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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Marine bill confiscates coastal land - Greens

Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says new Marine and Coastal Area Bill is still a confiscation of Maori land.

Ms Turei says there is little change from the existing Foreshore and Seabed Act other than softer language.

She says the Maori Party has to spin the bill as a win, but the reality is Maori continue to be marginalised out of involvement in the coastal space.

“The fact that it treats the foreshore and seabed as unowned is in many ways even more disrespectful to customary ownership, to tikanga Maori and to pre-colonial lore that applied here. It is a fallacy no one is going to own it because the Crown owns it by default,” Ms Turei says.

Those hapu who manage to overcome the obstacles in the bill and get customary title to parts of the foreshore will find they have second class rights to other users.

COURSES TO BOOST NUMBER OF MAORI REALTORS

The real estate industry training organisation wants to get more Maori selling houses.

Lesley Southwick, the chief executive of REAL ITO, says while Maori make up about 15 percent of the population, less than 1 percent of the New Zealand's 17,000 real estate agents are of Maori or Pacific island descent.

The REAL ITO is planning to introduce courses to a number of schools with high Maori and Pacific rolls, which will lead towards the new mandatory national certificate of real estate.

MANAGER APPOINTED TO BOOST ROCK ART STATUS

The inaugural manager of the new Ngai Tahu rock art centre in Timaru says the aim is to both preserve a significant part of the country's heritage and build a major tourist attraction.

Ben Lee, the former deputy chief executive of Aoraki Polytechnic, says Te Ana Whakairo centre on the Timaru wharf should be open by Christmas.

He says the rock art trust is attempting to gather together the pieces of rock art carved out of limestone caves in South Canterbury and North Otago early last century and placed in museums around the country.

It will display reproductions of images from the 550 known South Island rock art sites.

“Ngai Tahu see is as their role to preserve it for future generations, and it’s probably a part of New Zealand’s heritage that has been neglected and abused in the past and it’s important to bring it up to its correct status,” Mr Lee says.

Te Ana Whakairo centre is expecting at least 20,000 visitors a year.

GFF DEFENDS FORESHORE RIGHTS RECORD

Labour leader Phil Goff says National's replacement of the Foreshore and Seabed Act shows Labour did a reasonable job in trying to resolve the tough problem of recognising customary rights.

Mr Goff says the new Marine and Coastal Area Bill alters little, apart from imposing new tests for gaining customary title.

He says like Labour, the current government has emphasised the right of all New Zealanders to have access to the beaches.

“There's been a hell of a lot of hypocrisy, both from the National Party and from the Maori Party before the election talking about the old act, one saying that it went too far, the other saying it didn’t go far enough. Now they’ve agreed on something that’s pretty much the status quo and they’re both claiming victory,” Mr Goff says.

FLAVELL DEFENDS DEADLINE FOR FORESHORE CLAIMS

Meanwhile, the Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell is taking critics to task for claiming the Marine and Coastal Area Bill will impose a deadline for foreshore claims to be settled.

Mr Flavell says iwi, hapu and whanau groups have six years to lodge customary rights claims either with the courts or for direct negotiation with the Crown ... but the process of investigation and settlement will continue after that date.

He says the time limit is a compromise, with National wanting four years and the Maori Party pushing for 10.

“The National Party believe they wanted to have at least some idea I suppose of the extent to which iwi wanted to take this matter and decided that they had a timeline. We didn’t think that timeline was appropriate and attempted to move it out which we have managed to do,” Mr Flavell says.

He says what's important is that the legislation restores Maori rights to access the courts.

ACADEMY ADDS EDUCATION TO SPORTS PROWESS

Former All Black loose forward Andrew Blowers says it is important for young Maori and Pacific Islanders who aim to become sports stars don't neglect other aspects of their education.

Mr Blowers quit English premiership rugby last year to work for Michael Jones' Village Sports Academy.

He says the academy's joint venture with Te Wananga o Aotearoa is a chance to pass on some of the wider lessons he learned in his career.

“Maori and Pacific Island students are naturally good at sports but some fall through the cracks in terms of education so that’s why I really love the relationship between the VSA and Te Wananga, they are passionate about the education but also about the youth,” Mr Blowers says.

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