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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 08, 2008

Settlement target needs to be flexible

Former Treaty negotiations Minister Sir Douglas Graham says 2020 may not be realistic for settling all claims.

The deadline for lodging historical treaty claims closed last Monday, with the aim that all claims be settled by 2020.

Sir Douglas, who was appointed by National as Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister in 1991, says Maori more than any group want to move on to the post-settlement phase.

However if it takes longer than 2020 there's nothing that can be done about that.

“I would certainly oppose that there’s a cut off date for settling. That would be most unfair if someone proved their claim in front of the tribunal and then ran out of time because the Crown wasn’t in a position to negotiate for something like that. You just to just work through them, and if it takes longer than that, well so be it,” he says.

Sir Douglas says both National and Labour at this stage show the level of dedication needed to reach a satisfactory result in settlements.

TOURISM CONFERENCE LOOKS FOR NEW PRODUCTS

Tourism wholesalers and marketers will be looking for new and innovative products at this week's Maori Tourism Conference in Rotorua.

John Barrett, the chair of the Maori Tourism Council, says the hui is a chance for operators to network, learn new skills and ideas and consolidate on the gains the sector has made in recent years.

He says while it's important to demonstrate professionalism and a solid track record, there is always room for new entrants.

“Overseas buyers can be stunned by a brand new Maori product. One or two come along now and then. Like there are one or two which have come onto the market quickly, and they’ve captured the imagination pretty quickly,” Mr Barrett says.

Maori operators need to learn not to undersell themselves or their products.

EVERYONE WHO PLAYED GETS INTO BOOK

The contribution of Maori to the game of rugby league is celebrated with the launch of the book "A 100 Years of Maori Rugby League" in Wellington today.
Former Maori rugby league super star Howie Tamati says the book by John Coffey and Bernie Wood tells the story of Maori rugby league and not just Maori who have played for the Kiwis.

“They've done it really well. They took advice really well. They carved off something like 40,000 words and focused on what we thought was important. The quality of photographs they have been able to unearth, the little sidebar stories about Maori rugby league players and administrators, they’re all in the book. It’s not just about games played, but it’s about the history and commitment we’ve made as a people to the game,” Mr Tamati says.

He says everyone who has played for New Zealand Maori Rugby league over the 100 years is in the book.

Today's launch of a book celebrating 100 years of Maori Rugby League started with a short ceremony to remember one of its greatest stars.

Steve Watene captained the New Zealand team in 1936 and 37, the first Maori in that role, and later became MP for Eastern Maori, dying on the job in the Maori Affairs committee room in 1967.

About 50 guests, including former chairman Bob Tukiri and current chair Howie Tamati, were welcomed by the Minister for Maori Affairs into Matangirea, the Maori Affairs Room in Parliament, where karakia acknowledging the taonga was performed before everyone went over to the offices of Te Puni Kokiri for the official launch.

The book by John Coffey and Bernie Wood tells what was until now an untold story starting with the first Maori to tour Australia 100 years ago.

It chronicles the efforts of generations of Maori in the game, including the endorsement of the Kingitanga, when King Koroki declared rugby league the game for all Maori.

Tamati says the book allows young Maori players of today to acknowledge those who set the platform, and the book will be a taonga on the coffee tables of hundreds of whanau throughout the country.

TREATY DEADLINE WELL TIMED

A former treaty says the cut off for historical claims is right on time.
Maori had until September the first to lodge their claims from Crown breaches of the treaty up to 1992.

Sir Douglas Graham developed many of the settlement processes still used by the current government.

He says the fourth National government looked at the question of a deadline during its second term, and considered a 1996 cut off date.

“But at that stage we’d only been going in the settlement process for about five years, Maori had been waiting for 100, and it seemed to be a bit tough to me so we didn’t do it. But that was 10 years ago. It’s not 30 years since the tribunal started hearing the claims and receiving claims, and I think it’s probably appropriate it’s done now,” Sir Douglas says.

HIGH RISK OF HEART DISEASE FOUND IN WAIROA

Maori with high levels of physical activity are still at risk of heart disease.

Suzanne Pitama of Hauora Manawa says research in Wairoa last year found people living in the area were at risk of heart disease and strokes, despite their access to good food and open air..

“There’s no KFC or McDonalds or anything like that there and people are really active, so that’s raised a lot of other questions. It’s also raised some questions around rural services and what is available to Maori who do live rurally and are so far away from their central hospital and their DHB,” Ms Pitama says.

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