Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Council says Cold Creek deal done right

The South Taranaki District Council is defending a plan to transfer an $11 million rural water scheme to farmers in the face of opposition from iwi.

Ngapari Nui from Ngati Ruanui says there hasn't been enough consultation on a private members bill to transfer the Cold Creek scheme to a group including Neville Ardern, the brother of National MP Shane Ardern.

But South Taranaki mayor Ross Dunlop says the scheme has the backing of both Oeo and Orimupiko marae.

“This has been going on for about 10 years so there was lots of opportunities to engage and Cold Creek did engage. I know Ngapari and others are saying that’s not with the correct people, but Cold Creek’s intentions were good, they certainly did engage,” Mr Dunlop says.

He says there will be plenty of opportunity for Maori to be heard as the bill makes its way through parliament.


Associate Maori Affairs and Pacific Affairs Minister Georgina Te Heuheu says the fact that there are more Pacific than Maori candidates standing in Auckland local body elections is a pointer to how much Maori depend on the treaty relationship.

She says the controversy over the government's refusal to create Maori seats on the super city affected the way Maori see the council.

“Pacific people know they don’t have that special relationship with either central or local government that Maori have. Therefore I think they feel they’ve got to work extra hard to get the support, first of all if you are standing and then work extra hard to get people to put themselves forward,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.


The best bus driver in New Zealand says tourists are fascinated by the contemporary relationship between Maori and the crown.

Kaiapoi-based Riki Katene from Te Arawa and Tainui beat 23 others for the title after tests of driving skills, mechanical knowledge and customer service.

The 47 year old says he loves sharing Maori stories of the land with his passengers, who often sound him out about the situation facing modern Maori.

“Our entire history and our entire relationship with the Crown is still only 170 years old. For them to see a country so young and to see Maori establishing themselves in the way they have, it fascinates them, it doesn’t matter what country they come from, it’s awesome and they love it,” Mr Katene says.

He would encourage more Maori to become tour bus drivers.


Taranaki's Ngati Ruanui iwi says farmers will be enriched at the expense of the rest of the community if a controversial water privatisation goes ahead.

South Taranaki District Council is backing a local bill by Whanganui MP Chester Borrows to transfer the Cold Creek rural water supply scheme to the 183 farmers whose land it supplies.

Iwi chair Ngapari Nui says the scheme was a joint investment between ratepayers and the farmers who have benefited most over the past two decades, and it's not right that it is privatised.

"So here's someone who’s invested just over $2 million to get an asset worth $11.3 million. If that was to happen to iwi where they were given back to iwi, there’d be a hell of an uproar for farmers and all that," Mr Nui says.

He says ownership of water has become a much more significant issue than when the idea of turning Cold Creek over to the farmers' group was first raised a decade ago, and the council should revisit the issue.


The president of the Maori Women’s Welfare League says the organisation is still relevant in a modern Maori society.

Over a thousand people are expected at today's powhiri for the leagues' annual conference at Hastings Boys High.

Meaghan Joe says the hui will discuss cervical screening, liquor reform, whether parental consent for school health screening programmes, and Maori representation in the governance of universities and polytechnics.

She says the league continues to be a place where wahine help shape Maori communities.

“The women are political. They don’t just sit round and make doilies or knit or bake. They do those for whanau on the ground but they also have a political analysis of what's happening,” Ms Joe says.


The best bus driver in New Zealand says he loves sharing stories of the land.

Riki Katene from Te Arawa and Tainui picked up the title at the annual Transqual Bus Rodeo in Dunedin by topping the tests of driving skills, mechanical knowledge and customer service.

The 47-year-old former Bungy Jump operator says he was humbled to win the award on his first attempt, and believes he was helped by his willingness to bring a Maori dimension to his work.

“Most of my commentary is whakapapa, because as long as I share the stories with international tourists, I am keeping my tupuna and whakapapa alive aren't I,” Mr Katene says.


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