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Friday, March 06, 2009

Select committee hears Whakarewarewa fears

The chair of the Whakatohea Village Charitable Trust is welcoming the chance for tangata whenua groups rather than the Crown to sort out customary interests in the geothermal valley.

The Maori affairs select committee heard some heated submissions in Rotorua this week on the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill, with some Ngati Wahiao members calling for Tuhourangi to be excluded when the Crown returns the land.

Ngati Whakaue also has interests.

Willie Te Aho says the bill includes a process which gives all groups ample opportunity to put their case.

“The three step process is work kanohi ki te kanohi to see if you can get a result, if you can’t get a result bring in a mediator who you both trust and if you can’t find a way forward, appoint an independent panel to adjudicate. Every group puts their best foot forward and at the end of the day the adjudication panel as appointed by you will make a decision,” Mr Te Aho says.

He says resolving ownership of the land will help stabilise the tourism ventures in the valley, which are suffering from a reduction in visitor numbers.


Getting more young people working the whenua is high on the agenda at this weekend's for the national Maori vegetable growers' collective hui in Ruatoki.

Tahuri Whenua chair Nick Roskruge says the collective plans to expand its Spud in a Bucket project.

There are already 35 kohanga and kura kids and 3000 kids growing their own kai through the project.

He says too few rangatahi are looking at career opportunities in horticulture or agriculture.

“Whenever you go to anything that is agriculturally or horticulturally focused you look at the people and say ‘where’s the next generation?’ It tends to be the 50 and 60 year olds who are doing all that mahi and we’ve got to encourage anther generation or the next group of leaders to come through and we’ve got to get the message that this is a career option that’s also a good use of resources for the future,” Mr Roskruge says.


Auckland-based members of New Zealand’s largest tribe have reason to celebrate tomorrow, as they gather for the annual Ngapuhi Festival ki Tamaki Makaurau.

The day long festivities at the Trust stadium in Henderson culminate in a gala dinner.

Organiser Carlene Everitt from Manaaki Solutions says there are attracts to appeal to everyine from tamariki to kuia and koroua, including arts and crafts displays, kai stalls and entertainment, and wananga on Ngapuhi history.


Outspoken Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira says people who denigrate the haka could be in for a rude shock.

A promotional ad featuring Scottish jobseekers doing a haka has raised the ire of many hardline kapa haka stalwarts, and calls by other Maori not to be too precious about the incident.

Mr Harawira's parliamentary profile includes his leadership of He Taua, a group which in 1979 challenged the annual Auckland University engineers' haka party.

He says sometimes lines need to be drawn.

“I like the idea we can laugh at ourselves but I recall back in the day where the engineering students were bastardising our haka and abusing Pacific Island culture, doing the haka as part of the capping parade drunk and abusing everybody and we had to step in and sort them out. And we did. Ended up in court about it but I noticed after that nobody made any more bad Maori jokes or tried any more of that … up at the university,” Mr Harawira says.


Labour's Nanaia Mahuta says the Maori Party's credibility is on the line if it fails to get the Foreshore and Seabed Act repealed.

The government this week appointed a ministerial panel to review the law around customary interests in the coastal marine environment.

The Hauraki Waikato MP says while that fulfils a commitment in the Maori Party's confidence and supply agreement, the reality is National has no intention of scrapping the Act.

“National clearly at the time the bill was passed were not in favour of repeal. In fact they wanted all foreshore and seabed to be in Crown ownership. So the review panel is in a sense to appease the Maori Party but I don’t think it will appease their voters who clearly want to get rid of the Act,” Ms Mahuta says.

The Government has the votes now to repeal the Act, if it wanted to.


Ancient Maori sounds will merge with Aboriginal, Torres Strait Island and Papua New Guinean instruments at tomorrow night's Auckland Festival opening party in Queen Street.

Taonga puoro player Rewi Spraggon says the combination of unique sounds from each of the traditional cultures make for a unique musical experience.

He says the accompanying visuals are part of the celebration.

Sing Sing starts at 7.30, following on from Batucada Sound Machine and Kanak band Celenod from New Caledonia.

Gang patch bill barmy

Labour's Maori Affairs spokesperson says a private bill to ban gang patches from Wanganui makes no sense and won't work.

The Gang Insignia Bill from Wanganui MP Chester Borrows this week passed its second reading with the support of ACT, with Labour, the Maori Party and the Greens voting against it.

Parekura Horomia says some of the bill's backers believe it will force gang members to cover up intimidating tattoos,

“It's barmy. One of the resurgences in this country, and a whole lot of other settled countries, is ta moko and tattoo, so what do you say about all that sort of stuff. Do you cover it up but that’s how naïve it is. It’s not the tattoo or the figure on the body, it’s what the body does. And it’s not necessarily what's worn too,” Mr Horomia says.

He says politicians are grandstanding about gangs, rather than tackling some of the underlying issues facing gang members and their whanau.


The chair of Wairarapa to Wairoa iwi Ngati Kahungunu wants to see more Maori back on the land.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says in recent years promising rangatahi have been steered into careers in business, law or medicine.

He says the primary sector, where Maori assets are concentrated, has been neglected.

Mr Tomoana would like to see the revival of specialist farm training for young Maori, so they can take advantage of opportunities being created by the ageing of the rural workforce.

“Now we've got the opportunity to manage not just our own lands but to manage all lands, because it’s not very attractive for the Pakeha generation to take up farming either so the opportunity is to take our lands by managing them. If we can’t own them, we can move next door and manage the Pakeha farms. There is a big turnaround happening,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says many Maori horticultural and agricultural ventures are leasing Pakeha land to create economies of scale.


