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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Maori Party vague on foreshore alternative

A meeting of the Maori Party's national council in Wellington at the weekend agreed that MP Hone Harawira's position on the foreshore and seabed should be an option for discussion at hui being held around the country.

The first hui was held in Dargarville on Friday to be followed by at least 20 more.

Party president Whatarangi Winiata says the Tai Tokerau MP's position of Maori or tupuna title, no sale and access for all will be up for discussion at the hui but the National Council did not want the korero to be restricted to this option.

“That’s really important. We can’t be closing off options. This is their property. We can’t be dictating what it is that they should do. What we must try to achieve is give them maximum choice so that the legislation, the appropriate legislation is written,” Professor Winiata says.

One of the questions the iwi may have differing views on is what is meant by tupuna title and whether this would allow for co-management with the Crown for example.

He says the council and Mr Harawira's position is not in contradiction to the view expressed by fellow Maori party MP Te Ururoa Flavell, who supports the Iwi Leaders Forum and Crown officials meeting to work out a proposal for Minister of Treaty Settlements Chris Finlayson to take to cabinet.


A spokesperson for Iwi Have Influence or IHI, formed to fight for Maori representation on Auckland Super City, says it’s important the Maori Advisory Board does not become a one stop shop for Maori.

Helen Te Hira says the board set up when Maori were denied seats on the council must not be used to get around the Local Government Act.

“Whatever happens the Local Government Act still has obligations legally to ensure that Maori have full access to the range of council services, that they can participate in decision-making processes,” Ms Te Hira says.

Iwi representatives are also concerned the board it could become a place where Maori are fobbed off to.

Hearings on legislation to set up the Super City are currently being held in Auckland.


An expert on riwai Maori, or Maori potatoes has been in hot demand in Korea.

Nick Roskruge from Tahuri Whenua, the Maori vegetable growers association, says the Koreans were keen to tap into his horticultural knowledge.

“Training some of the farmers not so much in riwai but in vegetable production. A lot of them are still farming small pieces of land and doing it the old way. It’s about upskilling a little bit, some of their soil management and irrigation and those sorts of things, just to be a little smarter and meet some of the market expectations,” he says.

Mr Roskruge, from Te Atiawa and Ngati Tama Ariki, says Korean farmers want to boost production but are conscious of the need for sustainable soil management, something Maori have traditionally understood.


Controversial Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says criticism of him for suggesting chains be dropped in the Kaipara harbour in protest at plans to build a sea-turbine power plant is unfair.

Mr Harawira says feelings are running hot around the Kaipara at the proposal that threatens one of the country's best schnapper fisheries and methods of protest emerged during a public meeting he was chairing on the foreshore and seabed on Friday.

“But in fact it was an old Pakeha guy who talked about dropping chains. It was another old Pakeha guy who talked about dropping cars and then an older Maori guy got up to say that in fact some of his nephews had been talking about the same thing,” Mr Harawira says.

He says Maori and Pakeha are extremely upset because National MPs from the area will not front to defend the station intended to provide power for Auckland.


A new book released yesterday on the life of historical writer Elsdon Best aims to shed light on his relationship with Tutakangahau of Maungapohatu, who the budding anthropologist described in 1895 as the last of the old time Maori.

Best of Both Worlds has been penned by Canterbury-based Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, who worked as a shearer, sawmiller and social worker before graduating from university with degrees in te reo and Maori studies.

He says there is little written about Elsdon Best, who worked and lived in the Urewera for 15 years, and Tutakangahau, who provided him with a lot of information on te ao Maori.

Dr Holman says his book examines the two men’s lives and how their stories intertwine.

“There was advantage on both sides and I don’t think Tutakangahau actually held back very much at all and it’s a really gripping story and I think any one who’s interested in that area, whether they like my book or not, will find something about the relationship between these two men which raises a lot of questions which I think are really worth asking,” Mr Holman says.

Those questions includes their spiritual and religious views.

Best of Both Worlds, the story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau is published by Penguin.


The executive director of Maori dance troupe Atamira says new technologies are opening exciting opportunities for performers and their audiences.

Moss Patterson from Ngati Tuwharetoa says the Tokyo Performing arts market he attending is opening his eyes to new theatrical opportunities, such as YouTube and live streaming of shows to websites.

Moss Patterson says he hopes to forge relationships at the arts market which will open the way for collaborative performances with dancers at the cutting edge of modern dance.


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