Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Alarm bells sound in Murihiku milk investment

Bulletins December 21

The real estate firm acting for the venders of 28 Southland farms worth an estimated $150 million to Maori interests reportedly backed by Arab money remains confident the buyer is genuine.

When news of the potential sales broke on Friday, Federated Farmers warned its members to be cautious and called in the Serious Fraud Office when it learned that a bankrupt Australian claiming kaumatua status although he is not Maori....Shane Wenzel, aka Tane Rakau was involved.

Mr Wenzel is due to appear in the Manukau District Court on Wednesday on 36 charges brought by the SFO involving nearly $4.7 mortgage fraud.

It is understood real estate agents L J Hooker were uncomfortable dealing with Mr Wenzel however agent John Wright says they remain happy with the local hapu.

“Certainly as far as we are concerned we have cross checked from time tio time and we’ve had checks and balances in the process and we have been more than happy along the way so we were dealing with Wynn Murray, who is a local man, who we have confidence in, he is a genuine member of the hapu, and a local solicitor has been vetting all the agreements as they are being processed,” Mr Wright says.

He says to the best of their judgment the Arab backers are also genuine.

He says the unnamed backers have a record of similar food for mortgage money deals with indigenous people in other countries.


A Maori leader within the Labour Party believes the Maori Party is finally coming around to seeing things in a similar way to Labour.

Parekura Horomia who was Minister of Maori affairs in the last government says at times it’s been a struggle to get the Maori Party MP's to represent Maori interests.

He says the party's decision not to support National, its partner in government, over scrapping dedicated Maori seats on polytechnic councils was a watershed.

“They voted with us so that’s OK but there’s been a half a dozen instances we have had to drive really hard to being them around and it’s good we’ve come together and stood firm on it,” Mr Horomia says.

He claims the Maori party is also starting to understand Labour's position on the Foreshore and Seabed legislation.


A South Auckland organisation has found a new tool to help people with mental health issues ... the waka.

James Papali’i from Blue Dove, the co-ordinator of waka ama activities, has spent the past year getting tangata whaiora out on the water with amazing results.

He says when he started many of those involved had such anxiety that they had difficulty leaving their rooms.

However their confidence has built to such an extent that they have even taken part in waka racing.

“They lifted another notch. I almost fell off the back of the waka. All through the winter we haven’t been racing, just teaching the techniques, but yesterday they jumped another level,” Mr Papali’i says.

He says other groups working with tangata whaiora are looking closely at the projects success.


The Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples say the Maori Party has wide support among senior government ministers for its whanau ora plans expected to be introduced early in the new year.

Dr Sharples says funds will be given to proven Maori groups to find solutions their own way as measures to arrest the high numbers of Maori getting into difficulties have not worked.

“There are health groups, there are iwi groups doing wonderful things for their people. Let’s try this idea. There will be repercussions as people don’t like giving people responsibility as opposed to agencies. Well they are going to have to learn because this is the new way and we are going to have to make sure that it happens,” Dr Sharples says.

He expects Labour will support the measures.


And a predominantly Maori trust which opened facilities in Wellington last week for people on the fringe of society says it is already putting the whanau ora concept into practice.

Consultancy Advocacy and Research Trust chair Denis O'Reilly says the facilities which include a gymnasium, work programmes and health services are for people such as gang members, ex prisoners and those with alcohol and drug issues who are hesitant to use mainstream services.

He says the trust's wrap around approach is similar to the what's being promoted by the Maori Party.

“It's a good example of whanau ora where communities identify for themselves what the issues are that confront them and work out their own solutions and how they are going to overcome it and so in that way it is potentially becoming what will be a more mainstream way of approaching these sorts of,” Mr O’Reilly says.

The CART building near the Basin Reserve was opened by Governor General Sir Anand Satayanand last week on the trust's 20th anniversary.


The chief executive of Maori arts marketer Toi Maori says a new tohu may be needed to authenticate Maori made products.

Creative New Zealand is poised to axe the Toi Iho mark after lower than expected take-up by Maori artists they expected.

Garry Nicholas says despite the slow uptake for the brand, there is consensus among Maori artists that some official mark of authenticity is needed.

“The great artists of our living time, Paki Harrison, Digger Te Kanawa, those are the names that underpinned the mana of what was intended and that’s why for all of us, we support 100 percent the concept of a Maori made mark. The Toi Iho one, I don’t think it will get up again, but I think we need a Maori-made mark and maybe it’s a brand new one,” Mr Nicholas says.

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