Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 09, 2007

Waitangi commissioner idea supported

Auckland University law professor David Williams says there is merit in Maori Party MP Hone Harawira's call for a Treaty of Waitangi commissioner.

Professor Williams says such a commissioner would be appointed by Parliament, similar to the commissioner for the environment and the ombudsman.

He says the Waitangi Tribunal has become bogged down processing historical treaty claims and trying to resolve disputes thrown up by the Crown's settlement process, so it can't consider contemporary claims.

“The wider issues of the role of the treaty in our society, the role of the treaty in provision of health and education and the role of the treaty in local government, all of those ways in which the treaty is living in the present are very seldom the focus of the Waitangi Tribunal these days,” Professor Williams says.

He says the success of the Waitangi commissioner would depend on the performance of whoever has the role, because they would not have the power to order the Crown to do anything.


The School Trustees Association says there are support networks available for Maori trustees, so people considering standing in next month's elections shouldn't feel isolated.

President Lorraine Kerr says about 15 percent of school trustees are Maori, and and she'd like to see this number increased.

Ms Kerr says the Maori arm of the association, Te Koru Puawai o Aotearoa meets quarterly to shares korero on a range of issues.

“It's around whanaungatanga as well. Although you might be the only Maori on a board, there are in fact a few of you out there and this is one fantastic way of networking, to air issues, to work through issues, to share the good things, all those sorts of things,” Ms Kerr says.

The elections will be held on March the 29th.


Waitangi National Trust board member Pita Paraone says the trust is asking the auditor general to step into its row with the Crown over management of the Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands.

Mr Paraone, a New Zealand First MP and former chair of Northland tribe Ngati Hine, says a review of the trust's activities seems to be focusing on its financial management and about the $12 charge on visitors to the treaty grounds.

But he says the trust is forced to look around for funding sources because the endowment forest which is supposed to provide most of its income is under the control of the Conservation Department, which takes the bulk of its profits.

“We're quite happy to suspend charges if in fact we get a greater entitlement from what we believe is our asset,” Mr Paraone says.

The trust wants to Auditor General to tell it how much the forest is actually earning.


The organiser of a Maori Innovation Summit in Wellington today says Government agencies could do more to help Maori landowners.

Murray Hemi says the two day summit has been a valuable opportunity for Maori involved in farming, forestry and fisheries to network and share ideas.

He says while its important Maori cement relationships with each other, government departments and crown research institutes also have a role which the summit tried to bring out.

“Trying to encourage a lot of government agencies who ultimately have a responsibility to improve New Zealand’s economy to think specifically in a much more mature way about he opportunity that Maori land and Maori resources and Maori people provide for New Zealand as an economy,” Murray Hemi says.

The next summit may include other industries such as the creative and IT sectors.


The Maori king will be the first to receive a film about his late mother, Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

TVNZ has compiled over two and a half hours of archival footage, including coverage of the tangi that stopped the nation last year.

Te Karere news presenter Scotty Morrison says he and Tini Molyneux will be at the poukai at Hukanui marae in Gordonton tomorrow, to formally hand over the dvd tribute to King Tuheitia.

“There's a lot of different parts in the dvd and it’s not just her funeral last year, although all that footage will be included, but there also will be all the footage that Television New Zealand has collected over the years of Te Atairangikaahu, a lot of interviews, and I think it’s a really special gift we can give as Television New Zealand to the royal family down there in Tainui,” Mr Morrison says.


Maori sports commentator Te Kauhoe Wano says Troy Flavell is the right man for the job of Blues captain.

Mr Wano says the Blues lock will be watched closely by referees because of his reputation as an aggressive player, which has led to several lengthy bans.

He earned a yellow card late in the Blues' first round win over Canterbury last weekend.

Mr Wano says the towering Blues lock is is one of the best Maori players around, and the captaincy is an aknowledgment of his experience and will to win.

But the top job can make or break players.

“I think it will make him. I really do. I think he needs that responsibility just to remind him he has to keep his game on track, and that if he fails he not only falls but he brings the whole team down with him so I think it’ll be great, and just the way he played, he looked so enthusiastic,” Mr Wano says.

The Blues face the Brumbies in Canberra tomorrow night in round 2 of the super 14

Iwi suspicious of shared fish plan

Iwi representatives gathering in Wellington today will be asking whether the Fisheries Ministry is trying to rewrite the Maori fisheries settlement.

