Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 16, 2007

Refuge appeal highlights common problem

The head of Womens Refuge says the disproportionate use of refuges by Maori is because they have fewer options.

Last year 42 percent of women and 51 percent of children using Refuge were Maori, while Pakeha accounted for 43 percent of women and 30 percent of children.

Heather Henare says that reflects the way refuge has developed, and the options people have in society.

“White middle class violence is just as prevalent out there but it doesn’t necessarily get the notice, or they won’t necessarily use our service. They may use our crisis line, but they’re more likely to access services through lawyers and other means,” she says.

Ms Henare says safe houses are just a small part of the organisation's work, and much of its efforts go into community programmes on issues of violence.

The annual appeal for Womens Refuge started today.


The head of the Ngati Apa Runanga says the Rangitikei tribe's proposed $14 million treaty settlement should be seen as an act of generosity towards the nation.

Ngati Apa signed an agreement in principle with the Crown last week, and is now consulting with neigbouring iwi and hammering out the details of the settlement.

Adrian Rurawhe says his iwi entered direct negotiations knowing it could get back only a fraction of what it lost to the processes of war and colonisation.

“We know the difference between compensation and redress, and this process is about redress. We will not receive compensation for what we lost. Every claimant group or tribe that settles under this process, basically, that is an act of generosity towards this nation,” Mr Rurawhe says.

Because Ngati Apa is relatively small, it should be able to consult with its five constituent hapu and conclude the settlement in less than a year.


An influential Ngai Tahu elder is urging the South Island tribe to move to direct elections for its executive and kaiwhakahaere or leader.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu has been consulting beneficiaries about changes to its electoral process.

It has put up two options, but both include retention of an electoral college to appoint the executive members.

Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan says that won't resolve long-standing problems, nor will it make the executive accountable.

The former Southern Maori MP says direct elections will make the executive accountable to the people, rather than to the 108 members of the appointment committees.

“It would require a minor amendment to one clause in the Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Act of 1996, but I think it would be better and it would avoid recent problems that they have had at the table,” Mrs Tirikatene-Sullivan says.

Ngai Tahu members living in Auckland will discuss the proposed changes at Waipapa Marae tonight, with two further hui at Hokitika on Wednesday and Christchurch next week winding up the consultation round.


Central North Island forestry claimants have united to seek the return of the forests through the Waitangi Tribunal.

The iwi met at Waitetoko Marae near Taupo yesterday in a hui chaired by Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu.

Relations between the iwi have been strained over the past year by the decision of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, which represents about half the tribes in the Arawa Confederation, to negotiate a direct settlement with the government.

Maanu Paul from the New Zealand Maori Council and Ngai Moewhare, a hapu from the centre of the Kaingaroa Forest, says the new collective includes all claimants who are not already committed to negotiations.

He says the tribunal can order the government to hand over Crown forest assets to appropriate claimant groups.

“We have to save the forest for our mokopuna, and this is a way forward that we can see. We are not going to enter into negotiations with the Crown. We are going to seek resumption orders from the tribunal,” Mr Paul says.

The Central North Island claimants are backing a likely appeal to the Supreme Court of a case challenging the use of forestry assets in the Te Arawa settlement.


Kaeo residents and regional support agencies met today to discuss the town's future after last weeks flood.

Judy Steele, the chief executive of Te Runanga o Whaingaroa, says many of those affected, including many Maori, did not have insurance.

She says while Prime Minister Helen Clark suggested the town might have to be relocated, most residents don't want to move.

“Some people will relocate, because I guess they get to the end of their tether, and that does include some of our Maori whanau, and I’ve heard that there will be a couple relocating. The majority of us have this need to stay, so we’re really looking at how to do things more wisely, I guess, to be really aware of the effects of flooding on us. It’s really about flood management,” Ms Steele says.

She says the area needs some concerted help from the local council and central government agencies.


A service which helps keep Maori storytelling alive wants to go global.

Trustee Kath Akuhata Brown says the Aio Foundation was set up three years ago because of concern kaumatua were dying before their stories were told.

It's building up a digital archive of stories and making them available to schools.

It's also running programmes in kura kaupapa to teach writing drama for radio.

Ms Brown says the idea now is to make the stories available internationally.

“Imagine being a little child in Africa and hearing a story from a kid in say for example Ruatoria. You know it would be pretty cool,” Ms Brown says.


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