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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ngati Tama opt-out dangerous precedent

The chair of the Maori Affairs select committee says a clause allowing Ngati Tama to opt out of the Wellington treaty settlement should not set a precedent.

Legislation enacting the Port Nicholson Block Settlement is going through Parliament now, with the third reading expected next week.

It allows those members of Ngati Tama who do not consider their claims to be settled by the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust to opt out and begin a separate negotiation with the Crown.

Tau Henare says that stemmed from a promise made by former treaty negotiations minister Margaret Wilson in the early stages of the negotiations, and it has been a recipe for dissent.

“To my knowledge there are two or even three Ngati Tama organisations all scrambling to be recognized as the Ngati Tama group and what the last government created was the ability for some organisations to opt out, go it alone, and you’re just creating a rod for your own back if you do that,” Mr Henare says.

He says the Ngati Tama clause had to remain because the Crown can't be seen to renege on its commitments.


An Auckland kaumatua wants to see more resources for Maori wardens rather than more Maori police officers.

The police are trying to boost recruitment among Maori, contracting Te Wananga o Aotearoa to run pre-training programmes.

Matiu Tarawa says the Maori Wardens reflect the principles of tino rangatiratanga or self government, which Maori need to regain control of their own lives.

He says more Maori police will just enforce Pakeha law and philosophies.


The use of epidural pain relief in birthing is on the increase, but not for Maori.

Gaylene Lovell, a Maori midwife, says Maori women are less likely to use pain relief while in labour.

She says they appear to have less fear of birthing process.
“It's a perception out there Maori and Pacific women birth better whereas other ethnicities are not as confident in themselves in the whole childbirth process and they’re more likely to rely on western medicine so I think Maori and Pacific still have a hesitance about trusting in western medicine and are more confident in their own abilities,” Ms Lovell says.


A Northland Labour MP is accusing the Maori Party of undermining Waitangi Day while seeking to drape itself in the Maori flag.

Shane Jones says the consultation process on the flag to fly on the Auckland Harbour Bridge next February the 6th is an expensive farce, because the winner will be the tino rangatiratanga flag which has become a Maori Party symbol.

He says while that is going on in public, behind the scenes it is working with National on changes to the Holidays Act.

“They're actually delivering trinkets and they’re undermining the rights of Maori workers by working to secretly unravel the Holidays Act and a range of other labour regulations. You can’t have them both. You can’t have a flag that perpetuates the Mari Party but by buy into policies which undermine Maori people. I vote for Maori people every time. The Maori Party has apparently forgotten about them,” Mr Jones says.

He says the Maori Party risks eventual electoral annihilation if it fails to deliver more than symbolic gestures to Maori.


A south Auckland truancy officer says parenting classes may be needed to ensure whanau get their children to the school gate.

Bill Takerei has 95 schools in his catchment area.

He says truancy is a community problem which needs a smarter approach than current strategies, especially in dealing with Maori and Pacific Island communities where the bulk of truants come from.

Bill Takerei says the Manukau truancy service has established a free calling number for the public to report school age children on the streets.


Maori filmmakers are concerned a review of the Film Commission will ignore the needs of Maori.

The Government has asked Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, a past critic of the commission's funding policies, to examine its legislation, functions, powers and finances.

Pita Turei, the executive director of Nga Aho Whakaari, says Maori in film and television feel they are treated like charity cases, rather than as having a legitimate treaty right to a fair share of funding.

“There is no reference to the treaty in the act that established the film commission. There is no reference in any policy with the film commission to deliver parity to their treaty partner. Consequently you have the majority of films funded by the film commission on Maori subjects made by somebody from another culture,” Mr Turei says.

He says Peter Jackson needs to look at how Maori can tell their own stories.


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