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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 11, 2010

Public domain opens door for custom stoush

Ngati Porou chair Apirana Mahuika says iw may be wise to accept the Government's offered replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

The Iwi Leaders Forum has expressed its displeasure of the idea that the foreshore and seabed should be given a new status of public domain, rather than in Crown title, because they want up front acknowledgement that iwi share ownership.

But Mr Mahuika says every iwi has unique circumstances, and the government's proposal will give them room to move.

“Under the status quo it would be very difficult for us to look at ownership by the Crown and within that to wage our mana as part of that ownership by the Crown. In terms of the public domain, we can then lay our claims by saying we have customary rights in Ngati Porou to the foreshore and seabed so we can press our claims in a public domain arena,” Mr Mahuika says.

Repealing the Act could give the East Coast tribe a chance to beef up the settlement it has already reached on its customary rights claims to the foreshore and seabed.

NEW GROUP TO INCREASE HIV UNDERSTANDING

Organisations working with people living with HIV and Aids have formed a new national collective.

Marama Pala, the executive director of the Maori Indigenous and South Pacific HIV/AIDS Foundation Trust, says the new collective should make it easier to get accurate information out to the various communities affected.

She says there is still a stigma in Maori community against people with the disease, which needed to be addressed.

“Some of our whanau and hapu on marae and things, they’re quite frightened and don’t want to share cups and things like that, so it’s abut getting the right information out to our whanau and hapu and letting them know you can’t get HIV from cups or talking to someone or hugging someone or even kissing someone,” Ms Pala says.

AUSTRALIANS PUSH FOR KAPA HAKA UNDERSTANDING

Australian kapa haka roopu will this weekend decide who makes the trip back home next year for Te Matatini.

Isaac Cotter, the chair of Maori Performing Arts in Australia, says four Victorian groups, two each from Western Australia and New South Wales and one from Brisbane will battle it out for the three positions.

He says the festival at Exhibition Park in Canberra also includes groups from other culutures performing between the Maori items.

“We're multi-cultural. Our people over here are marrying into Italian, Greek, so we will have Maori and other nationalities displaying their cultures as well as singing solos and duets and things like that,” Mr Cotter says.

The competition ends on Sunday with a Matariki celebration.

WELFARE REFORMS CARRY RISKS FOR MAORI

Former Green MP Sue Bradford is warning Maori they could be hit extra hard by the review of the country's welfare system.

The one time Unemployed Workers Union leader says the Welfare Working Group headed by former Commerce Commission chair Paula Rebstock is looking like a classic exercise in pseudo-consultation.

She says the signs are the government already knows what it wants to do.

“It's basically privatising welfare. The people at the bottom, Maori and Pacific Island people are bound to be the people that miss out most in any such scheme. They’re talking about time-limited benefits now. You know what that means. You can only be on a benefit for a certain time, cut you off even if you don’t have a job. How many more prisons are they going to build? How are people going to live if they don’t have any money survive?” Ms Bradford says.

HEALTH GRANT TO ASSESS WAHAKURA EFFICIENCY

A leading advocate of the use of wahakura or special flax bassinets in cot death prevention says a new study should give an objective measure of their effectiveness.

Dr David Tipene-Leach and Professor Barry Taylor from the University of Otago have got $1.2 million from the Health Research Council to look at not only whether will evaluate the baskets provide a safe sleeping environment, but whether their use affects rates of breastfeeding, infant sleep duration, and bonding between mother and baby.

Dr Tipene-Leach says while he has been an advocate for wahakura, his research colleagues will look at the issues with a dispassionate eye.

“They're filming babies overnight. They’ve done some work on bed sharing. They know the methodology. They have the experience in analyzing this work, bring a wealth of experience and an independent eye to make sure the study is robust,” he says.

Dr Tipene-Leach says the percentage of Maori babies that die from sudden infant death syndrome is too high.

SAND DUNE REPLANTING GETS BOOST FROM BANK

A Maori group replanting sand dunes on the coast north of Dargaville has got a $10,000 injection from the ASB Community Trust for its mahi.

George Natahan Patuawa, the chair of the Hua Rakau Trust Ki Omamari, says the volunteer group has also benefited from scientific advice on how to combat the erosion caused by the prevailing winds along the west coast.

He says many of the group members are widows, and they would appreciate some younger blood to help with the work planting pohutukawa, pingaio and other native plants to bind the sand.

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