Waatea News Update

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Ngai Tamanuhiri first to finish fish settlement

Ngai Tamanuhiri has become the first iwi to complete the steps needed to get its full allocation under the Maori fisheries settlement.

The Poverty Bay tribe has already received the part of its settlement which is determined by its population, worth about 700 thousand dollars.

It needed to reach agreement with its neighbours before it could pick up the balance, which is based on coastline length.
Te Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Peter Douglas says Ngai Tamanuhiri will get just over $1 million dollars in inshore quota, freshwater fish stocks and their remaining deepwater quota.

Mr Douglas says there was a combination of tradition and pragmatism involved.

“With regards to Ngai Tamanuhiri and Ngati Kahungunu, they’ve got a point which they’ve long agreed was the spot that is between their two tribes, and with Rongowhakaata, they decided to take a pragmatic approach and divide the catch rather than try to argue over the territory,” Mr Douglas says.

The agreement is likely to encourage other iwi to move towards such pragmatic settlements.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the Government should pay its own bills for managing Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Crown managers have taken more than three million dollars in fees from the Wananga since former tertiary education minister Trevor Mallard sent them in two years ago, after refusing to hand over promised funding.

Current minister Michael Cullen says he wants to see the team from accountants Price Waterhouse Coopers stay in place at least until the end of the year, and for as long as they are needed after that.

Dr Sharples says there has been no benefits to Maori students from having the Crown managers in place.

“You know the benefits have been benefits for government, to satisfy their requirements and their needs, and they’re operating on a different sort of kaupapa to the wananaga,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the Crown's presence prevents the wananga getting on with what it's good at, educating and empowering Maori.


Other Maori providers are scrambling to fill the gap in drug and alcohol services after the Canterbury District Health Board cancelled a contract with Christchurch-based Te Rito Arahi.

The board said it did not believe Te Rito Arahi could fulfill its obligations under the $340,000 contract.

Winiata Brown from He Waka Tapu, which provides similar services, says while the move is regrettable, transparency and quality service come first.

“It's very sad but in saying that I’m very supportive too of having robust Maori providers providing good quality service to our people, so I don’t think there should be any compromises made on that level,” Mr Brown says.

He says Canterbury District Health Board needs to act quickly so Te Rito Arahi's clients have continuity of care.


The Maori vice president of the Council of Trade Unions says many Maori will benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, which comes into effect on Sunday.

Sharon Clair says it has been an eight-year battle by the union movement to secure the increase for the country's most vulnerable workers.

She says the increase to $11.25 an hour is small but significant.

“There's 14 percent of Maori earning under $12 an hour now. We earn about 83 percent of what non-Maori earn, and if you’re a Maori woman they you’re earning about 79 percent,” Ms Clair says.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the $3 million dollars charged to Te Wananga o Aotearoa by Crown-appointed managers is a disgrace.

Accountants from Price Waterhouse Coopers have been in charge of the wananga's books since the Government seized control in March 2005, alleging poor financial management.

Dr Sharples says the Government seems determined to crush the wananga's entreprenurial spirit and take away the culture that made it at one time the country's largest tertiary institution.

“The wananga operates on ‘there is a need, get the education out there, empower our people, enable our people, and do it however best suits our people.’ On the other hand the ministry has its own regulations that say ‘you can’t do that and you can’t do that and you can’t do that,,” Dr Sharples says.

He says instead of paying people to manage managers, the $3 million could have been spent on education for Maori.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Solomon saga tests tribe's wisdom

It's the big showdown in the south as Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu meets in Christchurch today and tomorrow to discuss the fate of the tribe's embattled chairperson.

Rank and file Ngai Tahu hope the hui will put an end to the squabbling which has split the country's wealthiest tribe.

Mark Solomon has faced repeated coup attempts over the past three years, but each time his casting vote has been enough to keep him on as kaiwhakahaere.

He outlasted one of his main opponents, former chief executive Tahu Potiki, but the attacks keep coming - despite indications of widespread support for Mr Solomon at the marae level.

In an open letter this month, ormer Ngai Tahu Trust Board chair Sir Tipene O'Regan, the new chair of the tribe's commercial arm, Wally Stone, and kaumatua Rakiihia Tau this month accused Mr Solomon of bringing the tribe into disrepute.

Today's hui was supposed to have been held a fortnight ago, but was put off because of the death of executive member Kelly Davis, one of Mr Solomon's opponents.

A lot may depend on how Mr Davis's replacement votes.

But the only thing likely to settle the raru is fresh elections, and they aren't due until later in the year.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says there should be more resources going in to a programme which improves the achievement of Maori in mainstream schools.

A report released yesterday on Te Kotahitanga found the Waikato University-designed programme boosted literacy and numeracy among Maori students in 12 pilot schools.

Parekura Horomia says Te Kotahitanga offers teachers an alternative way of dealing with Maori students.

“This is about building a relationship between the teacher and student and it’s about teachers having a good understanding of the students’ individual needs. It was extended last year to include another 21 schools and beginning in may is an independent evaluation, and that’s certainly what brings more resources,” Mr Horomia says.

Te Kotahitanga is attracting worldwide attention for the way it acknowledges cultural diversity in the classroom.


