Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Rush to sell water before treaty issues settled

The Greens say there should be no contracting out of water services until Maori rights to own and manage water have been resolved.

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has introduced legislation to allow councils to contract out water services for up to 35 years.

Greens leader Meteria Turei says as well as transforming water services from public good to a source of private profit, the bill ignores Maori and treaty interests.

“Issues around who owns water or who has the right to manage water from a tikanga Maori point of view has not been settled yet so any attempt to start the process of charging for water needs to be preceded by a proper sorting out of the Maori interest in water,” Ms Turei says.


Auckland University psychiatrists are working with Maori computer game developers and kaumatua to develop high tech games which can help adolescents overcome depression.

Professor Sally Merry says one in five Maori women will have suffered a bout of depression by the time they are 18, and psychiatrists need to find culturally appropriate interventions.

She says game developer Maru Nihoniho worked with doctoral student Matt Stewart and kaumatua Rawiri Wharemate on Internet and cell phone games which make use of Maori mythology.

“There's a particular need for Maori adolescents because they are at particular risk for depression, but also we have protocols to actually work in partnership with Maori and I have been fortunate to have a kaumatua we have worked with for years to try to ensure anything we do is appropriate for Maori,” Professor Merry says.

The team has been fired up by the enthusiastic response the games got from this week's congress of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists congress in Auckland.


A successful central North Island Maori land trust is on the hunt for poorly performing farms it can turn around.

Chairperson Andrew Kusabs says Rangatira 8-A 17 used profits from subdividing what used to be a sawmill's rubbish dump to buy the 220 hectare dairy farm at Reporoa, which is a finalist in this year's Ahuwhenua awards for Maori farming excellence.

He says the trust, which represents 1500 owners from the Rauhotu hapu of Ngati Tuwharetoa, still owns 15 hectares of land around Taupo.

Some of that land could be swapped for farm land once market conditions improve.

“It's possible we could subdivide that and do the same thing we’ve done in this case, purchasing a farm or other properties. I don’t care what we buy as long as it’s self-sustaining,” Mr Kusabs says.

An Ahuwhenua open day will be held on Rangatira 8-A 17's Reporoa property tomorrow.


It's all aboard the Tainui Express, as members of the tribe head to Wellington to witness the third reading of a bill giving the iwi a say in the management of the Waikato River.

Spokesperson Moko Tini-Templeton says three buses of kaumatua are traveling down overnight, and dozens more people are traveling by car.

They'll be welcomed by Taranaki Whanui on to Pipitea Marae at 11 before heading over to Parliament.

The Waikato-Tanui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Bill is due to be passed about 3.30pm


The Greens say the three strikes bill which passed its second reading yesterday shows the government is out of touch with Maori.

Leader Meteria Turei says the criminal justice system is already weighted against Maori in arrests and sentencing, and the bill is likely to subject many Maori to extremely long sentences.

She says that will harm Maori whanau and communities.

“This is a government that on one hand is going out and doing their best to schmooze Maori in all sorts of areas and then at the same time where it counts, where the policies directly affect us, they’re quite happy to have corrections policy that is more likely to put us in jail for longer,” Ms Turei says.

She says Corrections and Police Minister Judith Collins has taken a narrow and conservative approach and refused to engage in real dialogue on Maori issues.


A woman from one of New Zealand's most remote communities will represent indigenous people will represent the indigenous peoples of the Pacific on the United Nations permanent forum on indigenous issues.

Valmaine Toki is from the Ngati Rehua hapu of Ngati Wai, based on Aotea-Great Barrier Island.

The Auckland University law lecturer says she's had a keen interest in global and indigenous issues, so she saw the opportunity of a three-year term on the 16-member council as a great way to encourage Maori participation in the forum.

She spotted the notice of the election while scanning the UN site for information for a research site, and brought it to the attention of her iwi trust board which nominated her.

Valmaine Toki says her nomination was in before New Zealand finally affirmed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, but the timing could have helped her case.

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