International passengers flying into Wellington are being given a Maori perspective on the area.

As part of Air New Zealand's new living landscapes strategy, Maori regional tourism organisation Te Ara a Maui and Postively Wellington Tourism have produced an 18 minute video for the in flight entertainment syste.

Te Ara chair Butch Bradley says visitors are hungry for the stories of the land.

“It starts off with Maui fishing up the North Island and then it talks abut Kupe who journeyed here so it goes through our stories but it tells them in a modern environment so it shows the tourists who are coming here that our stories are still alive and in fact our story is still continuing, it is still growing,” Mr Bradley says.

A shortened version of the film, Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui, is on the WellingtonNZ.com web site.


Maori business and iwi leaders and the heads of trusts and incorporations are gathering at Te Papa in Wellington about now for a symposium on how Maori can boost the economy our of recession.

Shaan Stevens from the Hui Taumata Taskforce says in the 25 years since the first Maori economic summit, the Maori economy has swelled to an estimated $25 billion dollars.

He says the symposium has been in the planning for two years, but the current economic crisis has sharpened interest.

“I believe we are in a prime position to make a significant contribution based on the growth of Maori assets, the initiatives of our Maori entrepreneurs over the past decade, and there have been a number of those, coupled with the assets we are seeing returned throughout the treaty settlement process as of late, and that places Maori in a very strong position to invest in the creation of new jobs which are certainly going to help us get through this,” Mr Stevens says.

There are three work streams at the symposium on employment, small business and water, with all sessions booked out.


Meanwhile, the national Maori vegetable growers’ collective says too much Maori land is still not being used to its best advantage.

Chairperson Nick Roskruge says Tahuri Whenua's hui-a-rohe at Tauarau Marae in Ruatoki this weekend will allow growers and supporters to share ways to get the most out of their crops.

He says Maori should exercise more control of their own resources.

“You know a lot of people lease land for maize and those sorts of crops when in fact we could be growing things ourselves to put on the market rather than letting other people take advantage. It’s sort of coming back to being more in control of our own resources,” Mr Roskruge says.


The conflict between Tuhoe and Pakeha views of Te Urewera have provided the springboard for a British artist's unique vision of the land.

Isaac Julien's Te Tonga Tuturu - True South opened at Two Rooms Gallery in Newton last night with a powhiri from members of Ngai Tuhoe.

Mr Julien says the large digitally altered photographs take advantage of the way Tuhoe are fighting the way the history has been stripped away from the land to make it neutral.

“The works I have taken are quite beautiful. They have also got this certain charge to them. There’s a certain mood to them. I think there is a certain atmosphere and hopefully that is something that has been transmitted through the collaboration with Onion and Terry from the Tuhoe nation who were our guardians as we were making the work,” Mr Julien says.

Te Tonga Tuturu is on show at Two Rooms until mid-April.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Gang evictions too hard on children

Housing New Zealand's plans to kick Mongrel Mob members and associates out of state housing has drawn fire from Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson.

The Corporation has issued 90-day eviction notices against several tenants deemed antisocial.

Parekura Horomia says that will penalises the women and children who also live in the houses.

“Kids don't choose to belong to a Mongrel Mob father. Kids don’t choose to an uncle or a nephew who has the insignia on. But somebody must have the responsibility of the duty of care and I don’t want to dissuade any activity to get gangs in a better frame of mind or boot people out who are using accommodation for other issues, but not the kids and the women,” he says.

Mr Horomia says Housing Minister Phil Heatley is using the issue to show how tough he is, rather than find constructive solutions to the underlying problem.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says a ministerial panel reviewing the Foreshore and Seabed Act is the best hope for change.

The three-member panel led by former Waitangi Tribunal chair Eddie Durie has been asked to report on not only whether the current Act adequately balances Maori customary interests and the rights of all New Zealanders in using the beach, but whether the Labour Government took the right option in responding to a 2003 Court of Appeal decision which would have allowed the Maori Land Court to decide Ngati Apa's claim to rights in the Marlborough Sounds.

Mrs Turia says it's what her party was seeking in its confidence and supply agreement with National.

“Ideally the Maori Party are looking for repeal but we also have been quite clear that we will abide by the outcome of the review – I mean the party will, that doesn’t mean to say the people will – but we do feel fairly hopeful as to the outcome,” Mrs Turia says.

She says Attorney General and Treaty Negotiations minister Chris Finlayson is showing great understanding of the issues confronting the country and Maori people


Canterbury University researchers have found Maori as young as 14 are regularly consuming alcohol and using cannabis.

According to findings reported in the international journal Drug and Alcohol Review, the 2003 study found rangatahi started drinking at an earlier age than previous generations.

Tuari Potiki from the Alcohol Advisory Council says the study confirms how prevalent the culture of binge drinking and drug use has become among rangitahi.

It has significant flow on affects.

“Things that seem petty initially can become major problems later on because it spirals. Get arrested for something small, don’t have money to pay the fine, get anther conviction for non-payment of fine and it gradually ramps up,” Mr Potiki says.

ALAC supports an increase in the legal drinking age, and it also want to provide whanua with more information to help rangitahi tackle their alcohol and drug use.


Prime Minister John Key says the Foreshore and Seabed Act is in need of some change.

The Government has appointed a panel to review the law around customary interests in the coastal marine environment and recommend changes.

Mr Key says while the review was a condition of the Government's confidence and supply agreement with the Maori party, it was something that needed doing anyway.

