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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oil and gas on Taranaki agenda

One of the leaders of the Taranaki iwi claim negotiating team says the province's oil and gas resources are definitely on the table, despite Prime Minister John Key ruling out such discussions.

Taranaki iwi signed terms of negotiation with the Crown at Puniho Marae southwest of New Plymouth yesterday.

Mahara Okeroa, a former Labour MP, says starting talks well after most other iwi in the rohe have settled gives Taranaki a chance to pick up outstanding issues, like Crown ownership of minerals.

“It's on the table. Issues around the natural resource and mineral wealth, Ngai Tahu set the precedent in terms of mineral wealth with respect to their greenstone. Greenstone is a mineral. So the parameters of the claim for Taranaki are not set in concrete yet. Let’s not constrain opurselves to utternces made politically or otherwise,” Mr Okeroa says.

He says the specific issues around the 1881 invasion of Parihaka also come under the Taranaki iwi settlement.

LANGUAGE AGENCY CONSOLIDATION AND DEVOLUTION IN ZEITGEIST

The Maori Language Commissioner says a recommendation that funding be shifted from state agencies into the local community is in line with government thinking.

Erima Henare yesterday told the Maori affairs select committee that administration costs could be saved by merging Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori with Maori broadcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho.

He says there could also be rationalisation of what is spent on the language by other government agencies like the Tertiary Education Commission, the ministries of Education and Culture, and New Zealand on Air.

“If you are looking at economies of scale and value for money, you are probably running lots of administration and boards and things like that when perhaps the savings generated perhaps be put out among broadcasting or put out among Maori language groups,” Mr Henare says.

Language groups such as Te Atarangi, Kohanga Reo, kura, wananga and iwi need to jointly work out how to manage the money at community level.

COACHING TEAM RIGHT FOR CRITICAL YEAR

One of the toughest men to have ever pulled on a rugby jersey believes the new coaching staff for the Maori All Blacks is the right combination for a critical year.

Head coach Jamie Joseph and assistant Daryl Gibson will prepare the team for a three match series to mark the centenary of Maori rugby.

Games have been confirmed against Ireland in Rotorua on June 18 and England in Napier the following week, with the opponent for an initial game at Whangarei still to be confirmed.

Former Canterbury and All Black prop Bill Bush says the schedule is a worthy challenge for coaches and players.

Although the New Zealand Natives toured in 1888 the first offical New Zealand Maori team took the field in Rotorua in 1910.

HARAWIRA ABSENCE FROM SELECT COMMITTEE NOTED

The Labour Party is questioning how the Maori Party can advocate for Maori representation on the Auckland super city if its MPs don't turn up to the select committee.

Party co-leader Pita Sharples has told Maori that Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira is leading the charge to get Maori seats added to the super city council.

But Manurewa MP George Hawkins says Mr Harawira skipped the public hearings held by the select committee into the third Super City Bill, which spelled out how the council's committees, community boards and council controlled organisations would be structured.

“We had people who came to talk about Maori representation. It didn’t get picked up by him. Other members of the select committee would have but his absence of more than two weeks of hearings showed the amount of interest. While there was the odd joke he was probably visiting Paris or somewhere else, the fact is he wasn't there,” he says.

Mr Hawkins says if Mr Harawira's absence was known to party leaders, any of the party's other MPs could have filled in.

FORMER CEO SPEAKS OUT AGAINST TAURA WHIRI MERGER

Former Maori language commission chief executive Haami Piripi says merging Te Taura Whiri with Maori broadcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho would betray the intent of the Maori Language Act making te reo an official language.

Language commissioner Erima Henare is proposing the merger as a way to shift funding from administration to promotion of the language at community level.
Mr Piripi says a merger would weaken the commission's wider advocacy role.

“There is definitely a role for Te Taura Whiri in the public sector in central Wellington to make sure ministries and departments continue to utilise the language as an effective planning and operational tool within their business,” Mr Piripi says.

TOP LEVEL TESTS FOR MAORI CENTENARY TOUR

A century of Maori rugby will be recognised with top level tests against England and Ireland this winter.

Wayne Peters, the chair of the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board, says games are scheduled for Whangarei, Rotorua and Napier in June.

Although a New Zealand Natives team toured the United Kingdom in 1888, the first official New Zealand Maori team took the field in Rotorua in 1910.

Mr Peters says England is making a special side trip on its way home from a series against Australia.

“They are only playing one game in New Zealand. That signified the importance the English Union places on this game. Ireland has never played New Zealand Maori before. Both unions recognize the importance of the programme not only to New Zealand and the NZFRU bit the contribution of Maori to world rugby,” Mr Peters says.

The New Zealand Rugby Football Union is trying to track down former Maori players to take part in the festivities.

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