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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Save the whales, then eat them

Te Ohu Kaimoana says its support for Japanese commercial whaling is driven by a respect for tradition.

At last week's international Whaling Commission in Morocco, the Maori fisheries trust backed a compromise promoted by New Zealand commissioner Sir Geoffrey Palmer to allow Japan to take a commercial catch from its home waters in exchange for cutting back its scientific whaling programme in the Southern Ocean.

The meeting failed to agree.

Trust chief executive Peter Douglas says a solution will involve a combination of conservation, custom and commerce.

“If we want to take whales, then first of all we have to save the whales. And when we save the whales, we have to be prepared that one day we may have to take some or lose some of them to people who have some other idea about how they may be used. We are in the business of saving whales. We also as an objective want to see people who have those sorts of traditions, being able to dignify and maintain those traditions for themselves,” Mr Douglas says.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says Te Ohu Kaimoana's stance is naive and undermines New Zealand's historic position.


The Federation of Maori Authorities says it's keen to salvage what it can from the Te Puni Kokiri-funded Tekau Plus scheme to promote Maori exports.

A review by State Services Commission deputy commissioner Tony Hartevelt and businessman Whaimutu Dewes recommended a shake up in the governance and management of the $3 million scheme, which was a joint project between FOMA, the Maori Trustee and Maori business development agency Poutama Trust.

Federation chair Traci Houpapa says Tekau Plus was entered into by FoMA's previous management team, and the new team has already taken steps to address the matters raised in the report.

“There is always room for improvement. The review report suggests ways we might do that and we’re looking forward to working with Te Puni Kokiri to address those areas and to see the contracts are delivered in a more robust and successful manner,” Ms Houpapa says.


Ngapuhi is planning a reinvasion of Tamaki Makaurau.

The Ngapuhi Runanga runs an annual historical hikoi for kaumatua to places of significance to the northern iwi, and next week it's Auckland's turn.

Chief executive Teresa Tepania-Ashton says while the isthmus was divided between iwi with Ngati Whatua, Tainui and Hauraki connections at the time of European settlement, Ngapuhi also has ties it wants to acknowledge.

As well as visiting sites which the iwi has a link to, the group will view taonga held in storage at Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Teresa Tepania-Ashton says the hikoi is a way to thank the kaumatua for their support and especially for the work they have put into preparing Ngapuhi's historic treaty claims.


A former conservation minister says Te Ohu Kaimoana has no mandate from Maori to act as an apologist for Japanese whalers.

Sandra Lee from Poutini Ngai Tahu says the Maori fisheries trust's delegation to the International Whaling Commission again tried to confuse indigenous whaling, which New Zealand has always supported, with Japanese commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean.

She says the trust should front up to beneficiaries and justify its covert agenda.

“The covert agenda for the so called pro-whaling scientific lobby in the case of Te Ohu Kaimoana and the Japanese is in my opinion more about resisting the proposition of sustainable protection and management of all of the species in the commons of the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean sanctuary so it’s not just about whales, it’s also about tuna,” Ms Lee says.

Te Ohu Kaimoana should lead by example and be the kaitiaki for endangered marine mammals.


The Green Party isn't buying the government's line that a ban on smoking in prisons is for health and safety.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says the poor record of the Corrections Service in offering treatment for drug or alcohol addiction doesn't inspire confidence it will have proper smoke cessation programmes when the ban takes effect in July 2011.

She says it's Maori who will again be hit.

“This is about punishing prisoners and given that so many of our people are in prison, it’s got to affect our people significantly. Smokefree is all good but these people don’t have much in the way of things that are remotely enjoyable and can’t just pop outside for a smoke when they want one,” Ms Turei says.

She says the government is risking a flare-up of violence in prisons if prisoners can't light up.


The quick actions of Hato Paora pupil Braydon Haimona-Young have won him a safety award from the Manawatu Fire Service.

When an electrical fire broke out in a dormitory at the Maori boarding school last month, the year 11 student got out of bed to investigate.

Principal Debra Marshal-Lobb says he averted what could have been a major disaster by spotting the explosion in a water cylinder and evacuating the dorm.

The school has signed up to pilot a new scheme of Kaitiaki Kaiarahi or fire marshalls the Fire Service wants to establish at schools and marae around the country.


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