“The current law doesn’t work that well as anyone who has tried to navigate their way through it knows, that ultimately you have to prove these new instruments like territorial instruments or territorial rights, you’ve got to go to the courts once you’ve done that to have them affirmed. It‘s an unwieldy process anyway and you’ve got to believe we can do it a bit better,” Mr Key says.

The government has made it clear New Zealanders' public access rights to the coast will not be threatened by any reforms.


Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says Maori benefit from a bicultural focus on the treaty,

The Coromandel based MP says the need to acknowledge Te Tiriti O Waitangi is at the core of the Greens' constitution.

She says while the Maori Party is now an established part of the political landscape and in a position to advocate on behalf of Maori, other parties also have a role ensuring the Crown honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“I think it's okay for there to be a largely Pakeha party which is dedicated to implementing the treaty with justice in New Zealand. It is good to have a Maori party in parliament but actually we need Pakeha in Parliament who are committed to the treaty as well because if it’s going to be a partnership, you have got to have someone on the other side of that partnership,” Ms Fitzsimons says.


A show by a British artist will get a Tuhoe welcome at its Auckland opening tonight.

Isaac Julien travelled to Ruatoki and Wakaremoana to make the large digital images in his work Te Tonga Tuturu - True South, which is at Two Rooms Gallery in Newton.

Mr Julien says he tried to contrast a utopian, romanticised view of the landscape against the history of struggle Ngai Tuhoe bring to the same places.

“Tuhoe are going to be doing a welcome for the exhibition and in a way it for me completes the journey I have undertaken in terms of making this work which has really been fantastic in terms of really revealing the hidden theme throughout the New Zealand landscape which is this counter history, this other culture which is also in a way reaming itself now. It’s quite exciting,” Julien says.

As a British-born artist of West Indian origin, he was able to appreciate the sense of straddling two cultures he saw among many in Ngai Tuhoe.

Graham looking for tolerance and realism in Tamaki

Former treaty negotiations minister Sir Douglas Graham wants Auckland iwi to be constructive about finding a way to settle Tamaki Makaurau claims.

An agreement in principle was signed two years ago with Ngati Whatua o Orakei, but put on hold after the Waitangi Tribunal reported the Office of Treaty Settlements had treated overlapping claimants in a cavalier fashion.

Now current minister Chris Finlayson has appointed his predecessor as a facilitator.

Sir Douglas says he will try to build on progress made so far.

“The Ngati Whatua settlement that was negotiated and then sort of came to grief because of the lack of consultation with others, or the lack of protection of others’ interests, needs to be brought to fruition, whether in its current form or in an amended for remains to be seen so the parties, if they hope to resolve this, will need to be prepared to be tolerant and cooperative and constructive and realistic,” Sir Douglas says.

His job is to get the parties to the table, rather than to be the Crown's negotiator.


Meanwhile, Ngati Porou claims negotiator Apirana Mahuika is crediting better communications with an upsurge in support for his runanga.

The East Coast iwi has upgraded its Te Haeata website to encourage registration.

Mr Mahuika says it has been inundated with enquiries from Natis living here and abroad keen to participate in the settlement process.

Ngati Porou is looking forward to working with former Labour Cabinet minister Paul Swain, who has been appointed lead Crown negotiator on the claim.


Maori are being told they can do more to prevent strokes.

A major international research programme has found stroke rates among Maori have increased by 20 percent over the past three decades, while the incidence among Pakeha has dropped 18 percent.

Valery Feigin from AUT University's national stroke research centre says the rate of Maori increase is similar to that recorded in developing countries.

He says many strokes are caused by environmental factors like smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise, and are therefore highly preventable.

“There is a lack of awareness among Maori in particular about risk factors for stroke, early warning signs, and even people who know about their elevated blood pressure often do not do enough to control their blood pressure, quit smoking for example,” Dr Feigin says.

The 28-country study showed Maori had more severe strokes than Pakeha and poorer rehabilitation outcomes.


The Attorney General hopes a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act will take some of the heat out of the issue.

Chris Finlayson yesterday appointed former Waitangi Tribunal chair Eddie Durie, academic Richard Boast and educationalist Hana O'Regan to review the state of the law on Maori customary interests to coastal marine areas and recommend any changes.

The Act was introduced by the previous Labour Government in response to a Court of Appeal finding that Ngati Apa could ask the Maori Land Court to determine its customary interests in the Marlborough Sounds.

That judgment threw open an area of law which had been thought to be settled by a 1963 case over ownership of Ninety Mile Beach.

Mr Finlayson says as a lawyer he was offended by the extreme statements used to justify the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“Ngati Apa if you read Justice Tipping’s judgment in particular, it was just a conventional application of this kind of law. There was nothing revolutionary in it at all. And to suggest that the judges were activist judges was just plain wrong. They were anything but activist. The Court of Appeal in 1963 was probably the activist one,” Mr Finlayson says.

The panel will report by the end of June.


The Families Commission is developing strategies for whanau to respond to the recession.

Commissioner Kim Workman says too often policy is made from a Pakeha perspective.

He says Maori needs tend to be overlooked in the process, so the commission is looking at ways to reach the most vulnerable families, especially Maori.

“Quite often we find that the standard approaches where you advocate for people to consult with budgeting advisors or do this or that is not an approach that Maori families generally take, so what is it we should be advocating and what should we be doing around the services that already exist for people when they are challenged with poverty,” Mr Workman says.


Hauraki members have overwhelmingly endorsed the Hauraki Maori Trust Board to hold the tribe's fisheries and aquaculture settlement assets.

