Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 09, 2007

Land review chance to fix mistakes

The Prime Minister says a review of all the government's land holdings will be a chance to correct some mistakes which may have been made 20 years ago.

State-owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard today announced the review of Landcorp's process for selling surplus land had been widened to include all crown land.

Helen Clark says state owned enterprises were set up in 1987, the Crown's landholdings were divided between the new SOEs and departments like Conservation, Health and Education.

She says it's important the review be as wide as possible.

“This is a chance to see what slipped through the cracks in 1987. I don’t remember DoC at the time particularly drawing my attention to properties that were going to Landcorp, but I do recall some battles over the Forest Service land allocation, and certainly as minister of conservation I didn’t get everything I wanted at that time,” Ms Clark says.

The review will be led by the Prime Minister's Department, with input from Treasury, Land Information New Zealand and Te Puni Kokiri.


A Maori historian says this weekend's commemoration of Hone Heke's sacking of Kororareka is long overdue.

There will be a service at Maiki Hill in Russell at dawn on Sunday to mark the day in 1845 when northern chiefs Hone Heke and Te Ruki Kawiti united to force the town's inhabitants to evacuate.

The incident sparked a naval bombardment in retaliation, and was the start of what's known as the War in the North, which ended with the battles of Ohaewai and Ruapekapeka later that year.

Rawiri Taonui from Canterbury University says Heke had run out of patience after three years of unsuccessfully petitioning Governor Fitzroy about what he saw as breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“It's a significant day for Maori because it’s really the first in a long series of vents, including the land wars, Parihaka, coming right up through Bastion Point, the Raglan occupation, and the great hikoi and the struggle over the foreshore and seabed. It’s the first emancipatory act on the part of Maori,” Mr Taonui says.


One of the biggest events in the Maori cultural calendar happens this weekend at a little known marae in the King Country.

More than 50 teams are expected at Mana Ariki marae at Okahukura for the 25th annual kapa haka festival.

Marae chair David Pennan the complex, which is the headquarters of the Kotahitanga Church Building Society, is set up for catering to the kinds of crowds expected, which range from kohanga reo groups to seniors.

“We've got a huge marae here. One of our buildings can sleep up to 1200 people and cater for 2000. We probably have a good half a dozen buildings we’re sleeping them all in. It’s a huge marae, Mana Ariki,it’s probably the biggest marae in New Zealand,” Mr Pennan says.


The sights and sounds of the 1981 Springbok rugby tour have been brought back for an exhibition which was opened by the Prime Minister today.

Restless, at the new Moving Image Centre on Auckland's Karangahape Road, includes works by a number of Maori and Pafcific artists working in film, video and other electronic media.

It includes a 26-minute work by photographer John Miller from Ngapuhi, based on 315 colour slides he took of tour protests and tape recordings from the time.

Miller says wanted to remind participants what they went through 26 years ago, and also give young people a sense of what the country was like.

“And I think it's very important. The show gives a lesson to us that we need to be much better at resolving differences in our society so that we don’t have these sort of cataclysmic clashes like we did in 1991,” Miller says.

Other artists in Restless are Brett Graham, Lonnie Hutchinson, Parekohai Whakamoe, and Junior Ikitule & Dean Kirkwood,


Residents of Russell in the Bay of Islands are this weekend commemorating the battle there 162 years ago.

The centerpiece will be a dawn service on Sunday at Te Maiki Hill, the place where Hone Heke felled the British flagstaff for the fourth time while Kawiti and his warriors attacked Kororareka - as Russell was then known.

Historian Rawiri Taonui says Heke was responding to what he felt were broken promises and breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi by the new British rulers.

Mr Taonui says it's an event which should be celebrated by all.

“It's something that all New Zealanders should celebrate because the cause was always a just one and really it would be a test of our biculturalism the solidity of that, if both Maori and Pakeha were able top look back at Hone Heke and say he was a guy who stood on principle, and we should all be proud of that,” Mr Taonui says.


It's the giant Pasifika festival at Auckland's Western Springs tomorrow, and one Maori at least is looking forward to it.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has already made a contribution to this week's conference on Pasifika in Aotearoa featuring young Pacific leaders.

Dr Sharples says it's becoming clear that Maori and Pacific Island people need to work together on a political level.

“Our situations are very similar in a number of areas so it makes common sense that we’re together, and gosh, it’s about whakapapa. We’re just another couple of generations back and we’re Cook Islanders, that's the reality,” Dr Sharples says.

Well over 100 thousand people are expected at Pasifika.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Maori share experience with Pasifika

The organiser of a conference on Pasifika in Aotearoa says Pacific Island people are coming to realise there is a lot they can learn from the Maori experience.

Te Kohu Douglas from the Foundation for Indigenous Research, Science and Technology says the hui at Auckland's Aotea Centre yesterday and today has attracted an impressive group of young Pacific leaders and future leaders.

Mr Douglas says the foundation drew some fire for reaching out to Pasifika, but the groups have many issues in common.

“Issues of detribalization I suppose you could say, urbanization, moving out of subsistence into a money economy over just one or two generations, the breakdown of relationships between generations. All those issues, they have seen tangata whenua suffering from those issues,” Mr Douglas says.

Many Pasifika communities are now waking up to the need to tackle language loss among their younger people, something Maori started tackling a generation ago.