The fisheries settlement trust is holding a workshop on the ministry's Shared Fisheries discussion paper, which claims competition between commercial, recreational and customary fishers means changes are needed in the management of fisheries like snapper, crayfish and kahawai.

Te Ohu Kaimoana policy manager Mr Lawson says the proposals come as a shock at a time iwi are just starting to take delivery of their settlement quota.

“If you have a full and final settlement, then who should decide it is no longer full and final and should change. It’s going to be a big issue for iwi to find when government says full and final it means that iwi must live with it, but government can go ahead and change the rules,” Mr Lawson says.

The Maori stake in the species under review is worth about $80 million, and the iwi will be looking for compensation if there is any quota reduction.


A new study on bilingual Maori education has warned against taking children out too soon.

Head research Stephen May from Waikato University's school of education says kura kaupapa and te reo Maori units in mainstream schools are effective for teaching and learning.

But he says parents need to stick with the programme if their tamariki are to excel in Maori, English and other academic subjects.

“One of the things that the report tries to show very clearly is that actually if parents and whanau take out their tamariki too early. That’s the worst possible thing to do. They need to stay in bilingual immersion education as long as possible and then they’ll get not only the bnefits of learning te reo but also the long term academic benefits as well,” Professor May says.

He says there is still a lot of research to be done on the value of Maori medium education for Maori.


The humble kumara is the focus of a study that aims to shed light on the extent of travel undertaken by the ancestors of Maori.

Andy Clark, a PhD student at Massey University, says by using DNA techniques, scientists hope to prove that early Polynesians traversed the Pacific a thousand years ago, bringing kumara back from South America.

Mr Clark says the findings will add fuel to the debate on pre European Maori contacts.

“Scientists are reluctant to say that anything’s conclusive, but I think together if you look at the bulk of evidence – the dna, the linguistics, the connection of the word kumara which is used by South American Indians and Polynesians, and sailing technology, it’s looking very likely,” Mr Clark says.

The research should also pin down which strains of kumara were introduced to Aotearoa by early whalers and sealers.


Te Ohu Kaimoana fisheries settlement trust believes handing a greater share of key fisheries over to the recreational sector is unlikely to promote sustainabilty.

The trust is holding a workshop in Wellington today for iwi to learn about the Governemnt's Shared Fisheries discussion document, which proposes new management structures for species like snapper, crayfish and paua.

Te Ohu Kaimoana policy and operations manager Laws Lawson says iwi have a long term commitment to the fishing industry, and they want more certainty than the proposals offer.

“It's pretty unusual to find then that government might look to give a greater share to the recreationalists, who are the only group who aren’t required to report what’s going on, so it’s difficult to know you’re heading into more sustainably managed fisheries when a greater part of the fishery is no longer going to have recording information on what's caught,” Mr Lawson says.

Iwi will want compensation if their quata is cut as a result of the shared fisheries proposals.


Maori parents are being encouraged to put their names up for school trust elections in March.

School trustees association chairperson Lorraine Kerr says Maori give a valuable alternative perspective to boards.

She says while the Tomorrow's Schools reforms of the late 1980s aimed to improve community input, Maori have been reluctant to stand.

Ms Kerr says many Maori underestimate the value of life skills they have acquired.

“I think as long as any Maori have the confidence to stand, all the better for the school. It’s got to be a good thing if you’ve got Maori trustees on your board. It gives a different perspective on the treaty, the dual heritage within Aotearoa,” Mrs Kerr says.

About 15 percent of school trustees are Maori, but there is always room for more.


A Gisborne language nest has been almost totally rebuilt to make it safe for tamariki and staff.

Administrator Pele Paenga from Kimihia Kohanga Reo says the pre-schoolers spent the past six months in temporary quarters at Te Poho O Rawiri Marae because of problems exposed last winter.

She says once repairs started, the kohanga discovered the problems were even more extensive than it expected.

“It practically caused us to close the kohanga. Our bathrooms were flooded, we had continuous leaks, our roof was caving in, and then it got to the point where it was leaking in our kitchen,” Mrs Paenga says.

The repairs were paid for with discretionary funding from the National Kohanga Reo Trust.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Compo promised if quota cut to share

The Minister of Maori Affairs says he has received assurances that commercial fishers including iwi will receive compensation if their quotas is cut under the government's proposed shared fisheries plan.

