Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

High Court tells Tuhoe go away and huihui

A dissident Tuhoe group is again calling for genuine mediation after the High Court refused to intervene in a dispute over management of the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi’s $66 million share of the Treelord forestry settlement.

Te Umutaoroa, which represents hapu behind 15 of the 34 claims, said Te Kotahi a Tuhoe, the body negotiating the claims, doesn’t have a proper mandate and the settlement trust it is setting up is unrepresentative and puts tribal assets at risk.

But Judge Alan MacKenzie said issuing an injunction would mean determining the facts of the case, when all he was allowed to look at was questions of law.

He said it appears that there are tikanga-based mechanisms within Tuhoe for the underlying issues to be resolved.

Te Umutaoroa spokesperson Hiraina Hona says the group has been pushing for genuine mediation for more than a year, but it has been ignored by Te Kotahi a Tuhoe and the Government.

“What we are looking for is genuine mediation. When we had mediation with Wira Gardiner, the idea from the Crown’s perspective and Te Kotahi A Tuhoe Trust was an ideal subjugation, that we just get back underneath there. There was the ideal of unification, we just go back underneath them so that was not genuine mediation to us,” Ms Hona says.

The group is also looking at appealing the decision but would prefer genuine mediation.


One of the members of the Ministry of Social Development's new Maori taskforce says she will be advocating a holistic and collective approach to dealing with Maori whanau.

The Whanau Ora Taskforce has been set up to find a better way for the government to deal with Maori service providers.

Nancy Tuaine of Te Atihaunui a Paparangi who is the manager of the Whanganui River Mäori Trust Board and a member of Whanganui DHB, says traditional Maori models for health and social services show the merits of working collectively.

“The current system, you’ve dealing with someone different if it’s a housing issue, whereas we go in to work with our whanau, we’re covering that whole range of spectrum, and our families, they don’t want to see seven different people, they just want someone who can work with them, support them with the whole range of things their whanau has to deal with,” Ms Tuaine says.

Other taskforce members include the chair, Massey University professor Mason Durie, Ngati Hine Health chief executive Rob Cooper, economist Suzanne Snively, Northland hauora head Di Grennell, and former Maori Women’s Welfare League president Linda Grennell.

The Taskforce will hold its first meeting next week.


The Waitomo Caves is finally getting its new visitors' centre after fire destroyed the original building over three years ago.

Grant Webster, the chief executive of caves owner Tourism Holdings says renegotiation of a lease with landowners Ruapuha Uekaha Hapu Trust and the Department of Conservation, as well as building consents had delayed the work.

However he says despite difficult financial times for tourism, there was never a question of rebuilding.

“We committed to the owners, so we’re pushing through. It’s not something that we would question whether we were doing it because we are taking a long term view and this is a long term partnership and our owners, especially the hapu trust, are clear with us in making sure we’re building something for our generation, but while I’m leader of THL, it’s for them, it’s for their generations to come
,” Mr Webster says.

Grant Webster says the environmentally friendly building will be shaped like a hinaki or eel net, follow the contours of the land and the Waitomo stream and include a restaurant, cafe, theatre and exhibition centre.

The $12 million structure is to be completed early next year.


Whanganui iwi are planning consultation hui this week before deciding whether to appeal to the Supreme Court over the amount of water Genesis Power draws from the rivers headwaters for the Tongariro Power scheme.

A judgment released last week dismissed their appeal against 35-year consents for diversion of the Whanganui river's headwaters, which, diverted into the Waikato River and flowing through 10 power stations, generates 5 per cent of New Zealand's electricity.

Trust board manager Nancy Tuaine says the iwi now have to to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court or go back to the Environment Court and agree on mitigation conditions with Genesis Energy.

“First we will be informing them, because it’s quite technical, how the judgment is laid out, so we need to put it into language we can all understand and think about the courses of action that are possible and then think about what is the best way forward for us as a people, given that it has been a long process,” Ms Tuaine says.

A split Court of Appeal judgment said the Environment Court was wrong to issue a 10 year resource consent, rather than the 35 year consent Genesis sought, on the basis the shortened term could give time for some "meeting of the minds" between the parties.


And the group representing hapu who have failed in their High Court bid to stop $66 million of Treelord forestry assets being distributed widely among Tuhoe say they are considering appealing that decision.

Te Umutaoroa spokesperson Hiraina Hona says the group which represents hapu behind 15 of the 34 claims would however prefer genuine negotiation among Tuhoe.

“We’re looking at appealing but ideally we already know we need to go back in front of the iwi, that Tuhoe need to take back control of this situation. We’ve been through all those processes and there was nothing forthcoming, because some of the issues are not just around Tuhoe tikanga. It’s really about the management and the leadership of the trust, which is a charitable trust, which is bound to Pakeha legislation,” Ms Hona says.

She says Te Kotahi a Tuhoe, the body negotiating the claims, doesn’t have a proper mandate and the settlement trust it is setting up is unrepresentative and puts tribal assets at risk.

High Court Judge Alan MacKenzie refused te Umutaoiroa's request for an injunction on the grounds that he could only rule on questions of law not the facts of the case.


The chief executive of the Women's Refuge says revisiting the anti smacking law with the referendum 09 calls into question the rights of tamariki in Aotearoa.

Heather Henare says the current law protects tamariki from assault in the same way as adults are protected.

She says any suggestion of re introducing smacking as part of good parenting, is in many ways saying tamariki are of lesser value than the rest of the community.

“We think that children are entitled to the same sort of protection adults are entitled to. We’re not entitled to go round in this country and beat up each other as adult. It’s against the law to do that. It’s common assault. So children should be treated no differently, from our perspective,” Ms Henare says.

Women's Refuge believes the current law is working well.

During the first three week's of August a postal referendum will be held asking the question - Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?


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