Waatea News Update

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ngapuhi sacks social service head

December 22
Te Runanga o Ngapuhi has sacked the head of its social services arm and referred matters relating to its financial management to the police.

Arapeta Hamilton had been suspended without pay in October while a firm of forensic accountants went through the Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services books.

Ngapuhi Chairperson Sonny Tau says the review of the company identified issues that needed to be taken further.

Mr Tau says there had been a breakdown in management and governance procedures which the northern runanga has now addressed.

“We've dismissed Arapeta Hamilton and we’ve also stood aside the board, and they won’t be coming back in on the board, The relationship has grown very much closer, There is a lot more coordination and cooperation between the two organisations,” Mr Tau says.

He says the problems with Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services has not affected delivery of contracted services for the children young persons and their families service.


A bitter sweet Christmas present for Nelson based Ngati Tama with the High Court upholding a Maori Land Court decision that it has title to part of the Wakapuaka Estuary.

John Mitchell from the Huria Matenga Wakapuaka Estuary Trust says the High Court decision confirms the original grant of the title in 1883.

Dr Mitchell says Ngati Tama has spent more than $100,000 on the case because the crown seem determined to fight any challenge to its taking of the Seabed and Foreshore.

“While we are pleased that this has been the final outcome, we are still shocked and horrified that Maori should be able to be taken to court in the way that we have. This has cost us a huge amount of money. This has been a very expensive process,” Dr John Mitchell says.

He says the iwi won't be able to celebrate yet because it fears the Crown may still appeal.

Duty Minister Trevor Mallard says that decision has still to be made, but the case sets no precedent regarding the Foreshore and Seabed.


Green MP Meteria Turei says denying young people who commit suicide a traditional tangi is not the answer to a serious social problem.

Araiteuru Marae in Dunedin has buried six young suicide victims over the past 14 months, and is proposing that future suicides will only receive a short service on the day of the funeral.

But Meteria Turei says the tangi is as much about the grief of the family as it is about the tupapaku, and could be treated as a starting point to try to prevent other suicides.

“If young people are saying at tangi that people talk about the dead person and recognize their life and say good things about them, then maybe what they really need is for us to recognise their value and how important they are to us while they are living, rather than waiting until they die to tell them,” Ms Turei says.


Ngapuhi Chairperson Sonny Tau says the Northland tribe is working closely with Child, Youth and Family Services to resolve problems within its social services arm.
The runanga yesterday sacked Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services chief executive Arapeta Hamilron and referred some matters to the police for further investigation.

Mr Tau says the problems with management did not affect the quality of the contracted services being delivered which were essential for many of the tribes young people.

“The reason that Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services was set up was to look after our own tamariki and in a way that was conducive to Maori tikanga. There was a bit of distance between the runanga and CYFS in the past, but now that this has occurred, there is a lot more cooperation between the iwi and CYFS,” Mr Tau says.

He says the company's board has also been dismissed and the iwi will be looking for replacements with the appropriate professional skills to run a multi million dollar business.


Nelson based Ngati Tama is afraid a High Court decision confirming the ownership of the Wakapuaka estuary may be appealed.

John Mitchell from landowners the Huria Matenga Wakapuaka Estuary Trust says the case has already cost the iwi more than $100,000 as it fought to defend the Maori freehold title originally awarded in 1883.

Dr Mitchell says despite the clear reasoning by the High Court in support of a earlier Maori Land Court decision, the iwi is picking up disturbing indications that the government is keen to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“While it was started off by the National Government minister of conservation, it is obvious that Labour is following the same sort of line as it did with the foreshore and seabed – and by the way, this is not a foreshore and seabed case. Fogarty in his analysis also took apart the Crown’s arguments on those grounds,” Dr Mitchell says.


With the busy pace of modern life Christmas is one of the few times of the year outside of tangi that Maori get to go to their home areas.

Rural marae turn into camping grounds for the whanau, favourite kaimoana spots get revisited, and it's also time for whanau reunions and unveilings.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says the foreign climes cannot compete with the pleasures of Tolaga Bay on the East Coast.

“Most of my mates go overseas, to Greece or wherever else, get away and chill out. I think it’s a Maori thing, I go home. It’s hard to get home in this job. I spend time there. I’ll spend about three days with my moko, she’s eight years old so she’s got a lot to say and show me, so I look forward to that like a lot of grandparents,” Mr Horomia says.

The minister is likely to be seen at other highlights of the Maori calendar over the break, including the Maori tennis champs in the Waikato, the waka ama nationals, and the super 12 kapahaka champs in Gisborne.

Fisheries ready iwi for next step

December 22
2007 should mark a new era for Maori fisheries settlement trust Te Ohu Kaimoana.

Chief Executive, Peter Douglas says the progress in allocation this year means a critical mass of iwi now have control of their own assets and are looking at ways to best use them.

The trust had manadated 35 iwi this year.

“We’ve seen a lot of cooperation between iwi organisations and with our companies around the country, so people are thinking about what are they going to do next and how can they take on these responsibilities in a worthwhile way so they can produce the sort of results their critics or their observers are expecting of them,” Mr Douglas says.

He says the 22 iwi that haven't yet gone through the mandating process should complete the task by this time next year.


