Waatea News Update

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Arawa hearing extended after doc dump

A Waitangi Tribunal hearing in Rotorua into the Government's settlement of land claims in the Rotorua region has been extended into next week.

Lawyer Annette Sykes says the Crown last night dumped 500 pages of documents on the tribunal relating to the mandate the Office of Treaty Settlements granted to Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa to negotiate the claims.

Ms Sykes says the claimant hapu fear they are being written out of the tribe and their assets handed over to others.

“And that's causing major upset among a number of the tribal groups here, many of whom we would argue are the right heartbeats of Te Arawa themselves, so our very identity is at risk by a settlement that’s being pushed, we argue, to meet Crown settlement targets rather than to honour the treaty principles,” Annette Sykes says.

The Waitangi Tribunal will sit in Wellington next Friday to hear arguments about the mandate documents tabled at this week's hearing.


The Education Ministry's operational policy manager says a new fund to tackle disruptive behaviour should help schools bring a cultural dimension to their interventions.

Jim Matheson says schools can apply to the Interim Response Fund when a student's behaviour reaches crisis point.

Mr Matheson says while the fund is not targeted to Maori students who feature disproportionately in suspensions and expulsions, it could help principals do something different.

“Principals are quite used to thinking, ‘Well, this is a young Maori person, the response I make needs to recognise what’s going to work for this young one, so it might be there’s a relative who can help, there might be some extra services needed,’ but the driver is still the behaviour rather than anything else,” Mr Matheson says.

The fund has already approved five applications.


The organiser of tomorrow's Ngaphui Festival in Auckland says it's a call for the people of the north to come home.

The Telstra Clear Events Centre in Manukau City will ring to the sound of traditional and modern waiata, with stalls, wananga on Ngapuhi history and culture, sessions on the role of women in the tribe and a gala ball.

Karleen Everitt says by moving the festival from Kaikohe to Tamaki Makaurau, the tribe is going to where most of its people live - and saying it hasn't forgotten them.

“Having the event here in Tamaki allows us to share that amazing richness of our Ngapuhitanga, celebrating our Ngapuhitanga, and now we get the opportunity to strike the flint of those torches on the way home so they can see yes, they can walk on home into the heartland of Ngapuhi,” Ms Everitt says.


Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the Fisheries Ministry has given the Government incorrect advice that its proposed shared fisheries policy won't affect the Maori fisheries settlement.

The Ministry wants to cut commercial quota in species like snapper, kahawai and paua so recreational fishers can catch more.

Mr Tau says documents released under the Official Information Act show Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton was advised the plan was positive for Maori and consistent with the Fisheries Deed of Settlement, signed by Maori and the Crown in 1992.

He says iwi oppose the shared fisheries policy because it reduces the commercial value of their settlement.

Mr Tau says a meeting of Maori, commercial and recreational fishing organisations in Auckland yesterday was united in opposition and called on the government to start again.

He says the three sectors can come up with a better fisheries management plan, if the government will let them.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is standing by a call for iwi to occupy disputed land.

The party is in a battle with Labour's Maori caucus for bragging rights over the Government's decision to stop the sale of two Landcorp properties currently occupied by Waitangi claimants.

Senior ministers say the Maori Party's opposition had nothing to do with the decision, and they have condemned its call for more occupations.

But Dr Sharples says Labour's Maori MPs are jealous at the Maori Party's success in showing up the flaws in Landcorp's land sales process.

“Parekura and Maori MPs of Labour are angry because we have pointed this out and the people have reacted and Government has had to do a back step and do an about turn. Quite frankly most Maori MPs in Government actually support what we’re doing and they just wish they'd done it,” Dr Sharples says.


An Eskimo love story with a Maori flavour will be a feature of this weekend's Wellington Fringe festival.

Actress Helen Moran will perform Skeleton Woman, an interpretation of an Inuit myth of a warrior who hooks a terrifying entity that pursues him.

Moran says writer Kathleen Gallagher has created a work which resonates with New Zealand audiences.

“She really brought the Maori element in so the warrior has a Maori speech which is also set in English so there’s this motif that goes through where she’s used the idea of whakarongo, listening, listening with all the senses,” Ms Moran says.

She has performed Skeleton Woman last year at the Storytelling as a Healing Art conference in Melbourne and the 2006 Dunedin Fringe Festival.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Competition in treaty settlement totals

The Minister of Maori Affairs says the Government is on top of the treaty settlement process.

National and the Maori Party say this week's backdown over the sale of two Landcorp properties was proof the government is botching settlements.

They say the treaty negotiations minister is taking a hands-off approach to the portfolio and doesn't show the passion needed to get deals with claimants.

But Mr Horomia says when it comes to settlements, National can't count.

“ We've done nearly three times as many as National did in their time and we’ve got about nine right now heading up to 14 that in my mind with a lot of goodwill on both sides, we’re going to get a lot closer in this term,” Mr Horomia says.

He says as well as reviewing the sale process for surplus Landcorp land, the Government has been conducting a review of the billion dollar cap on treaty settlements imposed by National.


The head Rotoiti's kura kaupapa Maori, Hawea Vercoe, says he's disappointed Land Transport New Zealand seems to have learned little from its stoush over the use of Maori signage.

Members of Parliament's Maori affairs committee this week grilled LTSA chief executive Wayne Donnelly over his opposition to Mr Vercoe's use of the word kura instead of school on the kura's bus and other signage.

Mr Donnelly claimed if the English word was not used, police could not enforce a 20 kilometre an hour speed restriction outside the kura.