Green MP Nandor Tancoz says police would be overstepping the mark if they gave employers the names of people they bust buying cannabis.

South Auckland police have this month arrested more than 50 people allegedly buying from tinnie houses in Otara.

Mr Tanczos says the police role is to prosecute people who break the law, and informing employers is not part of the job.

“Where's it going to stop? Are they going to start looking at who buys a beer from the pub so they can inform employers? It’s just well beyond their responsibilities as police officer and for my mind, if they spent more time investigating real offences, crimes of violence and crimes of theft, they wouldn’t have any time to be going to talk to employers about someone who might have bought a tinny one day,” Mr Tanczos says.

He says research shows Maori are seven times more likely to be charged with possession of marijuana than non Maori.


Ngai Tahu members are arriving at Te Waipounamu House in Christchurch about now for a two day hui on the tribe's leadership.

The hui is expected to focus on the performance of kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon and on the tactics of those board members and tribal elders who have tried to unseat him.

There will be a lot of interest in the vote of the runanga executive's newest member, Gerald Coates from Waihao runanga.

Mr Coates replaces the late Kelly Davis, who had been one of nine executive members bloc-voting against Mr Solomon.

Tribe members held an informal meeting at Christchurch's Rehua Marae last night to discuss the row, which some elders claim is bringing the country's richest iwi into disrepute.

Mr Solomon says he feels comfortable about the likely outcome of the hui.


Te Papa's outgoing kaihautuu Maori says the agreed release of remains by Chicago's Field Museum should open the doors to other institutions.

Te Taru White says the remains - one toi moko or preserved head and a number of bones - could be back in New Zealand within the next couple of months.

Mr White says the important thing was the decision was made.

“That wasn't an overnight wonder. It didn’t happen by accident. we worked hard, damn hard, on the relationship with Chicago. They’re the third largest museum in the world. They’re like Fort Knox – similar to the British Museum in that sense – and for them to agree was a major breakthrough. We now are looking forward to many of the institutions in the United States following suit,” Mr White says.


The newly appointed executive manager of Auckland University's James Henare Maori Research Centre says his priority will be cementing the centre's connections with the north.

Te Tuhi Robust from Ngapuhi and Ngati Porou holds a doctorate in education from Auckland, but his early career was spent teaching in Northland schools.

The centre was established in 1993 to address the issues of Maori north of Tamaki, but went into recess in recent years.

Dr Robust says the decision to establish a second base in Whangarei should improve its effectiveness this time round.

“A lot of our people live in Auckland here and other parts of New Zealand, but first of all we have to look at maintaining and getting credentialed presence of the University of Auckland in supporting any Maori development in the Tai Tokerau,” Dr Robust says.

Merata Kawharu from Ngati Whatua and Ngapuhi was appointed research director of the James Henare Research Centre.

Mataitai plan riles white fishers

Ngaiterangi iwi hopes a hui tonight will ease concerns about a proposed mahinga matatai at Mount Maunganui.

Recreational fisheries groups have threatened to boycott the hui because of their opposition to the notion of a customary reserve managed by Maori.

Ngaiterangi chief executive Brian Dickson says the iwi is just trying to protect a traditional resource in a way which will ultimately benefit the whole community.

“The Act gives us tools. For example, we can put temporary closures on certain species. We can say we want the kaimoana taken from this area but not that area, put bylaws in to change quantities that can be taken but all in the interests of sustainably managing the resource,” Mr Dickson says the decision to grant the reserve status ultimately lies with the Minister of Fisheries.


Two Ngati Porou women are creating a home away from home for non-Ngai Tahu Maori living in Kaikoura.

Delia Stirling and Rupia Te Ua have formed Te Roopu O Nga Maata Waka for the 40 or so Maori from other areas living in the town.

Mrs Stirling says it's a way to support those who feel homesick, especially as they get older.

“New Zealand may be a small world but when you’re outside the area you’re not from and you move into an area, it’s just really lonely you know, and it’s good to know you’ve got family here or even just people from over on the other island close to you when you come together. It’s amazing who knows who and how you’re connected,” Mrs Stirling says.

Te Roopu O Nga Maata Waka has a tangihanga fund to help whanau who face a bereavement far from home, and it is also considering another fund to help kaumatua in the community.


Te Papa's senior Maori manager says the highlight of his six years on the job has been the opportunity to reconnect iwi with their taonga held by the national museum.

Te Taru White is standing down as kaihautu.

He says the mana taonga principle allows the museum to engage with iwi in a cultural and intellectual way with iwi.

“The highlight of that for me has always been our iwi exhibitions, and when you see 1500 Tuhoe haka-ing their way into Te Papa at half past four in the morning it really hits you where it matters the most, right in the ngakau. If anyone were to say well how do you know iwi support you, well they do that with their feet, and that’s the best way,” Mr White says.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horiomia says Maori could be doing more to get their people into housing.

The government is looking at questions of housing affordability, after reports this week that home ownership is out of reach for increasing numbers of New Zealanders.

Mr Horomia says there may be ways Te Ture Whenu Maori land act could be changed to make it easier for Maori to build on their own land.

But he says the best way is often for whanau to work together.

