Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Forest claims head for showdown

Central North Island iwi are gearing up for a head on confrontation with the Government over forestry claims.

A weekend hui at Waitetoko Marae near Taupo chaired by Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu resolved to stay out of direct negotiations.

Instead, the iwi want the Waitangi Tribunal to order the government to hand over Crown forest assets to the appropriate claimants.

The hui also supported an appeal to the Supreme Court by Tuwharetoa, the Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council against a settlement which would see the Crown handing over a third of the Kaingaroa forest to Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.

Maori Council member Maanu Paul it was a convincing show of unity.

“All these things are happening at once, and we can’t sit by and leave it ot the Crown’s manipulations. We have to make an initiative of our own,” he says.

Mr Paul says the new collective has the support of the 75 percent of claimants who are not currently in negotiations with the Crown.


The fight to eradicate pests from New Zealand's forests is trampling Maori spiritual values.

That's the view of the Upper Coromandel Landcare Association, which wants a royal commission on the use of 1080 poison.

Spokesperson Reihana Robinson says the Conservation Department and regional councils are telling Maori they should support poison drops because the aim is to protect vulnerable native species.

She says that ignores the use Maori make of all forest species, whether they are native or introduced.

“Possums can be an important source of income and employment, and pigs, deer and goats are important sources of food, so what we’ve got is DoC and regional councils, with their pest plans, and their 1080, working to further impoverish Maori and strip us of rights and resources. That's where it's at,” Ms Robinson says.

She says the current Environment Risk Management Authority investigation on relicensing 1080 is flawed, because the authority does not have all the resources it needs to investigate the detrimental effects of the poison.


Modern assumptions about the Maori history of Auckland could be challenged by a new book published this week.

The Struggle for Tamaki Makaurau by Paul Moon, a history lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology, looks at the stategic importance of the region to Maori.

Recent attention has focused on the role of the Orakei hapu of Ngati Whatua, the group recognised by central and local government as the primary tangata whenua.

But Dr Moon says before 1840, Tamaki was an important junction for a lot of hapu and iwi.

“People were coming and going around the country, and using Auckland as a shortcut to go from one sea to the other, and as a result they tended a lot of times to leave a few people from the canoe behind, so there’s a whole lot of tribal histories around the country that have connections with the Auckland area,” he says.


A Maori cultural advisor with the army says former soldiers who work as private contractors in war zones are aware of the risks.

34-year-old Darryl De Thierry died in Iraq last week when his armoured vehicle hit a landmine.

Aaron Taitoko says Mr de Thierry made a lot of friends in his 14 years in the New Zealand army, and they're grieving for him.

He says many Maori are lured to Iraq by wages of up to a thousand dollars a day.

“There's the carrot there with the money, the pay packets that they’re picking up over there as well, and a lot of the guys have a plan to go there for a couple of years just to get ahead really, get ahead in life,” Mr Taikato says.

The tangi for Darryl De Thierry will be at Ngati Rahiri Tumutumu Marae in Te Aroha on Saturday.


Too many Maori make poor decisions about their finances.

A banking survey has found most Maori and Pacific Islanders had little knowledge of basic financial matters ... including credit cards, mortgages or retirement planning ... and that makes them vulnerable to credit traps or scams.

Ada Lauese, a budget advisor with West Auckland's Waipereira Trust says it stops Maori getting ahead.

She says it's not just education but attitude.

“They do not know where there next penny’s coming from and anyone can talk them into buying a car, or MacDonalds, material things. We’ve got to be taught not to book too many things up when we haven't got the money,” Mrs Lauese says.


Women's Refuge is about more than safe-houses.

That's the message the movement wants to get through during this week's appeal.

Chief executive Heather Henare says Refuge is trying to address issues of violence out in the community, and it's building relationships with Maori runanga and trusts to try to get action on the high proportion of Maori women and children who come into the refuge system.

“A huge percentage of our work is driven by the work we do in the community. The safe housing we provide is a much smaller referral to our organisation now, which is a good thin, because it means women and children are finding alternatives,” Ms Henare says.


Former MP John Tamihere says the Hone Harawira should focus on his own people's problems rather than play international statesman.

He says the Taitokerau MP was out of line in his criticisms of Australian Prime Minister John Howard's policies towards Aboriginal communities.

He should concentrate on issues of concern in his electorate, like education, health, and better sewerage and water supplies to the region's marae.

“You're the member for Taitokerau. You’re not the member for Northern Territory. Okay. Love ‘em to bits as you might like, but I would never have an Abo poke their nose into our business over here. And if we can’t fix up our own back yard, I don’t need someone else poking their nose in over the politics of what’s going on and all the rest of it,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says Mr Harawira should ask himself every day how he is advancing the cause of his own people.


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