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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Treaty focus likely in constitutional review

Former governor - general Sir Paul Reeves says the upcoming constitutional review will be a chance to clarify what the Treaty of Waitangi means for New Zealanders.

The Prime Minister has confirmed the review promised in the Government's support agreement with the Maori Party will start soon.

Sir Paul says he doesn't fear it will be at the expense of the Treaty.

“The treaty is very strong. The treaty is pushing us around. We must now give legs, shape and direction to all the treaty talk that we take part in and if the Prime Minister is willing to allow that discussion and negotiation to proceed, then off we go,” he says.

Sir Paul, who led a group which developed a constitution for Fiji, says there are many people in New Zealand capable of sitting on the review team.


The Maori language commission is concerned at the dwindling numbers of Maori language experts able to teach others to teach Maori.

Glenis Philip-Barbara, the chief executive of Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori, says the shortages affecting paepae around the country is mirrored in the education sector.

She says many Maori in their 40s and 50s want to improve their grasp of te reo Maori, but can't find people to teach or mentor them.

“We need people who are matatau to be in a position to teach and mentor and support. We are struggling to grow people to that high fluency who are then able to turn around and contribute to language learning and language growth on the ground,” Ms Philip Barbara says.


The chair of New Zealand Women's Rugby League says the Black Ferns win in the women's rugby world cup win has drawn attention to next month's two-test series between the Kiwi Ferns and England.

Christine Panapa says like the Black Ferns, the Kiwi women's squad has always had a strong Maori and Polynesian component.

The Kiwi Ferns play England in Whangarei on October 10th and at Waitakere Stadium in West Auckland on the 15th.


The chair of far north iwi Te Rarawa says a report which slammed the Conservation Department's responsiveness on treaty issues was on the mark.

The independent review prepared for the State Services Commission said while there are strong relaitonships with Maori at conservancy level, DoC's head office focuses on risks and problems rather than looking for creative ways to contribute to treaty settlements.

Haami Piripi says conservation land accounts for the bulk of Crown assets in the far north, and it will be an essential part of the eventual Muriwhenua settlement.

“DoC staff on the ground recognize that we have this special relationship with the environment, that there is some cultural capital contained in that, and that it is valuable to them progressing the conservation ethic whereas the head office boffins are moribund with political position taking,” Mr Piripi says.

He says only now after almost a decade of negotiations are senior DoC staff starting to contribute to discussions with Te Rarawa.


The Prime Minister John Key says the Maori Party has got the main things it asked for in the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has voiced his dissatisfaction in the final shape of the bill, and had indicated it will be revisited in future.

But Mr Key says it's an improvement on the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“There are a couple of fundamental issues which genuinely offended Maori and they were inability to test their rights in the court, therefore the access to justice that any other New Zealander enjoyed, and secondly the essential confiscation of the foreshore and seabed into sole crown ownership. Now those two issues have been resolved,” Mr Key says.


Health workers have been told that in some parts of the Bay of Plenty, one in 39 Maori children have had rheumatic fever.

Paediatrican John Malcolm told the Public Health Association conference at Turangawaewae Marae yesterday the chance of Pakeha children getting the fever is less than one in 10,000.

He says it has long term consequences for Maori mortality.

“Twice as many people die of rheumatic heart disease in New Zealand as do of cervical cancer. These are people often dying in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s so while the initial attacks we keen an eye on between 5 and 15 years of age, the heart damage and the failing heart, stokes, heart and valve infection can go on for years,” Dr Malcolm says.

The best defence is swabbing sore throats to detect the bugs which cause rheumatic fever, but many doctors don't swab automatically because of poor historic advice from the Ministry of health or because they come from countries where it is not a problem.


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