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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ngati Rangitihi fighting paper mill pollution

Ngati Rangitihi from the Eastern Bay of Plenty is fed up with continued pollution of the Tarawera River by pollution from the Tasman paper mill at Kawerau.

Spokesperson Tipene Marr says it will ask commissioners considering renewal of the plant's resource consent to impose strict conditions requiring owners Norske Skog and Carter Holt Harvey to cut solid waste discharges into the river to zero within 10 years.

Ngati Rangitihi also plans a Waitangi Tribunal seeking compensation of $50 million.

Mr Marr says that is a fraction of what whanau have lost over the past half century by being unable to gather watercress, eels and other kai from the awa, and no figure can be put on the cultural loss.

“We aren't able to go and teach our kids how to hinaki for tuna, stuff like that we could pass on to our kids because we have been deprived of our river. Culturally, the tikanga and kawa of the river, I would never even try to put a price on it. That is priceless,” Mr Marr says.

He says the claim is against the Crown, which invested in building the mill and passed special laws exempting it from pollution control.

STORMS EXPOSE SKELETONS AT RAWHITI

Heavy storms have left ancient bones scattered over a remote Northland beach.

Marara Te Tai Hook from Ngati Kuta's resource management unit says the koiwi on Elliott Beach on the eastern side of the Rawhiti peninsula came from a former pa, Te Pahi.

They have since been reburied in the hapu's urupa.

She says it was a sobering experience.

“We just stood in reverence while they were unearthing them. We felt sad and aroha because it could have been one of our tupuna. Our kaumatua did the proper karakia to protect the koiwi and further koiwi we might find and to protect us in the work that we were doing,” Mrs Hook says.

There are many ancient fortified pa sites in the area, and finds of koiwi are common.


ROCK ART SITES SPRUCED UP

Ancient rock art sites in north Otago are becoming more accessible, while remaining protected.

Transit New Zealand is making a car park and picnic area beside the Takiroa and Maerewhenua rock art sites near Duntroon.

The Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Trust and Te Runanga o Moeraki have also built infrastructure around the sites.

Curator Amanda Symon says there has been a drive to improve safety.

“Those sites are the most heavily visited rock art sites in New Zealand so it’s important the interpretation is good and the sites are well protected and managed,” she says.

Construction is expected to take ten weeks.

URGENCY NEEDED BEFORE TREATY SETTLEMENTS DEVALUED

Taranaki ki Poneke kaumatua Sir Paul Reeves is urging other iwi to complete their settlements as fast as they can.

The Port Nicholson Block Settlement was passed into law last month, 25 years after the claim for Wellington lands was first lodged and after five years of intense negotiations.
Sir Paul says the time it has taken has made him aware of the challenges other iwi face if they are to build a stable economic base for their people.

“We certainly hope this will encourage them because the more they delay the Less the settlement is worth in today’s terms,” Sir Paul says.

He says Taranaki Whanui is keen to build a strong post-settlement relationship with the Crown.

Meanwhile, nominations have closed for five seats on the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, with chairman Sir Ngatata Love facing some stiff competition if he is to retain his seat when votes are counted at the end of September.

SHEEPS MILK CAN NURTURE FARM’S BALANCE SHEET

A central North Island Maori trust says Maori can establish themselves as leaders in sheep milk production.

Waituhi Kuratau Trust is trying to establish an Australasian sheep dairying association to encourage growth in the fledgling industry.

Trustee Graeme Everton says production of ewe's milk would add another dimension to the large sheep operations run by many of the larger Maori incorporations.

“It can make a farm that is marginally profitable very profitable, so it has a chance to enhance income off the farm for a better return to beneficiaries. It also brings a lot of new skills, it is not dominated by anybody, so Maori have the opportunity to very much invest and shape it to the demands it has,” Mr Everton says.

Waituhi Kuratau Trust is building a factory to produce sheep's milk cheeses for the New Zealand market.

WEAVING IN SAFE HANDS DESPITE DEATH OF MASTER

A renowned weaver says Maori arts are in safe hands.

The death last of master weaver Diggeress Te Kanawa has led to an examination of her legacy in reviving traditional arts and training a new generation of weavers.

Fellow Ngati Maniapoto weaving expert Te Aue Davis says that generation has the skills to keep raranga skills alive.

She says many now weave to make a living, rather than for the marae, but they have a depth of knowledge and skill.

Te Aue Davis the fact there is now a commercial market for high quality weaving is a tribute to Diggeress Te Kanawa's mahi.

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