Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Common stand sought on freshwater management

Iwi leaders will gather in Wellington next week to thrash out a common position on development of the government's freshwater management policy.

Toby Curtis from Te Arawa says a small group of leaders have been talking with the Crown about the policy, and they now want to report back to the rest of Maori.

He says the current government seems willing to talk about ownership of water, but there are language difficulties.

“The trouble is when you’re dealing with it in the English language, Pakeha people have the ability to make it mean what they want, so I go back to how our people spoke about the water and how it was part of us and we were part of the water and we use te reo as the basis for what we mean by ownership, you have a totally different outcome,” Mr Curtis says.

Maori would reject the recommendation in the Brash taskforce report that a system of tradable water rights should be introduced to help this country catch up with Australia.


A whanau weight loss challenge which saw south Auckland Maori lost more than 1300 kilos is likely to be repeated next year.

Organiser Tahuna Minhinnick says 50 teams of 10 took part, with the overall individual winner shedding 32 kilos and the winning team 135 kilos lighter at the final weigh in.

He says everyone who took part felt like a winner, and there is strong demand for second helpings, so people who try again have 12 weeks of experience they can apply to the next challenge.

Mr Minhinnick says the contest will have significant health benefits for whanau who took part.


The decendants Foxton's Dutch settlers are uniting with Maori in an ambitious project to reflect the township's cultural heritage.

Hayley Bell from Ngati Raukawa says the nine mana whenua hapu are joining with a national Dutch collective to build a $12 million arts and crafts museum and library.

It's near a windmill that is already a major attraction in the Horowhenua town.

“We're having korero, we’re trying to talk to people and I think it’s been great not only for our Dutch community but also for the other members of our community to learn about our tangata whenua groups because it’s enabled a lot of the history of the mana whenua to be brought out into the open,” Ms Bell says.

Stage one of the project should be open to the public by 2011.


A lawyer who works in South Auckland is blaming poor police work rather than poor defence for delays in the court system.

Catriona MacLennan says Dame Margaret Bazley's review of the legal aid system which slams lawyers working out of the Manukau Court ignores the difficult conditions many of their Maori and Pacific Islands clients face.

She says clients would be better served if the courts were more efficient, and there is little defence lawyers can do about that.

“There has been a problem in recent years in that quite a large number of inexperienced police offices have come into the force and of course they’re not experienced to know what would be the appropriate charges to lay and that can result in quite a waste of time,” Ms MacLennan says.

There aren't enough judges to hear the number of cases, and the system is also clogged by sticking with a paper rather than an electronic records system.


A Rotorua Maori suicide prevention group says the problem of self harm is shifting from rangatahi to middle aged Maori men who feel they have lost their mana.

Kia Piki Te Ora project leader Michael Naera says more Maori men over 35 are taking their own lives.

He says family break-ups and a change in economic circumstances are factors, along with alcohol and drugs.

“Our people were quite reliant on the men as the kai gatherers, the person who sustained the household with income, that’s changing now where the men’s role isn’t as prevalent,” Mr Naera says.

He says men's behaviour can also lead to incidents of self harm among women.

Kia Piki Te Ora, which is backed by Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao, has won funding from Lakeland Health to address the issue at community level.


Don Brash's call for fishing quota to be made available for sale to foreign investors has rung alarm bells with Maori fishing interests.

The recommendation to include quota in what Dr Brash calls the most liberal feasible foreign investment regime is included in the 2025 Taskforce report on how New Zealand can catch up with Australia.

Morrie Love from Te Atiawa says Maori didn't fight for a stake in the industry only to see the prime assets pass into foreign hands.

He says the current regime hasn't stopped foreign investment on terms favourable to New Zealand participants.

“There always have been foreign vessels involved. In fact they developed the deepwater industry. But the important thing is ownership says indigenous and we are able to have some significant say in the large foreign markets where we have to sell,” Mr Love says.

He says the New Zealand fishing industry needs to move to move towards a single desk seller model - which Dr Brash is totally opposed to.

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