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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Graham looking for tolerance and realism in Tamaki

Former treaty negotiations minister Sir Douglas Graham wants Auckland iwi to be constructive about finding a way to settle Tamaki Makaurau claims.

An agreement in principle was signed two years ago with Ngati Whatua o Orakei, but put on hold after the Waitangi Tribunal reported the Office of Treaty Settlements had treated overlapping claimants in a cavalier fashion.

Now current minister Chris Finlayson has appointed his predecessor as a facilitator.

Sir Douglas says he will try to build on progress made so far.

“The Ngati Whatua settlement that was negotiated and then sort of came to grief because of the lack of consultation with others, or the lack of protection of others’ interests, needs to be brought to fruition, whether in its current form or in an amended for remains to be seen so the parties, if they hope to resolve this, will need to be prepared to be tolerant and cooperative and constructive and realistic,” Sir Douglas says.

His job is to get the parties to the table, rather than to be the Crown's negotiator.


Meanwhile, Ngati Porou claims negotiator Apirana Mahuika is crediting better communications with an upsurge in support for his runanga.

The East Coast iwi has upgraded its Te Haeata website to encourage registration.

Mr Mahuika says it has been inundated with enquiries from Natis living here and abroad keen to participate in the settlement process.

Ngati Porou is looking forward to working with former Labour Cabinet minister Paul Swain, who has been appointed lead Crown negotiator on the claim.


Maori are being told they can do more to prevent strokes.

A major international research programme has found stroke rates among Maori have increased by 20 percent over the past three decades, while the incidence among Pakeha has dropped 18 percent.

Valery Feigin from AUT University's national stroke research centre says the rate of Maori increase is similar to that recorded in developing countries.

He says many strokes are caused by environmental factors like smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise, and are therefore highly preventable.

“There is a lack of awareness among Maori in particular about risk factors for stroke, early warning signs, and even people who know about their elevated blood pressure often do not do enough to control their blood pressure, quit smoking for example,” Dr Feigin says.

The 28-country study showed Maori had more severe strokes than Pakeha and poorer rehabilitation outcomes.


The Attorney General hopes a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act will take some of the heat out of the issue.

Chris Finlayson yesterday appointed former Waitangi Tribunal chair Eddie Durie, academic Richard Boast and educationalist Hana O'Regan to review the state of the law on Maori customary interests to coastal marine areas and recommend any changes.

The Act was introduced by the previous Labour Government in response to a Court of Appeal finding that Ngati Apa could ask the Maori Land Court to determine its customary interests in the Marlborough Sounds.

That judgment threw open an area of law which had been thought to be settled by a 1963 case over ownership of Ninety Mile Beach.

Mr Finlayson says as a lawyer he was offended by the extreme statements used to justify the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“Ngati Apa if you read Justice Tipping’s judgment in particular, it was just a conventional application of this kind of law. There was nothing revolutionary in it at all. And to suggest that the judges were activist judges was just plain wrong. They were anything but activist. The Court of Appeal in 1963 was probably the activist one,” Mr Finlayson says.

The panel will report by the end of June.


The Families Commission is developing strategies for whanau to respond to the recession.

Commissioner Kim Workman says too often policy is made from a Pakeha perspective.

He says Maori needs tend to be overlooked in the process, so the commission is looking at ways to reach the most vulnerable families, especially Maori.

“Quite often we find that the standard approaches where you advocate for people to consult with budgeting advisors or do this or that is not an approach that Maori families generally take, so what is it we should be advocating and what should we be doing around the services that already exist for people when they are challenged with poverty,” Mr Workman says.


Hauraki members have overwhelmingly endorsed the Hauraki Maori Trust Board to hold the tribe's fisheries and aquaculture settlement assets.

The board held a postal vote after dissident board member David Taipari challenged the mandate in the Maori Land Court.

Board spokesperson John Linstead says 83 percent supported the board managing the $20 million dollars in fisheries quota and shares, and 72 percent beleived it should manage a similar value of aquaculture assets.
Mr Linstead says the row has delayed the iwi's progress.

“The resources have sat for too long in Te Ohu Kaimoana’s hands and they need to come back and put to work to develop an economic base on behalf of all the people of Hauraki,” Mr Linstead says.

The next step is to ask Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori fisheries settlement trust, to accept the board's mandate.


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