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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Durie heads foreshore review panel

Attorney General Chris Finlayson has asked a panel looking at the Foreshore and Seabed Act to take a back to basics approach.

Former High Court judge and Waitangi Tribunal chair Eddie Durie, barrister and academic Richard Boast and educationalist Hana O'Regan are to report by the end of June.

The review was a condition of the National Government's confidence and supply agreement with the Maori Party.

Mr Finlayson says he wants the panel to look at the law that applied before the 2003 Court of Appeal ruling that the Maori Land Court could hear an application by Ngati Apa for customary rights to coastal marine areas at the top of the South Island.

“What were the nature and extent of the mana whenua and public interests in the coastal marine area prior to it. Then you start with (the) Ngati Apa (judgment). Then the options to the Government when Ngati Apa was released, and whether the act actually does the job of providing for customary or aboriginal title and public interests in the coastal marine area,” Mr Finlayson says.

He will wait for the panel to report before he decides whether the Foreshore and Seabed Act needs changing.

HAURAKI GOES BACK TO BENEFICIARIES FOR RESTATED MANDATE

The Hauraki Maori Trust Board will be asking Te Ohu Kaimoana to free up $40 million in fisheries and aquaculture settlement assets after its mandate was confirmed by postal ballot.

Board member John Linstead says a minority faction on the board challenged the mandate in the Maori Land Court.

Rather than fight it there, the board went back beneficiaries.

“It's been overwhelming support from our iwi in terms of reaffirming the board’s mandate to get on with the process and there were two questions asked of our people and one was about 83 percent and the other was about 72 percent so the board’s really humbled by the support our people have given us,” Mr Linstead says.

Hauraki has missed out on commercial opportunities because it had to lease quota each year, and could not offer any guarantees to potential joint venture partners.

NO ROOM IN THE INN FOR BETHLEHEM WHAREKURA

Backers of a wharekura in the Tauranga suburb of Bethlehem will try to win over the project's opponents at a community meeting tonight.

Iria Whiu, the interim chair of Bethlehem Marae, says the proposed school has the backing of the Ministry of Education.

But some neighbours are claiming it will have a negative effect on house prices.

Ms Whiu says the kura is needed to service all of Tauranga Moana.

“It’s a kura a iwi. That’s what the kaupapa will be, and it is supported by the parents and runanga of Tauranga Moana,” Mrs Whiu says.

If it's approved the wharekura will be open next February.

SIR DOUGLAS GRAHAM BROUGHT IN TO KNOCK TAMAKI HEADS

Former treaty negotiations minister Sir Douglas Graham has been called in to restart the Tamaki-Makaurau claim settlement process.

The claims have been stalled since the Waitangi Tribunal issues a scathing report on a proposed settlement with Ngati Whatua o Orakei, saying the Office of Treaty Settlements had ignored the interests of other iwi with historical links to the Auckland region.

Sir Douglas says his role as a facilitator is to bring the various parties to the table, and he is definitely not the Crown's negotiator.

“It's not for me to try and advise on the wisdom of a settlement or anything like that or the quantum, but obviously there are those who have had competing interests in the blocks and there is obviously going to have to be some compromise or trade-off reached, otherwise the thing is going to get frozen,” Sir Douglas says

The resolution of central North Island claims shows that stalled claims can be salvaged if people are prepared to be flexible and show goodwill.

Treaty Negotiations minister Chris Finlayson has also moved on National's promise to the Maori Party to review the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

He has asked Former High Court judge and Waitangi Tribunal chair Eddie Durie, academic Richard Boast and educationalist Hana O'Regan to report on whether the Act should be changed to better protect Maori interests in the takutai moana.

STROKE GAP GROWING AT ALARMING RATE

The number of Maori suffering strokes is growing at an alarming rate.

A study by AUT University's National Research Centre for Stroke, Applied Neurosciences and Neuro-rehabilitation has found a 20 percent increase over the past 30 years.

Director Valery Feigin says the increase is similar to trends in developing countries.

In contrast, the rates of strokes among Pakeha New Zealanders has decreased 18 percent over the same period.

“The gap between Maori and Pakeha is getting wider and wider. In a sense it is a social disease. My hope is that something will be done at the government level. We just cannot wait any longer,” Dr Feigin says.

The figures came from the largest study to date, looking at the incidence and outcomes of stroke in 28 countries over four decades.

FORESHORE PROTESTS INSPIRATION FOR 1981 WORK

Playwright Albert Belz is crediting 2004's Foreshore and Seabed hikoi says the inspiration for his latest work.

Mr Belz, from Ngapuhi, Ngati Porou and Ngati Pokai, says the hikoi reminded him of the 1981 Springbok Tour protests.

Te Karakia, his fifth play, features a love affair between a policeman and a Maori girl against the backdrop of the tour.

The Auckland Festival season of Albert Belz's Te Karakia opens tomorrow.

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