A Palmerston North Kohanga Reo teacher has welcomed a government injection of $6 million in building funds for the Early Childhood sector.

Pene Poutu from Mana Tamariki Kohanga Reo says Education Minister Steve Maharey's announcement can only be positive for mainstream and immersion Maori language facilities who want to expand.

Ms Poutu says Mana Tamariki has already accessed the fund to help with the funding of its new Kura and Kohanga Reo complex.

She says in the past Maori education has suffered from lack of funds in capital development.

“Early childhood including kohanga reo isn’t a compulsory sector, and it’s much harder for us to get money together to build or expand our buildings, and we’re saying that Maori children need access. The government has targeted Maori so yay, they’re going to put money in, and as long as kohanga reo are able to access that, we’d be really happy with it,” Ms Poutu says.


Outgoing Taura Whiri chief executive Haami Piripi says he's moving on from his job ensuring the survival of the Maori language to ensuring the survival of his iwi.

Mr Piripi says he'll relocate to Kaitaia when he leaves the Wellington based Maori language commission in February.

Mr Piripi was elected Chairman of Te Runanga o Te Rarawa in October. He says he'll be taking a long term view.

“It's only a governance role, it’s a role that’s lots of love and lots of commitment but it’s not very lucrative, but essentially I’m moving back to the north to establish my iwi as a corporate entity able to take 15,000 constituents into the next couple of hundred years,” Mr Piripi says.


Ngai Tahu has strengthened its position in the South Island tourism sector with the purchase of Franz Josef based The Guiding Company.

Ngai Tahu Tourism general manager John Thorburn says the iwi has now brought stakes in 10 tourism companies including Shotover Jet, Dart River Safaris, Rainbow Springs, and Whalewatch Kaikoura.

Mr Thorburn says guiding is a traditional activity for Ngai Tahu, and the purchase compliments other tourism initiatives the iwi operates on the iconic Franz Josef Glacier.

“We already have a glacier guiding business. This was the minor operator that operated alongside of that, which enables us to complement our existing operation. We believe that the West Coast is an attractive and growing tourist destination. This purchase enables us to extend our investment in this particular region,” Mr Thorburn says.

He says the West Coast tourism market is burgeoning, with around a million visitors a year.


The New Zealand Educational Institute is recommending its members accept 3 percent pay rise and improved holidays for support staff.

The deal covers support staff including teacher aides, reo Maori kaiarahi, health and office workers.

Union negotiator Mereana Epi Mana says the move should make it easier for schools to recruit aides with the necessary Maori language skills.

“Our kaiarahi are people who are experts in te reo. In some cases we have kaiarahi who are the main speakers in that particular class, especially in mainstream and immersion classes. Unfortunately, because of the way they are funded, they also are in the packet of losing hours and losing funding for their pain,” Ms Epi Mana says.

The Boards of Trustees Association says the decision is a disappointing outcome as the Government continues to increase costs when schools are struggling to make ends meet.


The organiser of the annual super 12 kapa haka competition in Gisborne says the event is encouraging innovation in cultural performance.

The competition involving 12 groups with 12 members performing for 12 minutes will be held at the Soundshell on Waikanae beach in Gisborne, December 29th.

Wille Te Aho says since 1999, the standard has steadily improved, with groups incorporating non-traditional instruments to enhance their performances.

Mr Te Aho says while the style of performance may differ from the 40 strong teams who will compete for the National Te Maatatini Kapahaka in February, there are still similarities.

“You know the heart of this is still te reo Maori, but the kaupapa is set and it’s celebrating being proud to be Maori so people have to reflect that though their performance, and we’ve seen some really innovative costumes, we’ve had saxophones, drums, electric guitars, so it’s been really great from that perspective,” Mr Te Aho says.

McCabe joins Crown team at WA

December 21
The latest goverment appointment to the board of the troubled Te Wananga o Aotearoa, is a women who quit Westpac after giving her 6 yr old son a free ride on the Westpac rescue helicopter.

A spokesperson for Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen has confirmed that June McCabe is the fourth crown appointee for the wananga.

When news of the birthday flight broke in April, Ms McCabe resigned as the bank’s corporate affairs manager.

Ms McCabe first came to public attention when she shifted from being a Housing Corporation rental manager to being put in charge of Mortgage Corporation, the Fay Richwhite subsidiary set up to handle the privatized Housing Corporation loan book.

That led to her being identified as a successful Maori businesswoman, and a succession of appointments including to the boards of Housing New Zealand, the Accident Compensation Corporation, TVNZ, the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, the New Zealand Leadership Institute and the Turn Your Life Around charity.

The Government now has four appointees on the wananga board, including full time chair Craig Coxhead, and it exerts day to day control through a team of Crown managers from accountants Price Waterhouse Coopers, who cost the WA $1.7 million plus gst last financial year.


Outgoing Maori Language Commission Chief Executive Haami Piripi says lack of support from other government agencies made for a disappointing 2006.

Mr Piripi will step down at the end of February to take up a iwi development role within his hometown of Kaitaia.

He says for the commission to achieve its goals of fostering Maori language survival, it needs backing across the state sector.

“We could have had more investment in Maori language from a number of sources, from Education sector for example, Culture and Heritage, Internal Affairs, haven’t really fully appreciated the need to plan and integrate language into their strategic business interests,” Mr Piripi says.

