Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Motu cycleway offers promise to Whakatohea

Eastern Bay of Plenty iwi Whatakatohea hopes a cycleway along the Motu River will boost tourism and revive communities hit by declines in forestry and farming.

The $1.7 million being put into the Motu Trails project is being hailed as the largest ever government investment in the Opotiki District.

Robert Edwards, the chair of the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board, says as well as providing construction and maintenance jobs for people in the small villages of Matawai and Motu, there could be opportunities to tell visitors about the rich Maori history of the area.

“Along the divide there are a lot of prominent places that we need to put our pou in history up because there is a lot of history in the valley, Waioeka valleys and blending right into Tuhoe country,” Mr Edwards says.

Te Kooti Rikirangi lived in the area before he was chased into the King Country and Taranaki by the armed constabulary.

JOBLESS UNAFFECTED BY SHIFT IN JOB ADS

A south Auckland budget advisor says a rise in online job ads is unlikely to affect her clients.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced the 39 percent year on year rise yesterday as an indication the economy is in recovery mode.

But Makere Biddiss from Whare Mauriora Budgeting Services says many of the Maori who lost their jobs as the recession bit don't have the sorts of skills being sought now.

Their struggle is to adapt to living on a benefit after living close to the average wage.

Makere Biddiss says many of her clients are doing voluntary work to stay motivated.

KAUMATUA INHIBITED BY TRIBUNAL SEARCH FOR SPECIFICS

Former Northern Maori MP Bruce Gregory says the Waitangi Tribunal is inhibiting kaumatua from giving evidence.

The Tribunal is in Panguru in the north Hokianga this week for the third hearings on Northland historical claims, including an examination of Ngapuhi views on whether they conceded sovereignty by signing the Treaty of Waitangi.

Before the hearing, presiding judge Craig Coxhead issued a memorandum slating the way some witnesses at the second hearing had failed to stick to their briefs of evidence or to address the questions the tribunal was asking.

Dr Gregory says kaumatua are rankling at the time limits and the restrictions.

“Maori korero is sort of global and it’s not until they have finished their korero, whatever length of time that takes, that you get a picture really what they are trying to say,” Dr Gregory

NGATI REREAHU MULLING SETTLEMENT OFFER

Ngati Rereahu descendants will this month be asked if they will accept a settlement for the loss of almost 20 thousand hectares around the Pureora Forest northwest of Lake Taupo.

Glen Katu from Te Maru o Rereahu Trust says a Crown offer involving cash, crown forest and conservation land, cultural redress and an apology will be put to five hui in Auckland, Wellington and the central North Island.

The claim is over the way the Crown used survey liens and other legal devices to take the Maraeroa A and B blocks in the 1880s and 90s, leaving the iwi with just the 5000 hectare Maraeroa C block.

Mr Katu says while the settlement is a fraction of what was lost, the iwi was able to get around a settlement policy that forced claimants into what the Crown calls large natural groupings.

“We were very lucky to get there and in our favour is that this settlement is not ‘on account’ of te Rohe Potae o Maniapoto claims, it’s over and above so our settlement will not impact on the wider Maniapoto Rohe Pote claims that are before the Waitangi Tribunal and that's a plus,” Mr Katu says.

OIL EXPLORATION THREAT TO WHAKATOHEA AQUACULTURE

The chair of the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board Robert Edwards says oil drilling in the Raukumara basin would be a serious threat to the iwi's aquaculture plans.

The government has granted Brazilian company a five year exploration licence.

Robert Edwards says the iwi has a joint venture with Sealord which will see the first five mussel lines put in off Opotiki in October, and it is also entering a joint venture with Chinese company Oriental Ocean to farm sea cucumber in an onshore facility.

But he says the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has made Maori wary.

“Tangaroa is there and needs to be protected and the aquaculture projects that we are moving forward is paramont and this is a serious threat to us,” Mr Edwards says.

NATIONAL SCREENING PLAN FOR DEAFNESS IN NEWBORNS

The principal of the Kelston Deaf Education Centre has welcomed the national roll out of a screening programme to test the hearing of newborn babies.

David Foster says New Zealand has lagged internationally, taking up to three years to identify hearing problems in toddlers.

He says early detection means early intervention, such as exposing children to sign language younger.

“For other kids, interventions like cochlear implants or hearing aids are possible, and if we can get those fitted early enough, that child is going to be able to access spoken English or spoken Maori at the earliest possible age and if their language develops early, their chance of education success later in life are hugely enhanced,” Mr Foster says

Maori children are disproportionately affected by hearing problems.

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