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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Flexibility emerging on settlement terms

A hui on treaty settlements has heard Maori claimants are benefiting from a more flexible approach to redress packages.

Kensington Swan senior associates Baden Vertongen from Ngati Raukawa ki te Tonga told the Lexis Nexis symposium in Wellington yesterday that over the past 18 months the Office of Treaty Settlements had become more ready to blur commercial and cultural redress, to the benefit of claimants.

He says by being more strategic about the sort of assets they buy, and being creative with terms and timing, iwi have been able to add to the value of their settlements without increasing the cost to the Crown.

Factors such as education, social service delivery and papakaianga housing are also being added to the mix.

“It's not just about the delivery of a cash asset back to iwi groups. It’s much more about iwi groups being creative about what they want to be delivering back to their people up front rather than having to think about that after they’ve got the cash in the bank and that gives you a lot more flexibility in the negotiation process because you can start targeting redress that achieves things without it having to come off your quantum figures,” Mr Vertongen says.


The head of Te Whakaruruhau says the recession may be pushing iwi broadcasters towards creating a shared news service.

Mike Kake from Radio Ngati Hine in Whangarei says the idea was raised at the Maori radio broadcasters' group's hui yesterday.

He says the number of reporting staff in rural areas is going down so many stories are not covered.

The solution could be an independent news service pooling resources from radio, print and television.

“I think it will come down to the fact we in Maori news or the whole Maori media are going to have some consolidation around news and writing the news an I don’t see why not,” Mr Kake says.


Hospices are urging more Maori to consider their services for end of life care.

Tina Parata, the Maori liaison for North Shore Hospice, says the quality of care and the time staff give patients has parallels with a whanau based approach.

She says Hospice wants to be a place whanau will feel comfortable using when a member has a terminal illness.

Ms Parata, who is from Te Atiawa ki Whakarongatai and Ngati Toa, says Hospice also offers valuable support for the whanau of patients.


A Victoria University professor says the university already has open entry for adult Maori, but it could be unfair to let in students straight out of school if they don't have the right grounding and support.

Speaking on the university's te Herenga Waka Marae this week, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples challenged Victoria to open its doors for Maori students at any age to offset the disproportionately low NCEA pass rates among Maori.

Ngatata Love, Victoria's Professor of Business Development, says while school results are not always a good indication of what a student is capable of, some preparation is needed for tertiary study.

“They do need a grounding and the best way to get that is through programmes which allow them to study and build up over a year say to get ready to go in and often you find if you do programmes that are NZQA to level five through the wananga for instance there will be credit points given. The pathways are there and I think we should encourage it,” Professor Love says.

Maori students may also need extra support or pastoral through to get them through.


A lawyer involved in treaty settlements says claimants are putting more focus up front on social outcomes - and getting better settlements as a result.

Baden Vertongen from Ngati Raukawa ki te Tonga told a Lexis Nexis symposium in Wellington yesterday that the Crown is being far more flexible about the sort of packages claimants are being offered.

He says claimants are looking at ways to add value outside to settlements without adding cost to the Crown.

“And also the blurring of the line between pure commercial and financial redress and cultural redress where there has been financial packages put together to achieve social outcomes, sot of education or social service delivery or provision for development of whare taonga or papakainga housing. The shopping list for the type of redress you can get now is much more extensive,” Mr Vertongen says.


There's shock around the motu at the sudden death of te reo expert Wiha te Raki Hawea Stephens from Ngati Awa and Tuhoe.

Mrs Stephens died yesterday of cancer at her home in Ngaruawahia. She was in her early 50s.

She taught for many years at pioneering Huntly immersion school Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga, and was a contributor to the Maori language dictionary and a lead translator on the Maori Google project.
More recently she was a language coach on Vincent Ward's film Rain of the children, which was co-produced by her husband Tainui Stephens.

She is being taken today to Te Ao Marae in Te Teko.

No reira haere hoki atu ki nga ihi ki nga wehi ki nga mana ki tu o te ara.


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