He says his new role as executive chair of Te Runanga o Te Rarawa is more about aroha rather than money.


One of the best ever Maori tennis players has returned home to help launch a book celebrating 70 years of Maori tennis.

Aotearoa Maori tennis Chair Dick Garrett says Kelly Evernden will be one of the stars on hand at the lauch at Turangawaewae Marae during the annual Maori tennis tournament next week.

Dick Garrett while the book covers players back to 1936, Maori involvement in the game can be traced back to the 1890s.

Mr Garrett says in Kelly Evernden, who is now a professional coach at the Mercer Island Country Club near Seattle in the United States, has been a great ambassador for Maori tennis.

“Kelly you know reached 31 in the world, played at Wimbledon, beat McEnroe and Lendl and all them, took a set off Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon, he’s still tuturu about Maori tennis and where he comes from,” Mr Garrett says.


A team of Crown managers cost Te Wanaga O Aotearoa more than $1.7 million last financial year.

The mangers from accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers were put in charge early last year, after the government became concerned at the rate of growth of the country’s largest Maori tertiary institution.

A board weighted heavily with crown appointees has scrapped many of the more ambitious courses, and one of the wananga’s most significant sources of students, the Kiwi Ora course for new migrants, is being wound up.

Tertiary education minister Michael Cullen says the government acknowledges there are different ways of approaching tertiary education.

“There is a clear role for the wananga for example, and one of my jobs in the last year has been to make sure Te Wananga o Aotearoa is put back onto a sound footing, and the position now is a heck of a lot better than it was a year ago,” Dr Cullen says.

He says the Price Waterhouse crown managers will be replaced by a chief financial officer - but there have been no moves yet to advertise the position.


Te Ohu Kaimoana Chief Executive Peter Douglas says a new mindset among Maori organisations has helped speed the transfer of Maori fisheries assets.

The Maori fisheries settlement trust mandated 37 iwi organisations this year, and expects the other 22 iwi to complete the process before Christmas next year.

Mr Douglas says it is an encouraging outcome given the time it took to come up with an allocation process.

“People probably had doubts about whether of not it was going to be possible, given the 12 years that had passed from the time of the settlement to the passage of the act. But we’ve developed not just useful templates but good relations with most of the iwi organisations that have gone through our process, and it indicates people have a different mindset. They’re thinking about what they are going to do next rather than what happened before,” Mr Douglas says.

He says iwi are now having to take on many of the responsibilities previously managed by Te Ohu Kaimoana, including participation in fisheries stakeholder organisations.


Maori need to prepare for increasing numbers of Kaumatua developing mental health problems.

That's according to John Tamihere, who heads Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust in West Auckland.

Mr Tamihere says Maori face a range of health issues, but one that has recieved little attention is mental illness among the elderly.

He says Maori are now living longer and alzheimers is becoming more prevalent in Maori communities.

Mr Tamihere says the trust has developed strategies to address the health needs of men, women and tamariki, and next year will do the same for the region’s elderly.

“We've never lived to a level to be exposed to significant mental health issues in our elders, but it’s coming, and we’ve got to get ready for these things,” Mr Tamihere says.

Where there’s wood there’s smoke offsets

December 21
Agriculture and Forestry Minister Jim Anderton says Ngati Porou is setting itself up a player in the global carbon market.

Ngati Porou own forest company Iwi Rakau and London based Sustainable Forestry Management Group have a joint venture to plant 30,000 hectares of new forests on the East Coast.

This could give the venture up to 75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide credits which it could trade on the global market.

Mr Anderton says it's looking ahead.

“Of around $22 billion of carbon trading going on, Ngati Porou will be able to get their share of the trading that goes on, and how that works is that some companies and or countries will want to offset their carbon emissions with areas that absorb carbon, and Ngati Porou will have one that stores 75 million tones of carbon dioxide,” Mr Anderton says.


The Prime Minister says the Waitangi settlement process has developed traction and that settlements which 5 or ten years ago would have been controversial, are now being accepted as the right thing to do.

She says the deals struck over the Te Arawa Lakes, Mt Maunganui, and the volcanic cones of Auckland haven't resulted in the community being alienated from the areas as some people predicted.

“Have you heard a squeak out of Auckland? No, because people know it’s a fair deal, title has gone back, it’s a co-management with the council over the reserve status. Everyone gains from it. Maori get pride from knowing that they’re the owners. If they work with the city, it’s open to the people. I just think the climate has changed, and people know there were wrongs, they’ve got to get righted, we’ve got to get on with it,” Ms Clark says.

The Waitangi Tribunal will consider urgent claims in the new year on whether the Auckland and Rotorua land settlements have properly taking into account the concerns of overlapping claimants.


Te Puni Kokiri chief executive Leith Comer is getting approval for his Ministry's new Maori potential framework was the highlight of his year.

The framework replaces the earlier capacity building policy and gives the Maori Development ministry more flxibility about where it spends its $150 million budget.

The ministry has come under fire from National's new Maori Affairs spokespeople, Georgina Te Heuheu and Tau Henare, but Mr Comer says he's pleased the pair are keeping a close watch on his activites.

He says the focus for the next year should be on the positives rather than the negatives in Maori society.

