Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oil exploration conflicts with customary rights

An East Coast iwi says Brazilian company Petrobas would not be drilling for oil off the East Coast if proposed changes to the Foreshore and Seabed Act had been in place.

Chairperson Apirana Mahuika says Ngati Porou intends to apply for customary title over the 22,000 sq kms covered by the exploration licence that energy minister Gerry Brownlee issued without consuliting the iwi.

He says the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a warning of what could happen in the Raukumara basin.

“Two thirds of operation is ion Te Whaanu a Apanui, a third in Ngati Porou. And I guarantee to you we will put on a massive fight to retain that because it will upset the ecosystems within Whanau Apanui and Ngati Porou and it could very well endanger the resources of our ancestors,” Mr Mahuika says.

He says if the two iwi had pushed to have their Deeds of Settlement enacted into law, rather than wait to see how National would reform the Foreshore and Seabed Act, the Brazilian company would be nowhere near the area.


An expert on Maori health says it's up to Maori to do something about the fact Maori men die from preventable diseases at twice the rate of non-Maori.

Dr Rhys Jones from men's health collective Mana Tane O Aotearoa says Maori men aren't taking the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes seriously.

“This kind of macho attitude that we are bullet proof and we just need to be staunch and get on with it, the way we are kind of socialized into the mentality really needs to be looked at and how can we undertake a major cultural change,” Dr Jones says

Part of the solution is that health providers need to make themselves more accessible to Maori men, perhaps through the Whanau Ora model of service delivery.


A ground-breaking anthropologist says increased engagement with Maori is helping other New Zealanders break out of monoculturalism and take their place in the world.

Dame Joan Metge's latest collection of essays, Tuamaka: The challenge of difference in Aotearoa New Zealand, is being launched about now at the Auckland University Marae.

The 80-year-old says there is now widespread respect for things Maori, compared with the near total lack of respect apparent when she was growing up, and that respect is paying dividends.

“Maori have continually needled us into taking a much wider view and there is a much much larger body of people who are open to learning about other cultures, who are respectful of other cultures and if you begin with treating Maori with respect, that’s the first step on the road to treating other cultures generally with respect,” she says.

Dame Joan Metge says Maori things seem to get more respect among the general public than among political leaders.


The clock is ticking for Maori shareholders in 2 Degrees, with the Commerce Commission recommending the Government regulate mobile termination rates.

Under the current unregulated environment, the new mobile phone company must hand over revenue whenever its subscribers roam or connect to other networks.

It means that even though the company has attracted 5 percent of mobile phone users, its largest shareholder this week had to put in another $11 million - diluting the stake held for Maori by Hautaki Limited to below 12 percent.

2degrees chief operating officer, Bill McCabe, says the company is keen for telecommunications minister Stephen Joyce to make a quick decision on the recommendations so the commission can come up with a price formula which encourages fair competition.

“We've said it should be what they call in the industry zero rate termination so everyone can connect to everyone at a zero rate and that happens in places like Hong Kong and Singapore and the United States and Canada and various other countries. That’s normally seen as the most pro-competitive outcome. We’re still encouraging that as a potential outcome,” Mr McCabe says.

He says Vodafone and Telecom have taken excessive profits from New Zealand consumers for more than six years because of government failure to regulate.


The Green's co-leader leader, Meteria Turei, says the government's proposed foreshore and seabed reforms still amount to raupatu or confiscation.

She says the outcome of the talks between National and the Maori Party seems to that a few words in Labour's 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act will be replaced with terms which have yet to be adequately defined.

That means little will change.

“It's still a confiscation and even if they repeal Labour’s act, which is a good thing, they are going to replace it with another act which does exactly the same thing and confiscates the foreshore so it will be very difficult when that time comes for the Maori Party in particular to vote for it,” Ms Turei says

She says it looks like the Whanau Ora social service delivery model will be the only real gain the Maori Party will get from its agreement with National.


The first Maori Playwrights Festival kicks off in Papakura tonight with a performance of Briar Grace Smith's classic Purapurawhetu.

The festival spun out of a 2007 hui which identified a need for Maori writers and actors to have a place to hone their craft.

Grace-Smith, from Ngati Hau in Nga Puhi, says writers need a range of skills in their kete to write for the stage.

“One thing that's really important is to have an ear for dialogue and the way people speak, how important words are, the things that are said and what they don’t say, so you have to be quite a good listener and sort of tune into things and conversations that are happening around you and the other thing is tenacituy because it’s not really a career that for most of us is going to make you a lot of money so you really have to stay with it,” Grace-Smith says,

It's important for writers to have access to others who inspire them ... such as her mother-in-law Patricia Grace's stories did for her as a teenager.

The festival at the Hawkins Theatre also includes plays by Albert Belz and Whiti Hereaka.


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