Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Classrooms at Hoani Waititi kura destroyed

Maori affairs minister Pita Sharples says a fire which destroyed to two classrooms at Hoane Waititi marae's kura kaupapa on Sunday night is shattering.

Police are treating the fire as suspicious, after reports a group of youths had been seen loitering in the area earlier in the evening.

Dr Sharples, who helped set up the kura, says he was devastated.

“I was down at the marae in the afternoon almost until evening and came home to get ready for my week and to get that pone call was devastating. It was the first kura, and it was one of our new buildings, two new classrooms, and it was just a tragedy,” Dr Sharples says.

Neighbours came out to console those connected with the kura.


The chair of Nelson’s Wakatu Incorporation, Paul Morgan, says he won’t be bullied by the Government into giving up the fight for his beneficiaries’ common law property rights.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson last week suspended talks with the four iwi in the Taranaki Tainui ki te Tonga group because of a legal challenge by Wakatu to the way the Crown administered its land for more than a century.

Mr Morgan says the Crown won’t negotiate in good faith with Wakatu, even though it lodged the original Waitangi Tribunal claim, so it is going to court to defend the individual rights of present and past owners.

“Under the Waitangi Act any Maori can make a claim but the Crown policy that’s been wrapped around this whole process, its strategy is to deal with a large communal group, they so happen to call it iwi, and that has management benefits and fiscal benefits for the Crown. It’s not a policy that necessarily delivers justice in terms of Crown breaches,” says Mr Morgan.


The designers of a reloading possum trap says Maori rural communities are embracing it.

The Department of Conservation had bought 10,000 of the traps, which use compressed gas to kill up to 12 possums before they need to be reloaded.

Robbie Greg, the co-director the Wellington based company Good Nature, says DoC's initial trials in the Urewera ranges proved highly popular with the community.

“The folk up in the Urewera have really worked over the last decade to include the community into these projects and if you look across the country, community groups now actually manage larger tracts of land than the department itself,” Mr Greg says.

DoC's $4 million purchase will allow the traps to prove themselves commercially.


The Police Maori strategic advisor, Wally Haumaha, hopes his return to Tuhoe territory with Police Commission Howard Broad at the weekend helped heal wounds from the controversial raids on Ruatoki three years ago.

The pair were at Ruatoki for the unveiling of the gravestone of Sir John Turei, who died in 2003.

Superintendent Haumaha says Sir John’s legacy as a peacemaker gave the gathering a special feeling.

“It went extremely well. I think it was totally dignified on both sides. Of course we were invited there for a completely different kaupapa. Having said that I think it was an opportunity for us to, and particularly for the commissioner to be there with the people of Ruatoki and from my engagement with a lot of our kaumatua, they were very complimentary of the fact they could see him face to face,” Superintendent Haumaha says.


Labour list MP Shane Jones says resources for Maori language revival need to be closer to the community.

The Waitangi Tribunal has identified a fall over the past decade in the number and percentage of Maori children attending kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori immersion schools, and pointed to what it calls policy failure by successive governments.

Mr Jones, who is seeking the Labour nomination for Tamaki Makaurau, says agencies like the Maori language commission Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori have become too caught up in the centralised Wellington bureaucracy, rather than addressing the needs of the main centres of Maori population.

IN: We should certainly have a taura whiri, I don’t want to diminish its status, but there should be one focused and working in Auckland,” he says.

Mr Jones says the money tagged for teaching and promoting te reo Maori isn’t being spent wisely.


A home town advantage put two members of the Santorik whanau in the prizes at this weekend’s Auahi Kore Maori surfing championships at Raglan.

Jessie Santorik won the women's open division and her brother Leon came second in the men’s open, which was won by Tim O'Connor from Mt Maunganui.

Their mother, Lyn, says her kids are proud of their Ngati Toa heritage and look forward to the annual event as a time to celebrate with other Maori surfers.

“It all about me, each other, whanau. There’s something really special. It’s quite tangible when you’re there and what I like to see is the people flushed out for this comp, you don’t see them at other comps,” Ms Santorik

Another Raglan homie, Daniel Kereopa from Tainui, came third in the men’s open, while Kelly Clarkson from Te Arawa and Renee Lee from Nga Puhi took the minor placings in the women’s event.


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