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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Old soldiers miss out on pensions

A Maori battalion veteran believes many war veterans are not applying for benefits and pensions they are entitled to because they are embarrassed to do so.

Tini Glover - who is chairman of Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust, an entity made up of Maori Battalion C Company veterans and relatives says he is not surprised by the estimate by an RSA advisor that as many as 15,000 of those who served in wars and emergencies are missing out.

Tini Glover says Maori are particularly prone to embarrassment.

“It’s a bit better now but some of the old chaps are embarrassed to ask for money. Some of them say ‘I’ll be able to manage with out that’ and they don’t apply for it,” Mr Glover says.

He knows of one Maori Battalion veteran who is 100 years old who had has never received anything.

War veterans could be entitled to a war disablement pension of up $182 a week on top of their New Zealand super depending on their level of disability.

SUPREME COURT APPEAL ON NELSON ESTUARY CASE

Maori are planning to take an Appeal Court decision they do not own Nelson's Wakapuaka estuary to the Supreme Court.

Huria Matenga Trust member John Mitchell says the trust is applying to appeal the Court of Appeal's judgment last December which ruled against Maori ownership of the area but at the same time did not vest ownership in the crown either.

“We believe it is a raft of totally unsatisfactory circumstances about this whole business and we want to continue to have it examined,” Dr Mitchell says

The Appeal Court's decision was not unanimous which increases their confidence in taking the Appeal Court decision to a higher authority.

TOKM SEEKING NEW SCHOLARS FOR JAPANESE TRAINING

The Maori fishing industry has some fresh Japanese influence in its ranks, with the return of two Te Ohu Kaimoana scholars.

Hohepa Rauputu, and Ronni Symon have spent 12 months in Japan as part of the company's Global Fisheries Training Programme.

Mr Rauputu, although based in Tokyo, spent time traveling the country's ports and aquaculture sites learning about how the Japanese run their fishing industry.

His trip exposed him to the vast scale of the Japanese industry.

“Their scale is lie 100 times bigger than anything we have in New Zealand and so it’s not so much in terms of what we can copy from them but just the exposure. We go over and get to see the massive world of fisheries from a Japanese perspective which is a much larger perspective that an lot of Kiwis have. Our fish get exported and we don’t do a lot with our fish in terms of making products, and the Japanese are just so much more advanced,” Mr Rauputu says.

He is now working for an Aotearoa Fisheries’ subsidiary in Auckland.

COUNCIL ACCUSED OF RACIALLY MOTIVATED NEGLECT OF PA

The chairman of Ngati Kahungunu believes that if the community of Bridge Pa in the Hawkes Bay was not a Maori one the water supply problems which have plagued it for the past 20 years and are doing so again this summer, would have been fixed long ago.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says the Hawke's Bay Regional council's neglect means that members of the 70-household community on the outskirts of Hastings are having to bucket water and use long drops while neighbouring horticultural blocks are drawing off all the water.

“If it was a Pakeha community they’d have a new well drilled straight away. It’s about access to capital too. Because the community is basically in the low decile group they haven’t got access to capital. When the council says ‘If you only bore a well costing $10,000 to $15, all your problems will be solved. Not one of those houses can afford $10, let alone $15,000,” Mr Tomoana says.

Ngati Kahungunu is looking at the possibility of a claim to the Waitangi tribunal.

DEPARTMENTAL ATTITUDE PUTTING OFF VETERANS

A Maori battalion veteran believes that Maori will be highly represented among war veterans not getting the war pensions they are entitled to.

Tini Glover who is chairman of Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust, an entity made up of Maori Battalion C Company veterans and relatives, says he is not suprised by estimates that as many as 15,000 who served in wars could be missing out on war pensions.

“You know what annoys me so much. Every two years it comes up for review. Damn it all, you decline more than you get and I said if you don’t apply for your pension or reapply for it we’ll dock it. They’ve got that attitude. I suppose they think we’re like those young people, wanting to put it across them, and I think is it worth bloody well going and getting a pension, but what am I going to live on?” Mr Glover says.

Depending on their level of disability war veterans could be entitled to $182 a week on top of their super.

ARCHAEOLOGISTS BUILDING UP PICTURE OF NGAMOTU VILLAGE

The discovery of artifacts from a pre-European Maori village on the New Plymouth foreshore at Ngamotu Beach is helping towards greater understanding of what went on in earlier times in the wider area.

Archeologist Ivan Bruce who was called in during the construction of an office block on the site says what remains is a small remnant of a much larger pa site.

“I think what tends to happen is we only get a small part of the site is recovered so when we work on one site we dion’t get an idea of what the entire site looked like but over the past five or six years we’ve worked on a number of sites in Taranaki so we’re building up a jigsaw of what these sites do look like,” Mr Bruce says.

The most remarkable thing about the Taranaki is its strong concentration of Maori Pa sites showing the area was heavily populated in pre-european times.

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