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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Co-governance for Whirinaki forest

The Minister of Treaty Negotiations is predicting a positive future for the Whirinaki Forest Park now mana whenua iwi Ngati Whare is fully involved.

Chris Finlayson was in eastern Bay of Plenty yesterday to sign the Ngati Whare deed of settlement, which includes cultural and social redress including an ambitious reafforestation programme on tribal lands adjoining the park.

He says issues around conservation land were a major part of the settlement, which includes giving the iwi a major say in how the park is run.

“I prefer the term co-governance because people don’t get involved in day to day decisions but iwi and DoC get together and talk about the strategic management issues and then the day to day stuff is left to the people on the ground, many of whom will be Ngati Whare anyway,” Mr Finlayson says.

He will be back in the Bay of Plenty on Saturday to sign the settlement with neighbouring iwi Ngati Manawa.

LINES DRAWN OVER AIRPORT EXTENSIONS

The leader of a protest against extensions to Rotorua's airport doesn't expect any ongoing rancour from a planned action against the start of trans-Tasman flights.

Blanche Hohepa-Kiriona from Ruamata Marae next to the airport is expecting up to 100 protesters outside the airport on Saturday.

Inside the terminal other members of Ngati Uenukukopako hapu will join an official powhiri for the flight.

Mrs Hohepa-Kiriona says the two sides have agreed to disagree.

She says many residents around Ruamata Marae are concerned about noise and pollution from the flights and the risk of a crash.

SINTERKLAAS MEETS HANA KOKO IN FOXTON

Dutch and Maori Santa Clauses came together in Foxton at the weekend to celebrate the beginning of the festive season.

Organiser Hayley Bell from Ngati Raukawa hapu Ngati Te Au says when Sinterklaas came up the river on a waka to be meet by Hana Koko, the kids went wild with excitement.

The event was an ideal launching pad for plans to build an arts and crafts centre which will serve as a show piece for area's Maori and Dutch descendents.

CO-GOVERNANCE COULD BE FEATURE OF CONSERVATION LAND DEALS

The Minister for Treaty Negotiations expects co-governance arrangements over conservation land could become regular part of settlements.

Chris Finlayson yesterday signed a settlement with Ngati Whare, which includes a major role for the eastern bay of Plenty iwi in the Whirinaki Forest Park.

The deal with the Maori Party which allowed the government to push through its changes to the emissions trading scheme includes a controversial plan to allow some iwi to plant trees on DoC land.

Mr Finlayson says while that was an initiative of Climate Change Minister Nick Smith, he sees the way conservation land is treated is changing.

“We are starting to develop as an element of settlements very effective co-governance arrangement that I think are going to be to everyone’s benefit. Both parties have the same objectives working together to ensure the conservation estate is looked after. It’s not going to be in every piece of the conservation land but in certain parts of the conservation estate it lends itself very well to this sort of arrangements, and it‘s in the national interest,” Mr Finlayson says.

FEE INCREASE WILL SHUT MAORI OUT OF PLANNING DISCUSSIONS

The Greens say the Maori Party has denied iwi and hapu the chance to influence planning decisions.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says the Maori Party's vote allowed government members on parliament's regulations review committee to sweep aside complaints by the Greens and environmental groups against a 900 percent increase in Environment Court filing fees.

She says until now Maori have been able to pay the $55 appeal fee, which means they become a part to the mediation process which sets conditions for consents.

They will now be asked to pay $500.

“Many of those who have a legitimate concern, should be involved in a mediated process, won’t have access to it because they can’t afford to get engaged with it. Many of these cases don’t go to court. Many are resolved by discussion but Maori simply won’t be involved in the discussion because they will be shut out because of the increase in the filing fee,” Ms Turei says.

SCHOOLS REJECT STANDARDS AS AGAINST THEIR INTERESTS

A Northland primary school principal is concerned the National Standards will stop Maori communities having a say in their children's schooling.

Keri Milne-Ihimaera from Moerewa Primary says the new assessment regime championed by Education Minister Anne Tolley is a one-size-fits-all approach which doesn't value Maori knowledge or culture.

“One of the great things has been the revised New Zealand curriculum which allows communities to have a real say about what they want their children to learn about in schools and so it allows communities to have a real voice in schools and so around those kinds of discussions we can ensure learning is gong to be in an authentic context and is going to be relevant to learners, and so national standards completely negates that,” Ms Milne-Ihimaera says.

She says the standards ignores how individuals learn at their own pace.

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