Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Waitangi Tribunal to hear East Coast raruraru

East Coast iwi see an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing next month as a chance to put their histories on the public record.

Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ruawaipu and Ngati Uepohatu are challenging the settlement between the Crown and Te Runanga o Ngati Porou.

Tui Marino from Te Aitanga a Hauiti says because the Statistics Department lumped the other three iwi in with Ngati Porou when it started recording iwi affiliation in the 1992 census, the runanga has been able to capture the bulk of resources for itself.

He says iwi on the coast were historically self-sufficient and independent.

“You know we ran our own affairs. The bottom line of everything is one, our obligation to maintain the mana of our matua tupuna so that our tamariki and mokopuna can share in the benefits whether they are small or large, that they can have their place under the sun they can call their turangawaewae,” Mr Marino says.

Attempts to negotiate a better relationship between Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Te Runanga o Ngati Porou have been unsuccessful.

POUTMA CELEBRATES 21ST BIRTHDAY

The chief executive of a trust set up to help small and medium Maori business says a new partnership with Kiwibank will help its clients get the funds they need to grow.

Poutama Trust celebrates its 21st anniversary today with a dinner for the clients it has worked over the years.

Richard Jones, from Ngati Maniapoto, Ngati Whakaue and Ngati Pikiao, says many Maori small businesses have been struggling over the recession, and would benefit from having a better relationship with their bankers, which Poutama can help them with.

He says the partnership may eventually change the trust's role.

“I'd like to see Poutama move into the area of providing venture finance, loans and that. It’s not an area we’ve been in yet but hopefully this relationship with Kiwibank will give us that experience to move into areas such as lending to businesses,” Mr Jones says.

KEEN INTEREST IN CELESTIAL NAVIGATION

Master waka builder Hekenukumai Busby is surprised at the level of interest in celestial navigation.

The Ngati Kahu kaumatua was a star attraction at Mata Ora, a Maori astronomy and navigation hui in Porirua, along with Hoturoa Kerr, Jack Thatcher and Frank Andrews.

He says it was a chance to share some of what they learned from Hawaiian and Micronesian navigators as they revived the art of finding a way across the Pacific by using the night sky.

Mata Ora ends on Saturday with a kids' astronomy day and rocket launching at Te Rauparaha Arena.

RACISM MOTIVE ALLEGED IN CHRISTCHURCH SCHOOL CLOSURE

Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene says Education Minister Anne Tolley's decision to close Aorangi Primary School in Christchurch comes across as race based.

Mrs Tolley says she's closing the school once attended by Prime Minister John Key because of a falling roll and the need for major investment.

But Mrs Katene says a more likely reason for closing the 90-student school is that 40 percent of the roll is Maori and it has the only bilingual unit in the north east of Christchurch.

“The immediate community of course is very supportive but just outside of that area is another community entirely and you get the feeling they don’t quite approve of a school that looks the way Aorangi is, that has children and a community that’s not quite the same as them, it’s not just quite done,” Mrs Katene says.

No other community in the area has expressed interest in having either a kura kaupapa or bilingual unit.

BAT NOMINATION BATTY SAYS ANTI-SMOKING CAMPAIGNER

A Maori anti-smoking organisation wants the nomination of one of the country's largest tobacco companies to be withdrawn from tonight's Best Workplace Awards.

British American Tobacco is up for a prize in the small to medium workplace category.

Te Reo Marama director Shane Bradbrook says the company is a key player in an industry that will kill 5000 New Zealanders this year, including 600 Maori.

“To be singled out and nominated for an award that reflects a good workplace, ethics and behaviour is just a complete anathema and contradiction,” Mr Bradbrook says.

He says the nomination is part of a sophisticated campaign by British American Tobacco to pretend it's a normal business.

WHANGANUI IWI SUPPORTING MAYOR’S PROPERTY RIGHTS GRAB

A former ACT MP says a local bill setting up a Wanganui District Council-controlled port company shows mayor Michael Laws will pander to Maori when it suits his political objectives.

Lawyer Stephen Franks says the bill, which iwi are supporting in exchange for a couple of directorships and the return of some ancestral land, will confiscate the perpetual lease his client River City Port Limited holds over the facility.

He says it's the same confiscation Whanganui Maori protested about in the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“I voted against that bill on principle because it was taking away people’s rights to go to court and have their property rights determined and to have property rights. At the same time that’s being unwound, you have iwi, possibly unknowingly, being drawn into a bill that does something even worse. It’s taking away an absolutely certain vested property right,” Mr Franks says.

River City Port took on the lease 20 years ago because the council did not want the burden of keeping the port operational.

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