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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Treaty litigation suspended

The Crown and Maori litigants have stepped back from a Supreme Court challenge to a central North Island forestry settlement.

The Maori Council and the Federation of Maori Authorities sued over a plan to allow Te Arawa claimants to buy a large part of the Kaingaroa forest.

Federation spokesperson Paul Morgan says the case had been overtaken by events, with Nga Pumautanga o te Arawa putting aside its deal and joining other iwi in a region-wide forestry settlement.

That left a Court of Appeal judgment on the books which could have limited the rights of all Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi.

“Having concern for that, we had to push on and take the matter up to the Supreme Court. The court suggested to us the parties, Crown and Maori, work through a consent order, which on agreement is submitted for minuting in the court and essentially is appended to the Court of Appeal decision which makes a number of aspects of that decision obiter, which as I understand it legally essentially rules out the decision,” Mr Morgan says.

The wording of the consent order was agreed last Friday, so it should go to the Supreme Court in the next few days.

FARMING THREAT TO PA SITES

The chairman of a south Wairarapa hapu says farming and development is causing damaging an historic pa site.

Ngati Hinewaka has been working with the Historic Places Trust and Martingborough Coastal Developments to mitigate the effects of a 24-lot coastal subdivision at Tora.

Haami Te Whaiti says the problem is wider that one developer.
IN: We've had damage to pa sites, garden areas, exposing koiwi through earthworks over several years, generally from development and normal farming activities like building roads. Landowners don’t know they’ve got these sites on their farm,” Mr Te Whaiti says.

Ann Neill, the Historic Places Trust's central region manager, says the onus is on district councils and consent applicants to do thorough assessments of potential archaeological and heritage sites.

SEA CUCUMBERS COULD BE RAISED ON OPOTIKI SEA GARDEN

The Whakatohea Maori Trust Board is looking at non-traditional species for its planned seafarm off Opotiki.

The 3800 hectare farm gained its consents last week.

Chief executive Watene Horsefall says while the mainstay will be mussels, the joint venture with Chinese aquaculture giant Oriental Ocean has commissioned research on the sea cucumber.

It is also looking at finfish and other high value species to grow.

FOMA CASE SETTLEMENT SHOULD SMOOTH FUTURE FOREST SETTLEMENTS

The Federation of Maori Authorities is counting the end of its Supreme Court action as a significant win for Maori.

FOMA and the Maori Council challenged the Crown's attempt to bypass the rules covering the Crown Forestry Rental Trust to settle a Te Arawa Claim to the Kaingaroa Forest.

Deputy chair Paul Morgan says Te Arawa's decision to join other central North Island iwi in a region-wide forestry settlement meant the case was overtaken by events.

“It’s been a two year process, cost a lot of money. We’ve had a good outcome in terms of a turnaround in the treaty process in terms of the Government’s thinking and a practice approach by Michael Cullen and very positive on that. We think that’s a plus. Obviously the settlement of the Kaingaroa, which is a very significant asset to be resolved, but more importantly, it’s giving more certainty to other claimants all over New Zealand regarding Crown forest lands, that the officials in future governments won’t get up to inappropriate behaviour one might say,” Mr Morgan says

The parties will ask the Supreme Court to issue a consent order suspending the case, and setting aside the earlier High Court and Court of Appeal judgments which could have affected the treaty relationship between Maori and the Crown.

BISHOP A ROLE MODEL, NOT A ROTTER

Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki says Maori should aspire to his wealth.

The church is trying to shrug off charges of being a cult, as it seeks urban Maori authority status so it can access government funding for its social programmes.

Bishop Tamaki says rather than accuse him of living a lavish lifestyle, people should by asking why so many people live in squalor.

“I don't believe our people are destined to live on the bare bones of their backside in state housing, haven’t got enough to just pay bills but to look after the children properly. That should never be normalised as being an average existence, and if we raise the bar to where we have a reasonably good life, and that’s what all governments crow about, and lift the living standards, then where I’m living should be average,” Bishop Tamaki says.

He says he already gives away more than half his income, and intends to sell his bikes and car to put into the church's education and health programmes.

TAURANGA MOANA CELEBRATE IDENTITY

Tauranga Maori are setting aside their raupatu to celebrate themselves.

The Tauranga Moana - Tauranga Tangata festival starting today features a rangatahi play, 'Tauranga's Got Talent', a top town style inter-marae competition and a kapa haka contest.

Organiser Jack Thatcher says there's also a parade on Saturday, where the various marae will march with their flags.

He says it's about lifting up people's spirits.

“We were talking about what the raupatu was doing to our community, Everyone was in that grievance mode. What we wanted to do was have a festival that celebrated who we are as a people living here in Tauranga Moana - Tauranga Tangata, getting out of grievance mode and into celebration,” Mr Thatcher says.

A moko wananga and a taupatupatu debate will add to the fun.

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