“There is huge potential in Maori, whether it’s in Maori economic assets, or cultural or social or people assets. Our approach now is to realise that potential through investing in it. We’re looking for opportunities to work with Maori to make deliberate investments into areas which will deliver potential,” Mr Comer says.

The Ministry is currently looking for a new policy head after the sudden resignation of long-term Maori Affairs official Hekia Parata.


Green Maori Affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei says carbon sink forests offer Maori the chance to be environment world leaders.

Federation of Maori Authorities deputy Chair Paul Morgan has attacked a proposed tax on land taken out of forestry which he says could lock Maori into using their land for a single purpose.

Ms Turei says rather than being threatened by the governments plans, Maori should look at it as an opportunity.

“Maori could be world leaders in the way that we use our assets to protect ourselves from climate change and to reduce our emissions, and we’ve got a real opportunity to take control of what is going to be an economic boom in renewable and ecologically sound industry and investment,” Ms Turei says.

She's heartened by Ngati Porou joint venture to plant 30,000 hectares of forest on the East Coast.


Ngati Awa leader Hirini Moko Mead says the government is opposing a United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people, because it fears it may lead to Maori autonomy.

Professor Mead says the government has little to fear and it should learn from places like Quebec and some Australian states where governments learn to work with autonomous groups.

“That seems to be the fear, that we might break away, that the declaration might give us far too much rangatiratanga. It is possible to govern ourselves as a state within a state as in the United States, Canada and Australia, they all follow that model. It’s not impossible. It’s just that our government seems to be fearful,” Professor Mead says.

The draft declaration is expected to come back before the United Nations late next year.


The Prime Minister says Maori are much better off at the end of this year than last.

Helen Clark says the working for families package, rates rebates, the lowering of doctors fees, and interest free student loans have all contributed to improved prospects for Maori families.

She says she expects to see the Maori unemployment rate continue to decline as it has through this year.

“I think people’s head are really up. People aren’t whakamaa, they’re looking straight ahead. They’ve got the pay coming into their pocket, they’re self-reliant and they can see ahead for themselves and their family. I think work is absolutely fundamental. I often say the best form of social security is a job because it gives people pride. I’m just thrilled to see that rate coming down and down and down,” Ms Clark says

The unemployment rate for Maori as of June 2006 was down to 8.5 per cent.

Maori leading forests initiatives

December 20
Agriculture and Forestry Minister Jim Anderton says Ngati Porou is leading the way for other iwi with an east coast joint forestry venture.

Tribal subsidiary Iwi Rakau Limited is working with London based Sustainable Forestry Management Group to convert 30,000 hectares of Ngati Porou land into permanent forests.

Under the government's permanent forest sinks initiative, the forests will qualify for up to 75 million tonnes of carbon credits for future trading, and the forests will also counter erosion.

Mr Anderton says other iwi may follow.

“Farm land and iwi land in the Taranaki have farm plans attached to them now where they are replanting up to three quarters of a million trees a year so others are on the way. Ngati Porou is giving leadership in its region, and particularly on the permanent forests sinks initiative,” Mr Anderton says.

He says the Ngati Porou venture will also also qualify for a $1300 a hectare subsidy to buy seedlings.


The interim chair of the new Mataatua Assembly says the Bay of Plenty-based organisation is modeled on the kingitanga to give tribes in the region a unified voice.

Hirini Moko Mead says all iwi who whakapapa to Mataatua are being urged to combine resources and work on issues that affect them all.

Professor Mead says that formula has worked well for the kingitanga.

“The Mataatua assembly is another movement along the same lines. We actually are trying to unite the tribes of the Mataatua waka. There are quite a number of issues before us where united issues are required,” Professor Mead says.

The Mataatua assembly will meet in the new year to discuss the government's lack of support for the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


A new Maori website promoting unique Maori language resources is hitting home for overseas whanau.

Haemata.co.nz was initially established to promote the 'Piripaua' babywear range of founders Hineihaia Murphy and husband Mark Fell, but later realised the need to incorporate other Maori products.

Haemata consultant Nicky Cockburn-Birch says the website now includes Maori language resources such as puzzles and books for both tamariki and maatua.

Ms Cockburn-Birch says the Haemata.co.nz website is attracting interest from Maori living offshore.

“I've spoken to some of my friends and whanau in London and they are just rapt because there’s a kohanga in London, that’s one example, and they’re lapping up the resource for their kohanga. So we’ve also promoted it internationally so people overseas, no matter where they arte living, will be able to have those resources to support them in their homes,” Cockburn-Birch says.


Greens’ Maori affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei says the new Whangamata Marina is giving away the foreshore and seabed to the rich.

Acting minister David Benson-Pope has approved construction a 205 berth marina, in the estuary at Whangamataa.

Ms Turei says for centuries tangata whenua have accessed the areas kaimoana beds, but that will cease once the marina is built.

She says the marina is effectively a playground for the rich and denies the majority of the community access to the area.

“It’s an extremely disappointing decision for heaps of people including Hauraki Maori who fought against the marina for all of these years, It’s just another example of wealthy people getting access to the foreshore and seabed, while the rest of the community doesn’t get squat. So it’s really an awful decision for the iwi and the hapu and the community as a whole,” Ms Turei says.


