Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Volcanic stinginess irks Auckland iwi

Auckland hapu Ngati Whatua is noting an imbalance between Auckland City Council's promises of partnership and what it's willing to spend.

Last week 12 mana whenua iwi and hapu signed a framework agreement with the Crown that would give them ownership and co-management of many of the city's volcanic cones.

At the same time, the Auckland Council's Citizens and Ratepayers' majority pushed through a budget that allocates only $457,000 to maintain all of the city’s 23 volcanic features.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei trustee Ngarimu Blair says there's a pattern of cost cutting around the cones.

“The whole reason we have brought abut this treaty settlement along with Marutuahu and Waikato is to bring greater leadership around these taonga to ensure that through our involvement in co-managing with council that more resources are put to them. It is extremely worrying we may be left with very little budget to do much else than what happens now which is watching cows eat grass while the mountain tumbles down around their ankles,” Mr Blair says.

He says the remains of pa on the maunga are as important as Inca ruins or Stonehenge.

HOUSING PLAN NEEDS WIDER ECONOMIC STRATEGY

A Kaitaia-based trust says the Kainga Whenua loan scheme for developing houses on ancestral land needs to be paired with a wider economic development strategy.

Ricky Houghton from He Korowai Trust says people moving back to their rural hau kainga could struggle to find work.

He says one answer is to use Maori land that is currently unproductive.

“We're trying to develop land-based activities there so we can use the underutilised or under-developed Maori land up here to generate an income so when the whanau do come home they generate an income off their land and that pays their mortgage,” Mr Houghton says.

Kainga Whenua could give future generations the opportunity to live on their own tribal lands.

CHANCE FOR PUPPETS TO HAVE NEW LIFE

Musician and academic Aroha Yates-Smith wants to bring the ancient art of Maori puppetry back to life..

The wooden karetao were believed to have been used to pass on tribal stories histories and even to imitate haka.

Professor Yates-Smith says wananga at Waikato University next week will look at what is known about the marionettes and how they might develop.

“This is an opportunity for some of our elders and practitioners in Maori performing arts word to come together, just a small group initially, to come together and talk about the karetao and discuss its past and its future,” she says.

There's growing interest in karetao from young Maori carvers and artists.

INEQUITIES BRING POOR MARK IN RACE REPORT

Race Relations commissioner Joris de Bres wants the Government to make reducing inequalities between Maori and Pakeha a top priority.

In his last annual report Mr de Bres linked the recession with race relations.

He says his predictions were borne out, and this year's document, due out soon, will record how progress in key areas like employment and standard of living had stalled or gone backwards.

Mr de Bres says the government can't stand back when one in three Maori between the ages of 15 and 24 is jobless.

“This is a big social issue and as such it does need government attention and it does need community initiatives,” Mr de Bres says.

He says the relatively young age of the Maori population means youth unemployment has significant costs for the whole Maori community.

POLICE SEEKING HELP DIVERTING YOUNG OFFENDERS

Taranaki police are working with Maori groups to increase the number of offenders who benefit from diversion.

Senior Sergeant Malcolm Greig says in the past Maori haven't benefited as much as other groups from diversion, which gives first-time offenders the opportunity to avoid conviction.

He says raising awareness among non-Maori diversion officers of cultural factors like body language can help.

“Sometimes like feelings of shame are expressed with the head down and non-communication. Sometimes that can be interpreted as non-engagement with the diversion process,” Senior Sergeant Greig says.

Police are getting help from family violence and other Maori groups.

MATAURI X FENDING OFF CREDITORS WAITING FOR MARKET REBIRTH

Northland's troubled Matauri X Incorporation has fended off an attempt to wind it up, but it needs an upturn in the market for holiday homes if it is to pay off its main lender.

Kevin Gillespie, the incorporation's court-appointed administrator, yesterday struck a time payment deal with United Civil over a $150,000 debt, which was the balance owed for engineering work on the 81-section beachfront development.

But the Maori Land Court refused to double the term of the 52 year leases, which have proved unsalable in the current market.

Mr Gillespie is now trying to stabilise the situation with Strategic Finance, which refinanced the incorporation after the collapse of a water-bottling business entered into by its previous management committee.

“It cost us $6.2 million to get out from Bridgecorp and Instant Funding. It cost us another $10.5 million for construction of the subdivision. So the balance is interest and fees. They have not been charging penalty interest and we’re talking with them about putting a cap on the debt at some point so we know what we’ve got to repay,” Mr Gillespie says.

Only 25 sections have sold, but 15 are in dispute as buyers try to back out of their deals.

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