Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, September 10, 2009

RMA reform passed over Maori Party objections

The Maori Party is calling on hapu and iwi to take on councils to protect the environment, after its failure to win any changes in the revised Resource Management Act passed by Parliament last night.

The Maori Party and the Greens voted against the Act, while Labour voted with the Government after an unsuccessful attempt to restore tree protection.

Co-leader Tariana Turia says her party wanted to beef up the Treaty clause to make sure councils talk to tangata whenua before approving major developments.

“Maybe we are in a new era where hapu and iwi will step up to the plate and take on the councils. Where we thought there should have been an opportunity for them to go to the high court, if they hadn’t been listened to, but no, that didn’t get through either,” Mrs Turia says.

She says in its focus on the needs of developers, the government has seriously compromised environmental protections.


The head of the National Committee for Addiction Treatment says prison is being used as a dumping ground for Maori with untreated addiction problems.

Chris Kalin from Odyssey House says alcohol abuse costs society more than $5 billion a year, and Maori are over-represented in the abuse statistics.

She says despite the scale of the problem, there is only $100 million a year available for treatment, and many addicts end up in prison.

“It just makes no sense because prison costs around three times as much as treatment. We need to increase the range of treatment available for Maori and other people at risk and make addiction treatment the business of everybody,” Ms Kalin says.

A fact sheet released by the National Committee for Addiction Treatment at today's national addiction conference at Te Papa calls for a 50 percent funding increase for treatment programmes over the next three years, including increased funding for Maori-specific services.


Veterans of Te Maori want to do it all over again.

People associated with the ground-breaking exhibition of taonga which toured the United States and New Zealand 25 years ago gathered at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt this morning to reflect on their achievement.

Co-curator Hirini Moko Mead says the idea of another touring show is never far from their minds.

He says Te Maori changed the way museums deal with indigenous people and their artifacts, and much of the credit lies with the head of the Department of Maori Affairs at the time, Kara Puketapu, whose home marae is Waiwhetu.

“He insisted the people be consulted about their taonga and they would have to agree to their taonga leaving Aotearoa. To explain why this was necessary, he came up with the notion of cultural ownership versus legal ownership, so as cultural owners they needed to be consulted,” Professor Mead says.

Mr Puketapu also insisted the exhibition reflect living Maori culture, rather than just be another collection of objects.


Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta says changes to the Resource Management Act will be good for Maori.

She says Maori are both protectors of the environment and developers of their own resources, so they'll welcome new limits on the time councils have to process consent applications.

That was one of the reasons Labour voted with National and ACT last night to pass the RMA Simplification Bill.

“Some of the aspects will work for both Maori and developers who frankly have waited too long for some of their consents to be processed. This is the problem with Maori interests. On the one hand we are strong advocates to protect the environment and on the other hand many Maori interests are as developers as well,” Ms Mahuta says.

When Labour is next in government it will revisit some parts of the Act including consent notification procedures, excluding the Minister of Conservation from the planning process and taking away tree protection.


A lecturer in human development is encouraging Marlborough Maori parents to attend talks he's giving on how children are affected by violence.

Nathan Mikaere-Wallis, who teaches at the Christchurch College of Education, is in the region to work with the Marlborough Violence Intervention Project and a related group, Strategies with Kids, Information for Parents, or SKIP.

He says there is a huge amount of research available on what child-rearing practices are effective, but it needs to be presented in ways parents can use and relate to.

Even witnessing violence affects the way young children’s brains form.


Motown fans heading to the Hawkes Bay for this summer's Mission Estate concert can get a double dose of soul with the announcement of a Maori Motown concert the night before to raise funds to rebuild Waiohiki marae.

Community organiser Dennis O'Reilly says the bilingual, alcohol free event at the Otatara Pa Reserve near Taradale will put a Maori twist on the famous Detroit hits.

The line-up for Mission concert in early February includes The Temptations, the Four Tops and Martha and the Vandellas.

Mr O'Reilly says the Maori Motown concert gives those who can't afford the winery gig a chance to hear their favourite Motown tunes, many of them translated into Maori by Kahungunu reo expert Ihaia Hutana.


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