Maori with connections to a reserve in the hills behind Papamoa, are angry they have not been consulted about the reserve’s management.

Waitaha spokesperson Maru Tapsell, says the 120 hectare Environment BOP –managed reserve has 18 paa sites.

Hapu and iwi who whakapapa to the land include Nga Potiki, Ngati Hee, Ngati Pukenga and Waitaha.

Mr Tapsell says none have been consulted about how they want the paa sites cared for, and believes the regional council is more interested in commercial opportunities cultural and historical preservation.

“They haven't even consulted us on that matter, and I’m talking about the regional council. There’s a big argument that’s going to occur out of this. I have very much fear this council here is commercially driven, rather than environmentally protection driven. They better watch out. I think we may end up back in court,” Mr Tapsell says.

Papamoa Hills reserve spokesperson Bill Cleghorn says the council is looking for submissions from the public on proposed camp and barbeque sites, as well as four wheel motorbike tours.


A love story has inspired a west Auckland carving.

Te Kawerau a Maki recently unveiled a new pou whakairo at Huia, that tells the love story of e kawerau chief Maka.

Carver Rewi Spraggon says the iwi have had several commissions to produce whakairo in Waitakere, including the pou at the Arataki Visitor information Centre, which attracts thousands of visitors each year.

He says the carving at Huia tells the story of a young man from Pukaki who fell in love with a girl from Kawerau a Maki.

“However, the parents weren’t too happy with this union. Therefore they ran away into the valley and they hid under a waterfall for about three days, and because the constant noise of the water bashing down on the rocks, they became deaf. That’s why they named that place Kainga a Maturiura, refuge of the deaf, and this is carved into that pou,” Mr Spraggon says.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hide says forest tax second confiscation

December 20
Maori have attracted an unlikely ally in their concerns over the Governments Policy Package aimed at promoting more trees.

ACT Party leader Rodney Hide says the government is planning to apply a flat deforestation tax of $13,000 a hectare to convert forestry land into pasture.

Mr Hide says for Maori who own 40 percent of forestry land through Maori freehold or Crown forestry licence, this makes maintaining flexible and adaptable land use almost impossible.

He says much of that land is compensation for earlier Crown confiscations and a similar pattern is emerging.

“When you look at Maori owned forestry land it’s especially galling, because a lot of this land has been compensation for previous confiscations the government has done. If you diminish the property right by saying you can’t turn it into pasture without paying us, then you’re confiscating the property that’s been given to Maori in compensation for an earlier confiscation. It’s a second confiscation. I can’t get over it,” Mr Hide says.


The decision by a group of Ngati Porou landowners to plant a carbon sink forest, doesn't put the land at risk.

Whaimutu Dewes the chairman of Ngati Porou Whanui Forests Limited intends on planting 30 thousand hectares of exotic species including eucalyptus, suitable for fast growth and carbon storage.

The joint venture with a UK based company Sustainable Forestry Management, is site specific and will also contribute to the regeneration of native forest.

Mr Dewes says the forestry initiative doesn't put the land at risk.

“The land, the title to it, must never be put at risk. Not a single smidgeon of risk to the title. And a second imperative is that Ngati Porou landowners want to see that their representatives, people that they appoint, have a meaningful say ion how the whole venture is operated,” Mr Dewes says.


A Maori water safety promoter says a campaign targeting Maori is having an effect.

Mark Haimona, a regional co-ordinator for Water Safety New Zealand, says fewer Maori drowned this year, and the water safety message is getting through.

He says a Maori focused strategy which includes some well known faces is helping tamariki at kohanga reo and kura kaupapa understand the dangers that exist in and around water..

“It’s good to follow tikanga and it’s good to follow the reo by incorporating aspects of te reo Maori me ona tikanga. We’ve been lucky enough to have some role models out there with the likes to (actor) Pio Terei, who helps us with the campaign, and more recently we’ve been able to get on board (surfer) Daniel Kereopa, in terms of pushing that message of being safe in and around water,” Mr Haimona says.


ACT Party leader Rodney Hide says the Government should have learnt from the Seabed and Foreshore bill not to tamper with Maori property rights.

The Epsom electorate MP says the proposed $13,000 a hectare tax on forestry land converted into pasture is damning to the Maori economy.

Mr Hide says the Labour government should be supporting Maori to be economically pro active, rather than penalising them for using their land for purposes other than planting forests, to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol.

He says the government should re-evaluate how it treats Maori.

You would have thought they’d have learned the lesson from the foreshore and seabed bill that it’s far better to respect people’s property rights than pinch them, particularly when it’s Maori, because there’s been such a history of property rights being pinched by the Crown, and here it is continuing into the 21st century. I think it’s shocking,” Mr Hide says.

He says the comprehensive consultation process promised by Minister of Climate Change, David Parker, is double edged, and the government will act as they please regardless.


The Federation of Maori Authorities Chairman says a proposal by the government to increase taxes on changing land use will stunt the Maori economy.

The proposed Government Policy Package includes a flat deforestation tax which could potentially cost Maori $7 billion, devaluation of land and limited carbon credit posting access in 2007.