“We preach whanau whanui, we’ve got to actually practice it. But it’s certainly what the Indians and Chinese have done over years in this country, they’ve merged their mortgageable asset, they’ve gone and used the banks, they’ve used the government agencies and they’ve gone and used whoever they can, and they’ve certainly built up equity,” Mr Horomia says.

He says it may also be time for the larger incorporations and land trusts to free up land for housing their people.


Bay of Plenty Maori are concerned a proposed cemetery will contaminate local springs and waterways.

Rotorua District Council has bought 41 hectares at Horohoro to use as a lawn cemetery when the cemetery in the city, 20 kilometres away, are full.

Eru George from Te Whaanau o Horohoro says a meeting of the whole community at the Kearoa marae found that Maori and Pakeha residents alike opposed the plan.

“The frustrations that we had is why didn’t they come and see the community before making the decision to purchase the land. We had thought that by the time they get to purchase they had actually take the land over, which is in May, they wd have made the decision then it’s not worth buying the land,” Mr George says.

Residents are also concerned about traffic problems, the distance mourners must travel from Rotorua, and the risk the cemetery will attract undesirables.


Two thirds of the viewers tuning into Maori Television are non-Maori.
The channel is celebrating the third anniversary of its launch.

Chief executive Jim Mather says the monthly cumulative audience is now around the 600 thousand mark.

He says interesting programming is behind the increased ratings, with the indigenous documentary slot proving particularly popular.

“Many cases do have strong parallels with the history of Maori here in Aotearoa and seeing what issues they have had to face and address through their history of colonisation and not only has this appealed to our Maori viewers but has drawn a large non-Maori audience as well,” Mr Mather says.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Affordability vexes Dover

Associate Housing Mnister Dover Samuels says more must be done to allow Maori to build houses on their own land.

Mr Samuels says research on housing affordability released this week shows the it is getting increasingly harder for Maori families to come up with the finance needed to get into their own homes.

He says many whanau are starting to look seriously at the land they own back in tribal areas, but it's not easy to just build on such land.

“If you have a look at the trends, a lot of the Maori that have lived in the cities are immigrating back to their ahi kaa, their whenua tupuna. And that’s the major problem that we’ve got, because the infrastructure that we’ve got including employment, education is just not there, but at the end of the day we’ve got to prepare some package so they can afford to build their houses,” Mr Samuels says.

He intends to meet with Housing Corporation chairperson Pat Snedden this week to discuss ways to get more Maori into housing.


Organisers of a hui on intellectual property held in Gisborne want to get useful information out to other Maori artists.

Robin Rauna from the Tairawhiti Community Law Trust says the workshop brought together staff and students from Tairawhiti Polytechnic's Toihoukura Maori arts school with lawyers Scott Moran and Ravini Rendall.

Ms Rauna says artists are concerned their work can be exploited if it's not properly protected.

“We covered off copyright, trademarks and patents, and then they were able to give some very concrete examples around what you can and can’t do. We’ve got to move on to another level of understanding that when we have things we value not just about physical possessions, it’s much more than that,” Ms Rauna says.

A recording was made at the workshop so Maori artists elsewhere can access the information.


Sports commentator Ken Laban, says the early season success of the New Zealand Warriors is due in a large part to the foresight of the first Maori to coach a national Rugby League team.

He says Tony Kemp, who spent five years with the warriors as assistant coach and coach, had a good eye for emerging talent.

Those recruits contributed to wins against the Eels and Broncos.

Mr Laban says Warriors supporters, and current coach Ivan Cleary, owe Mr Kemp their gratitude.

“I hope people don’t forget that Tony Kemp played a huge hand in acquiring some of those key players that are principally responsible for giving them the sort of dominance round the play the ball that allows them, to get these consistent results. It’s sort of like he’s the one that planted the seed, someone else is picking the fruit,” Mr Laban says.

The Warriors will face a tough test this weekend with their first away game against last year's beaten finalists, the Melbourne Storm.


The lawyer for Marutuahu claimants says the Waitangi Tribunal's refusal to intervene in Hauraki settlement talks means the onus is on the various claimant groups to set aside their differences and work together.

Tribunal member Stephanie Milroy said she would not act on Ngati Hei's bid for Whenuakite Station near Whitianga, because Landcorp's undertaking not to sell it for at least a year gives a iwi a chance to make progress with negotiations.

Judge Milroy also refused a request by Hauraki Maori Trust Board for a district-wide remedies hearing.

Lawyer Paul Majurey says the Marutuahu Confederation, which represents six of the 12 Hauraki iwi, is willing to work with other mandated groups.

“The trust board takes a different approach. They want an exclusive mandate recognized, and seem to want to hold out to somehow force the Crown to recognize only their mandate and so with those two stark processes, we’re in a bit of a stalemate,” Mr Majurey says.

He says the Office of Treaty Settlements does not have the skills or the willingness to mediate between different Maori groups, so no progress can be made.


A former manager of an East Coast rural housing programme says banks should look at alternatives to using Maori land as collateral for homes.

Robin Rauna says rising house prices are making home ownership unaffordable for Maori families.

She says while many Maori have interests in multiply-owned land, banks are unwilling to accept such interests as security.

Ms Rauna says there are alternatives.