Waka builder Hekenukumai Busby has been made a Fellow of Northland Polytechnic for his contributions to the region.

The Muriwhenua elder has made 22 waka, including the voyaging canoe Te Aurere and Te Ika aa Maui, which will support the New Zealand team at this year's America's Cup regatta in Valencia.

Polytechnic spokesperson Maria Cowin says other Northlanders to receive fellowships at this week's graduation ceremony were jeweller Michael Hill and oceanographer Wade Doak.

“It's an inaugural special award and it acknowledges members of the Northland community who Northtec’s council believe have contributed very very well and successfully to Northland, and they’re people that we hope that the graduands would aspire after and perhaps use as role models in their own futures,” Ms Cowin says.


The Poverty Bay Hunt Club has broken new ground by negotiating a horse trek over Maori land along the East Coast.

Organiser Bruce Holden says more than 100 riders trekked through normally inaccessible coastal farmland south of Tolaga Bay, taking in Loisels Beach, Titirangi and Raroa Stations and Cook's Cove.

Mr Holden says the climax was a welcome onto the marae at Whangara, famous as the location for the film Whale Rider.

He says it was the first time many of the trekkers had been on a marae, and it included a look through the historic wharenui Whitireia, whose tekoteko is Paikea the Whale rider.

“A lot of them were just blown away, they’d never had that, and quite a lot of them put their fingers in their eyes and that was the highlight of their trip they felt,” Mr Holden says.

The Poverty Bay Hunt Club intends to repeat the trek next year.


Maori landowners in Motueka are fighting the Tasman District Council over the region's groundwater.

The council refused to accept a joint 20-year resource consent application from Wakatu Incorporation and Ngati Rarua Atiawa Iwi Trust to take enough water from the Motueka aquifer to service its residential, commercial and horticultural land.

The council said it did not have enough information to make a decision, but Wakatu chief executive Keith Palmer says the council's test bore on Wakatu land should have provided enough data.

Mr Palmer says the council wants to divert the water to proposed developments on the Mapua coast, and that angers Motueka people.

“There are a lot of other Motueka landowners, Pakeha landowners, who share exactly the same concerns that the water is being taken away from our area, which we may need in the future. There is a commonality of interest this time of local Pakeha. Obviously Pakeha in the areas where they are going to take the water see it differently,” Mr Palmer says.

Wakatu and Ngati Rarua Atiawa are also challenging the system where leaseholders have more rights to water than landowners.


Maori anti smoking campaigner Skye Kimura has endorsed a call from the Cancer Society for tobacco advertising to be banned at point of sale.

Ms Kimura from Maori anti-smoking group Te Ao Marama says smoking kills more than 800 Maori a year, and any initiative which says the habit is not normal should be supported.

She says advertising in stores is particularly effective with rangatahi and tamariki.

“At the moment when they go into shops they can actually see tobacco advertising with cigarette packets being on counters,. The huge contradiction is that they’re next to lollies and things that our children are looking at buying, so when they’re buying like a dollar mixture or something, they can actually still see a packet of cigarettes there, so I think it’s going to be a great strategy,” Ms Kimura says.


The top of the South Island has its first purpose-built building for Maori Studies.

The new home for Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology's Te Tari Maori was opened at a dawn ceremony this week.

Liaison officer Trevor Wilson who says it's the start of a new era for Maori in the region, with the department a focal point at the heart of the nelson campus.

“It’s another step in our journey regards tea o Maori and it also means that when students come on campus they can see immediately right in the centre of campus this beautiful building that represents all Maori and it all represents Pakeha as well,. It represents the partnership between two cultures,” Mr Wilson says.

Taranaki occupation supported

The Maori Party is supporting south Taranaki hapu occupying two recently closed schools.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell, who last week urged Maori to occupy disputed land, says the Crown has a moral obligation to return the Te Kiri and Pihama sites near Opunake.

Mr Flavell says the land was confiscated from Nga Ruahine in 1863, which puts it in a different category to other Education properties.

“If they were confiscated there is only one way to go and that is to hand the land back. It wouldn’t be over the top too to look at issues of compensation, bearing in mind that our people haven’t had access to use that land in any way, shape or form and that others have benefited from it,” Mr Flavell says.

He says many of the sites in the Education Ministry's surplus land portfolio were gifted for education purposes, so the Crown should not be trying to make a profit on it now.


A descendent of Hongi Hika says it's deeply offensive to compare the Ngapuhi warrior chief with Adolf Hitler.

David Rankin says he's disappointed at a decision to paint over a two metre picture of portrait of his ancestor at the new Rotorua Events Centre because of concerns from some in Te Arawa.

Rotorua District councilor Bob Martin backed the decision, saying it was like flying of a Hitler flag outside the RSA on ANZAC day.

David Rankin says that's over the top.

“It's not only knocking Hongi and Ngapuhi, but it’s also knocking every other Maori soldier that fought in world war two against that fascist regime. Hitler was the enemy of us as a people. Our people fought against him. Maybe if they said Hongi was like Napolean or Gengis Kahn or someone else, not a problem, but not Hitler,” Mr Rankin says.

He says in 1935 Ngapuhi chiefs went to Te Arawa to make peace for the events in 1823, when Hongi's forces rampaged through the Rotorua region in revenge for the killing of a nephew by Te Arawa.


