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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 28, 2010

Community links win for Whale Watch

Ngai Tahu-owned tourism company Whale Watch Kaikoura has won another international award.

Last year the company won the Responsible Tourism award in London bringing with it global interest in the firm.

Yesterday Whale Watch added the World Travel and Tourism Council award for community activities at the Global Travel and Tourism summit which has brought sector leaders from around the world to China.

Chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapora who accepted the award says it was huge for the company to be honoured for its community relationship.

“We’re a company that was founded locally by four families, we are a company that is today run locally, that has its majority shareholding held locally so the company and the community are all the same. That’s our home town and any benefits and successes reflects back on our community and vice versa.

After collecting the award he felt like the toast of China with tourism leaders from around the world introducing themselves and congratulating the company from a township of 3500.

CHANGE NEEDED TO TAKE MAORI COUNCIL INTO THE FUTURE

The chair of the Maori Affairs Select Committee says there is a consensus emerging that change is needed for the New Zealand Maori Council to remain relevant.

The committee is reviewing the Maori Community Development Act, which established the council almost 50 years ago.

Tau Henare says there is still a place for a national pan-Maori body, but it should be organised and driven by Maori rather than being a government thing.

He says the council has played a significant role in Maori development through its support of kaupapa like treaty claims and Maori broadcasting.

“But we've also got to think where do we go into the future, so some of the ideas that are coming through the submsisions are good, they’re not too far out and they take into account the history. You don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. You want to say is there a way to develop into the future,” Mr Henare says.

The New Zealand Maori Council will be given a chance to respond to all the submissions before the inquiry closes.

ALAYNE WILLS APPOINTED TO DISTRICT COURT BENCH

A colleague is praising the appointment of former Rotorua Maori lawyer Alayne Wills as a District court judge.

Mrs Wills, of Ngai Tahu decent, who worked for the law firm East Brewster for 28 years specialising in family law took the oath of appointment at a special sitting of the court at Te Arawa's paramount meeting house Tamatekapua at Ohinemutu earlier this week.

Fellow Rotorua lawyer John Chadwick representing Te Hunga Roia Maori, says Mrs Wills has been an inspiration for him and many others over many years.

“Always a good sign, the browning of the bar, I like to call it. After all the bench has been browned so we need to move up to the next level and she’s a quality appointment, she’ll do a great job for us all,” Mr Chadwick says.

He says her work with Maori families will be particularly valuable for the family court hearings she will handle in Tauranga where she will be based.

TOI MAORI AIMING TO PUT WAKA IN LOW COUNTRY

Maori arts promotion group Toi Maori representatives will be in the Netherlands early next month putting in place arrangement for a 14 metre ceremonial waka to be housed there.

It has joined forces with the Volkenkunda Museum in Leiden to have a waka built by tohunga Hek Busby and carver Takirirangi Smith in the Bay of Islands.

Toi Maori operations manager Tamaho Temara says the museum's director came to New Zealand last year wanting to buy a waka but when he found out that such taonga were not for sale plans were developed for the waka to be built.

“We've always dreamed of having waka overseas and leaving them there because one of our issues is that every time we take a waka over there is an astronomical cost involved inshipping, We’ve done that since 1992 when we had out first waka over in Rarotonga at the South Pacific Festival of Arts,” he says.

Mr Temara says the latest offshore venture was sending a waka to the America's cup challenge in Valencia to support team New Zealand in 2007.

Following the signing of a Deed detailing New Zealand's continued ownership of the waka and conditions for its care it will be launched at Aurere in the Bay of Islands in late June and handed over to the museum in Leiden mid- October.

AMNESTY CONCERNED AT PRISON POLICIES

Amnesty International New Zealand says it will be keeping a close eye on the proposed privatisation of prisons as world experiences shows prisoner welfare commonly falls with private ownership.

New Zealand chief executive of Amnesty International Patrick Holmes says prisoners human rights could also be contravened by the three strikes laws which parliament passed this week.

“We would say it is just compounding the problem particularly for those sections of the community that are already disproportionately represented in prison, this is just going to increase the number and we are concerned about this three strikes, legislation. It seems a quick and easy populist thing to float but the implications are quite serious,” Mr Holmes says.

In addition double bunking could lead the organsiation's global strength to be flexed to protect human rights and prisoner conditions in New Zealand.

In its annual report Amnesty New Zealand says that while prison measures are putting prisoner rights in jeopardy the government should be patted on the back for reviewing the Foreshore and Seabed ACT.


TREATY SETTLEMENT WILL IMPROVE RUGBY TEAM

A Tai Rawhiti rugby star hopes treaty settlements can give the Ngati Porou East Coast rugby team a deeper pool of talent to choose from.

Rua Tipoki twice captained the province to victory in the Air New Zealand Cup before moving to Irish team Munster.

He says a lot of talented Maori players from the area are playing or working overseas, but they'd be keen to move home if there were jobs.

“Hopefully these treaty negotiations go well for our people and we can inject some money into the region and create some opportunity for jobs and get some people back here and that will be good for rugby,” Mr Tipoki says.

With provincial teams again getting a chance to play touring overseas teams from 2012, East Coast would be keen for a match-up.

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