Te Ohu Kaimoana is holding a workshop for iwi tomorrow to discuss the proposals, which cover fisheries which are in demand from both recreational and commercial fishers, including snapper, crayfish, kahawai and paua.

Parekura Horomia says Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton assured outgoing Te Ohu Kaimoana chairperson Shane Jones and himself that if there is any adjustment, a pay-out will be considered.

“It's a long way from that. It’s about a vested interest by all partiers to ensure we protect the species and supply. You know it’s no deep secrat that the fishing stock is diminishing and we’ve got to work out how to manage it and keep it sustainable,” Mr Horomia says.

The commercial sector has already shown its commitment to sustainability by making voluntary cuts in some fisheries such as East Coast crayfish.


New research has found Maori medium students need to remain in kura and schools for at least six years to reap the benefits.

Waikato University Professor of Language and Literacy Education Stephen May, the head researcher for the Bilingual Education in Aotearoa study, says Maori medium educators such as Kura Kaupapa and bilingual mainstream units are highly effective by international standards.

Professor May says whanau concerns that their tamariki aren't spending enough time learning English shouldn't be an issue.

“One of the concerns that often comes up is that children might be spending too much time learning in Maori, and parents and whanau in particular worry that this might detract from their ability to learn English and succeed academically. And what the research shows very clearly is that actually bilingual immersion education is highly effective,” Professor May says.

A summarised version of the research has been prepared for whanau and teachers.


This weekend's fundraiser for the whanau of a former member of the Maori Volcanics may lead to a reunion of the Auckland Maori Community Centre.

Maori entertainer Toko Pompey, also known as country singer Sammy Dee, says the single storey building by Victoria Park was the place where many Maori new to the city in the 1950s and 60s congregated.

He says the dances and talent quests were legendary, and the centre was where most of the Maori showbands refined their skills before heading offshore.

“We need a Maori Community Centre reunion. We’re all in our 60s, our 70s, our 80s, all those people who went to the Maori Community Centre. We will attempt to get all the Maori showbands back, because they left the Maori Community Centre to go overseas,” Mr Pompey says.

Sunday's event at the Weymouth Cosmopolitan Club will remember Richard Taite, who died last year.


Ngaphui chairperson Sonny Tau is welcoming a review of the Waitangi National Trust, but doesn't believe the Government should take over running the treaty grounds.

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage launched the review without consulting the private trust.

Mr Tau says Ngapuhi has never had a say in the trust, and the trust doesn't have a good record of working with Ngapuhi.

He says it's not right to charge for entry to the treaty grounds.

“That's a worry for the whole nation, the charge $12 to get on to a national icon or an area where the treaty of Waitangi was signed is ridiculous,” Mr Tau says.

Ngapuhi has a treaty claim over the way it lost the land now owned by the trust.


Te Ohu Kaimoana fears the government's shared fisheries proposals will undermine sound fisheries management.

Laws Lawson, the Maori fisheries settlement trust's policy and operations manager, says a big turnout for iwi is expected at a shared fisheries workshop in Wellington tomorrow.

Mr Lawson says iwi are concerned about the commercial stake they now hold in the industry, but they also want their people to be able to feed their families from their recreational take.

“Now to do that you’ve got to make sure all sectors work together and have an incentive to work together. The set of proposals the government’s putting out, the only incentive it provides for recreational fishers is that they beat a path to the door of the minister, not that they sit down with other fishier about managing the fishery, or about enhancing it,” Mr Lawson says.

He says the Shared Fisheries Proposal also raises doubts about whether a treaty settlement can be considered full and final, if the Crown can change it at whim.


Political commentator Chris Trotter says while he might not have adhered strictly to Maori protocol, the past 10 days have been a winner for John Key.

Maori have slammed the National Party leader's decision to take a 12 year old Maori girl from a state housing estate in Auckland to Waitangi, and the casualness of his attire when he was welcomed onto the lower marae at Waitangi.

Mr Trotter says Mr Key's decisions would have found favour with the political audience he aspires to represent, and they're not Maori.

“I don't think he’s seriously courting the Maori vote. At least not the Maori vote on the Maori roll. Of course there’s a very large number of Maori who’re on the general roll, and I think if he’s appealing to any group of Maori it will be to those Maori,” Mr Trotter says.

He says Mr Key's decision to press on with the abolition of the Maori seats shows his true intentions towards tangata whenua.

