Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 03, 2007

Geothermal rights confirmed

Central North Island claimants are celebrating a Waitangi Tribunal upholding of their rights to ownership of geothermal resources.

In its latest volume on the region released today, the tribunal says before the arrival of European settlers Maori held all natural resources under customary tenure, just as they did land.

It says the way the Crown took over ownership of natural resources often breached the treaty, and Maori were excluded from any meaningful role in decision-making.

Jim Hill from Wairakei, a member of the Tuwharetoa Hapu Forum, says it's an overdue recognition of the tribe's relationship with its geothermal fields.

“It's a significant piece of our taonga. It’s all about Ngateroirangi as far as we’re concerned here in Tuwharetoa. That’s who gave us our geothermal resources we have, and they’re to be finally recognised that they do belong to tangata whenua, mana whenua. I think it's great news,” Mr Hill says.

Tuwharetoa will be working with other iwi to develop a negotiation strategy on the report.


Maori businesses have some fresh ideas to work with as the result of this week's Rangatahi Business Competition.

Teams from 25 secondary schools reported back on a number of firms and offered development advice.

Rotorua Boys High, Wesley College, Hamilton Girls High and Te Puke High won the regional prizes.

Ngaria Rolleston from Te Puke High says the competition involved three months of work, including special wananga at Waikato University's School of Management.

She says it gave competitors a better appreciation of the challenges businesses face.

“Well it taught us a lot about how businesses actually run and putting what we’ve learned at school into practice in real life situations with businesses and stuff. Also gave us a lot more confidence in public speaking and presenting and stuff like that,” Ms Rolleston says.

Te Puke High's case study was Ataahua Cultural Tours, which takes people around Maori sites in the Tauranga region on scooters.


The contribution kaumatua make to Maori arts will be recognised at a special ceremony in Wellington tomorrow.

Haniko Te Kurapa, the organiser of Creative New Zealand's Te Waka Toi Awards, says seven awards and two scholarships will be given out.

He says the role of elders in maintaining and developing traditional arts is critical, and the awards recognised a wide range of disciplines.

“Lot of them are kaumatua who have worked long and hard within their areas, and because it’s an arts award they may have been doing oral arts, whaikorero or karanga on marae, so that’s recognized, they mught have been a visual artist or performer, an actress or actor,” Mr Te Kurapa says.

Kaumatua are selected from their marae or hapu based on their lifelong contribution.


A Maori backed mobile phone company is welcoming a draft recommendation from the Commerce Commission that mobile phone roaming charges should be set by regulation.

Telecommunications commissioner Ross Patterson turned down a voluntary plan from Vodafone on how competitors could use its networks, because it would not encourage new entrants into the market.

The commission also wants to change the rules to make it easier for competitors to co-locate their equipment on the same cell sites.

The changes should help New Zealand Communications, which is building a GSM mobile phone network using radio spectrum allocated to Maori.

Chairperson Bill Osborne says they're long overdue.

“The powers to be are seing there are very significant hurdles for a new entrant to come into the New Zealand market and in fact they’ve been there a long time and if they had not been so great a barrier, perhaps we’d have more competition and the benefits of that in New Zealand today. I’m sure it will have a beneficial impact when it comes to getting to launch time,” Mr Osborne says.

New Zealand Communications is lining up sites for cell towers and radio masts, but it makes sense to be able to use existing sites.


The role of Maori cultural advisers in film and television will come under scrutiny at a workshop in Auckland this weekend.

Brad Haami from industry group Nga Aho Whakaari says the hui will cover issues such as how to treat elderly Maori on set as performers or extras, and what pictures should hang in the whare if a tangi scene is being filmed.

He says advisors provide an invaluable service to the industry in ensuring tikanga and kawa are observed on set.

“The advisor's role is ot look at the whole production, and make sure when dealing with Maori people and Maori issues, the imagery and portrayal of Maori on film, including the reo, that everything is kind of kosher and it’s correct. Because too many times Maori people have been offended on sets, and with Maori people, especially in television and film, if you don’t get it right, you’re not going to be accepted into those areas again,” Mr Haami says.


A bout of homesickness led to a Ngati Whatua woman creating an evening of performances by and for Maori women.

Ukaipo will be held this Sunday at Wellington's San Francisco Bath House.

Among the performers are Karen Clarke, Rangitunoa Black & Marama Mete, Sista J and Puawai Cairns.

Promoter Mei Hill says it's a chance to celebrate wahine Maori through song, poetry and even comedy.

“I just need it for my hauora, my own well being. Being away from home, I’ve been in Wellington for a couple of years now and I haven’t experienced this, so I thought I wanted to see if I could make it happen and it's now happening,” Ms Hill says.


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