Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Taupo land trust eyes former land

A trustee for Maori land beside Lake Taupo says the actions of a group of occupiers will make no difference to a long-standing effort to get some council land returned.

The Taupo District Council this week evicted three adults and several children from a former rowing club headquarters.

The council says the land is a legal road, and the shed has been removed to give the public better access to the water.

Tom Walters, the deputy chair of the Paenoa Te Akau Trust, says the protesters were part of a group which has been occupying different land blocks around the lake, to the annoyance of the majority of landowners.
He says the issue can't be reduced to simple slogans.

“It wasn't confiscated. It was an agreement with the owners at the time and it’s something we’ve got to deal with. Hopefully we can get the land back but for the time being to the best of our knowledge Taupo District Council weren’t involved in any confiscation. It was an agreement with the previous trustees at that time I guess,” Mr Walters says.

The Paenoa Te Akau Trust is seeking a meeting with the council to discuss the future of the land.


Maori culture expert Timoti Karetu says standards are slipping in the national kapa haka championships.

Professor Karetu, who chairs Te Kohanga Reo National Trust chair, says the widespread use of borrowed melodies makes a mockery of efforts by iwi like Ngati Toa who are trying to protect Maori intellectual property rights.

He says Te Matatini organisers need bring the competition back to its original intention, which was to promote original compositions.

“For the first time in Matatini there were a lot of tunes which were obviously borrowed from tin pan alley. The rules of Matatini when I was chair was you could use one of those tunes for the entrance or the exit, but you couldn’t use iit for the main body of the performance. In other words, your action song had to be an original tune, and your poi had to be an original tune, but I noticed it wasn’t happening in this particular Matatini, so I don’t know how they judged that,” Professor Karetu says,

A spokesperson for Te Matatini says the organisation will enforce copyright procedures for the next festival in two year's time.


The death of another veteran of 28 Maori Battalion has brought a call for the old warriors' stories to be captured.

Patrick Tiaki Te Wheoro from Ngati Kahu, thought to be the last survivor of the 28th Maori Battalion from Tauranga Moana, was laid to rest at Wairoa Marae in Bethlehem last week. He was 88.

Former battalion association president Noel Raihania says the publication of Nga Tama Toa collection of oral histories from the Cowboys or the East Coast C Company, has encouraged other companies to following suit.
But he says it's too late for many.

“We've missed all the stories from those who went earlier. There’s only really the younger ones, and I’m the youngest at 82,” Mr Raihania says.

Many of the 50 or so surviving Maori Battalion veterans made it to last weekend's reunion in Whanganui, but Mr Raihania says a dozen members have died since last year's reunion.


Council of Trade Unions warns Maori are more likely to be targeted under the new 90 day work probation law.

The Act comes into force on Sunday allowing businesses with less than 20 staff to sack workers in the first three months without needing to offer a reason.

Helen Kelly says it's likely to have a bigger impact in low paying jobs, where Maori are over-represented.

The Government has argued Maori could benefit because the Act allows employers to take greater risks in hiring people, but Ms Kelly says it's more likely to encourage some disturbing practices.

“The real risk for Maori workers is that this will be applied to them than to other workers simply because there’s a presumption, an inherent racism I guess, that might shine through and you actually might find more Maori workers are offer a 90-day probation period than Pakeha workers,” Ms Kelly says.

She says the law encourages employers to treat people unfairly.


The Human Rights Commission wants the public to contribute to a report on New Zealand's human rights priorities.

Chief commissioner Rosslyn Noonan says under a new process, governments must make a 20 page report to the United Nations Human Rights Council - including commitments for what improvements they want to achieve over the next four years.

The Government has identified six priorities, including realising Maori potential and continuing the momentum of treaty settlements.

Ms Noonan says her commission would also like to see measurable improvements in economic, social and cultural wellbeing.

“We've specifically said we’d like to see the government develop a plan to tackle poverty, focusing on reducing poverty of children and young people so with targets, a timeline and clear indicators, particularly in relation to children and also Maori and Pacific people. Poverty undermines human rights across the board,” Ms Noonan says.

The public has until March the 17th to make submissions to the paper, which will be presented to the UN in May.


Hawkes Bay Maori are using steaks and sausages to promote an anti-violence message.

A $10,000 grant from line company Unison to Flaxmere's Te Aranga Marae has allowed the creation of Tunutunu, a mobile barbeque which will be used as a focus for community gatherings.

Hastings District councilor Henare O'Keefe says Tunutunu came out of community discussions after last year's "enough is enough" hikoi against gang violence in the region.

“The idea is we are going to take it around Flaxmere and the wider Hastings district midnight, 3am and we are going to engage with our rangatahi in their own back yard so to speak over a chop and a sausage and a bit of bread and tomato sauce in an attempt to stem the ever flowing tide of domestic violence,” Mr O'Keefe says.

Sponsorship of the project should be a valuable learning experience for Unison Networks, which has just lost a five year fight to build a wind farm in the Hawkes Bay against strong Maori objections.


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