Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Auckland sub-council not enough for mana whenua

Mana whenua groups are considering boycotting Auckland super city's proposed Maori statutory board.

The board is will contain up to nine members, seven of them mandated representatives of recognised mana whenua groups within the Auckland Council boundaries and two taura here representatives appointed by those seven members.

It will be able to appoint persons to sit on Auckland Council committees that deal with the management and stewardship of natural and physical resources.

Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua o Orakei says it's no substitute for having Maori seats on the full council, as the Royal Commission on Auckland governance recommended.

“The best they could come up with was a toothless powerless advisory board which they’ve tried to beef up with some kind of status by calling it a statutory board but at the end of the day we haven’t moved out of the 1990s,” Mr Blair says.

He understands Tainui is considering boycotting the committee, and Ngati Whatua could follow suit.


Labour's Maori issues spokesperson says the way Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira has been allowed to keep his party status is an indictment of the Maori Party.

Mr Harawira yesterday apologised to any New Zealander who may have been offended by the language and sentiments used in an email to a party supporter, and he's been told to stay in his electorate until the New Year.

Parekura Horomia says the party's leaders have demonstrated they can't manage the maverick MP.

“The membership ignored the direction of the leadership. Hone’s outspoken mates have got their way. It’s a real Clayton’s fixture but it’s their choice and Hone seems to be settled with it but the public was expecting more. That’s a pretty soft option – don’t come back to Parliament until next year and don’t say anything more. That’s one think I know Hone won’t recognise because that's not his line,” Mr Horomia says.


A programme to keep kids reading during the summer holidays is winnning over Maori in south Auckland.

Manukau Libraries has adopted a Mission Possible theme to set challenges for five to eleven year-olds.

Jolene West, the learning and literacy co-ordinator, says the number of Maori and Pacific kids taking part is 50 percent up on last year, many of whom haven't been as regular library users as those in higher decile ares.

She hopes the programme will continue once Manukau is absorbed into the new Auckland super City.


A Victoria University demographer says the Australian media has misrepresented his work to paint Maori across the Tasman as bludgers.

James Newell's analysis of census data found Maori were migrating to Australia at a greater rate than Pakeha, and migrants also tended to be less skilled than those who headed further afield.

He says the fact Maori are more likely to be machine operators and labourers than accountants or lawyers doesn't mean they're not contributing.

“They're skilled. They work hard. They probably work harder than their Australian counterparts. They don’t put such a burden on their tax system and they have the benefit of the training they have had in New Zealand, so it would be good to get that message across in the Australian media at the moment,” Mr Newell says.

Maori have been targeted because they are so visible particularly, on Brisbane streets.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says management of the countrys fresh water could be as contentious issue Maori as the foreshore and seabed.

Iwi leaders have called a national hui in Wellington next week to update people on work they have been doing with government officials about freshwater policy.

Ms Turei says pastoralists, agriculuralists and recreational users are competing for the nation's streams and rivers, but economic interests can swamp Maori cultural expectations.

“Iwi have to be able to express their mana over freshwater sources in their area and if Maori aren’t right central in the middle of it along with environmentalists who are trying to keep these areas clean for future generations too, we can see some real damage being done to our freshwater sources,” Ms Turei says.


A hui in Auckland tomorrow is likely to come down hard on the government for its treatment of Maori in the Auckland super city

Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board says the local government hui at Unitec's Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae is well timed, with Minister Rodney hide today revealing how Maori will be represented in the city.

A nine-member statutory board, including seven mana whenua representatives, will promote social, economic, environmental, and cultural issues of significance for Maori.

Mr Blair says the structure leaves Maori toothless and powerless.

“I think all the tribes will be looking at Auckland now and wondering where it leaves them in Wellington and Christchurch and on the East Coast and so on. If anything, Maori in local government is a strong issue now,” Mr Blair says.

Ngati Whatua is considering boycotting the super city Maori board.

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