The board held a postal vote after dissident board member David Taipari challenged the mandate in the Maori Land Court.

Board spokesperson John Linstead says 83 percent supported the board managing the $20 million dollars in fisheries quota and shares, and 72 percent beleived it should manage a similar value of aquaculture assets.
Mr Linstead says the row has delayed the iwi's progress.

“The resources have sat for too long in Te Ohu Kaimoana’s hands and they need to come back and put to work to develop an economic base on behalf of all the people of Hauraki,” Mr Linstead says.

The next step is to ask Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori fisheries settlement trust, to accept the board's mandate.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Durie heads foreshore review panel

Attorney General Chris Finlayson has asked a panel looking at the Foreshore and Seabed Act to take a back to basics approach.

Former High Court judge and Waitangi Tribunal chair Eddie Durie, barrister and academic Richard Boast and educationalist Hana O'Regan are to report by the end of June.

The review was a condition of the National Government's confidence and supply agreement with the Maori Party.

Mr Finlayson says he wants the panel to look at the law that applied before the 2003 Court of Appeal ruling that the Maori Land Court could hear an application by Ngati Apa for customary rights to coastal marine areas at the top of the South Island.

“What were the nature and extent of the mana whenua and public interests in the coastal marine area prior to it. Then you start with (the) Ngati Apa (judgment). Then the options to the Government when Ngati Apa was released, and whether the act actually does the job of providing for customary or aboriginal title and public interests in the coastal marine area,” Mr Finlayson says.

He will wait for the panel to report before he decides whether the Foreshore and Seabed Act needs changing.


The Hauraki Maori Trust Board will be asking Te Ohu Kaimoana to free up $40 million in fisheries and aquaculture settlement assets after its mandate was confirmed by postal ballot.

Board member John Linstead says a minority faction on the board challenged the mandate in the Maori Land Court.

Rather than fight it there, the board went back beneficiaries.

“It's been overwhelming support from our iwi in terms of reaffirming the board’s mandate to get on with the process and there were two questions asked of our people and one was about 83 percent and the other was about 72 percent so the board’s really humbled by the support our people have given us,” Mr Linstead says.

Hauraki has missed out on commercial opportunities because it had to lease quota each year, and could not offer any guarantees to potential joint venture partners.


Backers of a wharekura in the Tauranga suburb of Bethlehem will try to win over the project's opponents at a community meeting tonight.

Iria Whiu, the interim chair of Bethlehem Marae, says the proposed school has the backing of the Ministry of Education.

But some neighbours are claiming it will have a negative effect on house prices.

Ms Whiu says the kura is needed to service all of Tauranga Moana.

“It’s a kura a iwi. That’s what the kaupapa will be, and it is supported by the parents and runanga of Tauranga Moana,” Mrs Whiu says.

If it's approved the wharekura will be open next February.


Former treaty negotiations minister Sir Douglas Graham has been called in to restart the Tamaki-Makaurau claim settlement process.

The claims have been stalled since the Waitangi Tribunal issues a scathing report on a proposed settlement with Ngati Whatua o Orakei, saying the Office of Treaty Settlements had ignored the interests of other iwi with historical links to the Auckland region.

Sir Douglas says his role as a facilitator is to bring the various parties to the table, and he is definitely not the Crown's negotiator.

“It's not for me to try and advise on the wisdom of a settlement or anything like that or the quantum, but obviously there are those who have had competing interests in the blocks and there is obviously going to have to be some compromise or trade-off reached, otherwise the thing is going to get frozen,” Sir Douglas says

The resolution of central North Island claims shows that stalled claims can be salvaged if people are prepared to be flexible and show goodwill.

Treaty Negotiations minister Chris Finlayson has also moved on National's promise to the Maori Party to review the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

He has asked Former High Court judge and Waitangi Tribunal chair Eddie Durie, academic Richard Boast and educationalist Hana O'Regan to report on whether the Act should be changed to better protect Maori interests in the takutai moana.


The number of Maori suffering strokes is growing at an alarming rate.

A study by AUT University's National Research Centre for Stroke, Applied Neurosciences and Neuro-rehabilitation has found a 20 percent increase over the past 30 years.

Director Valery Feigin says the increase is similar to trends in developing countries.

In contrast, the rates of strokes among Pakeha New Zealanders has decreased 18 percent over the same period.

“The gap between Maori and Pakeha is getting wider and wider. In a sense it is a social disease. My hope is that something will be done at the government level. We just cannot wait any longer,” Dr Feigin says.

The figures came from the largest study to date, looking at the incidence and outcomes of stroke in 28 countries over four decades.


Playwright Albert Belz is crediting 2004's Foreshore and Seabed hikoi says the inspiration for his latest work.

Mr Belz, from Ngapuhi, Ngati Porou and Ngati Pokai, says the hikoi reminded him of the 1981 Springbok Tour protests.

Te Karakia, his fifth play, features a love affair between a policeman and a Maori girl against the backdrop of the tour.

The Auckland Festival season of Albert Belz's Te Karakia opens tomorrow.

Cray quotas slashed along east coast

More bad news for Maori fishing in the wake of the Sealord decision to cut 180 jobs at its Nelson processing plant.

Now crayfish quotas are being slashed on the East Coast, Hawkes Bay and Wellington regions.

Ngati Kahungungu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana, the deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana, says the cut of quota by 9 percent on the coast and 40 percent in the Hawkes Bay/ Wellington region will cost the industry millions of dollars and could force small operators out of business.

