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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuhoe to get settlement offer

Tuhoe iwi representatives will be in Wellington today to receive an offer of compensation from the government.

Earlier this year the Waitangi Tribunal found that Tuhoe had suffered confiscations and humiliation which needed to be compensated.

The government's first offer is expected to be at the lower end of a band between $150 million and $170 million.

Te Kotahi a Tuhoe chairman Tamati Kruger says the representaives will then take the offer back to the people at a series of hui tonight and tomorrow around the tribal area .

“We have said to the Crown there are three matters to be considered. One is the return of Te Urewera lands. Two is to consider a programme of simple autonomy for Tuhoe and third a fair financial settlement,” Mr Kruger says.

The tribe will know by Wednesday whether the offer is considered appropriate.

INDEPENDENCE VITAL IN SETTLEMENT

Tuhoe activist Tame Iti is stressing the importance of independence and autonomy for Tuhoe in any settlement deal.

He says this was behind the blockade yesterday of the road between Te Teko and Murapara by Tuhoe members who wrongly believed the tribal leaders were about sign a deal with the government rather than bring the offer back for consultation.

“The Crown used to believe we are in cuckoo land to even think abut sovereignty, mana motuhake o Tuhoe or self government. Today that matter is on the table. It’s agreed on by the two parties to allow two people that was in conflict to set aside and work towards an ideal utopia society,” Mr Iti says.

He says the ordinary citizen of New Zealand should be proud of the fact that there is understanding and not just lip-service by two civilised people, Tuhoe and the white people sitting down and discussing this matter and not throwing spears at one another.

KINDERGARTENS COULD CHANGE TO MEET MAORI COMMUNITIES

The New Zealand Kindergarten association says it will rise to the challenge of committing itself to its Maori members' education.

Chief executive Clare Wells says after Kohanga Reo, kindergartens have the highest percentage of Maori children and whanau enrolled, so have a clear responsibility to ensure their curriculum and services reflect that.

“In areas where there is a high Maori population there are often insufficient services, Making sure there are services so people can have the access is one of the big issues we confront,” she says.

The Central Otago Kindergarten Association hosted the annual Kindergarten conference in Queenstown over the weekend feature workshops on Maori education, gifted children, obesity in children and effective use of information technology.

HAPU CHALLENGE MANAGEMENT OF SETTLEMENT FUNDS

Disaffected Tuhoe hapu still seeking their day in court to challenge the way their iwi’s share of the $66 million from the Central North Island forestry settlement is to be managed.

In June the High Court refused to hear the case lodged by Te Umutaoroa, instead instructing the parties to sort out the matter among themselves.

The hapu are mainly those with claims to land around Te Teko and Murupara suitable for dairy farming.

Tamati Kruger from Te Kotahi a Tuhoe says the Tuhoe Establishement Trust held an initial meeting with the hapu to scope out issues for mediation.

“I thought we were off to a good start. Then unfortunately a few days later I received notification from their legal counsel that they were taking proceedings to the Court of Appeal which effectively parked the mediation talks to the side,” Mr Kruger says.

The $66 million settlement as part of the Central North Island forestry deal is separate from the expected $150 - $170 million offer being put to Tuhoe today by the Crown as compensation for land confiscated last century.

SETTLEMENT OFFER BEING MADE TO TUHOE

Activist Tame Iti is among Tuhoe leaders traveling to Wellington today to hear the Crown's offer before taking it back to their people at hui tonight and tomorrow.

He says not very long ago the Crown used to think Tuhoe were in cockoo land to think of sovereignty and self-governance but today that matter is on the table alongside financial compensation.

“The ordinary New Zealand citizen should be proud of the fact we have reached some understanding, not just lip service, because people need to know we are the sovereign people of this country, that we are now sitting down, we are not throwing spears at each other. We are civilized white people and civilised people like myself are sitting down and having a chat about what it’s going to look like,” Mr Iti says.

Today's offer is just the first step and is unlikely to be the Crown's best offer.


HEALTH STATS NOT TOO BAD SAYS CHRISP BUT ACTION NEEDED

Maori in the South Island are slightly better off healthwise than Maori nationally, despite a recent report showing primary care was failing the regions Maori population.

David Chrisp, Regional General Manager of Planning and Funding says a review of the Southland District Health Board Maori health strategy this year showed the primary healthcare sector in Southland was not meeting the needs of its 12,000 Maori residents.

“Maori in the Southland are actually slightly ahead of Maori nationally in terms of health status. They’re still well short of Southland non-Maori, nut over a number of indicators they are actually slightly better than for Maori across all of New Zealand. That was a surprise to us, but it does not negate the need to do some pretty serious work here,” Mr Chrisp says.

The DHB is working on developing an action plan to address the recommendations.

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