Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 01, 2010

Harawira pushing tupuna title ahead of policy

Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira is on the road gauging Maori opinion on replacing the Foreshore and Seabed Act, despite there being no clear alternative on the table.

A technical working group chosen by the Iwi Leaders Forum is working with a small group of Crown officials on a proposal for Attorney General Chris Finlayson to take to Cabinet.

Fellow Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell has backed the process, and said the party believes an effective solution can only come out of meaningful engagement between the Crown and iwi and hapu.

But Mr Harawira says he’s not waiting, and he’s looking for support for his idea of replacing Crown ownership with Maori or tupuna title.

“They’re not clearly Maori Party policies but unless you go out with a basic set of information, you’re out there floundering, so we’re not floundering, we’ve got some basic ideas – Maori title, no sale and access for all, see what our people think,” he says.

Last Friday’s hui at Dargaville was only the first of what he expects will be 40 nationwide.

JUDGE PRAISES QUALITY OF LAWYERS BUT NOTES GAPS

The new deputy chief judge of the Maori Land Court is praising the depth of Maori legal talent.

Between 10 to 20 Maori are admitted to the bar each year, and there are now a few hundred Maori lawyers.

Caren Fox says it's great to see Maori doing commercial, regulatory and environmental law, but there aren't enough lawyers in other fields with a high Maori need.

“The criminal courts and the family courts could do with a good smattering of Maori lawyers but they don’t tend to go into those fields and stay very long,” Judge Fox says.

DENTAL DECAY LEADING TO OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS

The head of the Maori dental association, Pauline Koopu, wants Maori and mainstream health organisations to give priority to Maori oral health.

Te Ao Marama held its annual hui at Rotorua over the weekend.

Dr Koopu says many Maori never go near a dentist once they turn 18 and stop getting free treatment.

That creates other health problems.

“There are underlying diseases such as diabetes, cardio-vascular. Pre-term low birth-weight babies have also been linked to having poor oral health so there’s a huge link there between oral health and general health that isn’t well known,” Dr Koopu says.

Te Ao Marama is trying to make iwi realise the importance of oral health.

THREE STRIKES LAW WILL INCREASAE STREET VIOLENCE

South Auckland youth worker Haami Chapman says ACT’s three strikes bill being pushed through Parliament is likely to lead to more serious offending.

Mr Chapman, who was named local hero in this year’s New Zealander of the Year awards for his work with gangs, says by trying to look tough, the Government is ignoring effective community-driven responses to crime.

He says increased prison terms don’t act as a deterrent for rangatahi caught up in violence.

“If you know you ain’t got no other option for you, if you know you’re going away for a long time, what’s to prevent you from doing whatever you want to do. Let’s just make a good job of it. If you know you are going to be locked away the next 30 years, I may as well go the whole hog. See, it has that opposite effect,” Mr Chapman says.

What is working in south Auckland is whanau-based programmes, which are turning lives around.

SHAPLES DISAPPOINTED AT HEATLEY DEPARTURE

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says former housing and fisheries minister Phil Heatley did a lot for Maori.

The Whangarei MP stood down on Friday over his use of a ministerial credit card.

Dr Sharples says Mr Heatley brought together Housing New Zealand and Kiwibank to allow people building on ancestral land to get loans.

He also pushed to get agreements between those managing customary fisheries, recreational fishers and quota holders, so it’s a disappointment to lose him from Cabinet.

“I don’t know whether there’s something behind it or not but I do know he’s a genuine guy and to be down the road for a couple of bottles of wine seems to me really silly when you look at what company executives do ore even employees with their privileges and so on,” Dr Sharples says.

WOMEN THE FACE OF MOKO REVIVAL

One of the country's top ta moko artists is crediting women with keeping the ancient art alive.

Mark Kopua from Tologa Bay has been demonstrating tattooing at the Face Value Exhibition of moko at Waikato Museum and Art Gallery.

He says in the same way wahine Maori led the way in language initiatives like kohanga reo or Aataarangi, they are also embracing the moko kauae, the chin moko and other designs that reflect their tribal identity.

“Our women are the strongest carriers of moko. Throughout the country the women outnumber the males and it’s very obvious to us the women are the strongest carriers of that type of kaupapa,” Mr Kopua says.

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