Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fix in for grievance flag

The search for a single Maori flag is actually a Maori Party plan to hijack Waitangi Day, according to Labour MP Shane Jones.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is heading a round of consultation hui, and says it's a clear choice between the flag adopted by a northern Confederation of chiefs in 1834 and the tino rangatiratanga flag designed in 1990 for a competition run by Mr Harawira's protest group Te Kawariki.

Mr Jones says the fix is in.

“The Maori Party are choosing the rangatiratanga flag which is actually the Maori Party flag and that’s a part of their strategy to claim Waitangi Day as a Maori Party flag. But what they’re overlooking is that flag is essentially a grievance flag and what they’re building into all our symbols and icons is a culture of grievance,” Mr Jones says.

He says while the Maori Party is fighting for political trinkets like the flag, it is secretly working with the National government on changes to the Holidays Act which will undermine the ability of Maori workers to celebrate Waitangi Day.


The head of Te Wananga o Aotearoa wants police to adopt more Maori values.

The wananga has started a new pre-training progamme aimed at increasing police recruits in the Counties Manukau region.

Bentham Ohia says taking on Maori values would benefit the area's high Maori population.

“Maori have innate values including manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, tautoko. Those values of reciprocity, of respect, of care, are I think vital elements that Maori can contribute to the New Zealand police force,” Mr Ohia says


Tanui's commercial arm is looking to boost the senior management team handling the tribe's half billion dollars in assets.

Tainui Group Holdings' chief executive Mike Pohio says two years ago the company was working from cash in the bank, but it now has a $150 million dollar debt facility to fund its developments, of which it has drawn down about $70 million.

It must also manage the compensation money due for the Waikato River claim, so it needs a treasury section headed by someone with high level banking experience who can deal with the banks on a daily basis.

“There's a degree of sophistication with that. We’re recognizing we don’t currently have that level of expertise within the group. We’re looking to draw that in. While we’ve taken an interim step to set up a treasury operation by outsourcing some of the transactional stuff, what we need is some of that high level managerial experience and expertise to support the decision making at the respective governance and management levels,” Mr Pohio says.

Tainui Group Holdings' financial results will be released next week, Mr Pohio is refusing to confirm early reports of a $15 million operating profit and balance sheet losses of up to $20 million through property revaluations.


The New Plymouth District Council is threatening to use the Public Works Act to take Maori land at Tongaporutu for access to an historic stock tunnel.

Te Horo Stock Tunnel is classified as a public road, but cliff erosion along the coast means the only way to get to it is over land belonging to the Gibbs whanau of Nga Hapu o Poutama.

Peter Handcock, the council's property assets manager, says the council wants to repair the 95 metre tunnel and incorporate it into the Whitecliffs Walkway.

He says the landowners have denied council vehicles the access they need to do the repairs.

“We would like to think there’s still room for negotiation. Unfortunately over the last seven to eight years we’ve had no success in coming to a negotiated settlement, so as a last resort we’re looking to use the Public Works Act but we will continue to still negotiate for the next three months,” Mr Handcock says.

The New Plymouth District Council will consider the compulsory acquisition at next month's full meeting.


Meanwhile, the landowner says the proper place to decide the issue is the Maori Land Court.

Russell Gibbs says the council, lines company vector and oil exploration company Maui Development all want access to the land.

He says all three had agreed to go through the court, but now the council seems to be seeking to gain some advantage.

Haumoana White from Nga Hapu o Poutama, which is supporting the Gibbs whanau, says it's another confiscation.

“The raupatu is still happening tody, The Crown uses its legislative powers for commercial advantage and Maori land is an easy target. The war is ongoing.
Mr White says.

He says the New Plymouth District Council only recognises Poutama when it suits.


Police officers are being taught karakia they can say at the site of fatal incidents.

Senior Sergeant Gordon Rongonui teaches the blessing ceremony in tikanga Maori classes at the Police College in Porirua.

He has also taught tikanga to Department of Labour staff, and plans to work with firefighters and ambulance staff.

He says the non-denominational karakia is printed in Maori and in English and helps to safeguard the dignity of the deceased and their whanau.

“Instead of me being called out, these little karakia cards we’ve made up fit into their notebooks. They just open the notebooks up and away they go. If there is kaumatua kuia there, or a clergy, give them that opportunity. But if whanau say can you do our karakia, hey, you’ve got it right there,” Mr Rongonui says.

Performing the blessing was a cultural act, open to any ethnic background or religious denomination.


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