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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Maori opposing Crown grab for UHF spectrum

Maori spectrum claimants have asked the Government to taihoa on reallocating frequencies freed up by the shift from analog to digital television.

Piripi Walker, the treasurer of Wellington Maori language association Nga Kaiwhakapumau i Te Reo, says a national hui at Kokiri Marae in Petone over the weekend confirmed the determination of claimants to hold fast to the gains made in two landmark cases in the 1990s over broadcasting and cellphone spectrum.

He says of immediate concern is the fate of a block of UHF spectrum which Sky is using in exchange for rebroadcasting Maori Television.

“The Crown says they’re going to become vacant with digital tv. Now Maori have said, all of the roopu, they’ve said those frequencies because of article two, they came into Maori hands, with the management right had very major economic benefit Maori can be a player if they retain in perpetuity, all of roopu Maori, singing from the same song sheet, say they should not go back to the Crown at his point,” Mr Walker says.

He says Maori don't feel they should have to go back to court to refight a battle they have won twice before.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is pleased iwi are getting behind efforts to replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

A national hui in Rotorua yesterday discussed a process through which iwi will develop a consensus position on how Maori customary rights to the takutai moana should be recognised, and further regional hui will be held up until Christmas.

Mrs Turia, who quit Labour in protest at the Act, says while it may be impossible to turn the clock back to before 2004, it's important to restore the right of Maori to go to court.

“Our people's right to take a case to court is really important and the difference with this is our people are being consulted so whatever happens it will be an agreement with them and that’s a definite difference to last time,” Mrs Turia says.

She expects replacement legislation will be introduced into Parliament in the second half of 2010.


A Maori problem gambling worker is welcoming moves to stop pokey money going to prop up horse racing.

The Internal Affairs department this week took action against three trusts which over the psast three years have given more than $5 million to harness racing clubs which use Auckland's Alexandra Park.

Zoe Hawke from Hapai Te Hauora Tapui says says it was an appalling misallocation of funds which were supposed to go for community purposes.

“It’s $5.4 million and if you think who gambles, the Ministry of Health tells us Maori have a higher percentage of gambling rates in bars and pubs, that’s their money that went to trotting so Maori are missing out on the funding they put in the machines in the first place,” Ms Hawke says.


Tainui chairperson Tuukoroirangi Morgan believes iwi are unlikely to accept a one size fits all solution to recognising rights over the foreshore and seabed.

Iwi leaders met in Rotorua yesterday to approve a plan of consultation and drafting to develop an alternative which will convince the Government to go through with repealing the contentious Act.

They also agreed any changes should not affect settlements negotiated under the Act by coastal iwi like Ngati Porou and Te Whanau a Apanui.

Mr Morgan says the issue is being treated as a treaty negotiation, but there can be no simple solution.

“There will never be another settlement like the fisheries settlement where there was a collective settlement for all and it used a one size fits all kaupapa and framework. That’s the model iwi round the country aren’t comfortable with because it doesn’t capture its uniqueness region by region, iwi by iwi and so we have to be innovative about how we do this,” Mr Morgan says.

The iwi leaders will aim to complete their consultation by April, when a national hui will be held at Turangawaewae marae in Ngaruawahia.


An anti drug campaigner and community organiser says young Maori leaders are stepping up to the challenges drugs and alcohol are posing in Maori communities.

Dennis O'Reilly says he was heartened by the commitment shown by rangatahi involved in Cayad, or community action on Youth and drugs, which held a three day national hui this week at Hinerupe Marae in Te Araroa.

“You know I’ve been in community action for over 30 years now and just seeing these young leaders coming through, these young CAYAD workers working at the front line, working with and for their communities and I think we can have a lot of hope as a nation,” Mr O Reilly says.

The hui heard how important it is for communities to provide positive activities and directions for their rangatahi.


Auckland's Ngati Whatua runanga says it's time Auckland gave pride of place to its mana whenua.

Nayda Glavish says that the opportunity it now has with the redesign of Queens Wharf.

A competition to reshape the wharf into a venue for events around the 2011 Rugby World Cup was aborted because Auckland mayor John Banks and Regional Council chair Mike Lee were unhappy with the quality of designs.

Ms Glavish says their mistake was to exclude Maori from the design process, and they can now rectify that.

“What I would like is an opportunity for us to showcase mana whenua, tangata whenua in Tamaki Makaurau but certainly in Aotearoa. It would be an opportunity to give view and voice and face to the soul of the city. We’ve been here long before the city was,” Ms Glavish says.


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