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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kurahaupo charts own path in deal

Three top of the South Island iwi have decided against going into the forestry business as part of their treaty settlement.

Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust, which represents Ngati Apa, Rangitake and Ngati Kuia, yesterday signed an agreement in principle to settle grievances dating back to the Crown's acquisition of land in their rohe in 1856.

Ngati Toa Rangatira and the four iwi of Tainui Taranaki ki Te Tonga also signed agreements in principle for settlements totalling about $300 million.

Almost half of that represents the value of Crown forest license land in Te Tau Ihu, along with accumulated rents and carbon credits.

Negotiator Richard Bradley says Kurahaupo chose to let the other iwi split the forests, and took an extra $37 million in cash instead.

“The advice we got was that there were likely to be a number of difficulties arising from investment forestry and if there was an opportunity to cash that up, we should take it. We passed that offer up and we are looking at other significant Crown properties that might have more relevance to our people,” he says.

Mr Bradley says the arrangement means the Kurahaupo iwi won't be forced into trying to manage ongoing business relationships with its their former conquerors.


The Green's Maori spokesperson says the Government's Gang and Organised Crime Bill won't make communities safer.

Only the Greens and the Maori Party voted against the introduction of the bill, which makes gang membership an aggravating factor in sentencing, doubles the maximum penalty for participating in an organised criminal group and makes it easier for police to intercept gang communications and storm gang headquarters.

Metiria Turei says the bill fails to address underlying issues like education and poverty which contribute to Maori joining gangs.

"It sounds good because it sounds like you’re locking them away, but actually it’s not doing that at all. It’s just creating more space outside of jail and better criminal inside of jail. If we thought the bill would do something useful, we would have supported it but it is not because it is not dealing with those underlying causes,” Ms Turei says.

She says longer prison sentences do nothing to address reoffending


Rare Maori material is being made more available as part of the National Library's new National Digital Heritage Archive.

Chief executive Penny Carnaby says the $24 million project is world leading, and will ensure material will still be available in the decades and centuries to come.

She says Maori are showing considerable interest in the digitised version of the Maori Affairs department's Te Ao Hau magazine and the 100,000 pages of letters and documents held by the Alexander Turnbull Library from the collection of 19th century Native Affairs minister Donald McLean.

“And we've digitised them along with 60,000 images. Maori are searching this website and finding all sorts of things about land ownership, and sales as well as social history of Maori communities and inter-hapu politics so it is a complete treasure trove,” Ms Carnaby says.

The system can limit access to information which iwi or hapu want to keep private.


The negotiator for Ngati Toa says his tribe's $120 million settlement sets a new benchmark for claims.

The deal is part of a $300 million dollar wrap up of claims from the Top of the South Island and lower North Island involving eight iwi.

It relates to the divide and rule tactics used by the Crown in the 1850s to neutralise powerful Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha and buy up land in the region.

Matiu Rei says it has taken years to negotiate the agreements in principle signed at Parliament yesterday.

He says the tribes were looking for a fair outcome.

“Quite frankly I think prior to us, with the exception of Tainui and Ngai Tahu, the redress has been rather poor, and I think our one has rather lifted the lid a little bit and will be a benefit I think to subsequent tribes,” Mr Rei says.

Ngati Toa is also happy the settlement includes acknowledgement of its cultural interest in the haka Ka Mate, which was composed by Te Rauparaha.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says while there was a premium included to get a regional deal, the settlements should not upset relativities with other iwi.


The Council of Trade Unions runanga says the minimal increase in the minimum wage offer little hope for Maori workers.

CTU Maori vice president Sharon Clair says while every penny counts at that level, the slight lift to $12,50 an hour will do stop New Zealand being a low wage country.

She says Maori are over-represented at the lower levels of the economy, which has long term consequences.

“Low pay results in lower lifetime earnings and reduced economic security so the continuation of obstacles and barriers to buying homes rather than renting and all the other opportunities to participate well in society are limited for Maori worker on the minimum wage,” Ms Clair says.

Te Runanga o Nga Kaimahi Maori wants to see the minumum wage set at 66 percent of the average wage, or around $15 an hour.


Drug and alcohol treatment researchers say more specialised treatment is needed for young people.

The study of young people by Otago University's Christchurch National Addiction Centre found more than half of the young addicts interviewed had mental health problems and almost half had been in state care.

Lead investigator Ria Shroder says more than a third of the group were Maori.

She says the good news was the help many were getting from kaupapa Maori based services.

“Those services run on a shoestring and I think they do a sterling job. However to makes us realise we need to resource those services better so we can do more integrating iwi, hapu, whanau together so they can be support for young people,” Dr Shroder says.

She says treatment does not end after a course, and more resources are needed to support young people once they have left.


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