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Friday, May 14, 2010

Iwi at war over Urewera refusal

Thursday May 13

Tuhoe lead negotiator Tamati Kruger says the iwi is at war with the Crown.

He predicts the government's refusal to consider the return of Te Urewera National Park will cause treaty negotiations will break down.

He says this will happen because the Crown can’t make an offer to Tuhoe, not because Tuhoe has abandoned the negotiations.

“I am most afraid of the fact that if that occurs, then we remain in the state of the relationship that we started with 18 months ago and that state can only be described as Tuhoe is at war with the crown,” Mr Kruger says.

Since Monday Tuhoe hui around the country have resolved their should be no compromise and negotiators should continue to seek full ownership of Te Urewera.


And Metiria Turei is among those criticising John Key's handling of Tuhoe's Treaty claim.

The co-leader of the Green Party says there are a number of ownership and co-management models for Te Urewera that could be put on the table for discussion.

She believes, however, that political self-interest is driving John Key's decision to refuse to return the 212,000-hectare national park to Tuhoe.

“I think there was a big backlash after the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, a big backlash from their own supporters about why they were ratifying that document and as a result John Key is under pressure not to be too nice the Maoris, and this is a statement about that,” Ms Turei says.


A Maori smokefree group is hoping moves by Ngati Kahungunu to ban tobacco in their area will be picked up by other iwi around the country.

The East Coast iwi, whose rohe is the second largest in the country, has adopted a Tobacco Use Strategy aimed at phasing out tobacco within ten years.

Shane Bradbrook from Te Reo Marama argues that banning tobacco sits well within the idea of tino rangatiratanga... or the absolute authority of chiefs.

Mr Bradbrook says the first step is making marae and other sites of significance to Ngati Kahungunu not just smoke free but Tobacco free.


Labour leader Phil Goff says privitisation of prisons is a bad idea in contrast to the view expressed by a number of Maori.

In announcing that Auckland Central Remand Prison and associated Mt Eden prison will be run by a private contractor Corrections minister Judith Collins said it would provide an opportunity for Maori to participate either as advisors or partners.

This follows the decision to have the new men’s prison to be built at Wiri privately managed which the Urban Maori Authorities have welcomed.

And Rethinking Crime and Punishment director Kim Workman supports private management claiming it should lead to improved rehabilitation services while Maori party MP Hone Harawira says privately run prisons could not do a worse job than the Corrections department is doing.

However Mr Goff says when ACRP was previously under private management it cost more to run because the private sector needs to make a profit.

“And to make a profit they charge more and they take on less staff and hey pay the staff less. Is it a good thing we have fewer staff supervising the prison population at lower rates of pay. I would say no. I don’t think a profit margin going to an overseas company actually improves the quality of our prisons,” Mr Goff says.

He says the curtailment of liberty is something that should not be put into private hands.

Tuhoe negotiator Tamati Kruger says the government is forcing the iwi to remain in grievance mode.

He says Prime Minister John Key's indication, after 18 months of negotiation, that there will be no return of the Urewera National Park is a major set back to tribal members who want to put the bitterness of the past behind them.

“Whilst Tuhoe is keen to overcome the grievance mode which very many Pakeha have accused Maori of farming, I now find myself in the opposite camp wanting to overcome grievance but John Key wants to stay there,” Mr Kruger says.

He says the establishment of the park a hundred years ago was a government attempt to camouflage the confiscation of Tuhoe land which lies at the heart of Maori grievance.


The author of a new book on the history of gardening in New Zealand says without Maori assistance new settlers to the country would have starved.

In "A History of Gardening in New Zealand" Social historian Bea Dawson provides evidence of just how crucial Maori gardeners were for the survival of the new Pakeha settlers.

She traces the development of gardening in Aotearoa from before European contact through to the Dig for Victory campaigns of World War Two.



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