Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hide keen on limited Maori input

ACT leader Rodney Hide says he's not opposed to Maori involvement in local government, but it shouldn't come through dedicated seats.

Mr Hide says he will resign as local government minister if National agrees to Maori seats on the Auckland super city council, because it runs counter to the principle of one person one vote.

But he says any council that wants to successfully manage natural resources needs to get alongside iwi and hapu in their area.

“I met with mana whenua in Auckland and they were telling me some very disturbing stories about how their special relationship with cultural assets has been ignored and I felt for that and I think it is important for mana whenua having a say. I don’t think the best way of doing that is having separate seats,” Mr Hide says.

He says Tamaki Makaurau MP Pita Sharples rejected his invitation that they work together on ways for mana whenua to feed their views into council.


But Ngati Whatua says Act leader Rodney Hide's to resign over Maori seats is childish.

Spokesperson Ngarimu Blair says the ACT leader seems to be harking back to another age when Maori were invisible in local government.

“In terms of Rodney throwing the toys out of the cot, I think it’s unfortunate that he would attempt to hold back the god nation-building activity that the National Government has undertaken in their short term in terms of developing a relationship with the Maori Party when they didn’t have to, the review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act,” Mr Blair says.

The Auckland iwi expects to hear from Prime Minister John Key when the government makes its decision on the Maori representation.


A leading Maori tourism operator wants to help other indigenous people tell their stories.

Mike Tamaki says Tamaki Heritage Experiences' new Global Storytellers project will use the Internet to find and share stories from round the world.

His company's ventures in Rotorua and Christchurch are built around the effective use of traditional stories, and it's a model which could help others.

“It's always been difficult in terms of indigenous experiences within the tourism industry worldwide because everybody does their own thing. We do our song and dance down here and they do the same thing in Australia and every other part of the world so what we’ve done is build the platform that’s very transportable. It sets a storytelling vehicle up all around the world for other people to tell their stories,” Mr Tamaki says.

The company has been talking to indigenous groups in Australia, Tahiti, Canada, the United States and Palestine about their cultural tourism experiences.


At Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, celebrations are under way marking the third anniversary of the coronation of King Tuheitia.

More than 1000 people packed the marae for the kawe mate, where those who have died during the previous 12 months are remembered.

The kawe mate is an opportunity to recall the achievements of the likes of Diggeress Te Kanawa of Maniapoto, Te Arawa kapa haka exponent Taini Morrison and Ngati Porou matriarch Hiria Parata.

The day also saw the arrival of MPs including deputy Prime Minister Bill English, Labour Leader Phil Goff and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

While Mr English made no mention of Rodney Hide and the Auckland super city Maori seats issue, Phil Goff drew loud applause when he said his party would give ample support to the government to see two Maori seats on that council.


Meanwhile, former Labour MP Dover Samuels is calling on Maori Party MPs to hand in their ministerial warrants if they fail to get Maori seats on the Auckland super city council.

Local government minister Rodney hide has threatened to resign if the Auckland governance select committee does recommend the seats.

Mr Samuels says Mr Hide has been consistent in his opposition, and the government knows he's not bluffing.

But he says it would be hypocritical for Maori Party MPs to remain in a government which refuses Maori representation in their communities.

“If they had any principles at all they would stand tall, they would be saying to John Key that is there is no representation for tangata whenua in the super city particularly Ngati Whatua and those associated iwi who have given so much to Tamaki Makaurau, to Auckland, then you have our resignation. That would have been a different story. It would have shown that somewhere, somehow Maori would have some hope within this government,” Mr Samuels says.


The Government is making $5 million available for Maori housing schemes through its Housing Innovation Fund.

The money comes on top of a new loan guarantee facility for people building on multiple owned Maori land.

Housing New Zealand spokesperson John Holyoake says the money will allow Maori groups to find new ways to house their people.

“They might use the money from us for different purposes, maybe for rental property or for infrastructure on their land, and then the families can go directly to the bank for the money they need to build their own house,” Mr Holyoake says.

Loans for individual houses will be capped at $350,000.


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