“Well it’s almost endemic now right through the fishing industry but it’s come at a time when everything else is going down too so it’s quite traumatic for those in the industry but without these cute there won’t be an industry in a few years time. These cuts to Cray 4 and Sealord were predicated over the last five years and haven’t happened because of the recession, they’ve happened because the industry is trying to get more efficient,” Mr Tomoana says.

Limits in the much smaller Otago fishery will increase by 45 per cent and in Southland by 5 per cent.


And development of what will be the world's largest mussel farm is being delayed.

The 3800ha marine farm off the coast near Opotiki is expected to create up to 900 jobs in the Eastern Bay of Plenty township and generate up to $34 million a year,

Watene Horsfall, the chief executive of the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board, says the delay of up to two years is to investigate other fish species which could be incorporated into the project.

He says despite the delay the first mussel lines will go in shortly on a trial basis.
“We have applied for funding to investigate the most valuable species we can grow out on the farm. We want to make sure apart from mussels we have other options, particularly with fin fish farming and also certain species of other shell fish,” Mr Horsfall says.

A change of use consent might have to be lodged after Nelson’s Cawthorn Institute produces a report on other shellfish that could be farmed.


He is widely celebrated here in New Zealand, and now the rest of the world is catching on to the musical talents of Ruia Aperahama.

His song Rere Reta, from the album 12.24, is a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition's World Music category, which attracted 15,500 entrants around the world

The winner will be announced in April.

Aperahama says his song, about two lovers having a crisis in a Wellington cafe as the Foreshore and Seashore hikoi to parliament marches by, draws comparisons with Maori having a relationship breakdown with the crown.

He says his semi-political, semi-romantic songs are helping to secure Maoridom's place on the worldwide map.

“This is another step towards not just self promotion of Ruia and Ruia music but hopefully it’s another step towards promotion of te reo Maori and tikanga around the world because I believe Maori in its right time and place will make a huge contribution to the fabric of the world,” Mr Aperahama says.

12:24 was judged best Maori Album at the NZ Music Industry Awards last year.


Local Maori and not displaced Sealord workers will get the jobs at the world's largest mussel farm being developed in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Sealord, which is cutting 180 processing jobs at its Nelson plant, has a 36 percent stake in 3800 ha farm 6 kilometers off Opotiki.

Watene Horsfall, is the chief executive of the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board, says it will create up to 900 jobs for locals.

“Those jobs they lost were at the end of the chain on processing mussels but here we are talking about growing which they get from their own farms. The kaupapa of our project is to employ Whakatohea people or people from the Opotiki area because it’s a low decile as far as employment is concerned. Local people are going to get the first opportunities,” Mr Horsfall says.

The first mussel lines will be going in shortly on a trial basis, but the larger development has been delayed so the farming of other fish species can be investigated.

The project is expected to generate $34 million a year.


A former Corrections Department head says ACT’s three strikes and you’re out Bill not before a select committee won’t work.

Kim Workman, who is now a Families Commissioner after a spell heading rehabilitation group Prison Fellowship, says eight states in the United States are trying to scrap the policy because it hasn't reduced reoffending.

“New Zealand doesn't need it. It has a lot of downsides to it. For example evidence overseas is when an offender comes to the third strike and they know they are going to be tucked away for 25 years, then they just don’t care, and so if they have committed a serious crime and before they are apprehended they are likely to kill or to commit further offences. Therefore the seriousness of the offences increases,” Mr Workman says.

He says there has been a positive response from Maori to reducing domestic and family violence, with many whanau are now more prepared to report incidents.

He says many crimes may not be reported if whanua believe it could mean the perpetrator will will be locked away for a long time.


A new television show, Aunty Comes to Stay, is aiming to help Maori during economic hardship.

The show, produced by Kiwa Media will go into production this week and one of its stars, Ella Henry says it's all about whanau helping whanau by going into the community for fundraising events and the like.

Ms Henry says unlike other reality shows, "Aunty comes to stay", is not about humiliation, it is about helping whanau achieve goals.

“We've got a group of wahine Maori and we’re available to help whanau solve problems. There are a bunch of other programmes out there trying to solve problems for whanau, but we think we’ve got an approach that is very Maori-oriented, Maori-centred,” Ms Henry says.

Aunty comes to stay will screen on Maori Television later in the year.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sealord cuts jobs to survive

Sealord says the decision to cut 180 jobs at its Nelson processing plant will eventually lead to future opportunities for Maori elsewhere in the company.

Chairman Robin Hapi says Sealord, the countrys largest fishing company which is 50-percent Maori owned- is restructuring and looking to develop new business like a factory processing ship which will create 50 new jobs.

He says the vessel will be staffed by New Zealanders, many of whom will be Maori, and will operate out of New Zealand waters.

“This particular company is owned by Maori and like moist companies in New Zealand it does employ Maori. What we are doing here is taking decision now that secure the viability of the company for the future,” Mr Hapi says.

Sealord is a joint venture between Maori fisheries settlement company Aotearoa Fisheries and Japanese seafood company Nippon Suisan Kaisha.


Labour is so concerned about the Sealord's job cuts that leader Phil Goff has flown to Nelson today for talks with company representatives and to personally check out the local situation.

Phil Goff says he is extremely concerned about the impact 180 jobs lost will have on the area and families.

“Any company whether it’s iwi owned or foreign owned or owned by anybody else, their first obligation is to keep the company going and to keep it profitable but I don’t know that Sealord is in the position where taking this action is totally inevitable. I would have thought that at the present time, given the wider, tighter labour market, there would have been a thorough exploration of all of the options involving the union and involving the workforce, and that’s the sort of conversation I think I'll be having,” Mr Goff says.

