, 12, 15 years. We haven’t had any notification of when these claims are going to be heard. A lot of our people have passed on. I think this is not just relevant to Ngapuhi or to the hapu claims in Taitokerau but right around New Zealand,” Mr Samuels says.

He says the Waitangi Tribunal could save time by ignoring claims such as those lodged by Black Power and Mongrel mob members.


A predominantly Maori suburb in Whangarei is receiving special attention from the Police.

The Otangarei Community Safety team has been operating for two months, after research showed residents of the suburb were responsible for 10 percent of the crime in the city, despite making up less than three percent of the region's population.

Sergeant James McCullough says his team of four constables is getting positive feedback about the extra boots on the ground.

Housing New Zealand has offered the Otangarei Community Safety team a flat in the suburb to use as a base.


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