Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 24, 2009

Iwi part of privatization strategy

A former Minster of Maori Affairs is warning iwi they could be used as pawns in the government's privatisation plans.

Parekura Horomia says post-settlement iwi are keen to invest in the development of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, hospitals and schools.
He says National is still looking for ways to sell off state assets, and selling them to Maori is seen in some quarters as a politically viable option.

He's concerned iwi may underestimate the risks involved.

“I don't want to put a dampener on Maori who have the capability to invest in infrastructure but I want to flag to them, everything ain’t cosy and rosy there. You’ve got to look at the SOE returns. Some do it, some don’t. And I wouldn’t want us to be the leverage so they are able to say these Maoris want to do it so let’s privatize everything else,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the government needs to put its cards on the table to the public can see the whole picture.

AUT TAKES MAORI DICTIONARY TO MOBILE PHONES

Auckland University of Technology's Te Upukare National Maori Language Institute is launching an application to put the Te Aka online Maori dictionary into iPhones and MP4 players.

Institute director Tania Ka'ai says the application will also users to text a word and get it back translated into te reo Maori.

They can also download podcasts of lessons from John Moorfield's Te Whanake Maori language series.

The iPhone application, which was created by the same company that digitised the Maori dictionary, is being launched in time for next week's Maori Language Week.

BIRTHDAY OF OLDEST SURVIVING SELWYN CHURCH MARKED

South Auckland's Anglicans are celebrating the country's oldest surviving Selwyn church, carved 150 years ago from the stones of Te Maunga o Mangere.

Ngati Mahuta rangatira Tamati Ngaporo donated most of the money and labour for St James Church in Mangere Bridge, which replaced an earlier raupo whare karakia.

Les Dixon, the priest in charge, says the Crown ordered Ngapora to leave Mangere the following year because of tension over the first Taranaki Land war, but the partnership between Maori and Pakeha cultures remains an important part of church life.

“There have been some strained relationships around the land acquisitions of that time but we would like to think that we have tried to overcome these here anyway and keep that historic link and certainly remember that the church wouldn’t have been here if not for the cooperation of both Maori and pakeha,” Reverend Dixon says.

Guests at tomorrow's anniversary will include bishops from the three tikanga of the Anglican church and descendants of the original church builders.

OVERSEAS INVESTMENT REGIME CHANGE NEW THREAT TO MAORI

A treaty lawyer says alarm bells should be ringing for Maori about proposed changes to the overseas investment regime.

Annette Sykes says Maori leaders are being softened up for a new wave of privatisation, with iwi chairs this week being briefed on the possible sale of parts of the Landcorp portfolion.

She says protections but in place as the result of Maori opposition to the corporatisation of state assets in the 1980s are under threat.

“We see this week the classification of what is a sensitive property being relaxed, the levels in which foreign investment can occur increased and the availability it seems of properties that may include Landcorp and other properties now coming on to the open market,” Ms Sykes says.

Rather than selling New Zealand's heritage to foreigners, the Government should look at the kind of New Zealandisation through Maori ownership represented by the Sealord fisheries and Treelord forestry settlements.

NGATI KAHUNGUNU FIGHTING SUBDIVISION ON STONE GARDENS

Iwi in south Wairarapa are fighting a residential subdivison on a waahi tapu which contains rare pre-European stone gardens.

Haami Te Whaiti from Kahungunu ki Wairarapa says the land at Waiwhero was formerly a fish factory.

He says the South Wairarapa District Council should have known about the land's importance to the iwi through the national archaeological database, but failed to tell the new owner it was unsuitable for intensive development.

“The council didn't investigate that and advise the landowner. They just let him go on his merry way and do a subdivision. His consultants who put the proposal together didn’t investigate it either and this is publically available information recorded by the New Zealand archaeological association,” Mr Te Whaiti says.

As well as being a former papakainga, the land was the site of a battle when the stream ran red with blood - hence the name Waiwhero.

LIBRARY MAKES TUKUTUKU PANELS TO MARK HISTORY

South Library in has this evening unveiled 32 tukutuku panels made by staff and users to mark 150 years of library services in Canterbury.

Carolyn Robertson, the manager of the Library Information services unit, says all 19 libraries in the region contributed.

That meant learning not only the weaving techniques but the design concepts needed to put stories of their own areas into the panels.

The 32 panels will be on display at South Library for a month before they are returned to the branches where they were crafted.

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