Linda Smith Waikato pro vice chancellor Maori

The woman who has driven post-graduate education for Maori at Auckland University is taking on a new challenge as Waikato University's top Maori academic.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith will take over from Tamati Reedy in July as the university's Pro Vice Chancellor Maori.

Dr Smith joined the Education Department at Auckland in 1988, and with husband Graham encouraged dozens of Maori to pursue masters and doctoral qualifications.

She is also co-director of Nga Pae Maramatanga, the National Institute of Research Excellence for Maori Development and Advancement.

Dr Smith says the new job has a number of attractions.

“A new challenge for me, taking me outside my current comfort zone, but it’s also a step towards my home where I’m from, which is Ngati Awa Ngati Porou, so to move southwards from Auckland is to take a few little tentative steps back home,” Dr Smith says.


Treaty and women's rights activist Mereana Pitman says Maori are deeply offended by National Party leader John Key's use of a young Maori girl as a public relations prop during his trip to Waitangi this week.

Ms Pitman says she was appalled Mr Key took 12 year old Aroha Ireland from Owairaka to the Bay of Islands on her own.

She says that's not the Maori way.

“If you are traveling into someone else’s ope, someone else’s nation, you need to have people with you who can go with you. It was really obvious to me that the young girl had no whanau with her, no kuia and no koroua, and it was just a kind of meat market PR exercise really,” Ms Pitman says.

She says at the same time Mr Key is using the symbolism of a young Maori girl to score points, he is vowing to take away the Maori voice in Parliament.


Maori land organisations need to work together more closely if they are to achieve positions of leadership in the primary sector.

That's the view of Murray Hemi, manager of Maori strategy at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, who is one of the organisers of today's Maori Innovation Summit at Te Papa in Wellington.

Mr Hemi says the summit will give Maori organisations a chance to develop the networks, connections and opportunities they need for growth.

He says Maori are significant players in a number of sectors, but it's not reflected in their political power.

“Forestry is a good example, Dairy is another good example. So I think there is aklso some really great opportunities for Maori to position themselves as industry leaders and strong power groups in industries if they work together for some common aims, and those commonalities are often over the way multiply owned land is developed and furthered over time,” Mr Hemi says.

He says the managers of Maori assets need to be working with crown research institutes to improve their productivity.


Waikato University council member Apirana Mahuika has welcomed the appointment of Linda Tuhiwai Smith as Pro Vice Chancellor Maori.

Dr Smith is currently in Auckland University's education department and a co-director of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga, the national institute of Maori research excellence.

Mr Mahuika says Waikato will benefit hugely from Dr Smith's experience in indigenous research and her commitment to developing other Maori researchers.

“A lot of the emphasis in the university is in the area of research and assisting students, particularly at the post graduate level, and she comes to the university with that vast experience that she had gathered while she was at Auckland University and her involvement also in the special PhD area for Maori post-graduate students,” Mr Mahuika says.

Dr Smith will take over the pro vice chancellor Maori role from Tamati Reedy in July.


Northern elders want answers on the future of their representation on the Waitangi National Trust, which administers the treaty grounds.

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage has been conducting a review of the trust structure in advance of a major project to rebuild the visitors centre, and the Governor General announced this week he will not go on the trust, breaking a long standing tradition.

Kaumatua Nuki Aldridge says Waitangi is special ground for the tribes of the north, and they want some say in what happens there.

“The rumours the people are hearing are the government was going tio take all of the seats take away the tupuna representation, run the trust, presumably from Wellington,” Mr Aldridge says.

The Treaty Grounds were gifted to the nation by former governor general Lord Bledisloe, on the condition that no public funds be used in its upkeep,


A hui in Turangi has helped spark interest in traditional Maori games.

Organiser Kotuku Tibble says last weekend's sports hui grew out of the mid winter Tuwharetoa arts festival, which captured the imagination of iwi members.

He says teacher Harko Brown brought 40 students down from Kerikeri to demonstrate kiorahi, a game that involves the combined skills of soccer, rugby and cricket.

There was also poi throwing, mau rakau and waka ama competitions.

Mr Tibble says sports events with a cultural dimension are not uncommon.

“If the Scottish people can have the Highland games over in Napier-Hastings every Easter, what is wrong with us Maori having an event that is celebrates out indigenous knowledge of thise games and pastimes,those hakinakina and takoro that our tupuna used,” Mr Tibble says.

The Tuwharetoa sports hui may shift to Labour weekend to give more iwi members the chance to participate.

