Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Witarina Harris joins her ancestors

Te Arawa matriarch Witarina Harris is to be buried today among her ancestors.

Hundreds of people have been through Rotorua's Te Papaiouru Marae to acknowledge of the kuia, who died on Sunday at the age of 101.

Rotorua historian Don Stafford says her life would make a great subject for a book.

He has special memories of spending time with Witarina at her home at Te Koutu, on the shores of Lake Rotorua.

“I would certainly like to farewell Witarina, who I’ve known for a great many many years. I can’t think of anyone who has actually been more respected and loved in this district for so long. Haere ra e kui. Haere ra i te po. Haere ki te ao marama. Haere ki te iwi.”

The funeral for Witarina Harris starts at 11 at Tamatekau Marae in Ohinemutu.


A top of the South Island iwi wants action on implementing the Maori commercial aquaculture settlement.

Richard Bradley from Ngati Rangitane says the Government's new Blue Horizons policy fails to address many of the main impediments to Maori getting into marine farming.

The policy released last week includes a $2 million contestable fund to help councils with the cost of creating new aquaculture management areas, and the appointment of a Maori economic development manager for the industry.

Mr Bradley says the reality is most iwi won't start getting access to the marine farming space they are due for at least six years.

“For iwi to actually get what they’re entitled to under the settlement act, we actually need to have a settlement now. To have to wait until 2013 is more of what’s happening in other parts of the settlement industry, justice delayed is justice denied,” he says.

Rangitane is working with Marlborough District Council to try to get around the problems in the settlement Act.


The man responsible for commissioning programmes for Maori Television says it's wrong to assume the channel is competing with mainstream broadcasters.

Larry Parr says there is a marked difference in the funding the new challenge can access compared with Television New Zealand and TV3.

He says the channel has to look for cost effective programming ideas which appeal to its audience, rather than compete with the major players for market share.

“We can't afford to think about ourselves being in competition with them because we just don’t have the money to think like that. So really what we try and do is just concentrate on what we can do with the putea that we have and come up with programming that we believe our audience will respond to,” Mr Parr says.


The Crown is today summing up its case in the Wai 262 fauna and flora case.

The Waitangi Tribunal is sitting in Wellington for the final week of hearings, 16 years after the case was first lodged.

Maori intellectual property expert Aroha Mead says there is a lot riding on the claim.

She says that's why the East Coast Ngati Porou iwi turned out in force at the hearing to spell out what they want from the tribunal.

“They're wanting an acknowledgement from the tribunal that the cultural heritage of Ngati Porou, as with other iwi, is vested with iwi, not with any pan-Maori organization, not with the Crown, but it’s the role of the iwi hapu whanau to manage the integrity of the cultural heritage that’s passed on to future generations,” Ms Mead says.

She says claimants feel they were forced to go to the tribunal because the Crown refuses to consult on a wide range of important cultural matters.


South Taranaki Maori say the Patea Landfill could have continued on for another 50 years if the District Council hadn't dumped sewage from the wider district there.

A community group, Nga Tangata Whenua o Patea, has been protesting the dumping and the council's plans to close the landfill.

Group member Mario Mendez says residents will now have to go out of the region to dump their rubbish.

“Human waste was getting dumped in Patea. It wasn’t ours. It wasn’t Patea’s. So it’s time for us to stand up, and they can go dump their shit in their own back yard, not in ours,” Mr Mendez says.

Tangata whenua want a public apology from the council for the way the dumping issue was handled.


A new book aims to dispell any ill feeling that remains between Napuhi and Te Arawa over events more than 180 years ago.

Wind from the North by Rotorua historian Don Stafford documents the 1823 raids by Ngapuhi chief Hongi Hika which overwhelmed Te Arawa forces.

The title refers to the weapons training undergone by Ngapuhi warriors, where they were urged to strike like the wind with their taiaha.

Mr Stafford says the bitterness from the raid lasted for generations, but has now faded.

“I suppose it's still a talking point, but I don’t think there’s the violent attitudes that once existed. In fact I’m not even sure that most of the young people today even understand what it was all about,” Mr Stafford says.

A large ope from Ngaphui is coming down to Rotorua from Tai Tokerau in a fortnight to emphasise their peace with Te Arawa and to help launch the book.


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