Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Maori Party snubs Te Roroa deal

The Government's chances of passing a settlement for a small Northland iwi look dead.

The Maori Party has joined National and the Greens in rejecting the Te Roroa Settlement Bill.

The bill is due to come back for third reading in the current session.

The hapu based around the Waipoua forest agreed to the deal on the eve of the election after 15 years of negotiation, but some of its negotiators say it falls far short of what they were seeking.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says it's another example of the failure of the Government's treaty settlement process.

"Te Roroa's a very good example. $9.3 million. That's not even enough money to buy back the land that was taken from them, let alone develop anything, plus their wahi tapu have not been returned - there must have been a way of doing that. So we've got an iwi there that's totally unhappy with their own claim that they've signed off on," Dr Sharples says.

The Maori Party wants an independent settlement authority to oversee how claims are processed, and it will push for a select committee inquiry into the Office of Treaty Settlement.


Auckland Airport is looking for ways to generate activity on its new marae.

It's taken on a business manager to develop the potential of Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa.

Zella Morrison-Briars from Ngati Maniapoto and Te Arawa, says as well as being a place to support whananu and house tupapaku being brought back into the country for burial, the marae has other educational and cultural uses.

She says it's a great place to give visitors a positive first impression.

“We hear about the indigenous people of the country and we’d like to think that in Aotearoa New Zealand that the marae’s beginning to say ‘yes, when you come to this country, we are a rich ethnic group of indigenous people, we are first people of the nation, and where better can you be introduced to the first people of the nation,’” Ms Morrison-Briars says.

She says the marae has created a cultural heart for the mini city that is the airport.


Marquees are going up, tonnes of kai is being prepared and Tainui people are readying themselves for a big week.

The koroneihana of the Maori king Tuheitia starts tomorrow at Waahi Pa with a day of remembrance for his mother, Te Atairangikaahu, who died a year ago.

The action then shifts to Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia.

Kaumatua Rick Muru says Turangawaewae is a hive of activity as whanau arrive and pitch in.

“It's a time when the whanau get together and help prepare for the koroneihana, the first koroneihana for our new king, so everybody’s involved, everybody’s focused and everyone’s moving forward,” he says.

Up to 50,000 manuhiri are expected over the week.

Kingi Tuheitia will give his first public speech next Tuesday.


Waikato Primary Health is offering free long-term birth control to Maori and other high need families.

Its operations manager, Erica Amon, says that could include vasectomies for men and Mirena implants for women.

The move was prompted by a study of 2003 which found two thirds of the women on the Waikato Hospital waiting list waited more than six months for voluntary sterilisation.

Six percent became pregnant in that time, with two percent having abortions and twice that number having unplanned babies.

Ms Amon says it's an unnecessary strain on families.

“If the family has an unintended pregnancy, then that will place a further stress on the family which in the long term is likely to have and effect on the health of that family, and we want to try and avoid that,” Ms Amon says.

The hospital gave older women priority for sterilisation by tubal ligation, which disadvantaged Maori women who start their families younger.


Housie profits are helping Rotorua whanau with their funeral debts.

Te Pono Awhina Roopu is putting the profits from its fortnightly sessions into a bereavement fund.

Spokesperson Margaret Brell says death of family members is rarely planned for.

As well as dealing with their grief, whanau are increasingly being asked to come up with cash up front.

“Who's got $1500? ‘Cos at the moment that’s what they’re saying in the paper. The funeral directors here are actually saying now if there’s somebody who passes away it’s going to be $1500 up front,” Ms Brell says.


Not enough Maori are applying for travel and research fellowships.

Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, the Minister for the community and voluntary sector, says not one of the 20 recent Winston Churchell Memorial Trust Fellows honoured today at Government House were Maori.

She says that's disappointing because they're missing out on a valuable exchange of ideas and experiences.

“It is really important because it is about going to learn about other peoples and cultures and research but also about sharing about what we’re doing in New Zealand, and I’m very proud of the kohanga reo movement and the Maori cultural renaissance that’s going on here, and that’s of huge interest now at the international level,” Ms Laban says.

The fellowships are a cost effective way to do research and bring back new concepts which can help New Zealand.


One Maori who is undertaking overseas research is carver Shannon Wafer.

He's heading far a residency in Canada organised by Toi Maori.

From Te Ati Awa, Taranaki and Ngapuhi, Mr Wafer is a graduate of Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua, so he's familiar with the Maori styles of ornate embellishment.

But he's expecting a different approach from the master carvers of Canada's northwest coast he'll be learning from.

“The cleanliness in their style of carving, I won’t say it’s better than ours, but it’s incredible. They don’t do surface design in their carving. They’re all shape and form. Then they finish their carvings by painting them,” Mr Wafer says.

He will be based in Terrace Canada, which is eight hours north of Vancouver.


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