Mr Vercoe says his signage does not compromise the safety of tamariki, and the LTSA should support all of New Zealand's official languages.

“That was part of our kaupapa from the start was having ter reo Maori and being able to use it in an official capacity, without having to go through any extra regulation to someone using a sign in English,” Mr Vercoe says.

He says the row means children at the kura have also learned about a third language, international signs.


Ngapuhi is bringing its annual festival to Auckland this weekend.

Spokesperson Hone Sadler says while 12 thousand people attended last year's event in Kaikohe, about 60 percent of the iwi's 120 thousand members live in Auckland.

He says the Northland iwi wants to help its people connect with it.

“Whanaungatanga. It’s about letting our people know who they are. It’s about getting them together, giving them opportunities to reconnect back home, because a lot of our people living in Auckland here are third generation born people and a lot of them don’t have connection back home, some of them are looking for that connection,” Mr Sadler says,

One of the highlights of the festival tomorrow at the Telstra Clear Events Centre in Manukau will be a display of some of the Ngapuhi taonga held by Auckland museum.


One of the lead claimants to land around Northland's Waipoua forest is celebrating the introduction of a bill enacting his tribe's treaty settlement.

The Te Roroa Settlement Bill was referred to a select committee, and is due to be reported back in June.

Alex Nathan, the chair of the Te Roroa Mana Whenua Trust, has been fighting the claim since it was first lodged in 1986.

Mr Nathan says the Waitangi Tribunal reported in 1992, but negotiations dragged on until late 2005 because the claim got mired in politics.

“The claim was also seen to be quite controversial, not the least of which was the fact the tribunal had made recommendations against so called private land. At that time there was no developed policy, they didn’t really know how to deal with it, so we got into this long round of discussions which for years went round and round in circles until they figured out how they were going deal with it,” Mr Nathan says.

He says the $9.5 million offered isn't enough to buy all the ancestral land Te Roroa wanted, so the tribe must go into debt to buy the blocks from the Crown.


Former Waitangi Tribunal chairman Eddie Durie says he'd like to see the establishment of a Treaty of Waitangi commissioner answerable to Parliament.

The now retired High Court judge says there is merit in the Maori Party's call for a commissioner reporting to parliament, similar to the Commissioner for the Environment.

Justice Durie says the tribunal itself can't be directory involved in treaty education or advocacy, because it could compromise its impartiality.

At the same time, a commissioner can't take over the tribunal's role of defining treaty principles and recommending remedies for claims.

“I see the commissioner's function as being primarily to promote discussion and to examine all the separate views and tease them out, analyse them and help people, to come to some clearer view of the issues,” Justice Durie says.

A Waitangi commissioner would be able to give expert advice on proposals like the removal of the treaty from the school curriculum.


Rangatahi from the Bay of Plenty are behind a festival in Rotorua tomorow night celebrating the region's diverse cultures.

Organising committee member Iwi Tewhau says the first Haka Hula Hop last year attracted more than 2000 young people.

He says even bigger numbers are expected at the Lakefront Reserve tomorrow.

“Haka hula hop is a youth dance festival where Polynesian, kapa haka and hip hop dance styles come together for a celebration of cultures. It is an awesome feeling that our rangatahi have taken a proactive move in actually wanting to celebrate he different cultures, not only here in Rotorua but throughout the whole nation,” Mr Tewhau says.

Land sale rethink far reaching

Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta says the Government's rethink on the sale of Landcorp properties will have far reaching effects.

State-owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard yesterday postponed the sales of Landcorp properties in the far north and Coromandel Peninsula while Landcorp's sale process is reviewed.

The Whenuakite Station, is in Ms Mahuta's electorate, is occupied by Hauraki claimants.

Ms Mahuta says the dispute highlighted some flaws in the current system.

“It's made people focus on what important issues that involve Mari, that involve public holding of Crown lands, but also the main aim is to ensure we can have a good treaty negotiation settlement process,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says while there is a role for protest, more can be achieved from people sitting around the table talking to each other.


The new chief executive of the Maori language commission says she wants te reo to be understood, even if it may not follow all the rules laid down by earlier generations.

The commission has come under fire from some older native speakers who say they can't understand the Maori it promotes.

Huhana Rokx comes to the job from Learning Media, where she was manager of Maori publications.

She trained as a kindergarten teacher and worked in kohanga reo before taking on policy and management roles with the Early Childhood Development Unit.

Ms Rokx says as someone who has raised her own children to speak Maori, she understands the challenges facing the next generation of speakers.

“Things need to evolve and languages change and I’m not saying that’s a special directive of the commission but we need be able to present a language which is going to be understandable and workable for our children that perhaps may not have been in common usage in te reo Maori communally,” Ms Rokx says.


The Green's police spokesperson says first results from the taser trial shows Maori and Pacific Island communities were justified in their alarm about the new stun guns.

Police told a parliamentary committee this week that that 20 of the 32 people confronted by tasers in the first three months of the trial were Maori or Pacific Islanders.

While police said this was not evidence of unfair targeting, Keith Locke says the numbers speak for themselves.

“There is a big racial bias there and it is of concern and one of the reasons I think why the Maori and Pacific Island community in particular where a bit worried is they thought they might be the targets, and no one likes having 50,000 volts put through them, and to me it disrupts relations with the community,” Mr Locke says.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says the Maori Party's call for iwi to occupy disputed lands shows a lack of judgment.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell made the call in response to occupations of Landcorp farms in Northland and Coromandel by Waitangi claimants.