He says the government seems capable of bailing out finance companies and he will be asking what kind of government assistance is available for hurt workers.


The spiritual and archaeological significance of the Wairau Bar in Marlborough is being is marked by fresh research and the repatriation of koiwi tangata this year.

Believed to be one of the earliest archaeological sites in New Zealand and associated with the first people that arrived here from East Polynesia, the iconic site was excavated last month to find evidence of village life circa 1300 AD.

Richard Walters, the head of the archaeological team, says the old house sites, artifacts, food remains and hangi pits that were found showed the Bar could have been the hub of a large and thriving community.

“When people think of the ancient history of Britain they think of the ancient history of New Zealand they think of the Wairau Bar, because it’s the earliest known site. Although I’m working from the scientific perspective looking at the archaeological perspective, we’re working very closely with the Rangitane who see it very much as part of their immediate heritage,” Mr Walters says.

Rangitane are repatriating the koiwi tangata, that were unearthed by Canterbury Museum in the 1940's, in April.


Sealord Group, which is cutting 180 jobs at its Nelson processing plant, has given a commitment to continue to support Maori employment.

While acknowledging many Maori will be among those losing jobs, chairman Robin Hapi says the company is restructuring and sustainable employment for Maori is on the agenda.

He says the company, which is jointly owned by Maori via Aotearoa Fisheries and Japanese seafood company Nippon Suisan Kaisha, has new initiatives which will provide employment for Maori.

“We are commissioning a new vessel which will enable use to create 50 new permanent jobs and that vessel will be staffed by New Zealanders and operation in New Zealand waters,” Mr Hapi, says.


Mauri stones, buried at the foot of the site of the new Supreme Court building in Wellington this morning, represented the joining of the mana of Maori with the mana of the Crown says the Minister of Courts.

Early this morning Te Atiawa kaumatua, along with Court's Minister Georgina te Heuheu and judges of the court took part in a ceremony to lay three stones from Mt Taranaki.

Mrs Te Heuheu says the mauri stone reflected the important work that will be conducted there in the future.

“It’s sort of injecting that life force, the essence, into what the whole project is about and ultimately it’s about people working in there, activities going on that are important in the justice system and therefore important to this country as a democracy,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

The new Supreme Court is expected to be finished early next year.


Maori actor Temuera Morrison says the death of talent agent, Robert Bruce, will be a big loss to the Maori film and television industry.

Mr Morrison says Robert Bruce was instrumental in growing a pool of Maori talent and was a great supporter of Maori performance and had a large number of Maori actors on his books.

Mr Bruce came to Aotearoa in the early 1970's and starred in the wrestling show, On the Mat.

In 1978 he formed the Robert Bruce agency, nicknamed the Ugly Bruce agency representing high profile Maori actors like Temuera Morrison and Cliff Curtis.

Robert Bruce who passed away yesterday after a short illness is survived by partner Gabriella.

Indigenous Trails website top in class

A Maori tourism company from Tauranga has won an international award linked to the United Nations for its website and commitment to the environment.

Up against 15 other companies from around the globe, Indigenous Trails won the Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award 2009 at the International Fair for Alternative Travel in Germany at the weekend.

Indigenous Trails owner Des Harris says the company won against indigenous businesses from Australia, Bolivia, Canada and Kenya, among others.

“I was absolutely ecstatic about the award. I think it’s a great day for the small Maori team we have here in Tauranga Moana,” Mr Harris says.

The company operates tours, which encompass walks, through Tauranga Moana, the Bay of Islands and Auckland, only using Maori guides.

They also create itineraries for tourists travelling to other areas of New Zealand wanting to experience Maori culture _ using only authentic tangata whenua owned and operated companies.

The award is run collectively by Planeta.com, an ecotourism website, and the UN-run Convention on Biological Diversity.


Ngati porou claims negotiator Apirana Mahuika says the decision by the Minister of Treaty Negotiations to enlist the help of a former parliamentary opponent is visionary.

Apirana Mahuika says Chris Finlayson's move to draft former Labour MP Paul Swain to head the Crown's negotiating team for the claim shows he is not bound by convention.

Mr Mahuika says Ngati Porou can work pragmatically with Mr Swain, who retired from politics at the last election to run his own consultancy firm.

“Finlayson has gone out of the National Party to make these appointments. I think it’s a health sign of a person who is liberal-minded and looking at people whom he thinks can best serve the interests of the Crown going forward in these negotiations,” Mr Mahuika says.

Experts in indigenous mental health from around the world are meeting in Palmerston North to share their knowledge with Maori mental health practitioners and to learn what they can from the New Zealand experience.

Organiser Dr Te Kani Kingi, who is director of Te Mata o Te tau - the Academy for Maori Research and Scholarship at Massey university, says contributors have come from Canada, Australia and the United States to the three day conference which ends today.

“Different countries have taken different approaches to developing indigenous perspectives or incorporating indigenous perspectives within mental health treatment and care and policy, so it’s an opportunity for us to see how these indigenous world views have been incorporated within the design of mental health infrastructure throughout a number of different countries,” Dr Kingi says.

He says in many ways Maori have led the way in providing mental health treatment and care in a culturally sustainable way.


Treaty negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson believes the Treaty Settlement process is too important for bi-partisan politics saying he is determined to appoint the best person for the job in spite of their politics.