Recreational fishing important too

Iwi representatives at a workshop this week on the government's shared fishery plans will be challenged to fight harder for the recreational fishing rights of their people.

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the Fisheries Ministry discussion paper, which cover species like snapper, blue cod, rock lobster, paua and eels, skates over the complexity of the issue.

Many iwi see the shared fishery idea as a threat to their commercial survival, and say it reduces the value of the Maori fishing rights settlement.

Mr Tau says while Maori now own about half the commerical quota, iwi members also have rights as individuals which are met by the recreational take.

“Our people have told us that their interest is in feeding their children first. Not in commercial, it’s in our ability to feed children. Now, if they don’t want to be categorized as recreational fishing then we need to change the law,” Mr Tau says.

He says customary fishing rights are being narrowly interpreted as collecting kaimoana for hui and tangi, and are quite separate to recreational fishing.


Early childhood learning centres attached to Te Wananga O Aotearoa campuses have taken up the ministry of educations offer of free childcare hours.

Elizabeth Pakai, the national manager of Nga Whare Whariki Kohungahunga, says the subsidy will allow it to offer free childcare hours to up to 60 children.

Ms Pakai says it has allowed the centres to hire more qualified staff, which will benefit all children.

“What we're doing is we are recruiting people who are qualified, either diploma or degreed. As a long term, I think 40 years this year I’ve been in early childhood education, I am a staunch supporter of qualifications,” Ms Pakai says.

The wananga's childcare centres in Auckland, Hamilton, Te Awamutu and Tokoroa now have waiting lists, as parents take advantage of the subsidy.


Hungry for a new challenge, an Auckland based historian is researching Maori cannibalism.

Paul Moon, the senior lecture in Maori studies at the Auckland University of Technology, is researching a work on Maori cannabilism.

Dr Moon says he wants to counter publications by some American academics which express doubt that the practice existed as a cultural practice.

He's looking for evidence cannibalism happened, why Maori eat other people, and why it stopped so suddenly.

“It’s the one cultural trait, the one trait out of the whole culture that disappeared within about one or two generations, it disappeared completely. It’s looking at what were the pressures put on Maori communities for that trait to disappear, because the same pressures were later applied in other areas of the culture. Things like tattooing, exposing bare breasts for women,” Dr Moon says.

He aims to have the work ready for publication next year.


The MP for Taitokerau says National Party leader John Key's trip to Waitangi with a young Maori girl has backfired as a PR exercise.

Mr Key's gust at Waitangi Day celebrations was 12-year-old Aroha Ireland from McGehan Close in Owairaka, a street Mr Key claims is the home of an emerging underclass.

He says it was not a good look.

“Don't try a gimmick like that. That’s what it was. John Key and his little black trophy child. It was an insult, The whole thing about manaakitanga, you don’t just pick up a child and say ‘Ooh Waitangi Day, I think I’ll take this child up to Waitangi, it’ll make me look really cool.’ You don’t play games with our children,” Mr Harawira says.

He says John Key must have got some advice on the trip north, because he left the youngster behind when he went onto the lower marae.


Ngati Kahungunu put their money where their mouth is, in supporting the Waitangi Day celebrations.

Te Rangi Huata helped organise the event at Clyde, halfway between Napier and Hastings.

While they eventually got financial help from the local district council and the ministry of heritage, it was the gesture by the Hawkes Bay based iwi that got the celebrations off the ground.

"All regions are looking into putting money into events that attract tourists, but the decision by our iwi is that Ngati Kahungunu, instead of waiting for everyone to put their money in, let’s put our money on the table and show that we mean business by funding the bulk of the event, and the others can join in, but we’re not holding our breath,” Mr Huata says.

He says the free event is becoming more popular each year, with both Maori and non Maori.


Maori organisations are being urged to get smarter about they way they use and develop their assets.

Te Ara Putaiao, a collective of Maori working in Crown Research Institutes, is holding a two day conference at Te Papa this week to stimulate innovation and commercialisation in the Maori asset base.

Murray Hemi from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences says the hui is targeting not just landowners but research and development providers, commercial investors and other businesses wanting to work in the Maori space.

Mr Hemi says in their use of technology and corporate structures, many Maori organisations are 20 or 30 years behind.

