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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pahauwera ink treaty settlement for Mohaka area

More than 1000 people gathered at Waipapa-a-iwi Marae south of Wairoa today to witness the signing of Ngati Pahauwere's treaty settlement.

The deal includes $20 million cash, two farms, 1000 ha of conservation land, money to restore the health of the Mohaka and Taharua rivers, and an apology.

The iwi is also buying the 15,000 ha Mohaka pine forest for $12 million.
Pahauwera descendant Willie te Aho says negotiator Toro Waaka and his team did a great job.

Treaty negotiations minister Chris Finlayson also signed a settlement today which will return Young Nick's Head or Te Kuri a Paoa to Ngai Tamanuhiri, the first of three Turanga or Gisborne groups to initial deeds.

SHARPLES KEEN TO SEE WARDENS STAND ALONE

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples sympathetic to a select committee recommendation that the Maori wardens be set up as a standalone body independent of the New Zealand Maori Council.

In its review of the Maori Community Development Act, the Maori Affairs Select Committee said any changes must focus urgently on improvements for the wardens, volunteers who now receive some police training.

Dr Sharples says they're an important part of Maori life.

“They've arisen again, they’re doing a great job, it’s wonderful, wherever I go, there’s wardens there at hui and it’s such a delight to see young and old in their uniforms doing their mahi, immense pride,” Dr Sharples says.

More work needs to go into the type of organisational and legislative support the wardens will need.

MAORI CHRISTIANS TO WELCOME INDIGENOUS BRETHREN

Maori Christians are preparing to host their brethren next month at the World Christian Gathering of Indigenous people at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia.

Organiser Watson Ohia says the first such gathering was held by his parents Monty and Linda Ohia in Rotorua in 1996, and it has since been held biannually round the globe.

He says the indigenous peoples and missionaries has had a chequered history, and the non-denominational hui will celebrate both culture and christianity.

The gathering will be at Turangawaewae for four days from January 9, then move to Auckland to connect with the wider multicultural communities.

HOPE SERCO-TAINUI LINK-UP WILL LEAD TO PRISON REFORM

Maori Affairs and Associate Corrections minister Pita Sharples is counting on outsourcer Serco and its Maori partner to change the way prisons operate.

The British company, which runs a number of private prisons in Australia, has been picked to run the Auckland Central Remand Prison at Mount Eden.

Dr Sharples says the prison system's focus on punishment and incarceration has created structural baggage, and left room for innovation.

“The whole idea of rehabilitating these people to put them out as productive members of society is not yet captured, and that’s what I want to see, and I’m hoping that Serco and I believe it’s Tainui they’re involved will do a good job and introduce meaningful programmes into the prison. That would be really great,” he says.

Dr Sharples wants to see more drug rehabilitation, Maori focused units, and other targeted programmes for prisoners.

ONE IN FIVE TERTIARY STUDENTS A MAORI WOMAN

Women's Affairs minister Hekia Parata is welcoming an report showing marked improvement in Maori women's participation in education.

The report is filed with the United Nations every four years to measure this country's compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women.

Ms Parata says since the last report was filed, the participation and achievement level of Maori girls in the school system improved by 47 percent, even though too many girls are still leaving school without NCEA level 2.

She says Maori women now make up 22 percent of all enrollees at tertiary institutions.

“Maori women's higher rate of participation is primarily due to Maori women returning to education at a later stage of life. Younger Maori women are less likely than younger Pakeha women to enroll in tertiary education. So now what this report tells us is that we need to be concentrating on how we can get upping the participation rate among younger Maori women,” Ms Parata says.

Improvements need to start with getting more Maori mothers to enroll their children at pre-school.

FISH FARMING SPACE FOR COROMANDEL CONSIDERED

Hauraki mussel farmer Harry Mikaere says Maori would be keen to get into finfish farming, but they'd be wary about its effect of existing mussel and oyster farms.

An Aquaculture Ministerial Advisory Panel chaired by former fisheries minister Sir Doug Kidd is considering a plan to allow a new 300-hectare marine farming zone in Coromandel.

Mr Mikaere says the plan to farm kingfish and hapuku will be watched closely, and iwi might follow.

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