“There are legal mechanisms available. Also banks being much more aware of the other ways in which security can be given. Assignments over sheep, cattle. There are other ways to do it,” Ms Rauna says.


New rules banning the taking of freshwater eels over 4 kilograms have been welcomed by Maori freshwater fishing interests.

Morrie Love from Te Wai Maori Trust says eel stocks are declining worldwide.

The size limit applies in the South Island already and it will be imposed on North Island and Chatham Island fisheries from next month.

Mr Love says most of the eels in that size range which are caught would be breeding females heading downriver, so the rules make perfect sense.

“Eels only breed once and the females are often up to 30 years old, even more before they go off to breed. That part of the stock needs to be let to go to the sea. They have to get all the way to Tonga, then go through the breeding cycle there and then the little glass eels have to make it all the way back here on the currents,” Mr Love says.

He can't understand why the Fisheries Ministry has included eels in its shared fisheries policy, because the species is primarily a taonga for Maori.

Maori missing out on boom times

An Auckland University sociologist says Maori aren't getting the full benefit of New Zealand's booming economy.

Louise Humpage says between 2001 and 2006, Maori as a percentage of those on the unemployment benefit rose from 31 percent to 36.5 percent.

The percentage of people on invalids, sickness and domestic purposes benefits who identified as Maori also went up.

Dr Humpage says there is no one reason for Maori marginalisation.

“We know that there’s a whole range of factors, whether it still be discrimination within the labour market, whether it’s Tariana Turia’s argument that there’s still this kind of post-colonial stress, syndrome going on. Others would argue it’s round Maori being in the kind of blue collar, low skilled jobs which of course are increasingly going out of fashion,” Dr Humpage says.

She says the knowledge economy requires workers to be well educated with high tech skills, which excludes many Maori.


A Taranaki kuia says a new programme to help residents of the New Plymouth suburb of Paritutu exposed to dioxin is long overdue.

The Health Ministry will ask all Paritutu residents what health services they needed to manage the effects of exposure to the herbicide, 2,4,5-T, manufactured at the Ivon Watkins-Dow plant until 1987.

A 2005 study found anyone living close to the plant were likely to have dioxin levels between four and seven times higher than the general population.

Emma Mana, who lives in Paritutu, says it's too late for many people.

“It's a bit late because a lot of people have suffered and some of them are still suffering, and it’s just been exposed now. Exposed to the extent that those that are suffering has come forward, and they didn’t realise they were suffering with that,” Mrs Mana says.


Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation's Pah Hill Station near Ohakune has won this year's Maori Excellence in Farming Award for the southern region.

Chairperson Whatarangi Murphy-Peehi says three of Atihau-Whanganui's 10 stations were nominated for the award.

He says Pah Hill should have a good chance of winning the national Ahuwhenua award later in the year.

Mr Murphy-Peehi says the competition encourages farmers to improve their farming practices and gives valuable feedback.

“It's quite good having judges come around our stations, having an outside view. Obviously we like all the positives about how the farm is achieving, but we also like positive feedback on things we could improve on our farm,” Mr Murphy-Peehi says.


Labour MP, Dover Samuels says there needs to be changes to the Ture Whenua Maori Land Act to make it easier for Maori to build houses on their own land.

Mr Samuels says urban house prices are making home ownership unaffordable for most maori families.

He says many Maori want to go back to their own land, but they find themselves thwarted by local authorities, the Resource Management Act, costly service charges and Maori Land Court processes.

However he says there are also problems within ownership groups.

“A lot of this raruraru is because of disagreements that occur within our own whanau, when the owners have difficulty actually agreeing about setting aside land to build for their own family. And I think that type of puhaihai, those type of impediments, we’ve got to resolve ourselves, and the government, local authorities, the Maori land court, certainly can’t do that,” Mr Samuels says.

When Maori can't use their land they often stop paying rates, causing more problems for local councils.


The mayor of Western Bay of Plenty says a Katikati hapu had plenty of notice of development of a reserve on the shores of Tauranga Harbour.

Ngati Te Wai threatened to occupy Taupiro Point Reserve to stop the council building a toilet block and car park on what its says is a pa site and burial ground.

The occupation was called off after a meeting with the council this week.

Mayor Graeme Weld says the council has been up front about its plans for the reserve.

“That has been on the district plan for over four years. It was fully consulted, They were aware of it four years ago and now we’re in construction they’re objecting to it, but we’ve got to work our way through that,” Mr Weld says.

He says it's better to have Taupiro Point managed in an environmentally friendly manner than have it left undeveloped.


The chief executive of Barnados New Zealand says parents are misusing their children by involving them in their protests.

Murray Eldridge says children often do not know the meaning behind the placards they carry.

He says Maori who are protesting should wait until their children are of an age where they can understand what they are standing for.

“How do you put an age on it? I don’t know. But a certain age of maturity, perhaps 8 or 10 where they can understand the issues and be safe with mum and dad when they go on these marches,” Mr Eldridge says.

Wananga settles property stoush with institute

Te Wananga o Aotearoa has signed off on a settlement with its founding organisation, the Aotearoa Institute.

The Te Awamutu-based institute set up the Maori tertiary provider in 1984, and kept ownership of many of its campuses when the wananga became part of the state tertiary sector.

