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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ngapuhi asserts sovereignty to UN rep

The United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous rights, James Anaya, has been kept busy on his first visit to Aotearoa.

Yesterday Professor Anaya attended a hui of about 500 people at Te Ti Marae at Waitangi, before going on to meet the Iwi leaders Forum in Auckland.

Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira, who chaired the Waitangi hui, says many people wanted to talk about the Declaration of Independence which preceded the Treaty of Waitangi, and about the constitutional issues being raised in the Northland claims now before the Waitangi Tribunal.

“People talked in particular about the issue Ngapuhi is raising at the moment which is that they never ceded sovereignty in the treaty and they wanted him to take that back and make it a major part of his report, certainly from the Taitokerau, so that the world understood how serious Ngapuhi takes this issue,” Mr Harawira says.

Today Professor Anaya has met King Tuheitia and Tainui and with Ngai Tuhoe at Ngaruawahia, and he's going on to meet with the Crown's chief treaty settlement negotiators.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says National's refusal to let an anti-loan sharking bill go through to a select committee was a disgrace.

Labour list MP Carol Beaumont's Credit Reform (Responsible Lending) Bill failed at the first reading last night.

Ms Turei says unscrupulous lenders are preying on poor Maori and Pacific Island communities, and something needs to be done about it.

“Maori have worked really hard to fight this too, the support legislation like this, to work with communities to try to find alternatives, but if you don’t have the law to regulate the business, there are some in the business who are crooks who will take advantage of that,” she says.


The head of Adult Literacy Aotearoa says parents who can't read are the forgotten factor when it comes to raising the literacy levels of New Zealand children.

Brownyn Yates says she endorses the call from the Minister of Tertiary Education, Stephen Joyce, that more needs to be done about the million adults who are being held back because they lack essential literacy and numeracy skills.

She says Maori are disproportionately represented in that figure ... and that has an impact on those around them.

“Parents are the ones at home who are encouraging their kids, and if we want to address children’s literacy, I think we need to address parents literacy, I don’t think there is enough connection made between the role of the parent and encouraging and having educational aspirations for their kids and then being able to follow it through,” Ms Yates says.


The Waitangi Tribunal has upset some Ngapuhi claimants by criticising the quality of some of the evidence put before it in the Northland hearings.

In a memorandum turning down a request for eight extra days of hearings, the presiding officer, Maori Land Court judge Craig Coxhead, says much of what was presented in the second week of hearings was not focused on the seven questions the tribunal wanted evidence on.

The large number of witnesses put up meant most did not have enough time to present.

Lawyer Tavake Barron-Afeaki says while the judge did not name names, he has upset some claimants.

“He applied a broad brush stroke approach to say lots of the evidence wasn’t relevant and should be heard later in the inquiry process. He didn’t raise that at the time and he didn’t tell that to the witnesses or have arguments or ask questions about it or cross examine those people or raise it in the hearings,” Mr Barron-Afeake says.

Week three of hearings is at Panguru starting on August 9, and an extra three days has been added at Waitangi in December for closing submissions.


The Human Rights Commission says Nelson-based Wakatu Incorporation's boardroom mentoring programme is a model other companies both maori and non-Maori should consider.

Moana Eruera, a senior advisor equal opportunities, says the commission talked to more than 3000 companies on what made the ideal workplace.

He says Wakatu's idea of identifying business-savvy shareholders in their 30s and giving them associate directorships stood out.

“Governance in Aotearoa is an issue, particularly representation of women, Maori, Pacific and other minorities, so the associate director scheme at Wakatu struck us as being an initiative that could be replicated and that made a real effort to get young Maori professionals experience in the Boardroom,” Mr Eruera says.

Schemes such as Whakatu's are just the medicine for encouraging leaders of the future to stay in New Zealand, or to return home with skills gained overseas.


One of the last bullockies was farewelled today in Wairoa.

Doug Katae from Ngati Porou, who died earlier this week, scored an acting role in the Tom Cruise movie The Last Samurai because his bullock team only understood commands in Maori.

Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says he was also proud of his Spanish ancestor, Jose Manuel, who built the family homestead Val Verede where Mr Katae was raised in Tikitiki.

He eventually went to Spain and made connections with whanau over there which are set to endure.


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