Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 05, 2010

Tarawera River deal irks tribal elements

A member of Ngati Rangitihi in the eastern Bay of Plenty says an agreement this week with the operators of the Tasman Pulp and Paper Mill in Kawerau is hot air.

The memorandum of understanding commits Carter Holt Harvey and Norske Skog to work with Rangitihi, Ngati Awa and Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau on measures to clean up the Tarawera River, which is known as the black drain.

But Maanu Paul says those who signed the memorandum don't hold the mandate from the Matata iwi when it comes to the river and the mill's resource consent.

“The claim for the river in the Waitangi Tribunal is in the name of Te Tino Tangatiratanga o Ngati Rangitihi. The appeal to the Environment Court is in the name of Te Tino Tangatiratanga o Ngati Rangitihi. It is certainly not in the name of those people who are purporting to speak in the name of Rangitihi,” Mr Paul says.

He says the small number of jobs Ngati Rangitihi people have at the mill needs to be weighed against the hundreds they miss out on because of the pollution of their waterways.

WHANAU ORA POLICIES COULD CLOSE THE GAPS

New Waikato University emeritus professor Tamati Reedy believes the government's new whanau ora policies could close some of the gaps between Maori and Pakeha.

Associate social welfare minister Tariana Turia highlighted some of the gaps in a speech to the Business Roundtable today, including the fact only 19 percent of Maori students leave school with NCEA level 3 or higher compared to 45 percent of Pakeha.

Dr Reedy, who headed Waikato's school of Maori and Pacific development, says Maori have been pointing to the answers for generations.

CROWDS BRING LOVE AND TEARS TO MARAE

Hundreds of people have been through Otiria Marae near Moerewa to pay their respects to Gerard Ngawati, who died on Tuesday aged 55.

The Ngati Hine man touched the lives of thousands through his championing of Maori touch rugby and other sports and his work for the Ministry of Education, the Hillary Commission and Skill New Zealand.

Tamaki Makaurau MP Pita Sharples, who worked with Mr Ngawati in west Auckland for more than two decades, says hundreds more mourners saw him off at Hone Waititi Marae in Glen Eden before he was taken north.

“The saying on the marae yesterday at Hoani Waititi was the kawa of the marae was violated by love and that’s how it was. We had no control of the whare by the end,” Dr Sharples says.

Gerard Ngawati's funeral service at Otiria Marae starts at 10 tomorrow morning.

LANDOWNERS MOVE TO OWN NEXT HARVEST

One of the country's most experienced Maori foresters says Maori have to stop letting others grow trees on their land.

George Asher, the chief executive and general manager of Lake Taupo and Lake Rotoaira Forest Trusts, spoke to a forestry conference in Auckland today about Maori aspirations for the sector.

He says the Ngati Tuwharetoa trusts have been resuming rather than rolling over leases on their 33,000 hectares of forests, and they have encouraged the Central North Island iwi collective to adopt the same strategy with the 170,000 hectares of forests it has got back from the Crown.

“At least for the Tuwharetoa Trusts, we’ve got skin in the game and we’re progressing towards 100 percent ownership of the crop, we’re over 50 percent of the way there now and we’re fully appraised of the risks and the operations and the prospects of future value added entry into the value chain,” Mr Asher says.

He says the bottom line for Maori business is people, so they need to generate profits which can be used to meet the social and cultural objectives of iwi.

TRUANCY MAJOR THREAT FOR MAORI FUTURE

Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says the Maori community needs to get on top of truancy and absenteeism.

Education Ministry figures out this week show absenteeism rates have stayed static for the past three years, with about 30,000 students a day skipping classes.

Mr Horomia says a disproportionate number of those students are Maori, and changes are needed at school and in the home.

The government is spending an additional $4 million a year tackling truancy.

VETERANS WELCOMES TO ORAKEI MARAE FOR REUNION

Ngati Whatua today welcomed a small number of surviving veterans of the 28 Maori Battalion and hundreds of their family members to Orakei Marae.

Kaumatua Joe Hawke says it was a day rich in emotion, and the veterans remembers companions whose graves lie on foreign battlefields.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the turnout shows the support that still exists for the group.

The event has a different structure than previous reunions, with more time given for the 28 veterans to talk among themselves, rather than their time filled with performances.

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