Relations between the two bodies were strained when the Government effectively took over management of the wananga in 2005 through its appointees on the board.

Executive chairperson Craig Coxhead says part of the wananga's restructuring involved unpicking what had been a muddled relationship.

Mr Coxhead says the wananga now owns the intellectual property to some key courses, such as its reo Maori programme, while the Institute took over some of the wananga's properties.

“We've looked to do a settlement where there has been minimal to no exchanging of cash between the two organisations. It’s a cashless deal where we’ve looked to sort out historical matters between the two organisations and put our future relationship on a commercial basis,” Mr Coxhead says.

The Aotearoa Institute ended up with the controversial Glenview library and conference centre on the outskirts of Hamilton, which cost the wananga more than $14 million to buy and do up.


Green MP Sue Bradford is says there is nothing she knows of in Maori culture which says violence against children is acceptable.

The Government dropped plans to seek urgency for the remaining stages of Ms Bradford's bill repealing section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows parents who hit their children to claim they were using reasonable force.

Ms Bradford says while the delay will give opponents of the bill more opportunities to lobby against it, she hope its Maori supporters will stay firm.

“Violence against kids is not a traditional Maoir taonga or value. I actually think it’s something my settler ancestors brought here from Victorian England, the concept that children were the property of their parents and part of being that property was the right to beat them. I think it’s really sad my ancestors brought that to this country,” Ms Bradford says.

She's tired of her bill being called the anti smacking bill, because the issue is about the level of violence acceptable in society.


The Auckland Police district's Maori responsiveness advisor says his colleagues need to review how they communicate with Maori youth.

Senior Sergeant Huri Dennis says iwi liason officers will hui in Rotorua next week on how police are seen by rangatahi, and how relationships can be improved.

“If you ask me how connected the youth services are to the aahua, the tikanga of our rangatahi, it would be about 50-50. I think the commitment and willingness is there form our youth services, but the know how and the how and the where, why, tikanga attached to it may still be eluding them,” Mr Dennis says.


The Crown-appointed chairperson of Te Wananga o Aotearoa says Crown managers have started to shift to more of a monitoring role.

Craig Coxhead says a wananga council meeting today is likely to discuss what more needs to be done before the managers will leave.

The Government brought in Brian Roche from accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers two years ago because it was alarmed at the wananga's growth.

Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen says Mr Roche and his team has so far cost the wananga more than $3 million dollars over the past two years, but he wants to see them stay on the job until the end of the year.

Mr Coxhead says the Crown's presence is not as obvious as it was last year.

“They've handed over some of those responsibilities to staff and they’ve taken on a more monitoring role and training rather than the actual doing, and where we want to get to is that their presence, rather than the Crown currently being here on two days a week or one day a week, it may be they’re here once a fortnight,” Mr Coxhead says.

He says despite the Crown control, the wananga is still Maori led.


The co-ordinator of Victoria University's high school outreach programme says more can be done to get Maori students into higher education.

Everard Halbert says Maori need proper support so they gain the confidence to o pursue tertiary studies.

Mr Halberd says instead of just working with year 12 and 13 pupils, younger students should also be brought into the programme.

The earlier we make contact with our students then I think the more chances they have of being successful, if in this case success means going to tertiary education for them,” Mr Halbert says.

He says a lot of potential Maori tertiary students are falling through cracks in the system:


The threat of occupation has got the Western Bay of Plenty District Council talking to a Katikati hapu about what it is doing with a former pa and burial site on the shores of the Tauranga Harbour.

Nepia Bryan from Ngati Te Wai says the hapu objects to the erection of a toilet block and car park on the Taupiro Point Reserve, which looks across to Athenree.

Mr Bryan says Ngati Te Wai met with the council this week, and further meetings are planned.

He says the parties are still some distance apart, but at least the council is now talking to the right people.

“They want control. They don’t want us to have control. But they’re saying now why don’t we work a joint venture with them, joint management. We said well, we’ve got to meet with the hapu and not just make rash decisions by a few, you see,” Mr Bryan says.

Ngati Te Wai does not believe the council has proper title to the reserve, and it wants to get the land back.

Iwi seeks Gisborne wastewater deal

Gisborne-based Te Runanga a Turanganui a Kiwa believes it is making progress on its efforts to stop discharge of wastewater into Poverty Bay.

Independent commissioners are hearing Gisborne District Council's application for a 35-year consent for a biological trickling filter system which discharges wastewater into the sea through a submarine pipe.

Runanga chief executive Ronald Nepe says Turanga tribes will only accept the renewed consent if it requires council to move to a land-based disposal system.

Mr Nepe says discharges into the sea are particularly offensive for Maori.

“We've been fighting this situation since the late ‘60s. We’ve got a compromise position but within that is an ability for us to work some solutions, so early days, but the rainbow’s there so to speak,” Mr Nepe says.

Turanganui a Kiwa iwi also want representatives on the proposed wastewater management committee.


The Prime Minister is welcoming Maori moves into the mobile phone sector.

Econet New Zealand, whose shareholders include the commercial arm of the Maori spectrum trust, yesterday signed a deal with equipment supplier Huawei to start building its network.