His comments come with his appointment of former longtime Labour cabinet minister Paul Swain to head the Crown team negotiating the Ngati Porou claim.

“The fact that people belong to the Labour Party doesn’t make them enemies of the state in my view. They may have that view of us but I certainly don’t have it of them. And when people move on from politics and I think that they are good people with skills, then I certainly will be asking them if they will help,” Mr Finlayson says.

He says Paul Swain did a good job as a minister and comes with a good knowledge of government, technical skills and a trade union background which will serve him well as a negotiator.

Paul Swain's appointment has been welcomed by Ngati Porou with claims negotiator Apirana Mahuika describing it as visionary.


Meanwhile a campaign to encourage more input to Ngati Porou treaty settlements has exceeded all expectations.

The East Coast tribe launched radio and televison ads on Waitangi Day featuring prominent Natis like Willie Jackson, John Tamihere and Te Hamua Nikora to encourage uri to register online.

Organiser Te Rau Kupenga says the response has been phenomenal, with more than 12 thousand hits on Te Haeata website, as whanau from across the globe sign up to have their say.

He says the iwi will this month launch a new website featuring Nati world, a Maori take on Google Earth.

“What we want is to map where all our whanaunga are, so it’s like Facebook and Bebo and those social networking pages. If I’m in Uzbekistan and I want to know if I’ve got any whanaunga in that country, I go on the site. It’s great of a person from Wharepunga looks on and sees he’s got a relation from Waipiro or from Tolaga just round the corner. The idea of this Nati World program is to put ourselves in touch with ourselves, no matter where we are,” Mr Kupenga says.

The term Nati comes from Te wiwi Nati … a term of endearment used by Sir Apirana Ngata to the young people of Ngati Porou.


A leader in Maori research says in many ways New Zealand has set an example in the way Maori with mental health problems have been cared for.

Dr Te Kani Kingi who is director of the Academy for Maori Research and Scholarship at Massey university - Te Mata o te Tau says the New Zealand experience is being closely studied by visitors from Canada, Australia and the United States at a three day conference which concludes at Massey University in Palmerston North today.

“As far back as the mid-1980s with Maori mental health services such as Whaiora at Tokanui, there has been some considerable development since then and Maori have continued to lead the way, particularly with respect to exploring the cultural-clinical interface,” Dr Kingi says.

At the same time New Zealand leaders in Maori mental health care are learning from those working with indigenous people in other countries.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Infrastructure spending needs to be strategic

A Maori unionist wants any government spending on infrastructure to be tagged to local employment and long term benefits.

Syd Kepa from the Council of Trade Unions runanga says the jobs of Maori workers seem particularly vulnerable in economic downturns.

But he says they often miss out on the benefits of remedial action, such as in his own Hauraki rohe, where the fast track replacement of the Kopu Bridge is unlikely to involve laid off local Maori workers.

“About two km down the road from there was a sawmill shut down that had been contributing to that economy for 25 years, 130 workers were laid off so if they are going to look at infrastructure, it is gong to be one that is going to provide on an ongoing basis rather than just a hit and run thing,” Mr Kepa says.


Tauranga MP Simon Bridges made a special trip to the King Country over the weekend, to reconnect with his maori heritage.

A powhiri was held on Saturday at Oparure Marae, near Te Kuiti, for Mr Bridges and his whanau, with support from his Tauranga Moana kaumatua.

Ngati Maniapoto kaumatua Tui Adams says Mr Bridges is one in a number of Maori MPs with ties to Ngati Maniapoto - including Cabinet minister Paula Bennett.

He says it’s heartening to see Maori MPs celebrating their taha Maori.

“We have Nanaia there all the time and on the last few days Tariana there for a couple of days so we had our whanaunga from Parliament there and to see Simon touching base with his whanau, it’s a great honour and a privilege for all of us,” Mr Adams.


Rugby Commentator Ken Laban says he's salivating at the thought of two top Maori players backs combining again at representative level.

The Wainuiomata based broadcaster and community worker says Piri Weepu and Luke McAlister are the cream of the crop.

Ken Laban says a strong relationship with Blues board member Grant Fox was behind McAlister’s decision to return to play in New Zealand rather take up lucrative offers to stay in Europe.

“There's no way in the word the New Zealand Rugby Union would have ben able to match the money Luke was going to be offered to play in France for two more years and for him to answer that call from Grant, I mean Grant won’t admit it publicly but I think it’s a wonderful move that Luke McAllster is coming back in May and hopefully he will be available for the international season,” Mr Laban says.

Piri Weepu from Whakatohea has been the standout performer in the first two rounds of the super 14, and led the Hurricanes to a 30-24 win over the defending champions, the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night.


In a show of political inclusiveness the government has appointed former Labour Cabinet Minister Paul Swain as the Crown's lead negotiator in talks with Ngati Porou on the settlement of historical grievances.

Treaty negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says by engaging talented people like Mr Swain, the Government is again demonstrating through action its commitment to reaching full and lasting settlements of historical grievances under the Treaty of Waitangi.

“I've always liked Paul Swain. He’s a political opponent but I don’t think he’s a political enemy. I think he did a good job as a minister and I think he has a good combination of knowledge of government, technical skills, a trade union background that would serve him well as a negotiator so I’m quite happy to bring those sorts of people into my team because this is a bipartisan project, it’s too important for party politics, and I want the best people working with me,” Mr Finlayson says.

At the same time although his office is making no comment there is considerable speculation that former Treaty negotiations minister Michael Cullen is set to quit politics and become a negotiator for central North Island iwi Tuwharetoa.


