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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whangarei council sells disputed land

Northland iwi Ngati Hine are up in arms over the Whangarei District Council's $6.1 million sale of harbourside real estate to private interests while the land is part of a treaty claim still before the Waitangi Tribunal.

Spokeperson Mike Kake says the sale of the Kaituna Block on Whangarei Harbour is cheeky.

He says the block adjacent to other Maori land was confiscated under the equivalent of the Public Works Act and should be returned to Maori.

“The deal is done as far as local council is concerned but the deal is not done as far as tangata whenua are concerned, because our grievances are still to be heard. There are several hapu and several WAI claims around these whenua, so the deal might be done as far as the council is concerned but the tangata whenua are still waiting for the Waitangi Tribunal,” Mr Kake says.

A council spokesperson says appropriate legal advice was sought which clearly identified Kaituna Block as Council-owned land.

The land has been bought by two private companies, Culham Engineering and Norsand.


Research has found that non-indigenous species like barnacles, oyster and crabs are flourishing in marine reserves at the expense of native species like paua and kina.

However Danielle Fox whose research is based around Goat Island near the Leigh Marine Reserve north of Auckland, Tawharenui, Cathedral Cove off Coromandel and the northern Gisborne coastline says the invasive species are not likely to completely wipe out the natives.

“They are not in danger like they won’t necessarily get killed by those non-indigenous species, but I guess it’s all about compensation for those organisms when there’s not enough space,” she says.

Ms Fox received a Te Tipu Putaiao Fellowship from The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology towards her year long study.


The performances of last weekends Te Matatini national kapa haka festival have been put to paper as a record for generations to come.

Festival chairman Selwyn Parata says 11 groups agreed to put their waiata and haka into Nga Tatangi a Te Whare Karioi so that aspiring composers and those dedicated to te reo Maori and Maori performing arts have a lasting record.

He says the book will be a valuable reference.

“Back in 1936 at the opening of a meeting house in Taranaki, they put out souvenir booklet and the tribes that went to that opening and the songs and haka they sung there were all recorded, and we thought well, in 1936 they could do that so we would have a go doing it here in 2009,” Mr Parata says.

Nga Tatangi a Te Whare Karioi is available through Te Matatini office in Wellington.


Whangarei iwi Ngati Hine, are confident harbourside land sold by the council for $6.1 million dollars will one day be returned to Maori.

Ngati Hine spokesman, Mike Kake, says the sale of Kaituna Block was done inspite of pending claims before the Waitangi Tribunal or the grievances of local Maori.

Mr Kake says the Kaituna Block is next door to Maori freehold land.

“History tells you that if we are Maori freehold of one block, we are obviously Maori freehold of a lot of other land that was taken,” Mr Kake says.

He says the Kaituna Block on Whangarei Harbour was confiscated under the equivalent of the Public Works Act and should be returned to local Maori.

A council spokesperson says appropriate legal advice was sought on the transaction, which clearly identified Kaituna Block as Council-owned land.


Ko Hanga Reo national trust chair, Timoti Karetu, says the organisers of Te Matatini need to examine what the national kapa haka festival stand for, performance or te reo.

Timoti Karetu says while the standard of performance by the 36 competing roopu was excellent, the reo was disappointing.

“The language would still have to be correct because without the language there is no performance and what’s the point of performing to your heart’s content if the lyrics are incorrect, that are nonsensical, or that aren’t appropriate to the occasion.” Professor Karetu says.

He says the organising committee needs to be more specific about their judging system so roopu can match their composition and performance accordingly.

Tamaki makaurau roopu, Te Waka Huia won Te Matatini, Te Kapa Haka o Whangara mai Tawhiti came second and Te Whanau a Apanui third.


The near disappearance of one of Maoridom's most important plants has prompted a Kawerau researcher to delve into its workings and whereabouts in the hope of restoring its use.

The poroporo, a relative of the tomato, was used by Maori over 50 years ago to treat rheumatoid arthritis, skin disorders and as a hormonal contraceptive until land clearances, pests and urbanisation led to a decline of the species.

Graeme Weaver has spent a year locating the plant, and is now working on its genetics and connecting populations between different areas.

“Tangata whenua don’t use it any more. They use other plants they call poroporo which aren’t native and my concern was it might get lost or it might get snapped up under bio-prospecting so part of that cultural chapter is to try and reawaken that his is a native plant that had powerful rongoa in the old days and might be reconsidered to be used again,” Mr Weaver says.

Graeme Weavers was given a Te Tipu Putaiao fellowship to research the poroporo plant by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology as part of its drive to enhance Maori involvement in scientific study.


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