Waatea News Update

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Maori Party slated for delay in settling with Harawira

Maori activist Titehai Harawira is angry at the Maori Party's treatment of her son.

She says the party leadership went public about its problems with Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira without first talking to him.

Mr Harawira yesterday apologised for an expletive-filled email to a party supporter, and he's been told to stay away from parliament until the New Year.

Mrs Harawira says the issue would have been resolved much earlier if the party leadership had met her son kanohi ki te kanohi.

“I'm really disappointed in the leadership, that it took them five weeks to sit down and talk to the man and yet they’ve been out there with the media and out there doing other things rather than sit down and talk to the man, so I’m really disappointed with the so called leadership of the Maori Party,” Mrs Harawira says.

She says one positive to come from the saga is that the Maori Party have been forced to put policies in place to deal with similar situations in the future.


Researchers from Te Wananga o Raukawa are backing calls for a moratorium on the commercial harvesting of longfin eels.

Caleb Royal of Ngati Raukawa, who has been studying eels and their habitat for eight years, says the species is in a perilous state.

He says a new goup, Manaaki Tuna, is bringing together Maori and environmental groups to push for the protection measures.

He says while commercial eeling isn’t solely responsible for the depletion, a moratorium is a feasible first step.

Caleb Royal says a moratorium would need to be accompanied by efforts to clean up streams and rivers, or the traditional Maori food will vanish completely.


The Rotorua Maori trust which was the successful bidder in a charity auction for a house says there are winners all round.

The two-bedroom Lockwood house was built in 32 hours to raise funds for the Life Education Trust's drug prevention programmes.

The house, valued at $130,000, went under the hammer for $108,000, with the deal also including $40,000 of landscaping, carpets and drapes, solar water heating, decking and other fixtures.

Mamuku Trust chair Tom Walters says it will go on the trust's 145 hectare farm behind Rotorua as housing for its workers.

Mr Walters got a personal thrill from the auction because as an architecture student in the 1960s he worked on plans for the first Lockwood aluminium home.


A Maori member of the new National Health Board denies it's an unnecessary layer of bureacracy.

The board, announced yesterday by Health Minister Tony Ryall, will sit above district health boards.

Hayden Wano, a former Taranaki board chair, says it will improve the way the country's 21 DHB's spend $10 billion a year on hospitals and primary health care.

“I would personally like to think it’s an opportunity to provide a sharper focus for the sector around spending at a national level,” Mr Wano says.

The National Health Board also includes Ngati Hine Hauora chief executive Rob Cooper, a member of the Auckland DHB.


Green Party co-leader Meteria Turei says the government's plans to open up conservation land is an insult to maori claimants.

Ms Turei says up to 20 percent of the 350,000 hectare Mt Aspiring National Park is about to be opened up for prospecting, and Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee is reviewing the status of other conservation land.

She says this comes after years of Maori being told such lands if off limits for settlements.

“There's strong Maori opposition to it, particularly those iwi whose major areas were taken are now in conservation land or iwi who live in areas where the only available public land is conservation land so that hasn’t been resolved at all. ‘Why should the miners get it but not the iwi?’ is a legit question,” Ms Turei says.


But former National leader Don Brash says mining conservation land is a way New Zealand can catch up with Australia.

The idea was canvassed in Dr Brash's 2025 Taskforce report released this week.

He says while ownership issues including Maori treaty rights would need to be addressed, it doesn't make sense not to investigate the potential.

“A lot of modern mining techniques are so unobtrusive you can barely see them. Someone said to me if you hover in a helicopter 100 metres above the latest Pike River coalmine you can barely see it. I think there are very sensitive ways you an mine and there may be some areas New Zealanders decide we never want to mine at all but it’s hard to believe that applies to about 40 percent of the country,” Dr Brash says.


A series of children's books featuring a Maori boy and his pet moa are going international.

James Waerea has signed a contract with American virtual animation company, Fire Hydrant Creative Studios, which wants to publish his Pukunui series and create spin-off games, merchandise and animations.

Mr Waerea, from Ngati Kahungunu and Te Arawa, wrote the first draft of Pukunui in 1962 when he was working as a primary school teacher, but took years to find a publisher because of concerns about its use of Maori words.

“I was very frustrated we were teaching kids a value system that belonged to a country 12,000 miles away and there were no actual books about New Zealand – well, very very few. So I thought why don’t I write a book,” he says.

Mr Waerea says the five Pukunui books have sold over 50,000 copies since the first one was published 30 years ago.


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