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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 22, 2010

Whakatu gripe aired at UN

A Nelson-Motueka Maori land trust has taken its bid to negotiate its land claim to the United Nations.

James Wheeler from Whakatu Incorporation says Te Kahui Ngahuru Trust was used as a case study by the Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust during the New Zealand Government's four yearly report to the United Nations human Rights Committee.

The trust lodged the first Waitangi Tribunal claim in the South Island, but the Crown insists it will only talk with iwi.

At issue is the 45,000 hectares of reserves Maori owners were supposed to get when they sold land to the New Zealand in 1841.

“The land was dissipated and mismanaged by the Native Trustee and the Maori Trustee over a long period of time and the miniscule amount we got back was 9293 acres that we have managed since 1977 but it’s all still perpetually leased. It’s still breaking our human rights,” Mr Wheeler says.

He's written to the minister for treaty negotiation seeking direct talks on the WAI 56 claims.


Tainui is eying tourism as a future money-spinner.

The Waikato iwi has put together a development group chaired by former tribal executive head Kingi Porima to coordinate development from Port Waikato to Atiamuri.

Member Willie te Aho says the initial focus is developing a brand and getting operators ready to take advantage of the World Rowing championships at Karapiro in October.

“We will have packages for on site tours, off site tours, we will have arts and crafts, we will have living performing arts. We’ve got something in this region that no one else can duplicate and that’s the Kingitanga and that’s taking a leading role in basically looking at how we can brand ourselves going forward and the Kingitanga is central to that,” Mr te Aho says.

Tainui Group Holdings is also looking to build a hotel and a hospitality and tourism training centre at The Base in Hamilton.


The chair of Maori Rugby league is endorsing Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples' call for a Maori team in next year's Rugby World Cup.

Howie Tamati says a similar push in the 13-man code was based on the inclusion in the League world cup of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom.

The Kiwis also get to play an Australian indigenous squad, and both teams are pushing for regular Pacific Cup spots and beyond.

“Quite rightly the indigenous side of Australia should be included in that competition along with us from there, should our performance warrant it. Inclusion in the world cup should then apply,” Mr Tamati says.

NZRFU head Jock Hobbs has dismissed fielding a separate Maori team.


Organisers of the Auckland secondary schools cultural festival are pushing to have the huge event included in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement.

Organiser Tania Karauria says Polyfest is working with key sponsor Massey University to prepare a paper for government on how such a qualification could work.

She says the standard of performance is getting better each year, and the skill level required needs recognition.

“Within the performing arts area you’ve got all sorts of things like filming, choreography, costume design, graphic design, all sorts of things that can just open up so many doors,” Ms Karauria says.

This year's kapa haka first division winner was Western Springs College. Second was Auckland Girls Grammar, which won in 2008 and nine, with Kura Kaupapa o Hoani Waititi third.


Tainui Group Holdings is considering adding a hotel, offices and a health facility to The Base at the northern edge of Hamilton.

Chief executive Mike Pohio says the tribe had always intended the former air force base become a regional centre and town centre with a mix of uses.

A hospitality and tourism training centre was also on the list.

“We’ve also considered that their might be a business case here for some training in hospitality, and given the amount of retail that’s on site, that their might be a complement to that with some training in retail. It might extend to tourism. What we’ve been going through is a conceptual assessment of a wider development for the whole of the 75 hectares that The Base is,” Mr Pohio says.

He says the future of the base depends on the outcome of Tainui’s High Court challenge to Hamilton City Council’s Variation 21, which bars all large developments outside the Hamilton CBD.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples' call for Maori to field a national team for the 2015 Rugby World Cup has won support from an expert in treaty and constitutional law.

Dr Sharples says Maori should be treated like Scotland, Wales and England, as nations within nations.

Auckland University law professor David Williams says Maori meet the test for nationhood.

“In so far as they identify distinctively for cultural and ethnic reason and offer each other support and embrace the identity of being Maori and have the usual arguments that one has within one’s national identity they deserve the term nation to apply to them. It’s not necessarily separatist at all but it’s an identity that is recognised in our law in many ways,” Dr Williams says.

NZRU chair Jock Hobbs rejected out of hand the idea of letting a Maori team play in the world cup.

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