Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 06, 2009

Select committee hears Whakarewarewa fears

The chair of the Whakatohea Village Charitable Trust is welcoming the chance for tangata whenua groups rather than the Crown to sort out customary interests in the geothermal valley.

The Maori affairs select committee heard some heated submissions in Rotorua this week on the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill, with some Ngati Wahiao members calling for Tuhourangi to be excluded when the Crown returns the land.

Ngati Whakaue also has interests.

Willie Te Aho says the bill includes a process which gives all groups ample opportunity to put their case.

“The three step process is work kanohi ki te kanohi to see if you can get a result, if you can’t get a result bring in a mediator who you both trust and if you can’t find a way forward, appoint an independent panel to adjudicate. Every group puts their best foot forward and at the end of the day the adjudication panel as appointed by you will make a decision,” Mr Te Aho says.

He says resolving ownership of the land will help stabilise the tourism ventures in the valley, which are suffering from a reduction in visitor numbers.


Getting more young people working the whenua is high on the agenda at this weekend's for the national Maori vegetable growers' collective hui in Ruatoki.

Tahuri Whenua chair Nick Roskruge says the collective plans to expand its Spud in a Bucket project.

There are already 35 kohanga and kura kids and 3000 kids growing their own kai through the project.

He says too few rangatahi are looking at career opportunities in horticulture or agriculture.

“Whenever you go to anything that is agriculturally or horticulturally focused you look at the people and say ‘where’s the next generation?’ It tends to be the 50 and 60 year olds who are doing all that mahi and we’ve got to encourage anther generation or the next group of leaders to come through and we’ve got to get the message that this is a career option that’s also a good use of resources for the future,” Mr Roskruge says.


Auckland-based members of New Zealand’s largest tribe have reason to celebrate tomorrow, as they gather for the annual Ngapuhi Festival ki Tamaki Makaurau.

The day long festivities at the Trust stadium in Henderson culminate in a gala dinner.

Organiser Carlene Everitt from Manaaki Solutions says there are attracts to appeal to everyine from tamariki to kuia and koroua, including arts and crafts displays, kai stalls and entertainment, and wananga on Ngapuhi history.


Outspoken Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira says people who denigrate the haka could be in for a rude shock.

A promotional ad featuring Scottish jobseekers doing a haka has raised the ire of many hardline kapa haka stalwarts, and calls by other Maori not to be too precious about the incident.

Mr Harawira's parliamentary profile includes his leadership of He Taua, a group which in 1979 challenged the annual Auckland University engineers' haka party.

He says sometimes lines need to be drawn.

“I like the idea we can laugh at ourselves but I recall back in the day where the engineering students were bastardising our haka and abusing Pacific Island culture, doing the haka as part of the capping parade drunk and abusing everybody and we had to step in and sort them out. And we did. Ended up in court about it but I noticed after that nobody made any more bad Maori jokes or tried any more of that … up at the university,” Mr Harawira says.


Labour's Nanaia Mahuta says the Maori Party's credibility is on the line if it fails to get the Foreshore and Seabed Act repealed.

The government this week appointed a ministerial panel to review the law around customary interests in the coastal marine environment.

The Hauraki Waikato MP says while that fulfils a commitment in the Maori Party's confidence and supply agreement, the reality is National has no intention of scrapping the Act.

“National clearly at the time the bill was passed were not in favour of repeal. In fact they wanted all foreshore and seabed to be in Crown ownership. So the review panel is in a sense to appease the Maori Party but I don’t think it will appease their voters who clearly want to get rid of the Act,” Ms Mahuta says.

The Government has the votes now to repeal the Act, if it wanted to.


Ancient Maori sounds will merge with Aboriginal, Torres Strait Island and Papua New Guinean instruments at tomorrow night's Auckland Festival opening party in Queen Street.

Taonga puoro player Rewi Spraggon says the combination of unique sounds from each of the traditional cultures make for a unique musical experience.

He says the accompanying visuals are part of the celebration.

Sing Sing starts at 7.30, following on from Batucada Sound Machine and Kanak band Celenod from New Caledonia.


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