Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 30, 2007

Trustee independence too hard

The Minister of Finance is ruling out an independent board to head a new Maori development bank.

A bill now before parliament will use $35 million of Maori Trustee money to create a new statutory corporation, Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand.

It will be governed by a board appointed by the Ministers of Finance and Maori Affairs.

The money is accumulated profits from the trustee's investments and his management of Maori land.

The Federation of Maori Authorities has called for the Trustee to be overseen by an board chosen by Maori, as happens for Maori fisheries settlement assets.

But Michael Cullen says that won't work.

“There are quite serious issues about who would be the nominators of the board. Obviously the government would be seeking nominations and consultation around the employment of the board. But there is no single set of people who are able to speak for Maori on their behalf, certainly not FOMA, certainly not the Maori Council,” Dr Cullen says.

He says the new corporation will allow for more active use of the funds held on behalf of Maori.


Pushing new mothers out of hospital could rob Maori women of valuable bonding time with baby.

Lynda Williams from the Maternity Services Consumer Council says a short lived Wellington Hospital policy to offer women $100 shopping vouchers if they go home within six hours of giving birth is inappropriate.

She says good mothering starts with getting things right during the pregnancy and birth.
“With Maori mothers who have got two or three other babies at home, this is going to be the only time they get one on one with that baby, learning to bond with that baby, and get breast feeding established, so I do think that for Maori women, this is a particular issue, and it does feel really like a bribe,” Ms Williams says.

With New Zealand's alarming child abuse statistics, more resources should be put into the first few hours of motherhood.


If the Internet is turning the world into a digital village, then a marae is a good place to start from.

That's the experience of a new web-based service, Naumaiplace dot com.

Director Tahi Tait says it's model of providing a place for marae to post information and reach out to whanau is proving popular, with more than 100 marae signing up in its first three months.

He says hapu are short circuiting some of the bureaucracy surrounding other Maori websites.

“You know the Maori sector is still dealing with this, whether it should be the runanga, the iwi, or the marae, and we’re really feeling good about the marae having the control,” Mr Tait says.


The Minister of Treaty Negotiations will be assuring the Waitangi Tribunal that its reports and findings are taken into account when settlements are negotiated.

The tribunal last week issued a please explain note to the Crown after a letter emerged from the former minister, Mark Burton, saying that completing a tribunal process would not affect the amount the Government offered the Ngati Porou Runanga.

Michael Cullen, the current minister, says that letter was infelicitously worded.

He says when the government enters direct negotiations, it does so in good faith on the basis of the evidence the iwi or hapu presents.

“The government will take account of the evidence in front of the tribunal. That does not prevent the Crown engaging in direct negotiations and many iwi hapu want to engage in direct negotiations and I would not look very favourably on a tribunal indication the Crown should not engage in direct negotiations,” Dr Cullen says.

Going through the tribunal is a drawn out and expensive process for iwi, and many are keen to get down to talks.


It's now 30 years since the first marae to be built in the grounds of a mainstream school.

Melville High School in Hamilton is celebrating the anniversary tomorrow in that wharenui, Te Manaakitanga.

Te Mana Rollo, a kaiako at the school, says the project was driven by a teacher, Marie Copeland.

Sixteen members of her whanau will be at the celebrations, along with other former teachers and students and hundreds of people who have had contact with the marae over the past three decades.

“It's a celebration of the first school marae built on a state school in New Zealand but it’s abut how the marae has developed and how it’s served the students and teachers at Melville High School plus the Melville community itself,” Mr Rollo says.

A korowai will be presented to kaumatua Napi Waaka, to acknowledge his efforts in carving the house.


Whanganui iwi are getting ready for a major exhibition featuring their tupuna.

Whanganui Regional Museum is displaying prints taken around the river in the 1890s and 1900s by William Partingon.

An auction of Partington's glass plate negatives five years ago was disrupted by protests from the iwi, and the collection was eventually bought by the museum, the Whanganui Maori Trust Board and a community trust.

Che Wilson, the co-curator of Te Pihi Mata - The Sacred Eye, says it's not being treated as a usual show of photos.

“It's using the photographs, telling a story and then connecting other taonga to the story, to the history, and another thing we’re doing is using the photographs not just to connect to he history but to connect to today. So there are photographs of tupuna, and then linking to their descendants today,” Mr Wilson says.

The curators took copies of photographs to Waitangi Tribunal claim hearings so the old people could identify some of the subjects in them.

Te Pihi Mata opens on December 7.


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