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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Foreshore rhetoric showing damaging naivete

A Labour Maori MP says trumpeting of victory over the foreshore and seabed is premature.

Cabinet this week received a paper from Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and Attorney general Chris Finlayson on a response to a ministerial review of the controversial law, and opted to have more consultation on a possible replacement.

Shane Jones says the Maori Party, which formed in response to Labour removing the right of Maori to pursue claims for customary rights through the courts, has been raising unrealistic expectations among supporters about what is possible.

“There are these absurd calls coming from Hone Harawira and others that somehow you can eradicate everything and then invite the Queen of England to come and try and prove her title to the seabed and foreshore. It’s that level of naivety which does do damage on the marae.

“The reality is there will have to be a legal machinery in place to deal with seabed and foreshore. If it is not the Labour model or a version of the Labour model, then we wait with a great deal of interest as to what is their model’” Mr Jones says.

He says Ngati Porou has shown a negotiated approach to coastal rights under the existing Act is possible.


Kiwi singers heading overseas are being encouraged to add waiata Maori to their repertoire.

Monty Morrison, who organised the Maori section of this year's New Zealand Aria competition held in Rotorua over the weekend, says it's not just singers with Maori whakapapa who are taking up the challenge.

Piripi Christie won the Wairiki Maori Song Contest with his original composition, Ranginui ... while Maria Kapa won the regional section of the Aria competition with "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi.


The country's tertiary institutions are failing the task of salvage education for young Maori men.

Paul Callister, the deputy director of Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies, says New Zealand has a real problem with the number of young Maori men who fail to gain even basic skills like reading and writing.

The institute looked at whether tertiary institutions, including wananga, were attracting them for a second chance ... and the findings were not good.

“The wananga as a group are not getting young Maori men, unskilled Maori men, through their doors. In fact no tertiary education provider is doing particularly well at getting those young Maori men a second chance education but of all the institutions, the polytechs and the private providers are the most successful,” Mr Callister says.

He says it is surprising the wananga have neglected a potential market as they have been extremely successful in attracting older Maori women back into the classroom.


East Coast iwi Ngati Porou is taking a wait and see attitude to the government's indication it might repeal Labour's Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Negotiator Matanuku Mahuika says the Government has confirmed its commitment to abide by the settlement the iwi negotiated under the existing Act.

The iwi wants to see what replaces the Act, so it's in no hurry to get the agreement ratified by the High Court.

He says its concern is to protect the existing relationship Ngati Porou hapu have with the coastal space.

“They have exercised I think a higher degree of influence over what happens to the foreshore and seabed in the Ngati Porou rohe as a matter of fact, even if it hasn’t been endorsed by the law and legal process, and what we didn’t want is for this issue to erode or to take away that influence,” Mr Mahuika says.

The government had promised a comprehensive response to a ministerial review of the Act by August, but indications now is the process will be dragged out well into next year.


The union representing wananga staff is crying foul at big pay increases for chief executives.

State Service Commission figures show the salary of Wananga o Aotearoa chief executive Bentham Ohia went up by 10 percent to more than $250,000, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuirangi's Graham Smith increased his pay from under $120,000 to over $180,000, and Te Wananga o Raukawa boosted its boss's pay from under $100,000 to over $160,000.

Tom Ryan, the president of the Tertiary Education Union, says if the top salaries are being brought in line with other tertiary institutions, staff lower down the food chain should also expect a benefit.

“They are at market rates now certainly at the top, so maybe they should be spreading that around a bit to their other employees as well,” Mr Ryan says.

At the same time the State Services Commission was approving the increases it was ordering pay rises for lecturers be held between 0 and 2 percent.


The organiser of a weight loss competition for Maori in south Auckland expect between five and ten thousand pounds of fat will be shed before the end of the month.

Tahuna Minhinnick from Mana Whenua ki Tamaki Makaurau says he launched the 12-week challenge thinking he would be lucky to get 60 people taking part.

But with the backing of Maori health providers, more than 500 Maori are signed on with not a single person dropping out.

“I know it won’t be less than 5000 kilos because of the number doing it. That’s a great health gain,” Mr Minhinnick says.

The secret to the challenge's success is it's organised along whanua lines with family groups competing against each other for up to $5000 in prizes.


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