Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ngati Whatua wants mana whenua to prevail

The chair of Auckland's Ngati Whatua hapu wants the Maori advisory board for the super city to be limited to the 12 iwi and hapu who this month signed a framework agreement to manage the city's maunga.

The government has yet to announce the board's structure.
Grant Hawke says Ngati Whatua has reluctantly agreed to go on the board, despite its preference for Maori seats on the full council.

“If we all boycott it that means that others who would want to be there who don’t represent us entirely will be doing the negotiation from their perspective, not from the mana whenua perspective,” Mr Hawke says.

Ngati Whatua will continue to push for the Royal Commission's recommendation of seats on the council.


Prime Minister John Key is assuring Maori students his Government won't be cutting them off from access to student loans.

Comments in the Prime Minister's speech to Parliament about toughening up on loan recipients have been interpreted by

Canterbury Maori studies head Rawiri Taonui and Massey University vice chancellor Steve Maharey as a threat to Maori, who tend to enter university later in life.

But Mr Key says no-interest student loans are here to stay.

“People might want to run around and scaremonger but we have universal access rights to universities in New Zealand and universal rights to student loans providing people follow the rules and do what’s required of them at the time,” Mr Key says.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce is yet to start his review of student funding.


The chief judge of the Ahuwhenua dairy farming awards says Maori tend to take greater care of the environment than other farmers.

It's the third time Doug Leeder has been on the panel to pick to top Maori farmer.

The Opotiki farmer says this year care for the environment has jumped up the judging criteria.

“The cultural aspect Maoridom in terms of managemenrt of the land nad guardianship of the land, has demonstrated to us probably a higher level of compliance than would have probably been seen across the general dairy industry,” Mr Leeder says.

Good environmental practices are vital for the long-term sustainability of farming as a business enterprise.

Initial judging takes place next month, with field days on the three regional finalists in April and the prizegiving in Taupo at the end of May.


The start of hearings on Ngapuhi's historical claims has been put off again.

The hearing of the last major tribal grouping to go before the Waitangi Tribunal was due to start on late March with evidence on the northern iwi's understanding of the meaning of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the 1835 Declaration of Independence.

But the tribunal has sought a two month delay because it was not able to field the full panel of members that week.

Nuki Aldridge from Te Kotahitanga o nga hapu o Ngapuhi says if it drags on further, important kaumatua evidence could be lost.

“The people that are going to present the korero, they are elders. If the korero needs to be spoken by them, give them the opportunity to do that. And I know the ones that passed on wanted to be there, they couldn’t and that’s because of all the damn holdups,” Mr Aldridge says.

He says it's important the evidence is heard by the full tribunal panel.


Labour's Maori affairs spokesman Parekura Horomia says many Maori will end up unfairly penalised by ACT's three strikes legislation.

The National Government is pushing through the bill despite concerns voiced by the Justice Ministry and by prison reform and human rights groups.

Mr Horomia says rangatahi Maori are already getting strikes they do not deserve.

“The real danger for Maoridom is a lot of our youth unnecessarily penalized because of their immaturity and their inability to understand the legal process and the system,” he says.

Mr Horomia says legal aid duty lawyers often tell young Maori to plead guilty to crimes they have not committed to speed up the system and avoid a full trial.


An expert in New Zealand English says it's a sign of a healthy language when elders complain how the younger generation is using it.

Jeanette King, the head of linguistics at Canterbury University, says all languages change over time because of changes in society and technology.

She says because Maori went through a long period of neglect, the recent revival of te reo in the education system meant the Maori Language Commission needed to build up a vocabulary of modern terms.

“Te Taura Whiri got the job of purring the job together and received a lot of flak. Sometimes they say its something about the way younger people speak, but we do also have to remember that older Pakeha complain about younger Pakeha and how they speak,” Professor King says.

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