Climate change is being blamed for poor harvests of Bluff oysters and muttonbirds.

Michael Skerrett from Te Ao Marama, a resource management and local government consultancy for the four Southland runanga, says Murihiku Maori are seeing high mortality of oysters and muttonbirds.

He told a climate change hui in Invercargill this week that El Nino weather conditions, including warmer sea temperatures, means less plankton, the base of the animal's food chain.

Mr Skerrett says people need to take a long term view.

“We can't stop it. It’s just going to continue. But we need to stop accelerating it and making it worse. Otherwise you just don’t know what future there is. It’s alright for us, but two or three generations later, unless we’re doping something now, there could be real trouble,” Mr Skerrett says.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says embattled Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon has made an outstanding contribution to his tribe and to Maori development.

Mr Solomon has been locked in a three year battle with a nine-member faction on his board, and last week offered to resign.

He is now calling for all 18 runanga executive members to resign and seek a fresh mandate.

Mr Horomia says such battles seem to come with the territory.

“Well I think it’s a real pity if Mark steps down. You know this is a thing we’ve got to get right among ourselves, and I think Mark has made an outstanding contribution. This is the issue about transition, there’s always someone who thinks for whatever reason they’ll do better,” Mr Horomia says.

He says Mark Solomon has led his iwi through a difficult period after it achieved its treaty settlement..


The Public Health Association says fluoridating Kaitaia's water will greatly benefit the dental health of Maori children.

Association chairperson Gay Keating says the Far North District Council needs to consult widely with the Maori communities to sell the benefits of the plan.

Dr Keating says research indicates Maori will gain more from the change than any other groups.

“In general Maori kids- teeth are worse off than Pakeha kids so that for those who live in areas where there’s town supply water, it’s extra important and extra beneficial for the Maori kids that the city council does the right thing for Maori health and fluoridates the water,” she says.

Gay Keating says fluoridation is extremely safe.


Te Arawa is arranging for its royal visitor to meet some very special kiwis on his visit to Rotorua next week.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, will be at Ohinemutu on Saturday the 17th to present the tribe with taonga in honour of Haani Manahi, who was denied a Victoria Cross for his role in attacks on German positions at Takrouna Ridge in North Africa in 1943.

The taonga include a sword from the collection of George the sixth, which will be presented by Te Arawa to each incoming defence force commander in chief.

Rotorua deputy mayor Trevor Maxwell says on the Sunday, Prince Andrew will be taken to Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua to resume a royal connection.

“His father, the Duke of Edinburgh, he came across there some years back and released some kiwis and everything on the island – our pest free island,” Mr Maxwell says.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Elders rally behind Solomon

A former Southern Maori MP and Ngai Tahu kuia says tribe members are sick of the efforts by a faction on the Ngai Tahu runanga to oust chairperson Mark Solomon.

Mr Solomon last week offered to resign, but withdraw the offer because his conditions weren't met.

Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan says the runanga has been paralysed, because half its members bloc voted against Mr Solomon.

She says Ngai Tahui whanui members from round the country are supporting a call for all 18 members to step down so new elections can be held.

“They are sick of these, well unconstitutional, behind the scenes antics. They’re too secretive. And they seem too manipulative. And the people want to know, they want them to come out and say ‘This is why we're doing it,’” Mrs Tirikatene-Sullivan says.

She says Ngai Tahu's governance structure is flawed, because runanga members are appointed by an electoral college rather than being voted on by tribe members.


A Canadian environment commissioner says his country has a lot to learn from the way New Zealand has integrated Maori into its political and social frameworks.

Gord Miller from Ontario was in the country for a conference on environmental sustainability hosted by the Parliamentary commissioner for the Environment.

He says a lot can be learned from the way indigenous peoples relate to their environment.

But he says many nations, including Canada, have significant challenges relating to their own its first nations people.

“We're way behind you. You guys have come to some kind of social contract her where from an outsider’s point of view you seem to be merging the cultures and coming together much better as a combined nation with the influences of both traditional cultures than we've been able to do,” Mr Miller says.

He's impressed with the way many non-Maori have recognised and adopted Maori value systems.


A two metre picture of Ngapuhi chief Hongi Hika at the new Rotorua Events Centre will be shrunk because of protests from Te Arawa.

A Rotorua District councillor likened the image to flying of a flag of Hitler outside the RSA on ANZAC day, because of the memory of the Ngapuhi rampage through the Rotorua lakes in 1823.

Te Arawa kaumatua Rangipuawhe Maika says he supports the change to the portrait, which is part of a mural depicting Te Arawa history.

“I tautoko. I think there is a place for him. While he’s a great person, Hongi Hika, it has to be related to Te Arawa mainly. A painting will be there, but not as big as there is now,” Mr Maikas says.

David Rankin, a descendent of Hongi Hika, says is deeply offensive to compare Hongi with Hitler, and he wants an apology from Te Arawa.


The Federation of Maori Authorities is giving cautious support to a new policy on recreational access to private land.

The Outdoor Walking Access report released yesterday marks a significant climb-down by the government to proposals floated before the election.

It includes a promise that public walking tracks across Maori land will only be created if Maori landowners agree, after a negotiation process.

Federation executive vice chairperson Paul Morgan says it's a big improvement on the earlier proposals.

