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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Replacement worse than Foreshore Act

A leading treaty lawyer, Annette Sykes, says hapu have next to no chance of securing their customary rights through the government's replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Attorney general Chris Finlayson introduced the Marine and Coastal Area Bill this week, which offers iwi and hapu the opportunity to gain customary title through the courts or by direct negotiation with the Crown.

But Ms Sykes says there is only six years to do so, once the bill is enacted.

“If you don't have money to pay lawyers, to file applications before the court, then you are going to be precluded from preparing yourself to get to that threshold of establishing the very necessary evidence to show a contiguous relationship akin to ownership, to enable you to secure title,” Ms Sykes says.

She says few iwi are far enough along in the settlement process to have spare resources to pursue such claims, and the money has certainly not trickled down to the hapu level where customary rights belong.


A former local government manager has been picked by south Waikato iwi Ngati Raukawa to manage its increasingly diverse and complex activities.

Waid Crockett, whose wife is a member of the iwi, has been the interim chief executive of the Raukawa Settlement Trust as it negotiated for a stake in the Central North Island forests and Waikato River co-management settlements.

He says future challenge include growing the iwi's assets so members' expectations of social and other services can be met.

“We have a plan about what it is we wish to achieve as an iwi, and working through with the trustees around that making sure we get our strategies and our alignment right and looking at the services and looking at how we can give what it is we have been able to achieve back to our whanau and hapu and marae as well,” Mr Crockett says.

Most of the Tokoroa-based trust's 80 staff are employed to deliver government social services contracts.

The manager of Brisbane indigenous radio station 4AAA says first nations people on both sides of the Tasman need to work together to overcome prejudice and discrimination.

Tiga Bayles, who also chairs the National Indigenous Radio Service which services 120 stations across the country, says the media has a role to play building inclusive societies.

“We all call this place home, whether you’re Maori, non-Maori, first nations from Aboriginal land, more recent arrivals in Australia, the place we live we all call home, it’s important that we engage, it’s important that we work together to create better places for those young ones that are coming through. We must work together to create better places for our young ones, and look after mother earthm” he says.

Mr Bayles is in New Zealand looking at iwi radio, and says he's impressed with the technology employed to share resources and programmes.


Ngai Tahu has opened up Tuahiwi Marae near Kaiapoi for anyone who needs a place to stay as a result of Saturday's earthquake.

Runanga chair Mark Solomon says other marae in the area are still being assessed for structural damage.

He says the tribe is rallying around its whanau in Otautahi.

“We've had marae from outside the area offering van loads of workers to come in and help clean up, marae from the south, runanga from the south putting up a $10,000 donation to help the people of Canterbury, it's awesome,” Mr Solomon says.

While its central city offices are still closed, the Ngai Tahu Runanga has resumed limited activities from its seafood business near the airport, and it is offering advice through its web site or its 0800 KAITAHU freephone.


Labour MP Shane Jones says the new Marine and Coastal Area Bill is worse for Maori than Labour's Foreshore and Seabed Act.

He says the main change is that the government has taken on board a submission by former Labour attorney general Michael Cullen about removing the assumption of Crown ownership.

But he says the bar has been set very high for iwi or hapu to prove their ancestral links to an area so they can get customary title.

“It hasn't really changed. What has changed is the name. What has changed is some of the processes but the underlying agenda which the National Party have successfully delivered upon which is really to ensure that if Maori are successful then the concessions they secure are going to be pretty minimal but it’s a great sell job. The fact the Maori Party are feeling boosted by this shows how well the National Party has sucked them in,” Mr Jones says.


A Ngati Kahungunu man says it's time to let women speak on their marae.

Matiu Te Huki is trying to arrange a wananga at Te Ore Ore Marae east of Masterton to teach wahine the basics of whaikorero.

He's encountering resistance, but the Kapiti-based musician says many marae don't have enough men on call to make the speeches, and there have been times women have had to speak to welcome manuhiri.

“They’ve been so whakamaa about it and they’ve had to whakaiti themselves, where they are totally humbling themselves and they won’t stand on the paepae, they stand behind, and they are feeling out of integrity and they feel they are doing something wrong but they just have to stand and speak. I would really like them to feel empowered and confident they have the full backing of our people,” Mr Te Huki says.

He says some men may resist allowing wahine to speak because they see the role as a bastion of their power.


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