FOMA Chair Paul Morgan says it's inappropriate for the crown to lock future generations of Maori into a position where they can't change their land use, given Maori own 40 percent of forestry land.

Mr Morgan says Maori simply can't afford to have their economic momentum stunted.

“In the last 20 years Maoridom, we’re emerging economically and we’re building some momentum. Policies and regulations of this nature knock the edge off our development and our ability to participate in this country’s economy, and Maoridom, we can’t afford it,” Mr Morgan says.

Public discussion and comprehensive consultation over the policy package will take place till March next year


Maori continue to be over-represented in drowning statistics, despite a drop in numbers over the past year.

Mark Haimona , a regional co-ordinator for Water Safety New Zealand, says Maori make up around 15 percent of the population, but are involved in 25 percent of drownings each year.

He says young Maori men are most at risk because they are more likely to get in trouble collecting kaimoana.

However he says rivers are also dangerous, and with many marae on riverbanks, are a natural draw card for Maori families.

Mr Haimona says whanau need to be particularly vigilant near rivers, due to unseen dangers.

“For Maori they are a big at risk site. We don’t have the lifeguards. The river has a lot of seen hazards. The current of the river is a lot different to that of the sea, and generally you have to really be on the alert when you go by rivers,” Mr Haimona says.

Whangamata marine approval upsets Hauraki

December 19
Hauraki Maori say they are shattered by a decision to allow the construction of a 200 berth marina at Whangamata.

Daisy Te Moananui from the Hauraki Maori Trust Board says it's the worst possible news before Christmas.

She says the marina will destroy kaimoana beds.

“That's shattering to us. They could at least have waited to after Christmas. What is there to celebrate for us as the people of Hauraki? There's nothing,” Mrs Te Moananui says.


The Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of finance says the partnership between Maori and the Crown has not been broken by the imposition of a September 2008 deadline for lodging historical claims.

That criticism came from Rawiri Taonui, head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University.

Dr Cullen says iwi and hapu should know by now know about their historical claims, and new claims can still be lodged, because the treaty partnership is a living relationship.

He says how long the claims take to settle, depends on the resources available to both the claimants and the crown, and that process can't be rushed.

“The Crown can't push that too hard, can’t say, we want you to get this done in the next six months because that then in my view would be a breach of that treaty relationship. The process itself is part of that partnership. Now the Crown as a partner can’t put artificial deadlines on the process,” Dr Cullen says.


Maori parents are being urged to keep a closer eye on what their rangatahi are up to over the festive season.

That call has come from Glen McKay, the iwi liason officer for the Auckland Police District.

He says young people today are more exposed to more temptation than the previous generation.

Glen McKay says alcohol and drugs are more readily available, faster cars and peer pressure adding to the risks.

“There's a whole lot more out there that our rangatahi, our young kids are dealing with that we never used to deal with. Back in the day if you had an accident in a car, you were driving a Humber 80 and it never got dinged and you all walked away laughing about it. These days the vehicles they are traveling in travel at 140, 150, 160 k, and you’ve got young ones behind the wheel with not that experience driving, that’s a recipe for disaster,” Mr McKay says.


Maori risk losing billions of dollars, if a proposed Government package limit carbon emissions is approved.

The Federation of Maori Authorities executive deputy chair Paul Morgan says an option put forward is a flat deforestation tax for changing land use, which would be devastating to Maori land owners.

Mr Morgan says that could result in a $7 billion deforestation liability, devaluation of land and limited carbon posting access next year.

He says this is unacceptable for Maori who own 40% of the NZ forestry sector, either as Maori freehold land or Crown Forestry Licenses.

“If you wish to change your land use and you’re in the business of forestry, there will be a flat tax or a deforestation tax to change land use. Now that’s of a concern for Maoridom because we have the largest land base in the forestry sector,” Mr Morgan says.

He says the FOMA executive met the Minister of Climate Change David Parker to discuss Maori concerns.

Unite Union director Matt McCarten says a collaboration between the union and Te Wananaga o Aotearoa is giving low paid workers the chance to increase their skills and prospects.

Mr McCarten says he's been a long time supporter of the Maori tertiary institution and its style of teaching.

He says the partnership is allows the union to meet its objective of increasing options for members.

“Many of our members on our sites are doing courses, Courses are free, there are computer courses, the Maori course and so on. Very exciting so workers who are on minimum wage jobs, they are getting them into education in a Maori way which I think is a good way to learn,” Mr McCarten says.

Matt McCarten is the trade union representative on the wananga board.


Prominent Maori Catholic Bob Newson says an advertising stunt by a pizza delivery chain runs against Maori cultural principles regarding food.

Hell Pizza had distributed free condoms to promote its brand.

Mr Newson says Catholics feel a simlar level of outrage as they did to the Virgin in a Condom artwork displayed at Te Papa and the screening of a Southpark episode feature the Virgin Mary menstruating.

He says the use of a condom in association with food cuts right across Maori traditions.

OTS ensures all caught in treaty set net

December 19
The Office of Treaty Settlements says it will actively go out and work in areas where claimants have not already lodged historical claims.

OTS policy and negotiations manager Dean Cowie says concerns that a deadline on lodging claims will disadvantage Maori are unfounded.

He says there are only a few areas not covered by claims.

