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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tainui wins over council on Variation 21

Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the Hamilton City Council needs to obey the law rather than fight the tribe in court.

The High Court has ruled a scheme change known as Variation 21 was illegal because the council failed to consult the iwi.

Because it limited commercial development to a ring around the central business district, Variation 21 would have stalled development of Tainui's Base retail and office centre on the city's northern fringe.

Hamilton mayor Bob Simcock says the council will appeal, because the ruling gives Tainui more rights than other property developers.

But Mr Morgan says Tainui acted within the law.

“The act is there to serve all people including iwi and we have complied. The High Court judgment is indication of our compliance and the council’s disregard for proper process and the law and I have one message to the mayor and his councilors. Act within the law,” he says.


Meanwhile in Tamaki Makaurau, Ngati Whatua o Orakei is accusing Auckland City Council of bias over expressions of interest for a new convention centre.

The Auckland iwi wants to build a centre in former railway yards behind the Vector Arena.

A council feasibility study favours further development of the Aotea Centre and the Sky City casino complex because of their access to hotels, but Ngati Whatua chief executive Tiwana Tibble says the study reads like a justification for a decision that’s already been made in back rooms.

“They can’t just skew it off to one side and so everything is to be developed like it appears to be heading at the moment where the council and ARC and Sky City all get together, they want to develop around a casino and around the Viaduct Basin. That just skews it to one side. Hey, don’t avoid our side. Don’t ignore us,” he says.

Mr Tibble says the Ngati Whatua site is best because of proximity to the harbour.


A Pakeha expert on te reo Maori says his parents set him on the path to mastery of the language.

John Moorfield from AUT University's Te Ara Poutama faculty of Maori innovation and development was yesterday awarded a Queens Service Medal for his work, including the development of Te Whanake Maori language textbooks.

Professor Moorfield says his father amassed a library of books on Maori and sent his son to St Stephen's Maori Boys college in south Auckland.

“There was a world there that a lot of Pakeha New Zealanders didn’t know about and the best way to access that world was through the language so that really stimulated my interest and it has been a lifelong pleasure to work in this field and I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve had some wonderful mentors who have enabled me the make that contribution I wanted to make,” Professor Moorfield says.

Those mentors included his first Maori language teacher at St Stephens, John Waiti, and his university teachers Bruce Biggs, Patu Hohepa, Hugh Kawharu and Hori Ngata.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says the Government could be putting the future of Maori communities in the Bay of Plenty and East Coast at risk by opening up the seas to oil companies.

Ms Turei says National has ignored Maori in issuing a prospecting license for the Raukumara Basin to Brazilian oil explorer Petrobras.

She says it’s an extraordinary decision, given the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico at BP’s Deepwater Horizon well.

“We know what’s just happened in the States, We know how impossible it is for these big companies to control the environmental impact and we also know the government is changing the law to make it easier for these companies to do this kind of work. The potential for disaster with this one is quite high,” Ms Turei says.

She says planned changes to environmental laws will mean less scrutiny for the project.


A body which provides independent advice to the Minister of Health says the infant mortality rate for Maori children ranks just above that of Mexico and Turkey.

In its report on the state of child health in New Zealand, the Public Health Advisory Committee says the health status of Maori children is low, particularly when they come from poorer areas.

Committee member Sheila Williams says there is a clear link between income and health.

“Overcrowded living conditions and socioeconomic deprivation are related to health. We also know that Maori and people living in deprived areas have les access to appropriate and effective medical care. So those may be some of the factors that affect Maori health, but we also know that immunization rates are lower among Maori,” Dr Williams says.

The report recommends one way to tackle the problem is by having a children’s minister, so children get someone speaking on their behalf in Cabinet.


The author of a new book on civilan life during World War Two says the complexity of the Maori experience merits further study.

Among the people Alison Parr interviewed for Home was Paraparaumu's Riria Utiku, whose husband Rangi was excluded from military service because of an earlier bout of tuberculosis.

Ms Parr says because of Maori support for the war effort, that had a profound effect on their social and working lives.

Because Mr Utiku felt so self-conscious about not serving, the couple ended up withdrawing from public activities, including involvement in the Ngati Poneke club.

Alison Parr, the author of Home: Civilian New Zealanders Remember the Second World War


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