Mr Horomia says the history of individual land blocks can be complex, and it's best for Maori to work through established procedures like the Waitangi Tribunal and the Maori Land Court.

He says the occupations can cause unnecessary strife among iwi and hapu.

“I think it's reasonably naïve because the point is you will then get hapu protesting against hapu on who should occupy and who shouldn’t, and it is complex, so it’s too easy to say let’s all protest if we can’t get our way,” Mr Horomia says.

Maori have grown beyond the type of behaviour advocated by the Maori Party.


Former Waitangi Tribunal chairperson Eddie Durie has endorsed the idea of a Treaty Commissioner.

The idea has gained little traction in government circles since it was floated by Maori Party MP Hone Harawira at this year's Waitangi Day celebrations,

Justice Durie says the government has given the Waitangi Tribunal some funding for treaty education.

He says that hasn't been effective, because the education role could compromise the Tribunal's impartiality.

“So you can't be proslytising and advocating a position or performing in an educative function if you also have to decide particular cases that come up before you because you could be prejudicing your position, so it does need to be managed by an independent person or body of some kind,” Judge Durie says.

A treaty commissioner could lead public debate on issues like the dropping of the Treaty of Waitangi from the school curriculum and the bill to remove references to treaty principles from all legislation.


Te Kuiti-based Clearwater Hydro is looking to Maori landowners for new power generation sites.

Generation manager Laurence Best says the company is hiring an iwi liaison officer and considering joint ventures with Maori landowners.
Clearwater is building a one megawatt scheme on the Waikohu River on the East Coast.

Mr Best says it's the type of development which could suit Maori lands.

“We believe from just the information we’ve gathered so far that there is a lot of iwi-owned land with small scheme potential on it which the bigger generators, the Mighty River Powers and that, are not interested in. They’re not interested in doing small schemes,” Mr Best says.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Protest efficacy proven again

Veteran activist Titewhai Harawira says the Government's back-down on the sale of two Landcorp farms should remind Maori that protest can still be effective.

State Owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard yesterday said the sale of Rangiputa Station in the far north and Whenuakite on the Coromandel are on hold for the next month while the government reviews its policy around Landcorp's sales process.

Both blocks were occupied by Waitangi claimants.

Mrs Harawira says Maori had been sucked into a treaty settlement process which was weighted against them, and may have forgotten the value of direct action.

“It's the only way to go because in the end we’ve been offered peanuts with treaty settlements and that bulldozer called treaty settlements is in Ngapuhi at the moment, kidding our people conning our people, and right in the middle of it our people are saying no, we’re not buying into this,” Mrs Harawira says.


Meanwhile, Landcorp is trying to unwind the sale of a central North Island farm so it can offer the land back to Maori.

Chief executive Chris Kelly says the company is trying to resolve a dispute over the Taurewa Sheep Station near National Park, which has been occupied by members of a Tuwharetoa hapu for almost a year.

Mr Kelly went to Taurewa marae this week to tell claimants Landcorp has discovered the land was covered by the Public Works Act, so it had to be offered back to the original owners or their descendants.

“We will now initiate a process where we will attempt to find who the original owners were. Assuming we are successful in that we will offer the property back to those original owners’ descendants. If we are unable to reach an accord to who those descendants are it will go before the Maori land Court and eventually be offered to those people,” Mr Kelly says.

Parts of the land came into Crown hands as early as 1854.


The head of the Problem Gambling Foundation says gaming machines are sucking money out of Maori communities to support Pakeha interest groups.

John Stansfield says the extension of gambling is justified by the supposed community good done by the trusts which own the machines.

But he says that argument falls apart when the books are examined.

“Last year we went out to a tevern in Manurewa where $5.6 million was lost by mums n gambling machines, and $1.8 million came back in community grants, but not one cent of it came to Manurewa. It came to the people who play rugby in Otago and the people in Canterbury who own racehorses,” Mr Stansfield says.

The Problem Gambling Foundation is concerned treatment programmes for gambling addicts could be cut because the Gambling Commisison claims they aren't delivering value for money.


National MP Georgina te Heuheu says the Government's decision to suspend the sale of two Landcorp farms is clear proof it is mismanging the treaty settlement process

State Owned Enterprise Minister Trevor Mallard said the government wants to review whether Landcorp's sales process takes into account significant non-commercial values such as heritage or conservation.

Mrs te Heuheu, the party's Maori Affairs co-spokesperson, says the government is still trying to fudge the issue, which is about treaty settlements rather than conservation.

“This Government isn’t hands on in the treaty settlement process. The current minister isn’t. You’ve also go to be very passionate about the reasons for doing this, and you’ve basically got to have your eye on the ball, on every ball, and make sure you’re managing them well. That’s what this highlights, the Government is running basically a botched treaty process,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

Both Rangiputa in the Far North and Whenuakite near Whitianga are occupied by Waitangi claimants.


A Massey University economist says Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is wrong to single out immigration from predominantly white sources as a threat to Maori.

Mrs Turia has suggested encouraging immigration from places like the United Kingdom, Europe and Canada is the way the Government is combating the browning of New Zealand from higher Maori and Pacific Island birth rates.

But Greg Clydesdale, who is researching the effect of immigration on the economy, says immigration from all sources can adversely affect Maori.

Mr Clydesdale says immigration is justified by arguments about its benefits for economic growth which don't stack up.

“Ten percent of our immigrants come in on humanitarian grounds, 30 percent come in as families, so that’s 40 percent of immigrants with no skills at all to help the economy, or very few. In fact a lot of those people coming in with skills, if they are low skilled. They reduce Maoris’ position in the labour market because they compete with a lot of unskilled Maori,” Mr Clydesdale says.

