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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Precedent for PM’s role in treaty deals

A minister in the last National Government says the Prime Minister's indication he wants to play a role in treaty negotiations has solid precedent.

John Key told a hui of iwi leaders at Pukawa on Sunday he was considering moving the Office of Treaty Settlements into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

It's currently part of the Ministry of Justice.

Courts and associate Maori Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu, who was associate minister for treaty negotiations in 1998 and nine, says then-minister Doug Graham made effective use of senior colleagues during talks with Ngai Tahu and other claimants.

“He always had the availability of the Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, and also Bill Birch and sometimes in a set of negotiations, the two parties often get to sticking points, and often times you just need that klittle lever from outside that little circle to come along and give it a push along,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

Iwi leaders are keen to maintain the momentum of the treaty settlement process.


The producer of the programme that took out the sports media section of the Maori sports awards is crediting its focus on personalities for the win.

Te Kauhoe Wano from Toa TV says it's a lot of work to keep a primetime sports series fresh.

He says a lot depends on the reputations of the panelists and the contacts they are able to draw in.

“It really is the faces and that’s what the show is all about; Tawera Nikau, Jenny-May Coffin, Matua Parkinson and Oz, the Brofessionals, Wairangi Koopu and of course our exciting new sign up for next year, Reuben Wiki. When you’ve got names like that and people with profile in Maoridom like that and in fact New Zealand as a whole, you’re on to a pretty good thing,” Mr Wano says.


Meanwhile, the next generation of potential Maori sports stars is being invited to have their say about how the sector should be run.

Sport and Recreation New Zealand is holding a hui at the Matariki Community Centre in Manurewa to discuss what should be included in its strategy.

Karla Matua from Counties Manukau Sport says Maori make up a big proportion of the sports people in the region, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

She's cast a wide net to get input from as many groups as possible.


The police are being accused of driving a wedge between Maori and groups trying to bring about social and political change.

Metiria Turei, the Greens' Maori affairs spokesperson, says revelations that the police Special Investigation Group paid an informant to spy on a range of peace, environment and animal rights organisations indicates a gross abuse of democratic rights.

The Special Investigation Group was set up after 9-11 to focus on people smuggling, identity fraud, money laundering and other activities likely to be connected with international terrorism.

Ms Turei says the fact the police used it as a licence to monitor domestic dissent will discourage many young Maori from getting involved in social causes and political discussion, where their input is needed.

“The difficulty is for Maori activists, environmental activists, those working on social change, those who are dissenters and who are political in their views, will be led to really question the people around them and I think this is part of the point. The police are driving a wedge between those protest communities, those environmental communities and Maori communities right at the time we need to be most united,” Ms Turei says.

Ms Turei says reports of police surveillance will create a bad attitude towards police.


Former Labour Cabinet minister John Tamihere says iwi leaders may struggle to get widespead Maori support for their campaign for water rights.

Prime Minister John Key told the leaders at Pukawa on Saturday that Maori would be very important stakeholders in discussions on water which will be part of next year's review of the Resource Management Act.

Mr Tamihere, who lost his Tamaki Makaurau seat in part because of anger over Labour's passing of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, says water is unlikely to generate as much heat as the beaches.

“Every Maori and every non-Maori of New Zealand descent believed they had a stake in it somehow somewhere up and down the country. Water, while it’s got the same proprietary interest rights at stake, not everybody believes they have a personal entitlement. Foreshore and seabed, every New Zealander believes they have an entitlement,” Mr Tamihere says

He says if particular Maori groups can establish customary interests to specific water sources, National is likely to be more accepting of private property rights than a Labour Government.


Champion Maori axeman Jason Wynard sees taking the top Maori sports award as a victory for his sport.

The Murupara-raised 35-year old-with connections to Ngati Maniapoto and Ngapuhi took out the Alby Prior Memorial award at the annual awards in Rotorua.

He was one of 16 Maori who took to the stage as world champions in sports including waka ama, boogie boarding, shearing and wool handling.

He says wood chopping is a sport few people understand.

“People wonder whether it really is a sport, sort of like shearing falls into that bracket. It’s a sport that has come from work but it is a sport and there’s all; those intricacies of the top sports in wood chopping and it’s moments like this when you get recognition like with the Maori sport awards make you proud to be involved with the sport,” he says.

Wynyard has held more than 100 world titles, including seven this season in multiple categories.


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