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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, September 11, 2009

Iwi forum seeks consensus on water talks

Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan wants all iwi singing from the same songsheet on water ownership, management and allocation.

An iwi water forum is holding regional hui to get feedback for its next round of discussions with the crown.

Mr Morgan says water allocation is handled at local government level, which means that too often Maori interests miss out to the demands from power generators and farmers.

“The crown says no one owns the water. It’s not in any law but managers of the water. We have said from the outset we own the water and we never surrendered our rights or interests,” Mr Morgan says.

He says while the Iwi Forum hasn't sought a mandate from Maori to negotiate from the Crown, it is working principles which are widely accepted by iwi around the country.


Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia expects a positive response to new Maori health innovation fund.

Te Ao Auahatanga Hauora Maori fund will put $20 million over four years into projects which identify, grow, and share new ways of delivering healthcare.

Mrs Turia says while it's not a lot of money, it gives Maori providers the chance they have been asking for to do things differently.

“As we move towards this whole whanau ora practice it will give providers a chance to have a part of their business doing what they think will be important for keeping their family well,” Mrs Turia says.

Tariana Turia says the fund will compliment the government's efforts to move whanau ora, seeing Maori health delivery in terms of the total wellbeing and development of families.


Te Runanga O Ngati Porou has signed with Maori database administrator Tuhono to help manage its beneficiary roll.

The East Coast iwi has 28,000 registered members, but any mail-out will get as many as 10 percent of returns to sender.

Tuhono works with the Electoral Enrolment Centre to collection the tribal affiliations of Maori voters and make that available to mandated iwi organisations.

Chief executive Dan Te Kanawa says Tuhono's technology will allow Ngati Porou to keep its roll up to date.

“They're drawing on capabilities in government agencies for updating like the electoral Enrolment Centre, New Zealand Post, Births, Deaths and Marriages and the links that are provided through Tuhono so it’s a whole lot of organisations that commit to networking with one anther to achieve the outcomes on their end,” Mr Te Kanawa says.

He expects other iwi to follow Ngati Porou's lead once they see the benefits of aligning with Tuhono.


Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta says the Maori Party could have won changes in the streamlined Resource Management Act if it had worked with the Government before the bill was tabled, rather than trying to amend it at the committee stage.

The Maori Party voted against the bill because it could not get the beefed up treaty provisions it was seeking which would have required councils consult with tangata whenua before approving developments likely to affect them

Ms Mahuta says the Maori Party should learn to play its cards better during the next phase of the RMA reform process.

“The substantial changes to the RMA are going to be in part 2. We’ve said to the Maori Party, negotiate now at the front end so we can get stronger protections around the interests of Maori in particular when it comes to the RMA rather than them coming into the house and trying to cobble together support from the Opposition parties to get their ideas through,” Ms Mahuta says.


The developer of an innovative teacher development programme says there are no excuses for not getting Maori students engaged in learning.

Russell Bishop from Waikato University will speak today at a Council for Education Research conference in Auckland on engaging Maori and other students in learning.

He says Te Kotahitanga, which is now used in 30 schools, allows teacher to show Maori students they care for them.

“I mean all teachers care for their students. It’s just often Maori students can’t see it because of the cultural differences, so we support teachers to demonstrate how they do care for Maori students. The next thing that teachers need to demonstrate is they have high expectations of Maori students. The vast majority have high expectations. Again, it’s just because of cultural differences Maori students quite often don’t see that,” Professor Bishop says.

He says teachers need to observe the performance of their Maori students so they can change things that aren't working in the classroom.


Upper Whanganui River iwi Ngati Rangi has signed on to the Government's Community Max scheme to give its unemployed rangatahi work experience.

Project manager Debbie Te Riaki says eight young people started this week building a vegetable garden to supply Ohakune's Maungarongo Marae.

Over the next six months they will do a range of jobs at the region's 10 marae, including carving restoration, painting and gardening,

She says there are limited job opportunities in the region, so it's important to show the rangatahi how they can use their tribal networks.

“We really want them to be connected with their rohe, understand their tribal area, understand their connections to it and the opportunities that lie within there with their local runanga. If they are connected with us as the runanga, what opportunities have we got planned for the next five years, just giving them a full scope of what resources are actually around them as tangata whenua of Ngati Rangi,” Ms Te Riaki says.

Community Max requires the iwi to partly fund the project out of its own resources.


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