“If they wanted to legislate the change it wouldn’t be accepted by the rural community. It certainly wouldn’t be accepted by Maoridom. And we’ve already seen the outfall of that in the previous election when Jim Sutton lost his seat,” Mr Morgan says.

Maori could benefit from the policy by opening up lands for eco-tourism and from negotiating access to waahi tapu which may be on other private land.


Former Southern Maori MP Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan is backing a call from Ngai Tahu elders for the tribe's executive to face fresh elections.

Mrs Tirikatene-Sullivan says the call comes from her fellow elders around the country, who are upset at the latest coup attempt against Ngai Tahu runanga kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon.

Mr Solomon is under pressure to resign from a nine-member faction on the board.

Mrs Tirikatene-Sullivan says Ngai Tahu whanui are ashamed and frustrated by what's happening in Christchuch.

“They want a whole new election for all of the 18 members because it seems to be the only way to break the stalemate. You can’t keep going like this for year after year. The people want to make their stand clear,” Mrs Tirikatene-Sullivan says.

She says Mark Solomon has a lot of support among rank and file Ngai Tahu.


One of the pioneers of the wananga movement says there is still a lot to be done to strengthen the Maori tertiary sector.

Whatarangi Winiata is retiring as tumuaki of Te Wananga O Raukawa, which he founded in 1981.

The wananga was created by Ngati Raukawa as the central pillar in a 25 year strategy to revive Maori language, tikanga and knowledge within the tribe.

Professor Winiata, who for many years had a double career in Victoria University's accountancy department, says what's been achieved so far is just a beginning.

“The continuity of the development of the wananga as a kaupapa tikanga Maori institution is one that will need to be worked on. The staff are pretty familiar with what the challenges are,” Professor Winiata says.

He hopes to complete some research interests which had to take a back seat in recent years.

Te Ru Wharehoka tribute from MP

Tributes are flowing in for Taranaki kaumatua Te Ru Wharehoka, whose tangi is being held at Parihaka.

Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa, a close relative, says Mr Wharehoka worked tirelessly for a wide range of Maori organisations in Taranaki and wider afield.

Mr Okeroa says growing up in Parihaka in the 1950s, Mr Wharehoka was able to learn from elders who were steeped in the prophetic resistance movement which developed in the village in the late 19th century.

“He did become recognised as a speaker of note and also someone who carried on the philosophy of Te Whiti and Tohu,” Mr Okeroa says.

Te Ru Wharehoka's tangi is at Te Niho, the house associated with the prophet Te Whiti o Rongomai.


Also in Taranaki, members of Titahi and Tama a Ahuroa hapu of Nga Ruahine are occupying two recently-closed primary schools.

The Te Kiri and Pihama schools are among 37 surplus Education properties in the province slated for eventual sale.

Titahi spokesperson Tarawara Weston says they are on land the Crown confiscated in 1863.

Mr Weston says the hapu are fed up with the way the government's treaty settlement and landbanking process works - or doesn't work.

“We're just saying, You stole the land, we believe there were schools put on that land, and now they longer use it as schools, whaka hokia, give it back in the same way as you took it. You paid nothing for it, and we don’t intend to pay anything back for it,” Mr Weston says.

The Education Ministry says the schools were offered to the Office of Treaty Settlements, which chose not to landbank them.


Backers of a planned marae on the Te Atatu peninsula are heartened by the Environment Court's decision to throw out a resource consent appeal,

Te Atatu Residents and Ratepayers Association challenged the decision of Waitakere City Council to zone two and a half hectares of Harbourview - Orangahina Park as a marae reserve.

It said the marae was an inappropriate devewlopment.

Marae supporter Haare Tukariri says the ratepayers association needs to get over its hostility to Maori ventures.

“There's been a history of protest to anything Maori on this peninsula, and the position that the court has taken attests to the fact that we have every right to be here and establish our culture on this peninsula,” Mr Tukariri says.

He says there has always a big Maori population in Te Atatu, but the nearest marae is on the other side of west Auckland.


The Education Ministry's deputy secretary of early-childhood and regional education says there is no simple solution to truancy.

Rawiri Brell says the increasing rate of truancy among Maori girls is one of the biggest causes for concern in the latest statistics.

Truancy across all secondary schools jumped 5 points to 4.1 percent, with 7.1 percent of Maori girls on the wag at some time in 2006.

Truancy among Maori boys jumped from 5 percent to 6.6 percent.

Mr Brell says the ministry is trying multiple approaches, including a programme to get students more engaged in their learning.

“There's actually quite a lot of things that are in place to address those issues. It’s actually quite a complex set of causes that contribute to it, and unpicking what those are is an ongoing focus of everybody – the whanau, the schools, our work, and other agencies,” Mr Brell says.

Almost 100 schools are considering prosecuting the parents of persistent truants.


It’s the end of an era for Te Wananga o Raukawa as founder Whatarangi Winiata steps down as Tumuaki.

Professor Winiata, from Ngati Raukawa, has headed the Otaki based Maori education provider since 1981.

He says there is still much to be done to develop the wananga system, but that will be a job for others.

“Bible says you have about 72 years to live, and I’m just on reaching that and I figure the last few years I might go and do something else. I’ve got a lot of unfinished research projects I want to do some work on,” Professor Winiata says.


