Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, June 14, 2010

Last push for foreshore change

The Iwi Leaders Group meets Prime Minister John Key and government officials this morning seeking last minute changes to the Government’s rewrite of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

The group wants title to the foreshore held equally by the Crown and Maori as treaty partners on behalf of all New Zealanders.

The Government has rejected this option, preferring a model it calls “public domain”.

Ngai Tahu chairperson Mark Solomon says the group hopes it can make some progress today.

“We would like a negotiated outcome and not something that is imposed but it has to be a fairly negotiated document and at this stage it’s not fair and it’s not just what they are offering,” Mr Solomon says.

RANGATAHI BINGE DRINKING A PRIORITY

The Alcohol Advisory Council is making binge drinking among young Maori a priority for action.

Youth strategy manager Sarah Helm from Ngai Tahu says rangatahi who took part in the council’s recent youth week events were skeptical about options put up by the Law Commission to change drinking behaviour.

She says it’s important to listen to young people, rather than seeing them as the problem.

She says Maori and Pacific rangatahi are high-risk groups.

MARAE-BASED COURSES REACHING DROP-OUTS

A Whangarei Maori education provider says people need to think outside the classroom to meet the needs of many rangatahi.

Rangatahi failed by mainstream school system are described as blossoming at a Maori tertiary provider.

2Meke Training offers a marae-based catering course which gives rangatahi the basics for a career in the hospitality industry, as well as an understanding of tikanga, manaakitanga and mana.

Director Rangi Tawhiao says many of its students haven’t been to schools in years when they get referred from Work and Income or Corrections.

“It's quite amazing watching 14 and 15 year olds that have been chucked out of school but when you get them into their own environment in a marae, they absolutely blossom. I’ve taken them back to Waitangi and the students have become a well known part of the marae and the community there and the hau kainga,” Mrs Tawhiao says.

REFORMS GOING OFF COURSE WITHOUT TREATY BASIS

The Iwi Leaders Group is lined up to meet the Prime Minister this morning ahead of Cabinet considering the replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

While the repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act is a flagship policy of the Maori Party, detailed negotiations were left to the group, which includes Ngai Tahu’s Mark Solomon and Sonny Tau from Ngapuhi.

The group sees the meeting as a chance to salvage something out of a process which has gone off course.

In a letter to John Key, the Iwi leaders group has flagged two flaws with the current proposal which they say denies Maori true access to justice.

The first is that switching the foreshore from Crown ownership to a new “public domain” status means Maori who are able to prove customary ownership of specific parts of the coast will have fewer rights that the owners of the 12,000 private titles that now exist on foreshore blocks.

They also say the tests for customary title punish iwi for the accidents and injustices of history.

A tribe like Ngati Porou, whose coastal land was left relatively untouched by the Crown, has a strong claim for customary rights, while iwi whose relationship with the foreshore was severed by confiscation or fraudulent land deals can’t.

The leaders will propose that the test for customary title change, and that the foreshore and seabed should be held by the Treaty partners as a taonga tuku iho (treasured inheritance) that cannot be sold.

RANKIN KEEN ON PAKEHA TAX

A Ngapuhi man will this week ask the Waitangi Tribunal to recommend a tribal tax on all residents living within the iwi's rohe.

David Rankin will give evidence in the second week of the Northland claim hearings on behalf of the Kaikohe-based Matarahurahu hapu.

He wants a 9 percent flat tax administered by IRD to compensate Maori for past grievances.

“The pakeha have said, ‘if you impose this tax on us we will leave your communities and it will become a wasteland,’ and I said ‘All well and good, it will become a Ngapuhi homeland,’” he says.
DUR: 12 secs.

Mr Rankin says his ancestor Hone Heke was the first chief to sign the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, so he has authority to negotiate with the Crown.

Meanwhile a broader Ngapuhi group, Te Roopu o Tuhoronuku, today starts a second series of hui round the country to spell out how it intends to get the mandate to negotiate a settlement.

MAARIKI FESTIVAL STARTS IN TAMAKI MAKAURAU

Auckland's Matariki Festival started this morning with a dawn karakia on Maungakiekie One Tree Hill.

Festival director Lisa Davis from Ngati Whatua says today more than 70 events are planned around the city over the next month around the city.

She says communities are getting behind the idea of celebrating the Maori new year, and it is helping building capacity in whanau, hapu, iwi and marae.

The festival will draw to a close the Nga Korero Tataki symposium on cultural and economic sustainability at Waitakere in mid-July.

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