Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, February 09, 2009

Quarterly iwi-cabinet meetings planned

Details of commitments given by the Government to Maori behind closed doors at the Iwi Leaders hui last week at Waitangi are starting to emerge.

Ngapuhi chairman Sonny Tau says iwi leaders were given an assurance the momentum of treaty settlements would not drop off.

"The National Party and the Maori party don’t see any letting up in the momentum that was created by Labour. They would like to accelerate that. There is a senior cabinet team chaired by the Prime Minister who will sit with Maori on a quarterly basis and deal with any issues arising so that is a significant commitment by the Government to this accord going forward,” Mr Tau says.

He says the Prime Minister's commitment to deal with iwi rather than having bureaucracy in the middle was welcomed.

HAVE LICENCE, WILL GOVERN

And in the aftermath of Waitangi Day the Prime Minister John Key has likened the Treaty document to a marriage licence which doesn't guarantee a loving, faithful, good marriage but it is a commitment to try to have a good relationship.

John Key says legal argument supports the view that the Maori language version of the treaty and not the English is the one which should be used, but he says we should move on from debating the wording.

“So to me, the absolute words of the treaty, we could have an endless debate about that, but we’re now at a point where I want everyone to succeed. I think we can easily acknowledge where the issues are. Some of them can be resolved more quickly than others. Things like the historical treaty claims, there’s a process for dealing with those. But the fundamental issue is how can we deliver a world class education to every young New Zealander, particularly those of Maori and Pacific Island ethnicity where we know the achievement rates aren’t as high yet,” Mr Key says.

By 2050 half of the children in New Zealand will be Maori and for the future of the country they need to succeed.

PUREORA WALKS WINS TONGARIRO CROSSING CONCESSION
Its considered one of the best one day walks in the world, and as of this month, you can hear the tales of Mount Tongariro's Maori history on a guided tour.

Pureora Walks has been granted a Department of Conservation concession to run tours for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Ngahuia Tahau, the director of Pureora Walks does the crossing at least three times a week as a tour guide, which she says keeps her fit and healthy.

“We tell the old Maori stories and the local stories when we walk over the crossing and we tell the geothermal stories as well. People love it. They like to be guided because then they know they are safe,” Ms Tahau says.

Her unique take on the tales of the maunga are courtesy of her Tuwharetoa tupuna.

LACK OF MONEY NO IMPEDIMENT TO SETTLEMENTS

The Government has been told not to let the economic crisis and a shortage of funds slow the treaty settlement process.

Ngapuhi chairman Sonny Tau says he gave this message directly to Prime Minister John Key and deputy Bill English at the Iwi Leaders hui at Waitangi.

“This is the best time to settle. Best time is when they got no money. I said to Bill English when he said we’ve got no money to settle, I’ve said that’s fine brother, we’ll take it on tick. Don’t ever let that be an impediment to the level of settlement that is rightfully iwi. They’ve been open to those discussions,” Mr Tau says.

He says the Prime Minister gave a commitment to Maori that the Treaty Settlement process will not slow under his government.

KEY BOUYED BY SUPPORT FROM PUBLIC FOR TREATY GROUND ACTION

And Prime Minister John Key says he has received an outpouring of support following the attack on him by a couple of renegade protestors at Waitangi.

John Key says he has been overwhelmed by the support which was highly evident when he attended Waitangi Day celebrations back in Auckland.

“I went out to Manukau City on Waitangi Day after I came back from Waitangi and it was amazing how many people came up to me and said how sorry they were that it happened. They actually felt a bit guilty which is not appropriate because it’s not their fault. If you put that to one side, what will we remember Waitangi Day 2009. No arrests, no protests, no trouble at Waitangi and celebration right across the country,” Mr Key says.

TORUISM FACING UP TO ECONOMIC CRISIS

The head of the New Zealand Maori Tourism Council says Maori tourism is not immune to the economic crisis.

John Barrett says while Maori operators have had a good summer so far, advanced bookings for the next season are down from last year.

However he says due to their unique offerings and cultural assets small Maori operators aren't doing as badly as some of the predictions.

“Some of those unique small tightly knit small and focused nature and culture experiences can’t be repeated anywhere else, so we think those offers are attractive whatever the economic climate’s like so we will always have a group of visitors prepared to spend the money and take the time to visit those operations, and many of them are Maori,” Mr Barrett says.

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