Chairperson Bill Osborne says it will now seek more investment from Maori, who have an option to buy up to 20 percent of the shares.

Helen Clark says while it has been a long process, the Maori spectrum trust seems to have delivered.

“Well it certainly looks like the company they teamed up with has access to the some capital to do things, and in principal it’s a good thing to be having more competition in our phone services so the government is very keen on competition, saying good luck to any player that can get up and going within the rules,” Ms Clark


The Electrotechnology Industry Training Organisation believes poor school results may be keeping young Maori from a career in electronics.

The ITO is working with WelTec and Te Puni Kokiri to boost the number of Maori in the industry.

Service delivery manager Paul Hollings says there are a wide range of trades and opportunities available for young Maori, but they need to take care of the basics at NCEA level.

“Electrotechnology industry and electrical in particular has a high theory component in it so there’s a reasonable need for academic success beforehand so I think quite franlky that the evidence is there that young Maori aren’t backing themselves in having a go,” Mr Hollings says.


The Prime Minister says the Government has no intention of privatising water.

The Maori Party is claiming the proposed Sustainable Water programme of Action, which the Government is consulting on, includes an assumption that the Crown owns water.

It says many iwi claim customary ownership of water.

Helen Clark says the Maori Party is drawing a long bow from what is a straightforward policy setting process.

“There seems to be some odd idea about that water is to be privatized. Well it’s not. It’s as simple as that. I don’t believe in privatising water. At the moment water is there for all of us. Now at some point you have to look at how you allocate water, but that's not new,” Ms Clark says.

Meanwhile, a new auction website went up today allowing Canterbury farmers to sell or lease surplus water permits.


More Maori are seeking help for gambling addiction.

Gambling Helpline chief executive Krista Ferguson says it's a sign some of the anti-gambling messages are getting through to at risk communities.

Ms Ferguson says Maori were especially targeted because they are three times more likely to have a gambling addiction than non- Maori.

“We changed our advertising in 2006 to more particularly show the impacts on family and whanau to target Maori and Pacific communities more. There’s also been a lot more public health work being done out there by Maori providers in the community trying to get these messages out about gambling harm,” Ms Ferguson says,

“She says worldwide research shows a correlation between gambling addiction and poverty.


Maori tennis player Leanne Baker is about to become the longest serving player in New Zealand Federation Cup history.

Waikato-based Baker will captain the New Zealand squad for the 11-country tournament, which will be held in Christchurch next month.

Rewa Hudson, who was Baker's doubles partner for many years at national level, says Baker has featured in 40 cup ties since 1996.

She says Baker has always been proud to represent Maori and her country.

“I'm not surprised Leanne has been selected again to compete for New Zealand in the Fed Cup. She’s been out there for quite a few years. Now. She was one of the most talented juniors we had in her day and now she’s been on the senior level for probably about eight years,” Hudson says.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Econet network finally ready for prime time

A Maori-backed mobile phone network could be handling its first calls within 18 months.

Econet New Zealand yesterday signed a deal with Chinese equipment supplier Huawei for the infrastructure needed to have its service up and running in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch before the end of 2008.

Chairperson Bill Osborn says the company will change its name to New Zealand Communications.

Econet ran for the six years as a joint venture between African company Econet Wireless and Hautaki, the commercial arm of the Maori spectrum trust which has the right to buy a block of 3G spectrum on behalf of Maori.

Mr Osborn says the joint venture has now brought in Hong Kong and London-based investors who have the experience necessary to take on incumbents Telecom and Vodafone.

“It's never anticipated it was going to be an easy walk to completion. It’s a competitive environment, a very competitive environment, but we do think there’s an opportunity there for a player like us. The new investors have come into this game believing in the business plan and believing there is this opportunity so we are in the game,” Mr Osborn says.

Maori trusts and organisations will soon be given the chance to buy the 20 percent of the company reserved for them.


A Massey University researcher says young Maori are unlikely to vote at this year's local body elections.

Christine Cheyne yesterday told the Commonwealth local government research seminar in Auckland that young Maori feel disconnected from local body politics.

Dr Cheyne interviewed 400 randomly selected Wairarapa and Manawatu people on their knowledge of local government.

She says the lack of interest seems to cut both ways.

“There's a question about whether local government is relevant to people in the younger age group and whether local government is communicating well with those young people and finding out what their needs and perspectives are,” Dr Cheyne says.

People seem to start voting at local body level once they reach their forties.


Maori writers are in the South Island this week pressing the flesh and urging people to read their works.

The On the Bus tour takes Hinemoana Baker, James George, Kelly Ana Morey and Apirana Taylor from Nelson to Christchurch, visiting communities, schools, libraries and art galleries.

George, from Ngapuhi, says the profile of Maori writing is going up, as can be seen in any bookstore.

“If you were to go to the local Whitcoulls you would be able to pick six novels off the shelf by Maori writers. You couldn’t do that 12 years ago. You might find three. And I think that’s going to double again in the next 10 years. And it’s really just getting the word out, encouraging people first to listen to our stories and then to read the stories, to make that transference. But we’ve got to get out there, we’ve got to do the miles, we’ve got to press the flesh,” George says.


Maori will shortly be given a chance to invest in the country's newest mobile phone network.

