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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Muriwhenua leader Rima Edwards dies

Ngapuhi and Muriwhenua iwi are mourning the loss of tribal scholar and leader Rima Edwards, who died on Sunday.

Mr Edwards was chair of Te Runanga o Muriwhenua, which coordinated the claims of people belonging to the five northernmost iwi.

It was his evidence that led the Waitangi Tribunal to find that in many early land transactions in the far north, what occurred was not a sale but a conditional grant of occupation and use rights.

MP and former Muriwhenua claim researcher Shane Jones says Mr Edwards was also valued for his knowledge of the teachings of the Ngapuhi prophet, Aperahama Taonui, a founder of the Kotahitanga movement.

“Although he was only in his mid-60s, everyone knew that his knowledge of the language, the culture, and in particular the genealogy and the ancient history was peerless for someone of his time,” Mr Jones says.

Rima Edwards’ tangi is at Omanaia Marae in south Hokianga.

MAOIR PARTY JOINS PUSH FOR TREATY OMNIBUS BILL

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says the Labour Party needs to get behind a change to parliament’s rules to allow several treaty settlements to be wrapped into a single omnibus bill.

Labour’s representative on the Standing Orders committee has questioned the need for the change, saying Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson could just ask the House for leave to do the same thing.

But Mr Flavell says with more than 20 settlements due to come before Parliament this year, it’s important to smooth the process.

“Because treaty settlement bills are not contentious, because they’ve been negotiated and there is agreement, it’s relatively straight forward, this is seen as a good way of advancing settlements through the process to achieve the goal of (completing all settlements by) 2014,” Mr Flavell says.

The individual settlements will be separated out at the third reading stage.

NZEI URGING HIKOI ON EARLY CHILDHOOD CUTS

An NZEI executive member says Maori may need to take to the streets to express their outrage at cuts to early childhood education funding.

Hayley Whitaker says Maori and Pacific children are among the most affected by fee rises that centres are imposing to make up for a $400 million cut in government funding.

She says the government is refusing to listen, and the Maori community should walk up the street saying they will not accept it.

She says while the Government has redirected some funds towards raising the participation of south Auckland Maori and Pacific Island children in early childhood education, pre-schoolers exist throughout the country.

HARAWIRA DECRIES NAVY ROLE IN ELVIS TEDDY ARREST
Independent MP Hone Harawira says the arrest of a Whanau a Apanui fishing boat captain was an abuse of the armed forces.

A combined police and navy operation led to the boarding of the boat San Pietro and the arrest of Elvis Teddy on a charge of operating a vessel in an unsafe manner.

The San Pietro was part of a flotilla which has been protesting against Brazilian oil giant Petrobras’s prospecting in the Raukumara Basin.

Mr Harawira says he will be at the Tauranga court on Friday to support Mr Teddy.

“It’s unacceptable on Anzac day that the New Zealand government can be using their armed forces against their own citizens and if they don’t put a stop to it very quickly, if the Mori Party doesn’t take a stand, they will suffer at the election and there will be hell to pay on the streets of this nation,” he says.

Mr Harawira says use of armed forced against Te Whanau a Apanui is similar to the armed police actions three years ago against Ngai Tuhoe.

TUHOE FESTIVAL A JOYOUS MUD BATH

The weekend’s wet weather did not dampen the spirits of thousands of Tuhoe who returned to Ruatoki for the annual Hui Ahurei a Tuhoe festival.

Spokesperson Tini Molyneaux says as well as kapa haka and sports, tribe members debated progress on their claim settlement and their determination to eventually get back the land in Te Urewera National Park taken from the tribe.

She says the immediate battle was with the mud, and every shop in Whakatane that sold umbrellas and gumboots ran out of stock.

Te Hui Ahurei a Tuhoe has been held every year since 1971, making it one of the country’s oldest tribal festivals.

NGAHUIA WILLIAMS AIMS FOR MODEL AGENCY

The country's top Maori model is starting her own agency.

Ngahuia Williams of Nga Puhi, who is the face of the Max label, says with 10 years in the business she knows enough to help younger models coming through.

The 25-year-old says while she is looking for a range of models to represent, she will keep her eyes open for Maori talent.

The Auckland-based N Model Management will launch in July

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