“There are some pockets of the country where they haven’t yet experienced any sort of Waitangi Tribunal inquiry or pre-inquiry or direct negotiation process. Parts of the Hawkes Bay, Taihape Rangitikei area, and a couple of other small areas in the lower North Island,” Mr Cowie says.

He says once a claim is in the system claimants are able to modify them to ensure they cover all issues.


The Maori Party have gained the respect of MP's across the board for their consistent approach in advocating on behalf of Maori.

That's the opinion of former National Party deputy leader, Bill English.

He says the four MPs from the Maori party have made quite an impact in the house.

“They’ve been there a bit for a bit more than 12 months but everyone treats them as if they have been there forever. That’s the amount of credibility they have. I don’t agree with everything they’ve said and done, but every day, whatever the question or the media opportunity is, they talk about Maori issues and the dignity which they’ve done it is really what’s won them the respect,” Mr English says.

He says there are still many issues to work though if National is to support the Maori Party bill to repeal the government’s foreshore and seabed legislation.


Graduates of a pilot six-month carving programme in Christchurch will be able to continue into a National Diploma of Maori Visual Arts next year.

Te Roopu o Tane Mahuta Trust Manager Ben Brennan says the skill enhancement programme will become NZQA accredited through Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Mr Brennan says that follows on from the success of this year’s pilot whakairo programme.

“It’s a programme that we are delivering with our academic partner Te Wananga o Aotearoa starting on February 28, and we’re currently looking for a way to deliver a youth programme so our under 18s don’t have to go out finding money or having the burden of a student loan when what they’re really trying to do is have a pathway for themselves,” Mr Brennan says.


Newly appointed Maori Language Commissioner Erima Henare says the old fashioned mentality of some Maori may keep the language from progressing.

Mr Henare says arguments from some Maori academics accusing the Maori Language Commission of producing a foreign language, are not helpful.

He says for language to survive it must adapt to changing conditions.

“It’s the same sort of argument that would lock us in 1840 because of the treaty. I think if we don’t adapt and we don’t add to our lexicon, the language will be poorer for it,” Mr Henare says.

His first task as Maori Language Commissioner is to review the commission’s activities over the past 6 months.


The ACT party leader says many Maori have the wrong impression of him.

Rodney Hide says while he might agree with a lot of what Don Brash said in his Orewa speech, he didn't agree in the way he presented it.

He says some of ACTs policies can be seen as being anti Maori but that is not his intention.

He was reminded of his political profile when he was at a recent hui in Tuhoe.

“The impression that they had of me was someone had horns coming out and hated Maori, and that’s not true, but I had allowed myself to be presented in that way, and that’s something that, particularly given the policies that you have, you have to go overboard the other way to explain yourself well and your logic well,” Mr Hide says.


Te Puke based hapu Waitaha is to continue monitoring developments at Mauao, previously known as Mount Maunganui.

It has agreed to forego joint ownership of the maunga, but expect a commitment from other iwi associated with the mountain to maintain a non-commercial stance.

Maru Tapsell from Waitaha says his iwi stepped aside on the condition Ngaiterangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga ensured the maunga was protected from commercial developments.

“The argument was over the ownership, the title of the land. Protectionism is our number one and we will be part of the management. However, if there is any variation to the rule, we will be put in provisions where we are going to contest the ownership,” Mr Tapsell says.

He says a bill is being drafted to confirm the working relationship between Waitaha and the three other iwi associated with the maunga.

Fire fighting earns Aussie plaudits

December 18
The efforts put up by our New Zealand Fire Fighters in Australia's Victoria fires aren't going unnoticed.

NZ Fire Service National Advisor Maori Piki Thomas says the 40 strong contingent are hugely appreciated by Australian Fire Services.

This follows four of the NZ contingent being hospitalised after receiving serious harm injuries while battling raging flames near Walhalla.

“The guys that go across there are doing themselves and their organisation and the country proud. Out Australian sister service absolutely appreciates the contribution we can make to not only stem the flow of these fire but allow their staff a bit of downtime,” Mr Thomas says.

Internal Affairs Minister Rick Barker will visit NZ Rural Fire Service personnel in Victoria tomorrow, and also injured men in Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.


A major contributor to the renaissance of te reo Maori says an award from Victoria University, is an acknowledgment of many people’s efforts.

Iritana Tawhiwhirangi was presented with an honorary doctorate from the Welington-based university, for the work she has done promoting te reo over the past 25 years.

She was instrumental in the setting up of the Kohanga Reo movement, and went on serves as chief executive of Kohanga Reo National Trust.

Mrs Tawhiwirangi says she was humbled by the university's acknowledgement.

“My great interest is policy. I was there in 1977 with Tu Tangata and then Maatua Whangai and the kokiri centres and all the rest of it, so that was really my forte. I was just lucky that in 1982 when kohanga started I was in place to have an important and interesting role,” Mrs Tawhiwhirangi says.


A Hokianga based Maori tourism operator says increased capacity on flights into the area next year is an opportunity to market the area more effectively.

Shane Lloyd is the general manager of the Copthorne Hokianga, at Opononi.

He is also a director of Hokianga Crossing, a new ecotourism business.

Mr Lloyd says while there has been talk of extending runways at both Whangarei and Kaitaia airports to entice more tourists to the region, Kerikeri is best suited to spark tourism in the area.