He says the pressure immigration puts on housing prices makes it harder for Maori to move into home ownership.


A retired Ngati Porou teacher says schools need to make more use of family and community networks to combat issues like bullying.

Waiuku School near Auckland has been in turmoil after students protested the light punishment meted out to students who atacked one of their schoolmates with a bottle.

Hapi Potae says the Native schools he started his career in brought in the local Maori committee when it needed to resolve problems.

Mr Potae says schools work better if students feel part of an extended family.

“In our village, when there was a problem, every adult became the parent of that one child who was the problem. That’s all lost now,” Mr Potae says.

Maori Party urges land occupations

The Maori Party is urging iwi to occupy land they believe is theirs.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says the party supports the stand taken by Hauraki iwi Ngati Hei on the Coromandel Peninsula and Ngati Kahu claimants in the far north.

Those iwi are occupying Landcorp farms which the Office of Treaty Settlements refuses to landbank for their remedy packages.

Mr Flavell says it's time for Maori to act.

“We will be also be encouraging our people to head back to our tribal lands and repossess them in the next two weeks or so, as a show of strength and support firstly to Ngati Hei, but secondly as to show this government that we’ve had enough of this carry on,” Mr Flavell says.

He says today's hand back of the Whanganui Courthouse, in a part settlement of the issues raised by the 1995 occupation of Moutoa Gardens or Pakaitore, shows what can be achieved by direct action.


The interim chair of Te Arawa land claim settlement organisation Te Pumautanga says claimants opposing the settlement have missed the waka.

The Waitangi Tribunal is holding an urgent hearing in Rotorua this week to hear concerns over the deal with Te Pumautanga's predecessor, Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa.

Eru George says while some of those protesting the settlement are coastal hapu with their own specific issues, others chose to stay out because they didn't believe the Crown would settle with Nga Kaihautu.

Mr George says the splits emerged as soon as Nga Kaihautu agreed to enter direct negotiations.

“What we do have in this claimant group are people who are past their use by date. They understand the process, but it’s a process that’s been null and void for several years. And what we went down was something totally new, and there’s no level of understanding in that whole area,” Mr George says.

He says depending on what the Waitangi Tribunal recommends, Te Pumautanga may have to revisit who is covered by the settlement.


The Rangitikei, Ruapehu and Wanganui districts council are working with 12 iwi to brand their area Te Kahui Tupua or Chosen Pathway of the Prophets.

Rangitikei chief executive Leigh Halstead says its a way to embrace Maori culture and the history of the regions to promote tourism.

Mr Halstead says it has taken five years to develop the project, which has won backing from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise as a key regional initiative.

“A key ingredient of the brand is the Maori and the iwi of the three districts being able to attract people into more authentic experiences,” Mr Halstead says.

A website is being developed to promote the region and capture the imagination of potential visitors.


Ngati Kahu elder and Maori Council chairperson Sir Graham Latimer is welcoming the government's decision to suspend the sale of Landcorp farms in the far north and Coromandel for a month.

State owned enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard said today Landcorp had put the sales of Rangiputa and Whenuakite on hold for a month while the government reviewed its land sale process.

Mr Mallard said it wanted to ensure land with significant non-commercial heritage or conservation values is protected.

Sir Graham says it's a start, but a month isn't long enough to properly review the policy.

“On the other hand I’m very thankful to the Government for listening to the concerns of Ngati Kahu and Hauraki and doing something that’s positive. Only goodwill can come out of this, if they keep working that way,” Sir Graham says.

The Maori Council will ask for a meeting with the government on the policy, because of its historical role in the protection of Maori interests held by state owned enterprises.

Meanwhile a group from Ngati Kahu paid a visit today to Whenuakite Station near Whitianga to offer solidarity to the Hauraki occupiers.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia believes she has strong Maori support for her attack on the government's immigration policy.

The Te Tai Hauauru MP claims the government is trying to curb the browning of New Zealand and weaken Maori political power by favouring people from English speaking countries.

She says if Maori were dissatisfied with her comments, they would have let her know by now.

Mrs Turia says many non-Maori have written supporting her stand.

“They do believe that Maori people do have a right to say who comes into this country by right of the treaty, and the immigration policy of the government acknowledges that Maori should be consulted. Well, I’m wondering why we aren't,” Mrs Turia says.


Some familiar names could be back on the trophies at the 47th Golden Shears.

250 shearers and 100 woolhandlers have entered for the three-day competition starting in Masterton tomorrow.

Aria Mullins from Dannevirke will compete for the junior woolhandling title, 14 years after her mother Mavis won the open woolhandling championship.

At the same Golden Shears, her father Koro Mullins made the open shearing final.

Ms Mullins says her greatest support is from her family.

“But it's hard for my parents because at some shows they are judges and they tell me they’re actually harder than me because they expect a lot more from me when they’re judging me so it’s good. It makes me appreciate when I have other judge judging me,” Ms Mullins says.

She already leads the North Island junior circuit.

Another contestant with a family reputation to uphold is Tipene Te Whata, from Tautoro in Northland, whose father Hamahona was a champion in both junior and senior grades.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tainui looking for good faith on Landcorp sales

Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the Crown needs to show good faith to Hauraki claimants and withdraw a Landcorp block on the Coromandel from sale.

Mr Morgan joined other representatives of Tainui waka tribes at the occupation of the Whenuakite Station near Whitianga yesterday.

