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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Court blocks Tainui plan

December 17 Afternoon bulletins

Plans to restructure Waikato-Tainui have hit a speed bump.

The tribe has a 193-member parliament, Te Kauhanganui, and an 11-member board, Te Arataura, and manages $600 million dollars worth of assets on behalf of the iwi.

Te Arataura had hoped to streamline the management structure.

But the court granted an injunction sought by the chair of Te Kauhanganui, Tom Roa, and sent the executive back to the parliament for further discussion.
Hamilton High Court judge Paul Heath ruled in favour of Tom Roa, stating the restructuring should cease until it has gained the approval of Te Kauhanganui.

Since its inception the role of Te Arataura was to implement the affairs of Te Kauhanganui.

At a special resolution meeting in April, 86 percent of Te Kauhanganui members approved of the proposal to restructure.

However, the judge has ruled the current undertaking of Te Aratauira has overstepped its mandated authority.

He also wanted to make it clear the ruling was not a slur on any of the 11 executive members, as he believed they acted honestly in what they thought they were within their rights to do.


The Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples is looking at stepping up rehab programmes and strengthening Maori units as a means of attacking prison numbers.

In just released briefing papers Corrections has told the government urgent solutions are needed with community probation services already struggling, and the prison muster expected to balloon beyond capacity in the next 18 months.

Pita Sharples who is also associate Minister of Corrections says with Maori making up more than half of the prison population action is needed, and he will look at the existing Maori units and rehabilitations programmes.

Corrections says up to four more prisons will be needed in the next eight years and that it has concerns for public safety unless more prison staff can be found.


A Hamilton High Court judge has put a stop to plans to restructure Waikato Tainui and told those leading the charge for change to go back and talk to Te Kauhanganui parliament.

Tukoroirangi Morgan, who chairs the tribe’s executive board, says while he is disappointed by the judge's ruling he is happy to go back to the tribal parliament and re-present the case for streamlining the management structure.

“I'm absolutely confident
 that we will continue to get support for the restructuring, bearing in mind the structure we have is now 13 years old and arose out of the raupatu settlement over the land
,” Mr Morgan says.

He says the existing system is unwieldy and wasn't designed to deal with the complexities of handling 600 million dollars worth of assets... and having a say in the management of the Waikato river.


The Green party has reiterated its concern about government plans to give the police greater powers to take and save DNA samples claiming Maori will be particularly disadvantaged.

Maori affairs spokesperson Meteria Turei says they are strongly opposed to the compulsory taking of DNA at the time of arrest rather than conviction.

She says Maori are more likely to be arrested, and the police would end up with a vast store of DNA over which the public and Maori in particular would have no control.

Meteria Turei says as well as the fact that Maori will be most affected there are also tikanga issues which haven't been considered.

The taking and storing DNA samples has been highlighted with news that the police have made their first conviction using DNA from a family member.

Christchurch man Wayne Jarden admitted historic rape charges after police tracked him down using DNA from his brother raising concerns from civil liberties groups.


The number of non-Maori watching Maori Television is continuing to grow providing greater cross-cultural understanding.

Maori Television CEO Jim Mather who this week gave the incoming Ministers of Maori Affairs and Finance a briefing paper on where the station is going says more than two thirds of viewers are non-Maori.

“We are proud of that fact
 that we’re sharing our culture, our language and our heritage with all other New Zealanders and hold the view that ultimately to be successful we need to have an inclusive strategy, we need to be a very welcoming type of television organisation in terms of our programming being accessible to those who do not have strong reo Maori language skills,” Mr Mather says.


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