Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Foreshore Act review advocates repeal

The Attorney General Chris Finlayson has taken delivery of a hard-hitting review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

A panel headed by former Waitangi Tribunal chairperson Eddie Durie slammed the law passed by the previous Labour government's after the Court of Appeal ruled Ngati Apa could ask the Maori Land Court to determine its customary interests in the Marlborough Sounds.

It recommended the Act be repealed and replaced with one which balance the customary rights of hapu and iwi in the coastal marine area with the rights of use and enjoyment held by the general public.

Mr Finlayson says the panel's comments on public access were excellent.

“There is almost tattooed into the brain of every New Zealander a belief in the importance of the beach culture in their lives, so I never really thought after Ngati Apa came out that public access was every going to be an issue but this makes it clear beyond doubt and that should reassure those New Zealanders who may be worried about public access questions,” Mr Finlayson says.

The panel also raised the need for a wider review of the laws on coastal management.


Central North Island forests were today put in the name of the region's iwi, ending an historic treaty claim process stretching over 20 years.

Roger Pikia, a Te Arawa negotiator, says the Treelords deal came together because of the willingness of former Treaty negotiations Minister Michael Cullen to negotiate on a rangatira to rangatira basis.

As well as the land, the iwi are getting $279 million in accumulated rental held by the Crown Forestry rental Trust, minus 10 percent being held back for a few smaller iwi groups which did not join the main settlement.

“That fund will be transferred today and then transferred out to the CNI iwi members. What the CNI iwi members will do from then, that’s the post-settlement governance entities, for those that have got corporate structures in place and strategic plans and business plans and so on, those things will evolve as we move forward,” Mr Pikia says.

As well as managing the forest, there could be opportunities such as energy generation where the iwi might want to work together on.


A Tauranga kura kaupapa Maori has won Education Ministry funding after nine years going it alone.

Te Kura Kokiri has left Tawhitinui Marae in Omokoroa, where it started in 2000 with seven children, and today moved its 88 pupils into a former primary school in Papamoa.

Principal Mark Nicholas says it could not get funding if it remained at the marae.

“The best place for our kids to be educated in on their marae among our kuia and koroua, their tikanga and their reo, but the ministry had extreme difficulty supporting that concept. Their idea was that to do so would mean putting government money into private establishments,” Mr Nicholas says.

Along with its registration, the kura is also celebrating 11 of its students gaining Bachelors of Matauranga Maori through Te Wananga O Raukawa while still at secondary school.


A former Maori Trustee says the Maori Trust Office needs to do more for Maori development and stand up for Maori people and institutions.

The office was today cut free from Te Puni Kokiri, and given extra funding to operate as a standalone organisation.

Neville Baker, who ran the office in the early 1990s, says as well as administering more than 100,000 hectares of Maori land, the Maori Trustee has a unique advocacy role.

“Today should be a celebration for Maori in particular because there now is an independent entity that has the ability to advocate and to work with the tribes and therefore the whole dynamic changes from the role when it was connected with Maori Affairs and more recently TPK,” Mr Baker says.

He says Maori Trustee John Paki should be talking to post-settlement iwi about how he can provide services and accelerate their development.


Ngati Whatua o Orakei today celebrated the 21st anniversary of the return of Bastion Point.

Hapu chair Grant Hawke says it was one of the first pieces of land returned to Maori as the result of a Waitangi Tribunal recommendation.

He says the battle for the Auckland coastal site inspired other Maori, and also helped Pakeha see New Zealand history in a different light.

He says it sets the precedent for other claims, and pointed to a new direction for setting grievances.

Mr Hawke says the challenge for Ngati Whatua now is to achieve a comprehensive Tamaki Makaurau settlement, working alongside other iwi in the region.


Whanau of the late Heni Materoa Sunderland gathered at Whakato Marae in Manutuke today for a special tribute to their kuia, who died a year ago aged 92.

Mrs Sunderland, who helped set up Gisborne-based iwi authority Te Runanga o Turanganui-a-Kiwa and the region's first Kohanga Reo, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato.

Louis Moeau from Rongowhakaata says his aunt was a formidable woman who combined a deep knowledge if the traditions and customs of Turanganui-a-Kiwa with a willingness to do what she saw as best for her region, including standing up on the mare to whaikorero.


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