Landcorp says it will not accept any tender for the 11 hundred hectare farm until consulting with stakeholding ministers.

Mr Morgan says that gives the Government to do the right thing and safeguard the only lare Crown property on that coast which can be used for the settlement.

“It is the 3000 acres. It is the last bit of land that contains sites of significance and also pa sites, and it’s on that basis that Hauraki and Taiunui waka are united to seek some assurances from the Crown not to proceed with the sale,.” Mr Morgan says.

He says the other iwi of the Tainui waka will join with Hauraki in seeking a meeting with stakeholding ministers to discuss the issue.


The Health Ministry is offering up to 500 scholarships for people studying this year in the Maori health and disability area.

Associate minister Mita Ririnui says the annual Hauora Maori scholarship programme attracts more applications than there is funding, because more young Maori are keen to take up careers in health.

Mr Ririnui says there is also a trend to more people studying health management or taking post graduate study, a sign that Maori are aspiring to a wider range of roles.

He says the drive for the scholarships came from the Maori health sector itself.

“There's been a strong push by Maori health provider networks around the country to invest in developing Maori who can move into this very important part of the social sector. They’re pushing for stronger focus on development within the workforce. The scholarships are there to encourage that,” Mr Ririnui says.

There will be as lot of interest in the two John McLeod Scholarships, which offer 10 thousand dollars to applicants who have achieved outstanding academic success in Mâori health.


The rivalry between the three regions for Maori rugby supremacy will be renewed over the next few weeks.

The South Island picked its Te Waipounamu 15 after last weekend's tournament in Timaru.

Maori rugby coach Donny Stevenson says as soon as the other teams are picked, the competition will be all on.

“The central, Te Tini, play their tournament in Palmerston North on Friday and Saturday, and Te Hiku o Te Ika play their tournament at Waitemata on Saturday Sunday, and each of those regions will pick the tournament teams, and they will play one another over the next three weeks,” Mr Stevenson says.

This year's inter-regional battle takes on special significance because of the national Maori team's trip to England in May to defend the Churchill Cup.


Whanganui Maori will today become owners of the town's courthouse.
The court is built on part of the Pakaitore block, which the iwi says they never sold and was an important gathering place for the river tribes.

It's next to Moutoa Gardens, which was occupied for 79 days in 1995 and brought Tariana Turia to national prominence.

Another Pakaitore protest veteran, Ken Mair, says the return comes after more than a decade of negotiation.

He says it's a step in the right direction, as the iwi seeks to reclaim its land base and look after its river.

“The courthouse will be leased from us for the next 10 years at least and we’ll receive rent and the trust that’s set up, made up of descendants of the Whanganui River, they will decide how that rent is utilised for the future wellbeing of us as an iwi and more importantly for the land and the river,” Mr Mair says.

There will be a powhiri for Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia and other officials at Moutoa Gardens at 10, followed by the signing of the Deed of On-account Settlement and a special sitting of the Maori Land Court to effect the deal.


Opononi School is fighting to get teacher aide funding restored for a pupil suffering a range of complications due to renal failure.

Principal Tiere Moati says the Education Ministry claims seven year old Levi no longer fits the criteria.

Ms Moati says without an aide Levi cannot stay at school, but the ministry won't spell out what the funding criteria is.

“To be told that you don’t meet the criteria makes one wonder how one sets that criteria in terms of when death is the ultimate, surely that's a high need,” Ms Moati says.


Whanau who whakapapa to Kahotea Marae near Otorohanga have been sprucing up their marae for a special birthday.

Their meeting house Whatihua turns 100 this weekend.

Organising committee spokesperson Hazel Wonder says the whare fell into disrepair after people moved away for work in the 1950s and 60s, but has been restored in recent years.

She says the northern King Country hapu traces back to the Waikato settlement of Rangiawhia, which was sacked during the land wars.

“Towards the end of the 1800s when they had the burning at Rangiawhia, the tupunas escaped that burning and came and settled here and so it’s their descendants who will be coming back here this weekend,” Ms Wonder says.

A highlight of the hui will be the launch of a commemorative book on Whatihua.

Ministers take control of treaty and sales

Treaty ministers will take a more hands-on role in the disposal of surplus Crown land.

Claimants are occuping Landcorp farms in the far north and Coromandel, which the state owned company put on the market with the approval of the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Associate Treaty Negotiations Minister Mita Ririnui says some claimant groups want surplus Landcorp properties, and the government now recognises some decisions need to be made at the political rather than the bureaucratic level.

“And myself and my colleague, the honourable Mark Burdon, are working towards some sort of protocol where we can at least know what land’s coming up for disposal or recommended for disposal so we can have some dialogue with Landcorp and offer up a number of suggestions on how we can get an amicable outcome,” Mr Ririnui says.

He has no comment on the suggestion by Landcorp chairperson Jim Sutton that the Office of Treaty Settlements had made a mistake of judgment in approving the sales.


Meanwhile, Hauraki spokesperson John McInteer says all New Zealanders have a stake in his tribe's occupation of Whenuakite Station.

Representatives of other Tainui waka tribes gathered at the 11 hundred hectare coastal farm near Whitianga to support the protest against its sale.

Mr McEnteer says Landcorp's current sell-off of surplus properties has grave consequences.

“While for us it is about treating claims and getting justice and seeing those matters resolved, I think the very important issue for the general community is it is about keeping this land for New Zealanders, it is about keeping this land in the hands of New Zealanders,” Mr McEnteer says.