“Right now our best opportunity is Kerikeri. It feeds into the biggest accommodation areas. We’ve got a 52 seater coming into Kerikeri next year, and it’s how best do we work those opportunities with that sort of plane coming in,” Mr Lloyd says.


The deputy leader of the National Party says Maori are in a strong position politically and are likely to take the political centre ground in the future.

Bill English says other minor parties have a limited lifespan, unlike the Maori Party.

The former Leader and National party spokesperson on education says in their first year in parliament the Maori party have been consistent advocates for Maori, and have assumed the political centre ground.

“The current parties we have in the centre don’t have any reason to exist except their leaders. When (Jim) Anderton goes, Progressive goes. When Peter Dunne goes and Winston Peters goes, their parties just disappear. But the Maori Party has a reason to exist independent of its leadership. It’s always seemed to me that if Maori voters play their cards right, they get to have a significant influence on every government,” Mr English says.


The Office of Treaty Settlements says there are only a few areas that are not covered by historical claims.

The Maori Purposes Bill this month put a deadline of September 2008 for lodging historical claims.

The government had set a target of 2020 for settling all claims.

The Office of Treaty settlements manager of Policy and negotiations, Dean Cowie, says there are only a few areas in the lower north island where claims haven't been lodged.

He says a number of other claims are near completion, including Ngati Whatua o Orakei, Te Arawa and Te Rarawa.

“We’re dealing with several negotiations at the moment which are likely to reach agreement in the first six months of next year. Upwards of four or five groups that may reach that point as long as there is agreement reached between the parties,” Mr Cowie says.


Retiring Labour list MP, Georgina Beyer, says she has been proud to represent the gay community in Parliament.

She says the New Zealand public has shown maturity by supporting her parliamentary career.

The former MP for Wairarapa and Mayor of Carterton will give her valedictory speech early next year before quitting as an MP.

She is considering a run for the Wellington mayoralty.

Ms Beyer says providing a political voice for takataapui, those in the Maori gay community, has been a privilege.

“Takatapui wise, it has been important for them to have someone who is visible but just the thought that here we are a M drag queen become a woman and then went on to do this shows we live in a fantastic country and democracy,” Ms Beyer says.

Nothern research centre to return

December 18

Auckland University is relaunching its Sir James Henare Maori Research Centre.

The centre went into recess early in the year after disputes over staffing and funding.

But Ngati Hine spokesperson Erima Henare, the son of the late Sir James, says new university vice chancellor Stuart McCutcheon has committed to finding the quarter of a million dollars a year needed to run the centre.

Mr Henare says it will be co-located in Auckland and Whangarei, which should give it added strength.

He says one of the problems with the previous centre was its distance form the people it was supposed to be accountable to in the north.

Projects which need to be resumed include a proposed Ngapuhi dictionary and a collection of proverbs and sayings from the north.


Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says the notion of partnership between Maori and the Crown has been broken once and for all by the imposition of a deadline for lodgment of historical treaty claims.

The head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University says the deadline contained in the Maori Purposes Act was made without proper consultation.

He says it flies in the face of statement by the Waitangi Tribunal, the Court of Appeal, the Privy Council and previous governments about the partnership promised in the Treaty of Waitangi.

Office of Treaty Settlements policy manager Dean Cowie says Mr Taonui has misunderstood the intent of the bill, and all historic claims should be fully heard by the time the process is completed.


The Waitemata Maori Wardens have offered the hand of assistance to their colleagues in South Auckland over the Christmas season.

Otara Maori wardens told Manukau City's community safety committee this week that Otara town centre was become too dangerous for their nightly patrols because of an upsurge in drunken and violent behaviour.

Jack Taumaunu from the Waitemata wardens says his group is larger, and can help throw in extra resource.


Waipareira is back and it wants everyone to know about it.

Chief executive John Tamihere says the Brothers event held yesterday to promote men's health, is a forerunner to other health initiatives planned for next year.

The trust's Henderson complex is festooned with Christmas lights, something Mr Tamihere says was to make a statement to the West Auckland community.

Mr Tamihere says it's important they know there has been a changing of the guard.


The Office of Treaty Settlements says Christchurch University academic Rawiri Taonui has misunderstood a deadline for the lodgment of historic treaty claims.

Mr Taonui says the deadline is unfair and will deny tribes the chance to have their claims properly heard.

But Office of Treaty Settlements policy and negotiations manager Dean Cowie says claims are already in the system for most parts of the country, and OTS will attempt to identify other potential claimants before the September 2008 deadline.

Mr Cowie says the deadline doesn't mean all issues can't be considered, because people can amend historic claims once they are lodged, and the Waitangi Tribunal itself demands a full restatement of claim at the start of hearings.


Maori entertainer Betty Anne Monga says a DVD of the final show of Ardijah's New Zealand Tour shows how close her band has become to its audience.

She says this year's tour was a reminder of how kiwi audiences have made songs like Watchin' You and Time Makes a Wine their own.

Monga says the DVD features highlights of Ardihajh's 25 years on the road, and the fans who have made it possible, including backstage footage and mini documentaries.

She says with Ardijah, what you see is what you get, and there was no post-concert doctoring of the soundtrack.