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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Preparations for treaty commemoration

February 5

In the Bay of Islands mana whenua are preparing to welcome thousands of visitors expected for tomorrow's Treaty of Waitangi commemorations.

First up Te Tii Marae is expecting a large ope of Pacific Island visitors here to learn about the treaty.

Kaumatua Kingi Taurua has joked he will be adopting them into his hapu – Ngati Kingi - leading to a succession of increasingly frenetic calls from Immigration officials warning him off the idea.

Just after 10am John Key will be welcomed on along with members of the diplomatic corps, back for the first time since they got caught up in some robust protests 15 years ago.

The Labour Party follows after noon with leader Phil Goff’s performance sure to come under scrutiny.

And at nearby Haruru Falls, the Iwi Leaders Forum will try to reach consensus on water, the foreshore and seabed and the reform of the Resource Management Act,


A longtime visitor to Waitangi Labour Party MP Parekura Horomia is expecting the usual friction.

This is his 37th visit, and he says while there are parts to be celebrated, there are also people who want to be negative.

Celebrations in other parts of the country are expected to be less controversial.

In Auckland upward of 30,000 are likely at the free Okahu Bay concert featuring reggae legends Herbs while at Manukau City Australian idol Stan Walker and band Kora will be the highlights.

Wellington's got the OK Dinghy world championships and Rugby 7's while governor general Sir Anand Satyanand will give his annual address on Akoroa's Onuku marae.

Dunedin will celebrate the 30th birthday of Araiteuru marae one of the first urban marae in the country.


One of New Zealand's foremost photographers Marti Friendlander says her gifting of a suite of 48 original prints of Maori kuia with moko to Te Papa Tongarewa has been a very humbling and moving experience.

82 year old Marti Friendlander who travelled the country in 1970 with the late Michael King to take the photos for their book Moko says she hesitated about making the donation because of the enormity of what she was doing.

“When you go into the exhibition, you feel the presence of these wonderful women. I had a preview of them all at the FHE Gallery and I was moved to tears because they were all so present,” Friedlander says.

She says the women were the age she is now when she photographed them.

The collection will be exhibited at Auckland's FHE from Monday.

Housing spokesperson and Maori Party co-leader, Tariana Turia, says Housing New Zealand could enter into joint ventures with Maori landowners in cases where home owners who can’t pay their mortgages.

The government has announced that Kiwibank will provide no deposit loans for Maori to build homes on multiple owned land with Housing New Zealand guaranteeing repayments.

Mrs Turia says she can understand other bank's reluctance to get into such lending.

In the past Maori could build on papa kainga land but they had to find deposits.


Meanwhile a northern iwi leader says the government should be repairing old homes as a priority.

Haami Piripi, who heads Te Runanga o Te Rarawa, says at the same time as announcing the loans guarantee scheme the government has cut the Essential Repairs programme which made many homes in Northland livable.

“From our point of view in the relatively impoverished communities here we’re stuck with trying to repair our old ones and this is a dilemma for us,” Mr Piripi says.

Most repairs and upgrades can be done for under $15,000 ... a loan that iwi members can afford to repay.

He says they still have 500 people on a waiting list.


Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly says assistance for Maori groups to take on more unemployed workers needs to be dramatically increased as unemployment figures reach their highest level in 10 years.

She says it is a huge worry that the Maori unemployment rate has reached 15.4 percent, more than double that of the general population.

“With some of the job opportunity schemes that come up a lot of Maori groups put there hands up to taken Maori unemployed in for community work and I’m sure that opportunity can be expanded and hasn’t been exhausted,” Ms Kelly says.

Many Maori will be among the one in four young people unemployed.


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