Te Arawa is getting ready for a right royal tribute to one of its heroes.
The tribe believes Haane Manahi was denied a Victoria Cross for his courageous attack on a German position at Takrouna Ridge in North Africa in 1943.

The Queen has now created a special acknowledgment of the late Sergeant Manahi.

The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, will be in Rotorua next week to present Te Arawa with a sword and an altar cloth from the Royal collection.

Te Arawa kaumatua Rangipuawhe Maika says it will be an opportuntiy to remember Mr Manahi, who was noted for his humility as much as his courage, even in the heat of the battle.

“One of our 28 Maori Battalion is still alive, he’s about 90. Just before he climbed Takrouna, he met Haane with some prisoners that he’d taken, and he’d given the prisoners over and then he went back. He just said he had to go back to the Germans and that was it. He didn't boast,” Mr Maika says.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Parihaka kaumatua Te Ru Wharehoka dies

Taranaki is today mourning the death of Parihaka kaumatua Te Ru Wharekoha after a long illness.

A retired farmer, Mr Wharehoka was one of three kaumatua appointed last year by the Maori Land Court to replace the Parihaka Papakainga Trust and in an attempt to resolve long-standing divisions in the community, which was the centre of Maori resistance in the 1870s and 1880s.

Mr Wharehoka was also a patron of the Parihaka peace festival.

He was a familiar figure around Taranaki, contributing to a wide range of Maori, health, education and community activities.

His tangi is at Te Niho, the house of the prophet Te Whiti o Rongomai.


Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahere Mark Solomon is calling for the South Island tribe's executive to resign and seek a fresh mandate.

The board has been split 9-9 for three years over Solomon's role as its chair, and the row has threatened to paralyse Maoridom's richest iwi.

Mr Solomon says in an attempt to move issues forward he offered to resign as kaiwhakahaere if he was paid out the remaining two years on his contract.

But he baulked at a demand he also resign as the representative of the Kaikoura runanga on the executive.

Mr Solomon says it's a naked power grab.

“At a facilitated meeting to try to reach resolution, the so called tight nine announced that they will never give up. I’ve tried everything that I can do. So have those that support good governance, and we’re hamstrung, so we all need to re-seek a mandate,” Mr Solomon says.

He is discussing with the tribe's elders the prospects of a special meeting to sack the board.


Maori writers planning a tour of the South Island this month hope their example will inspire other Maori to pick up the pen.

Organised by Toi Maori Aotearoa's Te Ha contemporary Maori writing committee, On the Bus has been a feature of the Maori literary calendar since 2001.

This year's tourists are Apirana Taylor, Hinemoana Baker, Kelly Ana Morey and James George.

Organiser Kylie Tiuka says they'll visit schools, galleries, cafes and other venues to read and perform.

“We are trying to get the profile of Maori writers out to the public as a whole and also encourage writing as a career choice for rangatahi and other Maori within New Zealand,” Ms Tiuka says.

The On the Bus tour, from the 25th to the 30th of March, takes in Nelson, Blenheim, Kaikoura and Christchurch.


Embattled Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon is seeking support from elders for a complete overhaul of the tribe's executive.

Mr Solomon last week offered to resign as kaiwhakahaere or chair of the South Island iwi, but withdrew the offer when board negotiators also demanded he step down as representative of his Kaikoura Runanga.

Mr Solomon says with the executive split 9-9 on the leadership issue, the decision must go back to the tribe.

“I have put to the kaumatua that I have spoken tio is that the only solution going forward is that Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu be ordered to resign and re-seek mandate from the people, including myself. That’s the only way Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu can go forward,” Mr Solomon says.

He says he is fighting a naked power grab from people who have forgotten they are there to represent Ngai Tahu people.


Green's health spokesperson Metiiria Turei has welcomed the Government's plan to ban cigarette advertising at point of sale.

Ms Turei says smoking is a major killer of Maori.

She says a lot of effort is put into getting people to stop smoking, but it's a constant battle as new generations pick up the addiction.

“On a individual level people are working very hard with communities to stop people from smoking or to give up, ut advertising companies and cigarette companies must take more responsibility for the fact that they sell poisons to our people, and we mustn’t allow them, to continue to do that without very severe regulations,” Ms Turei says.

She'd like to see restrictions on the access overseas cigarette companies get to the New Zealand market.


The prime minister says Maori tourism operators should aim at the top end of the market.

The Maori Tourism Council is doing some long range planning, including working with Chinese business leaders on how to cater to what are expected to be larger numbers of Chinese visitors.

Helen Clark says operators here need to consider New Zealand's unique challenges and attractions and set their sights high.

“We should not aim to be a mass tourism destination. We have a very special country, special cultures, special biodiversity special values, and we have to be careful where we place ourselves on the international market,” Ms Clark says.

PM plays down Maori Party meet

The Prime Minister says her meeting last week with Maori Party leaders was part of a normal schedule, and had nothing to do with the Government's actions over the sale of surplus Landcorp properties.

The meeting was on the same day Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell had called for widespread land occupations and State Owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard put a hold on selling two Landcorp sales, leading to speculation the Maori Party had more influence on the Government than Labour's Maori MPs.

But Helen Clark says she talks often with the Greens, United's Peter Dunne and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, and the Maori Party also needs to be in the loop.