“A lot of the income I just leasehold returns, so forestry is a good example where we’ve got a significant land asset, we simply lease that land out to someone else who grows trees, and we provide a raw product. The key to Maori innovation is around getting into products that move us further up the value chain,” Mr Hemi says.

He says the conference will focus on Farming, Forestry, fishing and tourism.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Waitangi succumbs to downpours

This year's Treaty of Waitangi commemoration in the Bay of Islands were dampened down by the weather and by organisers determination to keep them low key.

Waatea News reporter Marire Kuka braved the storm.

“It rained and it rained and, apart from a brief interlude in the late morning when the Prime Minister walked among stall-holders on the Waitangi Reserve, it poured.

“The conditions meant the waka which play such an important part of the event stayed on shore, and six weeks of preparation, diet and exercise for the paddlers came to nothing.

The other traditional activity was the hikoi, which this year seemed more a part of the official programme than a challenge to it. About 100 hardy souls led by Sykes, Pitman and Hone Harawira's daughter Te Whenua straggling up the hill in a fierce downpour to be welcomed by more of the younger generation of Harawiras.

The conditions means the Navy abandoned its traditional sunset ceremony and the day finished as it started, wet.”


One of the star turns at Waitangi was John Key, who had in tow 10-year-old Aroha Nathan from what the new National Party leader claims is the centre of Auckland's underclass, McGehan Close in Owairaka.

Labour list MP and former Waitangi protester Shane Jones says Mr Key is echoing history, but times have moved on.

Mr Jones told a gathering at St John's Theological College in Auckland that Mr Key was harking back to another National Party leader's vision of the treaty as a symbol of New Zealand nationalism.

“I don't think that the Holyoake vision that Maori somehow can just be a junior partner, represented by a child who need to be led by a white father will ever ever take root. And neither should it, because that wasn’t the kaupapa of the treaty. There was no way the queen of England of that time was going to lead Tamati Waka Nene, Te Rauparaha, Hone Heke, Kawiti around,” Mr Jones says.

He believes the meaning of the treaty won't come from government, but by organic change and acceptance in society.


Just when interest in treaty commemorations seemed to be flagging, it was revived by a rash of flag waving around the country.

In Auckland, the Maori Party flew sovereignty flags from several of the city's maunga, and they were joined at the highest, Maungakiekie, by Northern elders Kingi Taurua and Dan Davis bearing the original flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand.

Mr Taurua says he felt it important to come back from the Bay of Islands to make the gesture.

“It's important because we want to fly our flags, our Maori flags, to indicate that our flags are still alive just as we as a people are alive,” Mr Taurua says.


Labour list MP Shane Jones says wider understanding and support of the Treaty of Waitangi needs to come from the community, not from politicians.

Mr Jones told a Waitangi Day gathering at St Johns Theological College in Auckland that it was important that the treaty be embraced by all New Zealanders, not just tangata whenua.

He said the country was still looking for a national identity, and the treaty has to be part of that.

“Because for those who have an agenda of moving us towards a republic, I tell you, there will never ever be a new constitution or a republican nation state without dealing justly with the Treaty of Waitangi. It will just never happen, because the elements of discord and disunity is such that people get afraid to even have the debate,” Mr Jones says.

He says because of the position of trust they built up with Maori before Waitangi, churches like the Anglicans have an important role to play in winning acceptance for the Treaty.


They're young, they're articulate and they're the new face of Maori protest.

That's how Ngati Pikiao lawyer Annete Sykes describes the new breed of activist.

She says the children of those who have been at the forefront of Maori activism over the past 20 years, such as Hone Harawira and herself, are poised to make their mark on Maori issues.

Ms Sykes says while protest at Waitangi may be more low key than in the past, there are many talented rangatahi who have grown up in whanau used to challenging the status quo.

“They have a very clear sense of identity and they have a clear sense of where they want to be in this world. That’s the face of the new protester. They’re young, they’re articulate, many of them are urban so they understand the pressures that are being placed on rangatahi Maori that I don’t think many of the older Maori have got in touch with,” Ms Sykes says.


For the last word on the flag, Labour list MP and Northland elder Dover Samuels says controversy over the flying of Maori sovereignty flags is contrived and has little basis in fact.

A range of flags flew around the country yesterday, with the red, white and black tino rangatiratanga design from 1990 being a firm favourite.

But Mr Samuels says the flag he relates to is the one New Zealanders spilt their blood over in the wars of the last century.

