Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Treaty office blamed for turmoil

National leader John Key says the Office of Treaty Settlements must shoulder much of the blame for the current turmoil in the treaty sector.

The Waitangi Tribunal will tomorrow release its report on the process used to reach an agreement in principle to settle Ngati Whatua o Orakei's claims to central Auckland.

Next week the tribunal will release a similar report on the proposed Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa settlement, and the Federation of Maori Authorities will be in the Court of Appeal over the use of Kaingaroa Forest land in that settlement.

Mr Key met last night with lawyers involved in treaty claims to get a briefing on the process.

He says it's clear there are major problems with the settlement process and the way OTS goes about its work.

“OTS has got to take its fair share of flak, and I think in part one of the things that is happening, if I can respectfully say this to OTS, is that they are putting up some pretty junior people sometimes in these negotiations, which isn’t necessarily working well, up against some pretty senior people, and it’s partly just a respect issue, so there are real issues there,” Mr Key says.

He says it's not wise to aim for speedy settlements at the expense of durability.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says big Maori incorporations are increasingly working together to seek new opportunities.

Parekura Horomia has been visiting the agricultural field days at Mystery Creek, where he says many Maori farmers are among those doing deals in the backrooms.

He says in some parts of the country the Maori affinity for the land is being expressed in a very tangible fashion.

“In Wairoa where most of the bnuy-ups are by big Maori incorporations. Same as on the East Coast. A lot of these big farming conglomerates are really muscling up. It’s how they get together collectively and use that leverage,” Mr Horomia says.

Maori incorporations are now looking at how they can encourage their young people to get the skills needed to take up farm management positions.


An art auction to raised funds for a Waikato Maori health provider has raised more than $20,000.

Tureiti Moxon from Te Kohao Health says buyers put their hands up for 75 works by artists including Para Matchitt, Lisa Ormsby and master-carver Ray Mihaere.

She says the top price went to a work by a Tainui artist.

“Fred Graham gave us a drawing, Kaitiaki, and it was a statue of a hawk with a living hawk flying with the sun behind it, and it was absolutely stunning, and that fetched the highest amount on money of the night,” she says.

The money is going towards a new $3 million building for the service, which has about 5000 people on its books.


New Zealand First's justice spokesperson says the number of gang members in prison makes a nonsense of efforts of rehabilitate other prisoners.

Ron Mark says figures released to the law and order select committee show the prison muster now stands at more than 8000 inmates.

He says a quarter of the prisoners are affiliated to one of 32 gangs, whose members stand over other prisoners and pose a threat to staff.

Mr Mark says a disproportionate number are Maori.

“Unfortunately those are the extended whanaunga we have who we often see on our television screens, be it Black Power or Mongrel Mob. They’re the dumb end of the criminal fraternity. Regretfully though, they tend to leave a lot more victims on the streets,” Mr Mark says.


The pressures on whanau to care for their elderly is being blamed for abuse of kuia and kaumatua.

Tauranga marae manager Te Moata Willison says many whanau don't know what support they can get to help them care for maatua.

She says it's often hard to balance cultural obligations with economic reality.

“The pressure’s on families to take care of their elderly people. That tends to I gues put them into situations where abuse occurs, and it’s not to say it’s intentional. It’s just all of the pressures that are placed on families to actually support their elderly people, let alone supporting their own families,” Ms Willison says.

She is organising a hui of mainstream service providers at Huria Marae next week, so whanau can learn what's available.


Pupils from Te Kura o Maketu have an early start to school tomorrow.

They'll be up before dawn to look for the seven stars of Matariki, which mark the Maori new year.

Spokeswoman Toni Cummins says the day will also include a fashion show, kapa haka performance, art presentations and a hangi.

“We've been studying Matariki all term, that’s been our focus, looking at the stars and it’s been awesome. The kids are excited, they’re looking forward to it, but I don’t know if they’re looking forward to getting up and how they’re going to survive at five o’clock in the morning,” Mrs Cummins says.

The school day will finish at lunch, to compensate for the early start.


Work by Maori artists from the central North Island is on show this week at the Toi Ake Tuwharetoa art and design expo in Turangi.

Keri Ivory from Tuwharetoa and Ngati Kahungunu, who sculpts in paper mache, says the Matariki event is a great opportunity for Maori artists to share ideas.

She switched her own art practice from weaving to sculpture after visiting an agricultural field day and seeing a paper sculpture of a women in a doorway.

“And it actually made you open the door and see if she had gone through, and I thought ‘Gosh that’s beautiful,’ and so I started working with paper and the human form is pretty cool, so I do faces, bodies, torsos, all sorts,” Ivory says.


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