He says the sale of Whenuakite, within months of the Waitangi Tribunal releasing its report on Hauraki claims, shows the government's treaty negotiations and settlement strategy has failed.


A Samoan artist is using a Maori language interpretation of a Shakespeare play to explore the effects of colonial conquest on the Pacific.

Lemi Ponifasio's version of The Tempest will run as part of next month's Auckland Festival.

Mr Ponifasio says the play deals with issues like exile, imprisonment and the loss of sovereign rights, so he has invited Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui and Tuhoe activist Tame Iti to take part.

“It is a symbolic thing to give voice to what people are trying to say in their own language, because the language, it’s really the unique door of one’s own existence so I think using te reo is the only way to tell a Maori story,” Mr Ponifasio says.

He intends to take The Tempest to Europe later in the year.


Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the whole Tainui waka will seek a meeting with the Government over the sale of Landcorp's Whenuakite Station.

Representatives from Waikato, Maniapoto and Ngati Raukawa joined Hauraki to walk over the Coromandel ocean-side land today.

Landcorp was supposed to decide on a buyer this week, but Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burdon told Parliament this afternoon that the SOE's board will delay the decision until it consults with stakeholding ministers.

Mr Morgan says the ministers also need to meet with Hauraki and the rest of the waka.

“What we are seeking, as the chairs of the four Tainui waka, an audience with the stakeholding ministers that we would want to reiterate the position of parking the land until the settlement negotiations with Hauraki are complete and we’re looking for a measure of goodwill to enable that to happen,” Mr Morgan says.

He says it makes no sense for the Crown to create fresh grievances while it is trying to settle old ones.


Outgoing Maori language commission chief executive Haami Piripi says he wishes he could have done more in his 35 year public service career.

Mr Piripi stepped down this week after seven years at the commission, and he is returning to work for his iwi Te Rarawa in the far north.

Mr Piripi helped develop programmes including the Ma Te Reo community Maori language fund, the Korero Maori information programme, the Maori Language Week awards and the revival of observance of Matariki, the Maori New Year.

Mr Piripi says he's proud of what he tried to achieve, but it's hard to achieve permanent change.

“I’ve found that some of the things I have done have been really wonderful things but they’ve either lacked some political clout or they’ve lacked some public understanding or they’ve lacked some internal commitment by individual public servants to see it delivered and one way or another it seems to have been thwarted,” Mr Piripi says.

A new chief executive will be chosen this week.


Manukau's parks department is trying to open peoples' eyes to the evidence of early Maori settlement around the city.

Ranger Michael Ngatai says the new Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve on the Mangere foreshore is one of the gems in the city's park system.

The department is offering free historical tours of several parks, including Clevedon Scenic Reserve, Hampton Park, Mangere Mountain and the Mangemangeroa Reserve.

But Mr Ngatai says Otauataua is extremely special.

“It is a site where evidence of Maori occupation is still visible today. You can still see early whare or archaeological remnants from those whare. When you are walking through that reserve, you can identify how those people once lived,” Mr Ngatai says.

As well as talking about the history and culture, the guides will talk about the native plants, birds and insects in the reserves

Tuwharetoa hapu buy lake lands from Landcorp

Tuwharetoa hapu and land trusts from the northern side of Lake Taupo have signed a deal to buy nine Landcorp blocks for 103 million dollars.

Donna Hall, the lawyer for the Hikuwai Hapu Lands Trust, says Landcorp is rationalising its portfolio in the region because Taupo District Council's efforts to stop nitrate run-off into the lake means it must reduce fertiliser use and stocking rates on the farms.

Ms Hall says the Tuwharetoa owners will turn some of the land into a green belt around the lake, and they also plan to get into the energy business.

“Some of these lands are geothermally active lands. The tribe is keen to be involved in the development and generation of power, and they have a very nice vision for how this acquisition, added to the lands they already own, Tuwharetoa that is, the tribes of the confederation, they’ll be owners of 80 percent of the land around Lake Taupo,” Ms Hall says.

She says buying the farms won't affect the Hikuwai claims to the land, but it could help them in settlement negotiations.


A leading Taranaki elder says it's time for Maori to stop using traditional culture as an excuse for opposing organ donation.

A five year study in the 1990s foound that because of their high rate of liver and kidney failure Maori made up about 13 percent of transplant recipients but less than 2 percent of donors.

Huirangi Waikerepuru says many Maori don't consent to organ donation because it goes against the tapu around the human body.

But Mr Waikerepuru says times have changed, and Maori are happy to receive other benefits of modernisation.

“We are no longer isolated in the Maori environment. We are interacting at a global level, at an international level, at a scientific level, and our ideas are changing all the time,” Mr Waikerepuru says.

Parliament is considering a members bill from National's Jacqui Blue to create an organ donor register which is legally binding.


Sports commentator Ken Laban says bilingualism is emerging as a healthy trend emerging in New Zealand's national teams.

Mr Laban says players like All Black halfback Piri Weepu, Hose and Rico Gear and Wairangi Koopu are giving their codes a bilingual voice.

“Piri was in the first kohanga, Pukeatua, at Wainuiomata, went to the kura kaupapa at Te Aute. We’re now getting boys who are fluent in the reo that are now appearing in our national sides regularly, and of course they take their culture with them. It’s something that is definitely uniquely Maori and very special,” Mr Laban says.


The buyers of nine Landcorp farms near Lake Taupo want to create a green belt around the lake.

At Waipahihi Marae in Taupo yesterday, Tuwharetoa hapu under the banner of the Hikuwai Hapu Lands Trust signed an agreement to buy the blocks over the next three years for $103 million.