The new president of the Labour Party says reconnecting with Maori voters is high on his list of priorities.

Andrew Little, who heads the Engineering Printing and Manufacturers Union, says while the Maori Party has taken away some of Labour’s traditional Maori support, most Maori voters still gave their party vote to Labour.

He says there is a strong chance the two parties could work together in the future, but right now his priority is to strengthen well-established ties.

“Last year’s election shows there’s a fair amount of work needed to reconnect with Labour’s traditional base and that’s been acknowledged in the party and key is our relationship with Maori and to some extent with the Maori Party as well so I certainly see those as major issues that have to be dealt with over the next couple of years.’ Says Mr Little, who has taken over from Mike Williams as the president of the Labour Party.


A Maori fisherman who has been at sea since he was a kid is becoming a television celebrity.

Rewi Bull, from Colac Bay, skippers the crayboat Shangri La out of Bluff.
He features in Million Dollar Catch, a 10 part television series on the exploits of the crayfishing fleets working the bottom of the South Island.

Mr Bull, who fishes around Milford Sound, hopes this year's crayfish season is as good as the last.

“The crayfish industry has come back a bit in recent years after big quota cuts and a lot of survey work and managing the fishery better and it has come back a bit. Ten years of so ago it was pretty bad and a few guys got out of it. It’s coming right. Hopefully it’s not a one off thing. The fish seem to be good so hopefully we can keep looking after them," Mr Bull says.

It took a while to get used to having a film crew on board, but all the skippers profiled enjoyed the series premiere at a Bluff pub last week.

Maori development putea sought

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says Maori need their own putea for development.

The idea of a $600 million dollar fund for Maori, equal to one percent of government spending, was mooted at Friday's jobs summit.

Mrs Turia says the mainstream has failed to meet Maori needs or expectations, and it is time for departments to step aside and let Maori address their own problems.

“There has been an abject failure by the public sector to actually address the needs of the Maori people so they’re talking about the failure of the education system, the failure of the health system, the failure of social and justice programmes so overall what we are seeing is a huge spend in these areas and no good outcomes for it,” Mrs Turia says.

She was heartened to hear that iwi like Ngai tahu were going into schools to help students map out careers, but that kind of intervention needs resources.


Ngati Kahungunu is today welcoming a new chief executive.

Runanga chair Ngahiwi Tomaoana says Meka Whaitiri brings a wealth of experience to the job, having held senior positions in the government sector.

She fills the role left vacant by Aramanu Ropata's move across to the Wairarapa to Wairoa tribe's asset holding company, as part of a restructuring which separates commercial and social arms.

Mr Tomoana says Ms Whaitiri, a former Silver Fern netballer, will work on iwi social issues such as anti violence programmes, health education and literacy.

“Meka has grown up here in Hastings in Hawkes Bay in Kahungunu. She’s also from Rongowhakaata and she is part of the treaty negotiations team. She’s recently been the director of the Ministry of Maori Affairs office and her experience in the government sector will be valuable as we now look at social issues,” Mr Tomoana says.

Ope from Rongowhakaata and the government sector will bring Meka Whaitiri to today's powhiri.


Manukau Maori wardens are opening their organisation to volunteers from all cultures.

District co ordinator Thomas Henry says while Maori wardens originally worked within relatively self-contained communities, Maori now live in diverse communities.

The wardens were out in south Auckland malls and shopping centres over the weekend trying to attract recruits.

Mr Henry says while the association's guidelines say members should be Maori, the wardens kaupapa is about caring for your community regardless of race.

He says they are setting a target of 100 trainee volunteers.


The chair of the Business Roundtable says a special effort needs to be made to stop Maori unemployment rates going up to historic levels.

Rob McLeod from Ngati Porou took part in the Maori work stream at last Friday's prime ministerial jobs summit.

He says that was because of the broader social and economic consequences of the historical trends, where Maori unemployment is typically two to three times the national average.

“Maori being locked out of the workforce sets off a chain of a whole lot of adverse downstream consequences. Maori who are in work are not engaged in crime, they are not on welfare, their families are not being role modeled in those sorts of directions. The flow on benefits from Maori employment compared with being in unemployment are just immeasurable,” Mr McLeod says.

He says public and private sector organisations should consider cadetships and other affirmative action programmes for Maori workers, similar to the steps which have been taken to increase the number of women in the workforce.


Te Wananga o Aotearoa wants its enrolment cap lifted so it can respond to the growing economic crisis.

Chief executive Bentham Ohia says last Friday's job summit showed the need for experienced training providers.

The wananga's roots are in the work training schemes of the early 1980s, and it still has a lot of specialist expertise on tap.

Mr Ohia says in more recent years its focus has been more academic, including its emphasis on te reo Maori.

“There's a need for us to employ again some of the strategies which were adopted back then such as work based training, supporting those who are made redundant, providing them with shorter sort of courses to not only support them is a reengagement with work but more importantly provide them the pastoral care in terms of keeping positive about things as best as can be in those situations,” Mr Ohia says.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa has approval to take on up to 21 thousand students this year, but at current enrolment rates there will be greater demand than places available.


Mothers and health workers gathered in Parihaka this weekend to learn a traditional approach to countering sudden infant death syndrome, or cot death.

They learned how to make wahakura or woven flax bassinettes.
Organiser Maata Wharehoka says the baskets allow babies to sleep more safely in bed with their parents.

She says S.I.D.S has caused heartache for families across the motu.

Maata Wharehoka says there will also be a wahakura workshop at next month's Womad festival in New Plymouth.