Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Prison to hotel plan backed

A proposal to scrap Wellington's Mt Crawford prison and build a tourist facility on the site is being backed by Maori.

The plan is the brainchild of economic development group Enterprise Miramar Peninsula and has provisional support from the Wellington City Council.

Peter Love of the Wellington Tenths Trust says the proposal is workable despite the shortage of prison beds at present.

Mr Love says he's told Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor that Mt Crawford Prison has passed its use by date.

“The public know that the prison, Mt Crawford, like Mt Eden, is faling apart. It’s almost irreparable it’s so old. So I suggested to the minister that we could maybe extend Rimutaka Prison. Crawford is not going to be the answer because it’s just too prohibitive to fix it,” he says.


Maori exporters are being invited to put their staff through a new course aimed at increasing the skill level of people working in the export sector.

New Zealand Export Academy director Mark Carrington says the course came out of his experience in logistics, where he saw the same mistakes being made over and over.

Mr Carrington says the academy has factored the needs of Maori exporters into the programme.

“It's really identifying for Maori how they will best move into various parts of the world and it fits with a lot of the work various Maori groups have been doing, in particular in relation to land-based based exports,” he says.

Mr Carrington says the academy is still waiting for NZQA accreditation, and it is talking to overseas tertiary organisations about offering an internationally recognised qualification.


The Prime Minister says marae trustees should be familiar with the grants available for installing in fire security systems in their whare.

A blaze gutted Mangakino wharenui Tamatea Pokai Whenua last week, destroying tribal taonga.

Helen Clark says such fires are a tragedy, and trustees should cast a wide net for support to protect their treasured buildings.

“It might be worth talking to TPK about it. In the past the Lotteries Board had an allocation for marae as well, but I’d certainly urge our marae to be thinking about putting in some prevention like that because it’s just a huge sorrow when we see this happen,” she says.


Taranaki's Ngati Tawhirikura hapu today signed an agreement to jointly manage a piece of its ancestral land in New Plymouth.

New Plymouth District Council bought the 26 hectare Rewa Rewa Reserve from the Ministry of Defence in 2005.

Ngati Tawhirikura spokesperson Rangi Kipa says the hapu wasn't able to afford the coastal land when it became surplus, and the council's involvement has allowed it to put forward a vision for the land.

“You have to have a bit of vision I think to let go some of the baggage that we’re had, at least here in Taranaki, and hold hands with the council and say ‘We’re ratepayers as well, and you should be protecting our interests and our ability to visualise a future that not only seeks to manifest our aspirations but can also contribute to the wider betterment of the community out there,” Mr Kipa says.

Plans for the block include an art and cultural heritage centre, a papakainga and a marae, as well as extending the existing coastal walkway.


Green MP Sue Kedgley says Maori rongoa practitioners and users will suffer under the proposed trans Tasman regulatory body which will oversee therapeutic products.

Ms Kedgley says almost all the submissions received by the select committee considering the bill oppose the new agency.

She says while individuals may be able to keep using traditional medicines like kawakawa, it would stop rongoa practioners bottling up remedies based on native plants.

“You would have to apply at huge expense for a licence to be able to sell your traditional herbs and remedies, and I thought that the Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed Maori protection of their fauna and flora,” Ms Kedgley says.

She says the Government may not have the numbers to get the bill through parliament.


An advisor to the Community Organisation Grant scheme says more Maori groups should apply for support.

Margaret Hudson says COGs usually gives out grants of under $3000 to non-profit community groups.

Maori are one of ten priority areas for funding, along with rural based programmes and those aimed at the elderly and tamariki.

“A lot of marae apply for COGs grants. Some of the hui they may be looking at are the regular monthly hui by kaumatua and kuia, or it might be Maori Women’s Welfare League. Maori wardens, so Maori groups would certainly have access to the funds available, and we would love to see many more apply,” Ms Hudson says.


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