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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shelley Bay going back to Taranaki Whanui

Taranaki Whanui claimants will tomorrow take delivery of the former Shelly Bay air force base on the Mirimar Peninsula, which they have bought back as part of their settlement of the Port Nicholson claims.

Chairperson Ngatata Love says the ceremony will involve representatives from the air force, army and navy, all of whom have used the base over the years since it was taken as a mine laying base during the Russian scare of the 1880s.

He says the trust is still weighing up how it will use the land, which is the largest undeveloped block on the Wellington harbour.

“First of all we want to ensure that to the civilian population it’s always accessible because in earlier times the gates were closed on each end of that area so you couldn’t get round. It’s got great potential for tourism, for commercial activities and for housing, so we’re not rushing into anything at this stage,” Dr Love says.

Filmmaker Peter Jackson has used the base as a location for some of his productions, and that relationship is likely to continue.


New Zealand is gearing up for its first conference since being ousted from Parliament, with the future of its leader Winston Peters in the spotlight.
Former MP Ron Mark says he's unhappy the media is barred from this weekend's hui in Auckland, given the interest from the party's supporters.
He is still considering his own options, after 12 years in politics.

“I'm pretty confident I can still make a contribution to New Zealand if I decide not to stay in politics. I’m confident the things I can do are appreciated by other people,” Mr Mark says.

New Zealand First needs to take steps to stop internal disputes spilling out into the public.


Chief's captain Mils Muliaina is looking forward to seeing what the franchise's three new Maori players can contribute to this year's Super 14.

The Waikato-based squad lines up against defending champions Crusaders in Christchurch tonight in the first round of the competition.

The All Black fullback says the young trio have shown leadership qualities off the field, and he expects that to be reflected in their play onfield.

“You know Hika Elliott and Joe Savage and also James McGoogan are really good guys, they’re working hard,” Muliaina says.


As their neighbours move towards deeds of settlement, Wellington treaty claimants will this weekend move in to one of the first properties to come back under their deal.

Ngatata Love from the Port Nicholson Claims Trust says tomorrow's formal handover by defence forces of the former Shelley Bay base on the Mirimar Peninsula returns a and important former settlement and canoe landing to Taranaki Whanui.

He says it's fitting the land is handed over at the end of the week in which other iwi in the Cook Strait area signed agreements in principle worth $300 million.

“We're the same people, no question about that, so we all whakapapa in there. The top of the South Island was included in our original claim, but we stepped back because this other group was doing it separately. We’re just pleased these things are coming to a level of conclusion,” Professor Love says.

Shelley Bay is the largest undeveloped area on Wellington harbour, and the claimants are still working out the best uses for it.


A former minister of youth affairs says there is no quick fix to Maori educational underachievement.

Nanaia Mahuta says the release of the Education Ministry's annual report on Maori education, Nga Haeata Matauranga, highlights continuing concern over literacy.

She says schools which don't provide a supportive environment for their pupils need to be identified, and interventions applied such at the professional development programme for teachers, Te Kotahitangi.

“This is not a quick fix issue. It wasn’t for us and it won’t be for this government. It is one we should get some cross party support on and one of the things the report highlights is the work our government, the Labour government started, should continue to grow, certainly in mainstream,” Ms Mahuta says.

She'd like to see more scholarships encouraging talented Maori to switch careers and train as teachers.


Maori and recreational fishers are waiting for the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal on the way kahawai quota levels are set.

Trish Rea from the Hokianga Accord, which brings the two groups together, sat through yesterday's hearing in Wellington.

She says the non-commercial groups see it as a last chance to save the fishery for future generations.

“People cannot catch enough fish to feed their babies when they go down to the seam so our people go home empty handed because out fisheries are being mismanaged, whether that’s pressure from commercial or the Ministry of Fisheries not managing our fisheries properly,” Ms Rea says.

It could be some months before the court issues its judgment.


Tainui holds elections this weekend for the executive team responsible for managing its $700 million dollars in settlement assets.

Thirty candidates have put their names in the ring for the 10 positions.

They include current chair Tukoroirangi Morgan, former chair Kingi Porima, and retired investment banker and basketball coach Jeff Green ... who in a former incarnation as Tainui special projects manager led the tribe into a number of questionable investments which failed or were disposed of at fire sale prices at the start of this decade.


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