Econet New Zealand yesterday signed a deal with Chinese equipment supplier Huawei for the infrastruture needed to have GSM mobile coverage up and running in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch within 18 months.

So far the project has been a joint venture between African firm Econet Wireless and the Maori spectrum trust's commercial subsidiary, Hautaki Holdings.

Hautaki chairperson Bill Osborne says while new shareholders with experience building and running such networks have been brought in from London and Hong Kong, the project will still have a Maori flavour.

“Maori have secured an option to take equity in the business from the point of the closure of this deal. So that’s a real interesting opportunity for Maori and we’ll be talking that out to the Maori sector shortly,” Bill Osborne says.

He has been asked to stay on as chair of the company, which will be renamed New Zealand Communications.


A Massey University researcher says local governments needs to improve the way they interact with younger Maori.

Christine Cheyne says Maori feel disconnected from council processes and are unlikely to vote in local body elections.

Dr Cheyne says rangatahi are confused by the language used in local government circles and see few people their own age getting involved, so they get left out through little fault of their own.

“Too often the people who have concerns about voter turn-out focus on the deficits of the people who were not voting or not responding to opportunities for involvement rather than focusing on the organisations and the people who were doing the consulting or doing the engaging or organising the elections,” Dr Cheyne says.

Her study of political participation, which she delivered yesterday to a Commonwealth Local Government Research Seminar in Auckland, was based on interviews with 400 people in the Wairarapa and Manawatu.


Iwi groups are being offered some simple strategies on using the internet more effectively.

Waikato University professor Ted Zorn says a research project on how information and communication technologies affect communities has led to a do-it-yourself manual called Connect Your Community: The New Zealand Webguide.

Professor Zorn says iwi are among the not-for profit groups who can use the Internet to get a lot of bang for limited bucks.

“Iwi groups, hapu groups, not for profit organisations, community groups, those are the kind of groups that can really take advantage of some of the ways that the web can be useful. Just for example Maori groups being dispersed in different places and people off the marae and making connections back to the marae,” Mr Zorn says.

The New Zealand Webguide is being distributed through regional Te Puni Kokiri offices, Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and public libraries.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Divisive water campaign decried

Labour list MP Shane Jones says the Maori Party is trying to sow division in its latest campaign over water ownership.

The party last week claimed the Government's proposed Sustainable Water Programme of Action assumes the Crown owns the country's water, overriding any Maori customary rights.

The Government says the water is a public resource managed by government and local authorities on behalf of all New Zealanders.

Mr Jones says rather than tackling some of the real problems around allocation and use of water, the Maori Party is trying to make political capital out of the issue.

“My experience is that people have had a gutsful of the Maori Party whipping up fervor which only leads to dissension and fear and quite frankly I think it’s disappointing for us as Maori that that’s happening but politically the more the do it I think the sooner we’ll see them disappear,” Mr Jones says.


Ngati Awa chief executive Jeremy Gardiner says iwi can't lose from a High Court direction that Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton reconsider the way his predecessor set kahawai quota levels.

The minister was taken to court by recreational fishing groups, who argued the importance of the fish to the recreational sector had been underestimated.

Mr Gardiner says any reduction in commercial quota will affect iwi as quota owners, but iwi members could still benefit.

“On the positive side I guess there’ll be more kahawai available to recreational fishers of which Maori are a big component. There are some positives and negatives but it’ll really depend on what the minister comes back with in his new decision,” Mr Gardiner says.


Otara school Te Wharekura o Piripono has won the coveted Auckland secondary schools Kapa Haka title of Auckland at the 32nd ASB Polyfest.

Runners up at the four day event were Manurewa's James Cook High and Auckland Girls Grammar.

Polyfest judge Paora Sharples says Piripono stood out for the energy they put into their performance.

“When you're after winning kapa haka you’ve got to lift everyone up and keep everyone up there. So if you’ve got a few not so good items, it brings everyone back down again. But they were pretty consistent with the quality and the sound, so they were up there the whole time,” Mr Sharples says.

Polyfest is the largest event of its kind, with more than 9000 students from almost 50 Auckland schools competing.


Ngati Maniapoto is looking to finalise its fisheries asset allocation as soon as possible.

The King Country iwi last week had its mandate confirmed to receive the population-based portion ot its settlement, amounting to $18 million in deepwater quota, cash and shares in Aotearoa Fisheries.

Chairperson Tiwha Bell says now that all iwi in the Tainui waka have received their mandates, it is time to start work on securing the inshore part of the settlement, which is based on each tribe's coastline.

Mr Bell says it should be possible to do that without reviving age-old battles.

“We have to get our inshore settled. We have to hui with our neighbours with Waikato and Ngati Tama. We have to talk and agree on the mark in the sand of how we’re going split that lot of fish up. So we’re going to split the fish, we’re not going to split the whenua,” Mr Bell says.

He says the inshore settlement is likely to depend on Ngati Tama to the south, which has still not sought a mandate.


A Maori academic says the number of Maori seats should be calculated on the proportion of Maori in the total population, rather than the voting age population.

Rawiri Taonui, head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, says that would mean 11 Maori seats, rather than the current seven.

Mr Taonui says it's a way of reflecting the relative youth of the Maori population.

