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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Te Tau Ihu price high but relative

The treaty negotiations minister says the high price tag on today's Te Tau Ihu settlement is justified by achieving a region-wide settlement.

Chris Finlayson this morning signed agreements in principle with three groups representing eight iwi at the top of the South Island and lower North Island.

Ngati Toa Rangatira, which has about 5000 members, is to get $75 million in cash and land, as well as half the Crown forest license land at the top of the South island worth $45 million.

The four iwi in the Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga group, which includes 6000 people, is to get $53 million in cash and land and the other half of the forest, while the 4000-strong Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust, which includes Ngati Apa, Ngati Kuia and Rangitane, gets $42 million from the Crown and another $37 million for giving up its interest in the forest.

Labour leader Phil Goff has warned the new Government not to let relativity between settlements get out of line, or iwi who settled early could feel aggrieved.

But Mr Finlayson says it's not a worry.

“I don't believe that we need get hung up on relatives. I think that admittedly there was a regional premium in here. It may be seen on one level to be well; above the lone but the importance of bringing the iwi together could not be overstated,” he says.

Mr Finlayson says the work done by former treaty minister Michael Cullen helped bring the claims to a rapid conclusion.

JUNE AIM FOR DEED OF SETTLEMENT

A negotiator for Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga says there is still a lot of work to be done before the final settlement deeds are signed.

Roma Hippolyte says there are many whanau claimants whose individual issues still need resolving.

He says the pace is hectic but a deal is achievable.

“This minister wants to do the deed of settlement by the end of June and that’s a very quick timeframe and we want tio make sure we don’t lose anything in that time. The biggest concern is we make sure we cover all out bases. Now if that takes six months, we are fine with that time, in fact the earlier the better,” Mr Hippolyte says.

BERLIN THEATRE BOOKED OUT FOR GRACE SHORT MOVIE

There's a sell-out crowd for this week's premiere of Wiremu Grace's short film Kehua at the Berlin Film Festival.

Mr Grace says the story, about a boy who returns to Aotearoa from Australia and discovers his gift for seeing spirits, has piqued the interest of the German audience.

“There is an interest over here in indigenous people’s stories because it’s coming from completely different kaupapa, a completely different angle than what they're used to,” Mr Grace says.

The Berlin festival also features two other New Zealand short films, Betty Banned Sweets and Aphrodite's Farm.

MINISTER UNHAPPY WITH INACCURATE AND NEGATIVE SPIN

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has come out fighting against media coverage suggesting the settlement with Toa Rangatira could lead to the iwi charging people who do the haka Ka Mate.

This morning's New Zealand Herald story on today's agreement in principle with the eight Top of the South Island tribes included a cartoon suggesting it would allow Ngati Toa to profit from the haka, written by its ancestor te Rauparaha.

Mr Finlayson says the settlement will acknowledge the significance of the haka to the Ngati Toa.

But it won't result in royalty payments or give the iwi a veto on the performance of Ka Mate.

“Before people put cartoons like ‘Kamate kamate dollar dollar’ in the paper and write articles about Maori taking over East Coast beaches they ought to check their facts, because they don’t serve the public when they write that sort of crap,” Mr Finlayson says.

He says Ngati Toa's haka at this morning's signing ceremony for the $171 million settlement made the All Blacks look like wusses.

TATOU TATOU PROGRAMME TO BOOST MAORI PASS RATES

Auckland University's Te Kupenga Hauora Maori has won a grant to improve the pass rates of Maori students.

Project leader Elana Curtis says the $125,000 from Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, will allow the schools to give greater support to students.

Dr Curtis says the new Tatou Tatou/Success for all protects investments already made in training, and helps the overall goal of increasing the Maori health workforce.

“We need more nurses. We need more pharmacists. We need more people in health management, health scientists, health researchers. It’s not just doctors. So now our programme has extended out to all those programmes, our faculty covers all those health professionals,” Dr Curtis says.

NGATI WHATUA PURSUES LIFE ABOARD WITH TEAM NZ

Ngati Whatua hopes a new partnership with Emirates Team New Zealand will lead to more Maori sailing, even to America's Cup level.

Chairperson Grant Hawke says he has long been concerned at the lack of Maori involved in yachting, despite the large number of rangatahi living around the Waitemata harbour.

It's an issue he discussed with the late Sir Peter Blake, and the challenge had now been taken up by team managing director Grant Dalton.

Mr Hawke says it's a great sport.

“You have friends for life and it goes across all barriers. I believe we can put a lot more into that relationship because of the way we interact with people and the way we powhiri and recognise other people as manuhiri, the respect we give them. We can add taha Maori to Emirates,” Mr Hawke says.

The programme could lead not just to sailing but to jobs in sailmaking and boatbuilding.

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