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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Te Kotahi a Tuhoe pleased at court win

The Trust responsible for $66 million of treaty settlement assets due to be handed to Tuhoe next month is quietly pleased with a High Court decision rejecting an injunction by dissident hapu.

Te Kotahi a Tuhoe chairman Tamati Kruger says the court has opened the way for a Tuhoe based mediation process to address the concerns of Te Umutaoroa, which represents hapu behind 15 of Tuhoe’s 34 claims.

It sought an injunction because it disputes the trust's mandate to handle the forestry settlement assets.

“We’re quietly relieved relieved that is over and done so there is general relief we’ve gone through that very painful exercise and the judge has been able to give a timely response to the pleadings," Mr Kruger says.

Te Kotahi a Tuhoe gave High Court Judge Alan MacKenzie a commitment that it would enter a Tuhoe-based and Tuhoe-led mediation.


A thousand people who between them own four blocks of Maori land at Normanby in the Taranaki, have pooled their resources to jointly dairy farm the properties in a move being hailed as a novel way of managing Maori land.

Anne-Marie Broughton, land development consultant at the Maori Trust Office, who brought the parties together says it marks the beginning of a new era for land that had previously been leased to other farmers.

“This is a business for the whanau and as well as being a business opportunity there’s other opportunities associated with that; getting on the land again, learning abut the farming business, looking at other opportunities to improve the land, for example the waterways and soil and things like that,” Ms Broughton says.


Encouraging Maori men to return to Te Ao Maori will be one of the ways in which the National Maori Mens Health Hui will address its own theme, Ko Wai Au, who are you?

Whakapapa and history expert, Te Awanuiarangi Black who will speak at the hui in Blenium today says the disconnection many tane have from Te Ao Maori leads to more disconnection in their overall wellness.

Mr Black, from Ngati Pukenga, Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Raukawa, says in his experience when tane are strong in their own perception of mana tane, their lives can be transformed.

“Maori boys and men are coming back to te ao Maori through whatever portal that might be, it might be kapa haka, reo classes, learning how to whaikorero, it’s a great way of restoring a sense of self pride, mana, and all those other things. You can see the light flick on. It’s part of that mix or restoring that sense of hauora, of health, of vitality to Maori men,” Mr Black says.


After months of consultation Tourism Holdings has reached an agreement with local iwi, Te Ruapuha Uehaka Hapu, to operate the Waitomo Caves and build a new $12 million visitors centre.

Trust chairman, Peter Douglas, says in 1992 Tourism Holdings won the licence to operate for 16 years with a right of renewal for another 16 years.

After a fire destroyed the visitors’ centre in 2005, the company decided it wanted to rebuild the centre and negotiate an extension on its lease.

“What the company asked for is could they extend the lease from 16 years to a longer period Initially they asked for 32 years. We settled on a period of five additional years which satisfied them so they could satisfy their financiers and without us feeling we were precluding our ability to anticipate in running that business in years to come,” Mr Douglas says.

The new visitors centre will be completed early next year.


The Tuhoe Establishment Trust -Te Kotahi a Tuhoe - tasked with looking after $66 million from the $400 million Central North Island Treelord forestry settlement says it is ready and willing to enter mediation talks with dissident hapu.

Te Umutaoroa, which represents hapu behind 15 of the 34 claims, last week failed in a High Court bid to stop the Trust distributing settlement monies when they become available next month, says it wants meaningful mediation rather than seeking further court action.

Trust chairman Tamati Kruger says the Trust is prepared to try sorting out the dispute with mediation within Tuhoe as agreed to during the High Court hearing.

“The matter of a mediation comes back to the iwi. The two parties are Te Umutaoroa and Te Kotahi a Tuhoe. It’s within a Tuhoe framework of mediation. I think what’s hotly debated would be the timeliness of the urgency of that mediation
Mr Kruger says.

Mediation will not stop the money being handed to Tuhoe which will then have to work out among themselves how it is distributed.

Te Umutaoroa says Te Kotahi a Tuhoe doesn’t have a proper mandate, is unrepresentative and is putting tribal assets at risk.


The chief executive of the Women's Refuge says the referendum 09 is a step backwards and believes any change to the current law will create more harm than good for tamariki.

During 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?

Heather Henare says revisiting smacking as a part of good parenting opens the door to reasonable force when disciplining tamariki, an excuse used as defence by abusive parents under the old law.

Ms Henare says the current law of no smacking protects tamariki and believes it has been enforced with good results.

“What we want to see is the existing law remain. We believe the law has been put to good use to date, that there haven’t been any cases come to notice which would suggest otherwise, that the police are appropriately making arrests and putting charges where they believe the law has bee broken, and we are happy with the outcome to where it is now,” Ms Henare says.


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