Lawyer Donna Hall says Landcorp is selling the farms because Taupo District Council's efforts to stop nitrate run-off into the lake means they can carry less stock.

Ms Hall says the Tuwharetoa buyers, who already own farms in the area, believe they can solve the problem by retiring up to 20 percent of the land from farming.

“It'll be fenced off. It’ll be planted with selective planting – rimu, totara, kauri, right around the lake and it’ll just be let go for 200 years. And at the end of 200 years when you stand at the base of Lake Taupo and look around, there will be a green belt,” Ms Hall says.

The Hikuwai Hapu Trust also intends to use the geothermal resources on the Landcorp farms to get into the energy business.


Maori tertiary students say the government is ignoring their concerns.
Te Mana Akonga spokesperson Victor Manawatu says the Maori tertiary students association presented Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen with detailed submissions as part of its Manaaki Tonu Te Tauira campaign, which included a march on Parliament.

It has now received a one page reply, telling it to take its concerns to Labour's Maori caucus.

Mr Manawatu says Maori students have unique problems which need to be addressed.

“Over two thirds of our students are over 25 and they have families. One third of that are over 40. And it’s those ones with the families that really need as much funding as they can to keep them in the institution. They’re making the step to try to change their lives for the betterment of society as a whole, and yet they’re being completely undermined by the government,” Mr Manawatu says.


Maori fighting for the return of land around Paraparaumu airport are pinning their hopes on legislative change.

The Paraparaumu Airport Coalition has called for the airport's owners to withdraw a rezoning application so the community can be properly consulted on what it wants.

Whanau a te Ngaarara spokesperson Peter Love says the council has already rejected one set of plans for an extensive commercial and retail development, and the developer is runing out of options.

Mr Love says if Parliament passes Darren Hughes' member's bill, those options will be even more limited because the developer will need to offer land surplus to airport use back to the crown.

“That's the way Maori will get back in the game because once the Crown has purchased it, then of course we can invoke the Public Works Act, which took it from us in the first place, and say Hey Crown, you got it back, you offer it back to us,” Mr Love says.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Greenpeace protest sidelines affected Maori

A Huntly kaumatua says Maori were not involved in today's protest at the Huntly coal-fired power station because they weren't asked.

Greenpeace members climbed 150 metre chimney and unfurled a banner claiming the station is one of the country's biggest contributors to global warming.

Waahi Whanui Trust chairperson Timi Maipi says tangata whenua have been fighting environmental damage in the town for decades, and today's action was a missed opportunity for Greenpeace to work with them.

“We could have done this together, so there’s a coordination on the effect it had on Maori and some of the issues that they raise. Sometimes they walk in and do some things and they don’t realise what is going on with regards to our involvement over the last en years actually,” Mr Maipi says.


A Te Kuiti health clinic has called an early halt to its recruitment programme after it was criticised in Parliament by National.

Te Pou Ora Health Clinic, run by the Te Rohe Potae O Rereahu Maniapoto Trust, offered new patients the chance to win cash or vouchers.

Te Rohe Potae chief executive Gale Pihama says the promotion was stopped today, three weeks earlier than planned, after talks with the Waikato District Health Board.

She says Te Pou Ora enrolled 25 new patients, but there are almost 3000 people in the area still unregistered with a GP service.

“If you look at the demographics of the King Country area, that’s quite a high percentage of people not to be seeing a GP, and especially too the high incidence of diabetes and heart disease in this area, so we were just trying to look at something that would encourage these people to come to see the GP service, and not necessarily our GP service,” Ms Pihama says.

She says the promotion was funded from profits from last year's Waitomo pig hunt, and not from funding the clinic receives from government.


Foundation work has started on the marae for Auckland tertiary institution Unitec.

A whakawaatea ceremony this morning conducted by kaumatua Haare Williams cleared the site on the spacious grounds of the former Carrington psychiatric hospital.

Master carver Lyonel Grant, who has been on campus for three years creating the carvings, says he wants to get away from the modern practice of bolting carvings onto a pre-constructed shell.

“For me a whare needs to be more than that. It needs to be a real portrayal of what’s hapening around it and the people and the korero of the place, the mana of the land and things, so that’s why this couldn’t be carved in Rotorua and then shipped up here, it would have been like a whangai. So it had to be carved here and it had to absorb the stories and the mauri off the place to really be a full expression of the place,” Mr Grant says.

Unitec chief executive John Webster says the marae, provisionally known as Te Noho Kotahitanga, will be dedicated to the late Sir John Turei, the polytechnic's former kaumatua.


The chair of the Hauraki Trust Board says his people are occupying a Coromandel land block because the Crown can't prove it owns it.

State owned farming company Landcorp expects to get up to $10 million from the sale of the 1100 hectare Whenuakite station between Whitianga and Cooks Beach.

Toko Renata says the iwi will go to court later in the week to seek an injunction against the sale.

Mr Renata says the current row is part of a long history of trickery and deceit over the block.

“The records that we have, it was leased to the powers that be at that time, but they’re putting it into the state owned enterprise and saying it’s in private ownership, and yet the Honourable Trevor Mallard and the Honourable Michael Cullen are the heads of the state owned enterprise,” Mr Renata says,

He says without the Whenuakite Station, the Crown will be hard pressed to find sufficient assets in the Hauraki rohe to settle with the iwi.


Te Matatini chairperson Tama Huata says he's confident Te Arawa will be represented at the next kapa haka nationals in Tauranga in two year's time.