“We have certainly been working at ministerial level, select committee level, through the whips in Parliament, with the Maori Party representatives, and we both though the time had come to sit down and have a korero at the leadership level,” Ms Clark says.


Support for suspended Auckland police head Clint Rickards has come from Auckland tribe Ngati Whatua.

Runanga chairperson Nayda Glavish says now that three juries have found Mr Rickards not guilty of historic rape allegations, it's time to let him get back on the job.

Mr Rickards is fighting to retain his job, with Auckland mayor Diock Hubbard saying he wasn't welcome in the city and Prime Minister Helen Clark questioning his judgment.

But Ms Glavish says the law has taken its course, and people should accept the result.

“For us to have a mayor of Auckland who’s here today and gone tomorrow, daring to say that he’s not welcome back to Auckland - who do they think they are,” Ms Glavish says.

She says Mr Rickards is being forced through another trial by media.


Maori tourism operators may get an opportunity to win the hearts and minds of tourists before they even touch down on the whenua.

The Maori Tourism Council is preparing new films to be screened on Air New Zealand inbound flights from later this year.

Producer Libby Hakaraia from Blue Bach Productions says the film is in response to surveys which show inbound tourists wanted Maori content in such introductory films.

Ms Hakaria says the first film tells the story of Maui fishing up the North Island, and is being shot now around Te Upoko o Te Ika with operators from Wellington, Kapiti and Palliser Bay.

“Every place, every landmark if you like on our whenua tells a story, so we’re going to the operators and asking them to tell their stories with their kaumauta, with their tamariki, with you know,” Ms Hakaraia says.


The Prime Minister says it was Labour's Maori MPs who stopped the sale of Landcorp properties, not the Maori Party.

Helen Clark says Labour has a firm position against the sale of state owned enterprises, and its own Maori MPs raised the alarm that Landcorp was selling off potentially significant land it had been given when it was formed in the late 1980s.

The Maori Party claimed credit for the back-down, which came on the same day as its call for widespread occupations for disputed Crown land.

But Ms Clark says that won the party no points, as parliamentary parties should work through the political process rather than hark back to their protest roots.

“The Labour Maori MPs did work through that process, and we got results. We are now going back and looking at all the holdings of Landcorp, and we’re asking ourselves, actually, should there have been in 1987 a different decision about the fate of this land,” Ms Clark says.

She says the government needs to develop a vision for public lands.


A Maori social worker says Wanganui's proposal for a law to ban gang insignia is a gross overreaction.

The Wanganui City Council's plan to write a bylaw came unstuck because it could breach the Bill of Rights, so it has instead asked its local National Party MP, Chester Borrows, to sponsor a members bill which can apply to other cities as well.

Taotahi Pihama, who has worked with gangs in the prison system for many years, says gangs are far less of a problem than Wanganui mayor Michael Laws is making out, and their ability to intimidate ordinary citizens is overstated.

“Police can be intimidating with their uniforms, just as anybody else can be intimidating with clothes that are not usually identified with their everyday activity, and sure, the gangs have attracted attention for their negative and at times unseemly behaviour but very rare in my view do you see them in the city,” Mr Pihama says.


Maori players have been to the fore at today's national touch rugby tournament on Auckland's North Shore.

Waatea News reporter Dale Husband says it has always been a sport with a strong Maori presence, and the whanau have been out in force today to give their support.

“In a nail biting final in the open mixed division, Bay of Plenty scored an extra time try to win 7-6,” Husband says.

“Auckland, the defending champs, were favourites going into the final with Mr Touch, New Zealand rep Peter Walters from Ahipara, calling the shots but Bay of Plenty had the passion and skill to graft out a victory, with great efforts from Steven Wall, Eugene Wihapa and Emmanuel Werehiko.

“Earlier in the day Canterbury women made it four nationals in a row, and Wellington took out the under 21s.”

Monday, March 05, 2007

National says farm for Hauraki

National leader John Key says his party would have landbanked the Landcorp farm at the centre of a row over the sale of Crown land is under Treaty of Waitangi claims.

The Government last week postponed the sale of Whenuakite station near Whitianga so it can review Landcorp's policy of selling off non-core, high value land.

Mr Key says Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton made a mistake by not stepping in when Landcorp gave the Office of Treaty Settlements first option on the block.

“I mean it's blindingly obvious that that land is going to form part of the settlement for Hauraki Maori, and frankly, all that they needed to do was to buy it back, and everything would have been fine, but they didn’t do that, they didn’t follow the procedure properly as to what the Office of Treaty Settlements should have done,” Mr Key says.

Since the row blew up, the Government has changed its procedures so decisions on selling surplus Landcorp land will in future be made at ministerial level.


Scientists have lined up to attack a claim Maori carry a "warrior gene" which pre-disposes them to risk-taking, addicition and crime.

This month's New Zealand Medical Journal contains a detailed critique of a conference presentation by genetic epidemiologist Rod Lea from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, who identified a high occurrence of the monoamine oxidase gene among a group of Maori he was studying in Wairoa.

Tony Merrriman, a senior researcher at the Christchurch School of Medicine, says Dr Lea's sample was too small to make any valid conclusions.

“Basing all of this on a sample of 17 males is really small. You know in our work we wouldn’t look at anything less than 200, one or two hundred to start getting an estimate of the frequency of a particular genetic variant,” Dr Merriman says.

