Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 13, 2009

Maori presence needed through new city

Auckland’s urban Maori authorities have called for a comprehensive Maori presence throughout the new super city structure, including three seats on the council.

John Tamihere told Maori members of the select committee on Auckland governance that the Waitangi Tribunal has confirmed Maori affiliated to urban authorities like his Waipareira Trust have treaty rights similar to mana whenua iwi.

He says that extends to the right of democratic representation at the top table.

We believe that the new legislation must have a treaty clause in it, it must recognize Maori rights from the mayor’s office all the way through to the CEO’s office into the wards, and large, and down into the boards. If we’re percolated through the whole system, I think we will add huge value to the advancement of Auckland.

Maori members of the select committee on the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill have completed marae hearings and this week rejoin colleagues for hearings in Takapuna, Waitakere City and South Auckland.


Ngatu Whakaue plans to spruce up its historic Rotorua lakeside settlement of Ohinemutu.

Rotorua deputy mayor Trevor Maxwell, a long time resident, says the community met yesterday to discuss how the geothermal village can be enhanced to manage the thousands of tourists who visit each year, as well as improve things for those who live there.

He says many of the residents want a waharoa or gateway to mark the entry to the village.

He says thousands of tourists visit the village, and locals want to make the experience better for them.

Plans need to be finalized within the month.


An organiser of last weekend’s kaumatua kapa haka showcase at Te Papa says the composers of the classic waiata performed by the 16 groups would have been proud of how their songs were treated.

The groups, whose members are all over 55, packed out the Wellington museum, and whanau from around the world tuned in by webcast.

Ngahiwi Apanui says the groups performed in front of huge images of iconic composers like Tuini Ngawai, Kohine Ponika and Sir Apirana Ngata.


The chair of the Crown Forest Rental Trust says the successful conclusion of central North Island forestry claims makes this the best year yet in the trust's 20-year life.

The trust, which uses interest on forest rents to fund claim research and negotiations, sharply ramped up spending to cope with the pace set by former treaty negotiations minister Michael Cullen.

Its latest financial report shows 31 million dollars went on claimant costs, with more than $8 million dollars spent on iwi with a stake in the Crown's central North Island forests.

Sir Graham Latimer says the handing over of the forest land and more than $200 million in accumulated forest rent to central North Island iwi was a vindication for the trust, which has been criticised in the past for its spending.

“I think I did well. I had to make absolutely certain we didn’t lose sight of the direction we were going in, upwards and onwards, to make sure our people would catch the development mood that we had,” Sir Graham says.

Despite the 80 percent increase in claimant funding, the trust kept administration costs to $4 million.


The head of West Auckland’s Waipareira Trust says a new Auckland super city council must break from the dial-a-kaumatua model of Maori participation.

John Tamihere made a submission to the select committee on the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill on behalf of urban Maori authorities.

He says there must be representation at the top table, because it’s now clear Maori advisory committees don’t work.

The only things of any tangibility we’ve won for Maori out of that council in 20 years is a designated area of Waikumete Cemetery to act as part of a Maori urupa to bury our people in. Everything else has been cultural, customary, and all to the advantage of the dial a powhiri mob,” Mr Tamihere says.

The select committee will be in Takapuna, Waitakere City and South Auckland this week.


A veteran performer says the annual kaumatua kapa haka showcase at Te Papa in Wellington is going from strength to strength.

Sixteen groups of performers, all aged from 55 to almost 95, drew a capacity audience to the museum over the weekend.

Tama Huata, who chaired the organising committee as well as performing with the Ngati Kahungunu roopu, says while the old songs often borrowed their tunes from the hit parade of the day, the words composed in Maori carry sentiments that still resonate today.


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