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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Raukawa wananga gets $50m payday

The country's oldest wananga is $50 million dollars richer after the government settled a decade-long claim for capital funding.

The ministers of Maori Affairs and tertiary education minister were at Te Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki yesterday to sign off on the deal.

Parekura Horomia says it puts the wananga on the same footing as other government funded tertiary institutions.

“When they started they didn’t have the resourcing or the consolidated funding that any new tertiary organisation gets so this was simply about comparability and they were paid that amount of money and it’s well deserved,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the wananga plays a key role in providing choice in education for Maori students.

OCTOBER ARRESTS A CHILL ON SOCIAL ACTIVISM

Veteran social activist and Green MP Sue Bradford says last year's so called terror raids have dampened political activism.

The former head of the Unemployed Workers Union says the impact of the October 15 police raids was felt way beyond those arrested.

She says the raids came as a shock to people working for social and political change.

“A year later I think there’s a reluctance to engage in activism as a result of the chilling effect of what happened that day, and that was always my worst fear, that when you have this kind of clamp down on democracy, a lot of people become ultra-cautious about political activism, and that’s a really sad thing,” Ms Bradford says.

The Tuhoe community in the Ruatoki Valley is holding a series of events to mark the anniversary, and the 18 people arrested will find out tomorrow whether they will be sent for trial on arms changes.

WARNING FOR CNI MAORI IN MILL CLOSURES

The closure of two of Carter Holt Harvey's Mills is being seen as a warning to Maori receiving assets under the central North Island forestry settlement.

Lawyer Willie Te Aho, an advisor to Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, says the tribes are upping their stake in the industry at a time of great stress.

He says the 300 plus redundancies at Putaruru and Mount Maunganui are probably the tip of the iceberg as the world economic slowdown hits the building sector.

“We in the CNI need to ensure that when we look at our future commercial developments, we have an eye for the future and can be more sustainable than the current operations,” Mr Te Aho says.

While much of the $230 million coming across in accumulated rentals will be needed to replant pre-1990 forests as they are milled, a research project funded by the Ministry of Economic Development is looking at the best use for the $200 million of land coming across.

MAKINO AND WAITAHA SIGN AGREEMENTS IN PRINCIPLE

Bay of Plenty iwi Ngati Makino and Waitaha have today signed agreements in principle settling their historic treaty claims.

Ngati Makino stretches from Maketu on the coast to lakes Rotoehu, Rotoma and Rotoiti, while Waitaha is based around the Te Puke area.

Annette Sykes, the lawyer for Ngati Makino, says the staged settlement negotiated with Crown facilitator Jim Bolger is worth about $20 million to her iwi, starting with a $1 million grant for the restoration of two key marae.

She says it includes a 40 percent stake in the Rotoehu forest, making it the largest shareholder alongside Ngati Awa and other iwi.

“That particular area is part of a process of confiscation which saw Ngati Makino’s lands completely dispossessed from them after the New Zealand Settlements Act confiscations and a vigorous crown purchasing regime so the forest returned in the tribal heartland off Ngati Makino’s territories is something the tribe has been working to for many years,” Ms Sykes says

The major issue to be negotiated for the final deed is a co-management regime for scenic reserves in the Ngati Makino rohe.

STUDENTS TOO DEBT STRAPPED TO PROTEST

One of the country's most well known former protesters is blaming debt for the lack of activism among students.

Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira and the Maori Party's Hauraki-Waikato candidate Angeline Greensill met Maori students at Waikato University yesterday.

He says the students still have a social conscience, but their main concern is the cost of study.

That creates pressures that weren't there when he was studying and protesting 30 years ago.

“You could address social issues, and if you missed a paper, come back the next year. Now because you’ve got an almighty loan hanging over your head, you tend to say ‘to hell with social issues, I’ve just got to get through so it doesn’t cost me too much,’ so our kids are forced into being robots rather than intelligent socially active young people,” Mr Harawira says.

STUDENTS HONOUR INFLUENCE OF BUCK NIN

One of Maoridom's most influential contemporary artists is being honoured in an exhibition opening tonight.

Kaikohe-born Buck Nin, who died in 1996, was the uri of Choung Nin, who was born in Canton, China, and Pare Hikanga Tatana of Raukawa and Toarangatiira descent.

His interest in art was sparked at Northland College by influential teachers Selwyn Wilson and Kataraina Mataira.

After further study at Ilam art school in Christchurch and in the United States, Nin returned to New Zealand in the 1970s and worked with Rongo Wetere to set up art education at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Curator Serene Tay says the exhibition at Mangere Arts Centre is of work by former students of the Mangere-based Buck Nin School of Fine Arts.

She says the paintings, sculpture, ceramics, photography and raranga should have an audience beyond south Auckland, and the collective hopes to eventually exhibit in Asia.

The Students of Buck Nin show runs until November 8.

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