He says Dr Lea's study failed to account for environmental influences, and the whole controversy was whipped up by poor journalism.


The Maori Tourism Council has met with Chinese officials to look at ways Maori businesses can get more of the Chinese tourist dollar.

Chief executive Johnny Edmonds says the council hosted the Chinese ambassador and members of a visiting Chinese business council on Kapiti Island over the weekend to discuss how ready Maori businesses are for the growing numbers of visitors from that country.

Mr Edmonds says both groups are looking for sustainable relationships.

We are about to start our collaborative planning on how do we make sure that Chinese manuhiri engage with whanau Maori businesses who provide experiences about engaging with Maori culture and in a way that produces something really top rate for Chinese visitors,” Mr Edmonds says.


A prominent Ngati Hine kaumatua says a land occupation at Russell could set back a 15 year push to build a marae in the historic Northland township, known to Maori as Kororareka.

Raumoa Kawiti says the Maori sovereignty group which last week set up camp Conservation Department land near Maiki hill are not from the area.

The group is calling for the return of conservation land to Maori.

Mr Kawiti says their action riled Russell residents.

“Got all the people of Kororareka supporting hem, until these blokes created raruraru up there, and now I guess it’ll take a long while to heal this, and Kororareka Marae Committee could miss out altogether with the plan they’ve had going for a while,” Mr Kawiti says.

He hopes the group will be gone by this weekend, when there is ceremony on Maika Hill commemorating the 1845 sacking of Kororareka by Ngapuhi leader Hone Heke.


National Party health spokesperson Jo Goodhew says children's teeth are rotting while the government dithers.
Ms Goodhew says little progress is made despite $100 million being earmarked to combat dental decay among tamariki, little progress is being made.

She says the scheme has become tangled in red tape, as District Health Boards struggle to develop the business plans needed to access the funds.

She says statistics show Maori pre-schoolers are particularly affected.

“Up in Northland they are absolutely shocking. They are the worst statistics of anywhere in the country, of any group that’s been measures, 14 percent of those children have no holes in their teeth. There has to be urgent action on that, not just waiting and waiting and promising, but not getting anywhere,” Ms Goodhew says.


Hauraki Maori Trust Board chairperson Toko Renata says Maori university students need encouragement to finish their education.

Mr Renata says too many Maori students are dropping out of tertiary study.

The achievements of 27 new doctors in medicine, law, architecture, education and social sciences were celebrated at the National Maori Academic Excellence Awards at Turangawaewae Marae on the weekend.

Mr Renata says while it was a joy to see so many highly qualified Maori coming through the system, he also thinks about those who didn't make it.

“Once those students drop out of university, there is no institution to pick them up and take them forward in their particular goals,” Mr Renata says.

At the awards, Mr Renata was given an award for his contribution to education and matauranga Maori or Maori knowledge, despite his lack of formal education.

Mataatua opposes CFRT plundering

The Mataatua Assembly, bringing together tribes in the Bay of Plenty, has swung in behind a legal challenge to the Te Arawa land claim settlement.

The Maori Council and the Federation of Maori Authorities are challenging the Government's demand that the Crown Forestry Rental Trust hands over land and $40 million in accumulated rent to Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa.

The two organisations appoint the Maori representatives to the trust.
Jeremy Gardiner, the chief executive of Whakatane-based Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, says the Mataatua tribes are concerned at the settlement's impact on their claims.

“Only a small portion of the central North Island forestry claims have been settled. So there’s a significant proportion of those forests still available for settlement, and if the Crown starts dipping into those retained earnings, essentially it will impact,” Mr Gardiner says.

He says what the Government is proposing is unlawful.


Hauraki Maori Trust Board chairperson Toko Renata has gained a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to Maori knowledge and education.

The tohu, named for the late Maori queen Te Ata-i-rangikaahu, was presented by King Tuheitia at the National Maori Academic Excellence Awards at Ngaruawahia over the weekend.

Mr Renata says he came from a generation where people had to take on responsibility, regardless of any academic preparation.

“I never done this work to get a tohu or anything. It was like a lot of other people of my generation, they’re doing all this work throughout our communities, just to get a better community overall,” Mr Renata says.

He received the award fresh from heading his iwi's protest against Landcorp's proposed sale of a Coromandel farm.


Taonga puoro expert Richard Nunns says a new collaboration should give listeners a rare opportunity to hear how traditional Maori instruments sound with an orchestra.

He is collaborating with the Australian Art Orchestra on a piece called The Hollow Air for this month's AK 07 Auckland Festival.

Mr Nunns, who worked with the late Hirini Melbourne to revive the ancient art, says it's a blending of three cultures.

“It’s really going to be a meeting of cultures. Partly Australian, but with a western concept and a western sound with their instruments and these extraordinary instruments and voices we have from down here in Aotearoa New Zealand,” Mr Nunns says.


Landcorp chairperson Jim Sutton says he can why Maori claimants are suspicious of the process which is supposed to protect their interests in land sold by state owned companies.

Landcorp's sale of blocks in the far north and the Coromandel peninsula have been put on hold while the government reviews the sale process.

Under processes put in place almost 20 years ago, what are know as section 27 B memorials are put on titles, warning that the land can be bought back at market value, if it is needed to settle treaty claims..

