Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Maori Council condemns government forest grab

The Maori Council says the Government seems to have no interest in protecting the interests of Maori in treaty settlements.

Spokesperson Jim Nichols says it is likely to appeal this week's decision by the Court of Appeal not to intervene in the proposed central north Island settlement with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.

The council and the Federation of Maori Authorities wanted the court to block the transfer to the Crown of 50 thousand hectares in the Kaingaroa Forest and 63 million dollars in accumulated rentals.

Under a 1989 deal with the council and the Federation of Maori Authorities, all Crown forest land was to be held by the Crown Forestry Rental Trust until the Waitangi Tribunal identifies the rightful owner.

Mr Nichols says under the guise of speeding up the claim process, the Government has by-passed that agreement for its own benefit.

“In moving into direct negotiations, it would appear a new set of rules has been put on the table which allows the Crown to abdicate its responsibility from any legislation that may have been put in place to protect Maori,” Mr Nichols says.

The treaty settlement process is still relatively new, so there is no need for the Government to rush through it.


Rotorua Maori should soon have better teeth.

Otago University's Dentistry School will today sign a deal with Tipu Ora Charitable Trust to provide services to the community.

The trust will provide facilities and patients for final year students to work on, under supervision.

Tipu Ora manager Raewyn Bourne says Otago students have been coming north for work experience in their holiday breaks for several years, and the new agreement will formalise and extend the process.

She says the community appreciates the service.

“We now have people coming back in either their second or third year just to have a check up as opposed to having a mouth full of teeth needing attention. People who otherwise would never have considered it an option to have their oral health attended to can have that opportunity,” Ms Bourne says.


Massey University researchers are to stop looking at disadvantage and look at the structural advantages enjoyed by some parts of society.

The Whariki Group has received $850,000 from the Health Research Council for a three year study on the health implications of conferred privilege.

Research leader Belinda Borell says such advantages are usually invisible to those who enjoy them.

She says it has major implications for Maori, who come up against invisible barriers.

“When Maori as a population are continually being defined in the mainstream society as being a burden on society and drawing people down, that creates a culture where Mari are not as forthcoming to seeking what they are actually entitled to, because they don’t want to reiterate that stereotype,” Ms Borell says.

She hopes the research will generate a more informed discussion around questions of advantage disadvantage in society.


Two more iwi have been cleared to receive their fisheries assets.

Ngati Kahu in the far north is to receive an initial settlement of just over
$4 million in deepwater quota, cash and shares in Aotearoa Fisheries.

Rangitane, from Manawatu and lower Hawkes Bay, is to get just under $2 million in assets.

Te Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Peter Douglas says Ngati Kahu will get another $1.5 million of inshore quota once it agrees on boundaries with neigbouring iwi.

Rangitane is in line for about $4 million of inshore quota.

He says the mandating process is rigorous.

“All of the mandated iwi organisations that qualify must have constitutions and deeds that satisfy our requirements of the act. They need to be transparent with their accounts and provide those on an annual basis. They need to have regular elections as well as running a register of members that meets the requirements of the Act,” Mr Douglas says.

So far 43 iwi have now gone through the mandating process, and only 14 remain.


Maori organisations and government agencies meet in Wellington today to start charting a new path for Maori wardens.

The Minister of Maori Affairs has asked the Maori Council, the Maori Women's Welfare League, Wardens, police and other stakeholders to identify areas of greatest need.

This year's budget gave Te Puni Kokiri $2.5 million to spend on wardens, who are a familiar sight at hui and on some city streets late at night.

Parekura Horomia says the volunteer organisation needs support.

“I'm very committed to making sure that the working group, along with the wardens’ leadership, gets to a place where everyone can help and they can still be who they are to get some modern skills and also at the same to support some simple things, like uniforms, a decent van, all of those things,” Mr Horomia says.

Wardens have developed in different ways around the country, but they have provided consistent services to their communities.


The Maori Land Court has extended its hearing on a challenge by MP Dover Samuels against a development on his family land.

The court has been sitting in Whangarei for the past two days.

An administrator appointed by the court wants to subdivide the beachfront at Matauri Bay to clear a multi-million dollar debt racked up by Matauri X Incorporation.

It includes seven acres of land the MP inherited from his parents, which he says should have been partitioned out.

Mr Samuels says the administrator, Kevin Gillespie, failed to consider his interests.

“I would have thought that a legal administrator would have the courtesy to come and talk to me and my family, make some provisions or enter into meaningful consultation as to where we stood in regard to the subdivison of land that was owned by my mum and dad,” Mr Samuels says.

The court will reconvene on Friday to hear the final witnesses.


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