Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Waikato signing marks new era for river

Waikato-Tainui is looking forward to having a say in managing its awa.

A large contingent from the iwi will be arriving in Wellington in the next few hours to witness the third reading of the Waikato-Tanui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Bill just after three this afternoon.

Spokesperson Moko Tini-Templeton says once the ink is dry and the celebratory cup of tea is drunk, the real work begins cleaning up the river for future generations.

The settlement creates a management body for the river, including iwi and local government representatives.


The Greens' leader Metiria Turei is welcoming international condemnation of the Government's lack of commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Ms Turei says even though New Zealand has affirmed the document, respected indigenous commentators have noticed its emphasis that the declaration is aspirational and non-binding.

She says this country needs to do better when taking on international human rights commitments.

“We need to have that international condemnation of the lack of commitment by the Government to adhere to the declaration, to work through its precepts and look at how our domestic policy needs to change, and the more international condemnation of its weasel words, the better,” Ms Turei says.


National museum Te Papa Tongarewa hopes some of the 20 toi moko held in French museums will be back in Aotearoa by Christmas.

The French Parliament this week voted 577 to 8 in favour of allowing the mummified tattooed Maori heads to be repatriated.

Museum acting director Michele Hippolite says it's been a long campaign, and Te Papa is applauding the realisation that for Maori toi moko are not curios or artefacts but ancestors.

She says more work is needed to find what the museums hold and how they might have got the items, as well as where the toi moko came from.


A large ope from Waikato-Tainui is in Wellington today to witness the passing of a bill settling the iwi's river claims.

Three bus loads of kaumatua headed out of Huntly, Ngaruawahia and Hamilton last night, and many more are expected at a powhiri at Pipitea Marae this morning.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says after the third reading about 3.30 pm, there will be a special ceremony for the iwi at Parliament.
He says once the bill is given the royal assent, Tainui and other tribes along the river will become part of a new authority charged with cleaning it up.

“It's not going to happen in the first 100 days. It’s not going to happen in the first 1000 days. It’s going to take many years to restore the health of the river. But both the tribe and the regional government say let us begin,” Mr Finlayson says.

There is sadness that Lady Raiha Mahuta was not able to live long enough to see the passing of the settlement she negotiated on Tainui's behalf.


Delegations from Ngai Tahu are off to the Shanghai World Expo to advance the South Island iwi's commercial interests in China.

Greg Campbell, the chief executive of Ngai Tahu Holdings, says the company is a key sponsor of the New Zealand pavilion, alongside companies like Zespri, Fonterra and Air New Zealand.

He says 80 percent of the tribe's fish exports go to China, and it's also keen to promote its tourism activities to the Chinese market.

“We are primarily there to grow our business contacts and our relationships and understandings around doing business within China We’ve identified that as a tremendous opportunity for our businesses and for the wealth of the iwi ultimately,” Mr Campbell says.


Ngati Porou educationalist Glenis Philip-Barbara has been appointed the new Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori, the Maori Language Commission.

She is currently director of business development at Gisborne's Tairawhiti Polytechnic.

Ms Philip-Barbara says it's her dream job.

“The reason I took this job is because I love the Maori language strategy and I like the direction Taura Whiri is moving and that’s really about taking our reo and putting it back into the homes of our people, embedding it in the framework of our nation as a normal part of our everyday lives. I mean that’s the vision that had me apply for the job in the first place. That’s where my heart is,” Ms Philip-Barbara says.

As a teacher and researcher she has seen the powerful positive impact that learning te reo Maori has for Maori and the insight gained by non- Maori people who take the time to learn.

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