A long-running dispute between Te Matatini and the Rotorua-based teams meant some of the top names in the field were absent from this year's festival at Palmerston North over the weekend.

Mr Hapu says he saw many Te Arawa people in the audience, and he's confident issues the issues can be resolved and teams like Ngati Rangiwewehi and Te Matarae i o Rehu will be back in competition.

“I'm very confident of that. I will always continue the dialogue that we have them back fully and we welcome them with open arms. The kaupapa is till incluve of all of us. So I'm pretty upbeat about that, and I'll go out on a limb and say Te Arawa will be coming back fully, and I support that,” Mr Huata says.

The championship was won by East Coast team Whangara mai Tawhiti, with Auckland's Te Waka Huia runners up.


Southland are again Te Waipounamu Maori Rugby champions after defending their title against four other provinces in Timaru over the weekend.

Coach Troy Manaena says the performance was enough to get six of his team selected for the South Island Maori team, and he hopes they did enough to put themselves in the frame for national selection.

Mr Manaena says Southland showed real grit to beat Canterbury 16-13 in the final.

“Yeah it was tough because we played our first game at one o’clock, played Otago. Played our second game at 4.30, it was pretty quick turnaround, so the guys were pretty tired, but that old haka before the Canterbury game got them up and going again so that was really good,” Manaena says.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Whangaraa win kapahaka

A relatively young team based in the settlement known to thousands of people from the film Whale Rider has taken out this year’s Te Matatini kapa haka champion's trophy.

Whangaraa mai Tawhiti saw off top Auckland team Te Waka Huia and four Bay of Plenty teams including defending champions Te Whanau a Apanui.

Waatea news reporter Julian Wilcox says Whangaraa is tutored by noted Gisborne artist Derek Lardelli, whose compositions on themes such as the Maori contribution to Gallipoli inspired his performers.

“They were so crisp and fluid and tight. They covered the whole stage, and I think it all came together and got them over the line. They will be so stoked and they deserve every plaudit they get,” Mr Wilcox says.

Te Waka Huia was runner up for the 4th time in a row, followed by Opotiki Mai Tawhiti.


New Zealand MP Pita Paraone says an inquiry by the Maori Affairs select committee into Maori participation in pre school education will be an opportunity to look into the root causes of Maori under-achievement.

Mr Paraone says a lot of the recent focus has been into Maori children leaving secondary school with no qualifications.

He says the problems may start a lot earlier.

“Is it because education at a pre-school stage isn’t sufficient or isn’t meeting the demands of what’s required to get our people through the the system successfully? So the intent of the inquiry is to explore those issues and hopefully provide a blueprint for better participation,” Mr Paraone says.


In Auckland about now a whakawaatea ceremony is starting to spiritually clear the land for Unitec's new marae.

A team led by master carver Lyonel Grant has been working on the project for almost four years, and contractors will today start laying the foundations for the wharenui.

From the air the marae and associated landscaping will be built in the shape of a manaia, encompassing the polytechnic's Maori studies department.

Mr Grant says he has gone back to early construction techniques, where elements like poupou or columns will do the job they are named for, rather than being bolted to a pre-built shell.

“Without our carving the wharenui won’t be because those are the structural elements of the whare. We’re not just going to inherit a box and stick the carvings in it.

The carvings are literally the mana of the house,” Mr Grant says.

Unitec has so far raised about three million of the five million needed for the project from the ASB Community Trust, gambling trusts and its own resources.


All four kapahaka teams from the Bay of Plenty won through to the finals of the national competitions this weekend, but failed to take away the supreme award.

That went to Whangaraa mai Tawhiti, from just north of Gisborne, a relatively new team coached by artist Derek Lardelli.

Waatea News reporter Julian Wilcox says with the next Te Matatini in Tauranga in two years time, and they'll be aiming for a home win.

“Mataatua have taken up that challenge, and what better way to kick off that challenge than to have all the four groups which came through from your regional competitions make the top six. It says a heck of a lot about the standard and caliber of performance in Mataatua,” Mr Wilcox says.

There was some disappointment for supporters of Te Waka Huia, the Auckland team coached by kapa haka veterans Nan and Bub Wehi, which had to settle for second place for the fourth time in a row.


Maori Party education spokesperson Te Ururoa Flavell says the latest inquiry into education has the potential to improve outcomes for Maori.

Despite the failure of previous such inquiries to influence Education
Ministry policy, the Maori affairs select committee wants to look at Maori participation in the early childhood sector.

Mr Flavell says particular areas of concern for Maori are numeracy, literacy and funding for Kohanga Reo.

“I think it's a good move to have a look at the funding and the inequalities in terms of the early childhood sector and we hope that it comes up with some solid recommendations that can be built on and not simply build a report to be put in the cupboard,” Mr Flavell says.


Christchurch City Council is finding success with project aimed at encouraging taggers and graffiti artists to use their talents more productively.

Project Legit manager Miriama McDonald says the majority of taggers in the city tend to be Maori, while graffiti artists are more often Pakeha.

Ms McDonald says youth workers teach taggers the the history of graffiti art and its role in hip hop culture and find them spaces to practice their skills.

She says they try to make taggers aware of how their activities affect people.

“We find that they don’t actually realise that, and actually end up feeling quite upset at the fact they may have upset someone of an older generation. Just by not thinking abut tagging on a tree or someone’s fence or they might have to go out there and paint over it. And we do find that we have success that they need to have a little bit more respect for their own community and those around them,” Ms McDonald says.

Many taggers go on to study art at tertiary level.