“A majority of our population are too young to vote yet, and they have an interest in the future and adopting this system will protect them, It will also give them double protection against demographic swamping through immigration,” Mr Taonui says.


The new power in Maori rugby is in Te Waipounamu.

The Southern region completed a clean sweep of the three major Maori titles when the senior men's team beat Te Hiku Northern region 39 to 22 at Eden Park as a curtain raiser to the Blues NSW Super 14 clash.

Their aggregate gave them the George Nepia Taonga for best region.

Maori coach Donny Stevenson says their experience shone through.

“A lot of good leadership out there. They had a few of the good heads in the forwards that have played a lot of rugby, the likes of Piri Te Whare and Mana Harrison and Tane Puke and them very talented, so there are some good prospects for the future,” Stevenson says.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

All parties talks wanted for Kahawai mess

The Maori fisheries settlement trust wants the Minister of Fisheries to call an all-parties conference to resolve the allocation of kahawai quota.

The High Court last week ruled the way kahawai was brought into the quota management system in 2004 and 2005 was flawed, and it ordered the Minister, Jim Anderton, to reconsider his decision.

Te Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Peter Douglas says Iwi and Maori have an interest in all three sectors of New Zealand's
fisheries regime - customary non-commercial, commercial and recreational.

Mr Douglas says a different approach is needed to balance the competing needs of the fisheries sector.

“The important thing to consider is how do you get people together who participate in the different components – the customary, the recreational and the commercial aspects of the fishery – and work through with them what things they think are important,. Because none of them are interested in plundering the resource,” Mr Douglas says.

He says better information is needed about the recreational catch of species like kahawai before any long term decisions are made.


The Maori Party's 2005 Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidate has put up her hand to again take on Maori Affairs minister Parekura Horomia.

Atareta Poananga is backed by her Waiapu branch, but will need to convince branches in the rest of the electorate, which stretches from East Cape to Wainuiomata.

Ms Poananga cut 8000 off Mr Horomia's majority last time, and says he will be even more vulnerable next year.

“People will this time have far more confidence in voting for a Maori Party candidate because they’re pretty well happy with the performance. Most of the comments I’ve had back from people have been supportive of what the Maori Party has done, and that will obviously boost the chances of anyone who is going to be a candidate this time around,” Ms Poananga says.


A Maori tour company has developed a seven-day package around one of Maoridom's greatest love stories.

Teurutahi Waikerepuru from Tui Global says the Warrior Mountains tour starting next month will tell of the fight between Tongariro and Taranaki over the beautiful hill Pihanga.

When Taranaki lost, he carved out the Whanganui River on his way to where he now sits.

Ms Waikerepuru says visitors see the central plateau, Whanganui and Taranaki regions in a different way.

IN: We just thought it would be so wonderful to bring in a tour that reflected one of our Maori legends in such a way that it could actually capture the emotions and the senses of not only international visitors but our own people who live here in Aotearoa,” Ms Waikerepuru says.

The tour will includes cultural performances, a hangi at Koroniti Marae on the Whanganui River, a river cruise and visits to Parihaka Pa and Puniho Marae.


Ngati Tahu chairperson Mark Solomon says Maori are being excluded from the consultation on the government's plans for water.

Mr Solomon says the issue is not about ownership but about kaitiakitanga, the right of Maori to actively participate in the management of water.

He says the Government of trying to inject fear and misinformation into the debate by falsely implying recognition of Maori customary and treaty rights will deny New Zealanders access to rivers and lakes.

Mr Solomon says Ngai Tahu tried to get its voice heard at the first consultation meeting in Christchurch.

“We attended. We were told that Ngai Tahu would have a voice on that forum. There’s been no voice from us at all. The Government has not consulted with us in any shape nor form. Certainly, in our view, there hasn’t been fair consultation on it,” Mr Solomon says.

He says the Government is talking to farming and forestry organisations but not to Maori.


Tangata whenua on Auckland's southeast fringe are pushing for a rahui on taking shellfish from Kawakawa Bay.

James Brown from Ngai Tai Umupuia Te Waka Totara Trust says over the past three years the cockle bed in front of Umupuia marae has shrunk alarmingly.

Mr Brown says much of the pressure has come from non-Maori.

“Our Maori people, they understand, but I remind myself of the mayor’s regular korero about 160 plus ethnic societies that make up Manukau and they all come with their own kawa and tikanga that could be somewhat different to ours and so we are having to at least korero with them in an indigenous manner first,” Mr Brown says.

Ngai Tai is talking to the Ministry of Fisheries and Auckland Regional Council about the ban.


A fire safety programme is being credited with a reduction of fire deaths among Maori.

Te Kotahitanga was piloted in Northland in 2002 after 15 fire deaths in five years, and has now spread around the country.

Northland coordinator Emma Carter says project educators from iwi and health groups have visited 15,000 homes in the region and installed more than 50,000 smoke alarms.

Ms Carter says the biggest problem has often been getting Maori families to accept the alarms.

“We don't really trust too many people, especially when they pull up on our door and offering something for free, so automatically the perception is oh, what do you want for it. You can’t be just giving me this for free. It can be quite difficult but we get them to come around,” Ms Carter says.