“They usually led the charges with the New Zealand flag. The various battalions, including the Maori Battalion, had their own colours, but at the end of the day they were proud to be New Zealanders and they were proud the fly the New Zealand flag,” Mr Samuels says.

He says the flag debate was an indication of how little controversy there was around this year's Waitangi Day ceremonies.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Peace breaking out in Bay

It's been a relatively low key day at Waitangi, as people gather for tomorrow's Waitangi Day commemorations.

At the lower Te Tii Marae, scene of many past clashes between politicians and protesters, a tent was set up for discussion of a wide range of issues.

Waatea News reporter Marire Kuka says frequent showers driven by a warm wind off the Bay of Islands didn’t deter a crown of about 1500 people at Te Tii.

The morning’s events were focused on the launch of the waka Hinemoana, which was then put through its paces around the bay by a mixed crew of men and women.

A range of speakers put their views on political and constitutional issues to the small audience in the marquee on the marae ground, including Taranaki kaumatua Huirangi Waikerepuru who brought the message of peace north from Parihaka, saying every iwi should come up with its own plan for peace for the local community to achieve.

Indications are this Waitangi Day should have fewer fireworks than earlier celebrations.


Ban undercover police, not the media.

That's the response of Tuhoe activist Tame Iti to an attempted ban on mainstream media by elders at Te Tii Marae at Waitangi.

Mr Iti, who has had more run ins with both the police and the media than most, says the media can be a useful tool to get Maori messages across.

He says at least the media are visible, unlike some members of the police force.

“I'm not there to tell the Tai Tokerau people how to deal with it, but for me personally I think the first thing they need to ban the police posing as undercover on the marae, taking photos of people like myself and many others they see as a potential stirrer. That’s more a concern for me than the media,” Mr Iti says.


The head of the Maori Trademarks Advisory Committee says more Maori artists are realising the need to protect their work from commercial exploitation.

Karen Waaka presented a paper on Maori intellectual property at an international forum in Sydney last week.

She says the digital age makes it much easier for unscrupulous operators to copy and distribute images.

Ms Waaka says Maori artists are starting to come to terms with how vulnerable their work is to being ripped off, and are doing something about it.

“Far more of our artists are being aware of what the copyright process is and just remembering to put a © and putting their name and the year when it is they created it on all of their works, whether they’re just doing it casually within whanau, communities or whether they are actually producing them for exhibitions or for export and trade,” Ms Waaka says.


People heading for Waitangi have been bypassing the Te Tii Marae in what is being seen as a slight to hui organisers.

In past years all official visitors to the treaty commemorations have recognised they need to be welcomed to the area first by Ngapuhi at the lower marae before heading up to the Treaty Grounds.

But calculated insults to some guests from both protesters and marae speakers means many politicians, including Prime Minister Helen Clark, refuse to set foot through the gates.

Northern kaumatua Kingi Taurua says Ngapuhi needs to sort itself out.

“The marae has lost its mana and certainly I think people are actually bypassing the marae to go up to the top, not only the Pakeha but also Maori. There are some Maori up the top who didn’t come ionto the marae, they bypassed it. So I would say the mana perhaps of the marae has actually lost it,” Mr Taurua says.

National Party leader John Key, Northland MP John Carter and some Green MPs were welcomed on this afternoon, but Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia turned back because he did not want to go on at the same time as the Opposition leader.


Come up with a better idea and we'll think about it.

That is the challenge National Party leader John Key is giving the Maori Party over its Foreshore and Seabed Act repeal bill.

Mr Key says the decision by National not to back the bill shouldn't spell the end to relations between the two parties.

He says all the Maori Party bill does is return the situation back to where it was in 2003, when the Court of Appeal ruled the Maori Land Court could investigate whether Ngati Apa plaintiffs had customary title to foreshore and seabed in the Marlborough Sounds.

And the problem was that it didn’t resolve anything. It took everything back to where we were which would have required new legislation of which there were no solutions and no suggestions at that point. I have no doubt that this issue will be raised again. I have no doubt there are other solutions that will be promoted,” Mr Key says.


The Prime Minister says the National Party plan to scrap the Maori seats is deliberately divisive.

Helen Clark says as with his talk of an underclass, National leader John Key is using code words to attack Maori at the bottom of the economic ladder.

Ms Clark says Labour will stick with the current system, which gives Maori the chance to go on or off the Maori electoral roll after every five year census.

