Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Public Works Act bill drawn from ballot

A bill putting pressure on the Crown to return surplus land to Maori is being welcomed by groups fighting historic loss of their properties.

The members bill sponsored by Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell has emerged from the ballot.

It would give Maori owners or their descendants first option on land taken for crown purposes but no longer needed.

Peter Love, the spokesperson for a group challenging the sale of Paraparaumu Airport, says that's a case of the Public Works Act being abused.

He says it will keep the pressure on what has been a long-standing source of grievances.

“So it's very exciting really for Maori because this is now parliamentary bill number two which has direct bearing on the former Maori ownership of the Paraparaumu Airport,” Mr Love says.

Labour MP Darren Hughes' bill to ensure Paraparaumu Airport remains in operation is now before a select committee.


The Maori Council is backing Pita Sharples' call for Maori to take responsibility for the problems of child abuse.

Sir Graham Latimer says the Maori Council, along with the Maori Women's Welfare League, has the structures and legislation allowing Maori communities to tackle the issue.

But he says government has refused to resource the council properly, and the system of Maori welfare officers which used to work with problem families was done away with in the 1970s.

“From that day to this I’ve asked every Prime Minister, can you reinstate the welfare officers. You need people that are committed to doing the job and with their own people so they can at least be with them,” Sir Graham says.

He says welfare officer were more effective than today's social workers because they were closer to the community.


Maori Television is aiming for even more te reo Maori content.

The service is launching a second te reo Maori only channel next year on the Freeview digital platform.

But chief executive Jim Mather says that isn't enough.

He says if the service is to meet the needs of its core audience of fluent Maori speakers and learners, it needs more reo on its existing channel.

“At the moment it’s round 55 percent. We think that’s slightly low. We’d like to incrementally increase it up to about 60 percent. As well as preaching to a broad audience, we want to make sure we don’t overlook the core viewers of Maori Television, ie the fluent speakers,” Mr Mather says.

He says the channel's research indicates its current mix of reo, bilingual and English language programming is the right mix for a broad viewing audience, but Maori language is the primary reason for its existence.


A Gisborne District Councilor says her fellow councilors aren't interested in getting Maori more involved in the political process.

A Massey University research report has found councils have a poor record of reaching out to Maori communities, and most lack the skills to communicate with Maori.

Atareta Poananga says that's how too many of her fellow councilors like it.

She says it's a way of keeping political power away from Maori at the local level.

“For a long long time Pakeha councilors have called the shots no matter where they might live, and it’s the same even in Gisborne where the majority of councilors are quite ignorant of Maori issues and a not really interested in listening about them either,” Ms Ponanaga says.

She says few councils understand the impact of their decisions on Maori.


A Maori lawyer says Maori need to plan for an explosion in the number of people needed for governance and management positions.

David Tapsell, who helped negotiate the Te Arawa Lakes settlement, says treaty settlements have changed the face of Maori organisations over the past two decades.

He says in a relatively short time Maori are being required to find a large number of trustees and directors.

“I'm making an assessment with my colleagues. Where are all these pole going to come from. Because even if you look at the Fisheries Act itself, if you tally up how many mandated iwi authorities there must be and then fishing companies, we’re looking at essentially hundreds and hundreds of governors that we are going to have to start to produce,” Mr Tapsell says.

Iwi need to start looking seriously at succession planning, so the load doesn't fall on a few people.


A Northland couple has taken on starring roles in short films for the deaf.

Ivan Tamepo, who is originally from Ngati Porou, plays in Retro Deaf Kiwis, while his wife Hilda won a best actress award her role in Goodbye Buzzy.

They're among the 15 films produced for this year's Deaf Short Film Competition, which were directed, produced or acted in by deaf people to raise awareness of the deaf community and sign language.

Catherine Bagley, who's organising a Deaf Short Film Festival in Whangarei next month, says the Tamepos are naturals.

“Ivan is a local deaf Mori kaumatua here in Northland who travels around doing powhiris and things like that around the country. He hasn’t had any acting training, and he was pretty lifelike, just natural, totally natural,” Ms Bagley says.


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