Mr Sutton says because the process has never been used, claimants can't see how it can work.

He says it's a practical solution with farming land, but it could be more difficult to buy back other sorts of land.

“But if you had a block of land that had been say subdivided by a developer into say 100 sections and a 100 families had built homes on it, they might well feel government would be reluctant to do that,” Mr Sutton says.

He says Landcorp must also recognise that some Maori believe all Crown land should be used to settle claims.


Archaeologists in Vanuatu have found skeletons of what are believed to be the earliest known ancestors of Pacific Islanders, including Maori.

Dig supervisor Matthew Spriggs of the Australian National University says the 3000 year-old remains are those of the Lapita people, who colonised Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

Professor Spriggs says the DNA in the bones will be compared with other known sequences.

He says they're expected to strengthen theories that the Lapita are the link between Polynesians and the people who came from Asia through eastern Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

“Before we've argued about them a lot, but we’ve argued on the basis of archaeological artifacts like the designs on the pottery or the kind of stone axes they had, but now for the first time we’ve got a really large collection of the actual people themselves,’ Professor Spriggs says.


A Maori filmmaker is happy her short film won over audiences at this month's Berlin Film Festival, despite any language differences.

Hawaiiki, produced by Libby Hakaraia and directed by Mike Jonathon, was the only New Zealand entry selected for the prestigious festival.

Screenwriter Tere Harrison based the script on her first day at Wellington's Ngaio Primary School, and starred six-year-old
Orewa Wilson Lawrence.

Ms Hakaraia says it was clear the audience understood what the film was trying to say.

“There's very little dialogue in it, until the last line, where the tamahine holds up the waka and says ‘No Hawaikii o ki tupuna,’ and people actually understood, it, we didn’t subtitle it or anything, they understand what is being said. That is a bit of a tohu right there, that’s great, out stories don’t need to be translated, they still hold up,” Ms Hakaraia says.

Hawaiiki has also been selected for the Tampere film festival in Finland later this month.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Arawa settlement colonial throwback

A lawyer for hapu opposing the Te Arawa land claim settlement says the crown is behaving like 19th century politician Donald McLean, who alienated vast tracks of Maori land.

The Waitangi Tribunal has scheduled an extra sitting on Friday to consider the 500 pages of mandating documents tabled at its hearing in Rotorua last week.

Annette Sykes says the body the crown is dealing with, Nga Kaihautu O Te Arawa, represents only half the tribe.

Shre says the direct negotiation process looks more like something out of the 19th century rather than then 21st.

“I find it more like McLean’s purchasing practices where he nominate who were the people he would deal with, whether they were leaders or not, of the people that owned the land. He set the terms of negotiation. It was an either accept or leave it deal, and those hapu and rangatira who he identified, they were first up best dressed in his mind and they ended up with the lion’s share,” Ms Sykes says.


The Maori Party is lining up against the Government's shared fisheries policy.

The deadline for submissions on the plan closed last week, and the Fisheries Ministry has indicated it wants to get legislation through this year to implement the policy, which will take quota off the commercial sector to increase the amount available for recreational fishers.

Iwi, commercial and recreational fishing groups have condemned the plan and asked the Government to abandon the plan and let them develop an alternative.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says it can't be described as a serious proposal.

“A lark that totally undoes the fisheries settlement, and we will be leading the charge on that – the iwi are leading the charge on that but we will be right there beside them to undo that whole programme of shared fisheries,” Dr Sharples says.


The Ngapuhi Festival held in South Auckland over the weekend proved there is a strong desire by northern Maori living in New Zealand’s largest city to learn more about the largest iwi.

Over 20 thousand people made their way to the Telstra Events centre in Manukau, to take part in wananga on moteatea, history and whakapapa, and to hear from top entertainers who share a whakapapa to the north.

Julian Wilcox, one of the MC's for the day, says with the majority of Ngapuhi living outside the tribal district, most of them in Manukau and west Auckland, the decision to hold the festival in Auckland was well received.

The festival will return to Kaikohe next year


Labour Maori caucus chair Shane Jones says the party’s Maori MPs count the halt on sales of Landcorp properties as a significant win.

The Maori Party has claimed its call for further land occupations forced the government to stop the sale of Rangiputa in the far north and Whenuakite in the Coromandel.

But Mr Jones says by the time the Maori Party MP's started protesting outside the tent, Labour MPs inside the tent had achieved the required outcome.

“It was good to be able to play a role and convince the rest of our colleagues that that land is better off remaining in pub ownership so it can be considered for treaty settlements, considered for conservation, for campgrounds, but not sold to rich Americans,” Mr Jones says.

He says the review of Landcorp’s sale policies will look deeper than just the two properties which are currently occupied by Waitangi claimants.


A retired Taupo teacher has begun a new career as an Anglican priest.
Betty Reid was ordained at Te Rangiita Marae on Sunday by Bishop Ngarahu Katene, and will serve in Te rohe o Tauponui-a-Tia diocese from Turangi to Tokoroa.

Mrs Reid was born and raised in the far north and came to Taupo in 1952 to teach homecrafts at Taupo Regional College.

She says part of her mission will be to reach out to the young people she used to teach.

“We could, we should try hard to get our young people to come to church and learn about how to have faith and trust and love in God through Jesus Christ,” Mrs Reid says.