“It may be over time that fewer will. It may be over time that more will. But is has long been our position that that this is a decision for Maori, and I personally think it would be a very backward step four our country if a parliament with obviously a non-Maori majority were to legislate the seats out of existence without Maori wanting that,” Ms Clark says.

Waitangi marae ready for day

Northern tribes are getting ready to welcome the thousands of people expected for Waitangi Day commemorations.

Kaumatua Kingi Taurua says a large number of MP's and government officials are expected at the lower Te Tii marae today, but they won't get any special privileges.

Mr Taurua says the marae decided not to set any special time for the parliamentarians to turn up.

“They’re coming on not as special guests, they’re coming on with everybody else and they are not going to be treated special. Or different to everyone else. So they will come on with the people, and that’s how it is at the moment yeah,” Mr Taurua says.

Workers have been busy over the past week preparing to feed the thousands of people, preparing vegetables and slaughtering the sheep and cattle donated for the hui.


Meanwhile, for close to three decades, Waitangi Day events have included contributions from the Harawira whanau.

Whether it's matriarch Titewhai Harawira reducing Helen Clark to tears, or walking hand in hand with Jenny Shipley, or son Hone Harawira yelling through the megaphone in front of a crowd of protesters, the presence of the family means lights, cameras, action.

But their contributions are not appreciated by everyone in Ngapuhi.

David Rankin from Nga Mahurehure says he's sick of the Harawiras hijacking events in the north for their own political agendas, and he wants them to stay away.

Mr Rankin says Ngapuhi wants to change its image.

“We want to go backl top the image of our grandparents when Ngapuhi tikanga was held with high esteem, not some thing of the Jerry Springer show where people are getting punched out and pushed around and bullied and abused. That’s not Ngapuhi tikanga. Ngapuhi tikanga is bringing people together,” Mr Rankin says.

He is unlikely to get his wish - this year Mr Harawira, now the MP for Tai Tokerau, intends to use Waitangi for a Maori Party policy launch.


Nine Toi Moko are to be welcomed on to Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington this morning.

The smoked heads have been brought back from the Marischal Museum at the University of Aberdeen as part of the museum's repartiation programme.

Te Taru White, the museum's kaihautu or manager Maori, says they will be welcomed by mana whenua tribes and by Ngai Tahu, which is currently on the museum's paepae.

“We'll be having a powhiri for them on our marae here at Te Papa and then they’ll go into a waahi tapu where they’ll be held until further research is done,” Mr White says.

The origins of some of the other toi moko recovered by the museum has been found using dna testing.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says Waitangi Day has become a celebration of the Maori contribution to New Zealand.

Parekura Horomia says attempts by sovereignty groups to grab headlines such as the proposal to fly a flag off Auckland Harbour Bridge was a waste of time because no-one is trying to deny Maori their rightful place in the celebrations.

“Let’s get the focus right. Waitangi Day is about everybody understanding that there is a tangata whenua in this country, and that’s Maori, and the treaty was the kawenata and the founding document for this nation. That;’s what should be celebrated, that’s what should be worked on. Not to be distracted by issues that come up late, knowing it will grab attention,” Mr Horomia says.


Northern kaumatua Kingi Taurua is expecting some new faces in the protest groups arriving at Waitangi tomorrow.

He says while it was a relatively quiet year last year in terms of protest, many young Maori are now realising they too have a voice.

Mr Taurua says organisers have been notified about a protest groups intention to march to the treaty grounds demanding the government honour its commitments to the treaty.

He says the traditional voices of protest at Waitangi have taken on new roles.

“Titewhai and them, Hone Harawira and them have actually moved to the back but I think they are still there giving some kind of support to the young people, who are not happy with how they are suppressed by government policies. I don’t know how big that protest will be, but in time it will pick up again, the momentum will pick up,” Mr Taurua says.


The Project manager of the Treaty 2 You roadshow says there is still a lot of interest in the treaty among the wider public.

The roadshow, put together by Te Papa, is in Waitangi, as part of a tour of 27 towns and cities around the country.

Kit O 'Conner says last years inaugural road trip proved successful, with both visitor numbers and feedback positive.

“When you set out on a venture like this you’re never really sure, especially with a topic that’s got a lot of contention and a lot of confusion for a lot of people but we averaged over 350 people a day, about 35,0000 people came through in four months last year, so we’re thrilled with that,” Ms O'Conner says.

The roadshow is on the road until early May.