Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 01, 2007

Robin Hapi to head AFL

Aotearoa Fisheries chief executive Robin Hapi has been appointed to chair the giant pan-Maori fishing company.

Mr Hapi, from Ngati Kahungunu, will also chair Sealord Group.

He replaces Rob McLeod, who quit to head up the Australian and New Zealand arms of accounting firm Ernst and Young.

Mr Hapi, who joined the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission in 1991 after stints in the old Maori Affairs Department and Housing New Zealand, says he's served a long apprenticeship for the role.

“It's going to bring a different type of challenge for me, but it’s not one I haven’t been prepared for. I’ve been working in this industry for 16 years. I’ve served under some extremely capable and able leaders, and people have showed their confidence in me,” Mr Hapi says.

His first task will be to find a replacement chief executive for Aotearoa Fisheries.

There are also changes at the top of parent body Te Ohu Kaimoana Fisheries Trust, with chairperson Shane Jones stepping down soon.

Meanwhile, Aotearoa Fisheries has announced its first half profit for the six months to March 31 has jumped 20 percent to $18.4 million.

That's also more than last year's full profit of $16.5 million.

Mr Hapi says it's an encouraging start to the year in the face of significant economic and political challenges.

These include the high New Zealand dollar, fuel prices and an industry-instigated cut in hoki quotas.

Aotearoa's main competitor, listed company Sanford Fisheries, yesterday reported a half year profit of $11.6 million dollars, only $600,000 more than the corresponding period in 2006.\


The first all Maori language dictionary is a finalist in the reference category of this year's Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Tirohia Kimihia contains 3500 head-words and is aimed at learners of te reo Maori.

Huia Publishers managing director Robin Bargh says it's a huge undertaking to produce a dictionary.

“It was led by Jossie and Wiremu Kaa, who were really the lead writers for the dictionary, but at Huia here we’ve had a team which was Brian Morris, Kararaina Uetuku, Jennifer Garlick, Mary Boyce, have been the key people who have worked on it for a number of years,” Ms Bargh says.

Also in the finals is Chiefs of Industry, Auckland academic Hazel Petrie's study of Maori tribal enterprise in early colonial New Zealand, which is published by Auckland University Press.

Winners will be announced at the end of July.


Maori comedian and entertainer Mike King is back at work, and at the poker table.

This weekend he's playing a poker tournament at Sky City in Auckland where he hopes to qualify for the World poker championships in Las Vegas next month.

The Waipu-based comic says he's treating it as part of his recuperation from a mild stroke.

“You know when you’ve been sitting around for six months and people tell you you’re really sick, you start to believe it. The other week I just woke up, thought ‘Oh bugger this, I’m over this.’ The attitude change seems to work really well. I still seem to have one or two ongoing things, but once they pass, you say let’s leave it behind and move on. If I’m going to die, I’m going to die happy brother,” Mr King says.


Soldiers and rugby players have a lot in common, as those at a special lunch in Auckland today found out.

The event was to honour surviving veterans of the 28 Maori Battalion and former Maori All Blacks.

Waatea New reporter Dale Husband says it was a gathering that is unlikely to be seen again.

Twenty-six of the surviving 60 members of the 28 Battalion were honoured at the fundraising lunch at Auckland’s Ellerslie Racecourse, along with players from decades of Maori rugby.

A minute’s silence was observed by all to acknowledge those to the 28th and the Maori rugby scene who’d passed away in the previous year.

The aim was to raise money to take the old soldiers to tomorrow’s All Black p-France test at Eden Park.

For Maori, just being in the company of these proud but increasingly frail old soldiers made for a very special day.

To see the likes of Nolan Raihania and Kingi Matthews from the 28 mixing with rugby greats like Sid Going and Colin Meads and Tane Norton made for a very special day for Maori rugby, for the 28 Battalion, and definitely for the 300 people lucky to be in the same room with them.


The competition for the Ahuwhenua Maori Farming Trophy is hotting up.

Open days have been held by the regional finalists, Atihau Whanganui Incorporation, Tuaropaki Trust and Matariki Partnership, and the national winner will be announced on June the 15th at a gala dinner in Rotorua.

Facilitator Mark Harris says all three are large farming operations which have delivered exceptional productivity gains in the past year.

Mr Harris says it's a hard job for the judges.

“I've had the pleasure and honour of visiting all three farms, and it’s going to be a terrifically hard thing to judge. They’re all on different types of farming different properties, different climates and at different stages. All three of them could be a winner in my opinion,” Mr Harris says.


A leading Maori composer hopes tomorrow's concert of the music of Alfred Hill may lead to a revival of his Maori operas Tapu and Hinemoa.

The Alfred Hill Centenary Concert at the Wellington Town Hall will feature performances by the Orpheus Choir, Wellington Chamber Orchestra, Dominion String Quartet and Pelorus Trust Wellington Brass Band.

Gillian Whitehead says the concert can only dip into a fraction of Hill's prolific output, which included 10 operas, 13 symphonies, string quartets, choral works and hundreds of songs including Waiata Poi.

Ms Whitehead says that has always been one of her favourite pieces of music.

“My father was a music teacher in Whangarei, which was where I grew up, and I can remember some of his Maori singing students singing the songs, so I got very used to it and come to love it then,” Ms Whitehead says.

As part of tomorrow's concert, Waiata Poi will be sung by soprano Timua Brennan.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Waikato deal gives hope for Whanganui

The chair of the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board hopes the proposed settlement of Waikato River claims may revive the Government's interest in settling other river claims.

Archie Taiaroa says the system of joint management between iwi and regional government proposed in the Waikato-Tainui settlement is similar to suggestions the Waitangi Tribunal made in its Whanganui River Report, and it's an idea the iwi is keen to pursue.

But he says settlement talks broke down three years ago, and the government has not shown any political will to revive them.

“One realises that there negotiations are dependent on the Crown and whoever is making the claim and what the relationship between the two is at the time. We’re hopeful though that whatever the arrangement is here can assist with progressing the Whanganui iwi claim,” Mr Taiaroa says.

Whanganui groups are still considering whether to appeal Genesis Energy's consents to take water from the Whanganui for the Tongariro power scheme for another 10 years.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is brushing off a suggestion her party establishes more formal working relations with the Greens.

Green co-leader Russel Norman says since the two parties hold similar views on many kaupapa of importance to Maori, they should talk about how they can work more effectively in Parliament and during next year's election campaign.

But Mrs Turia says Mr Norman should have talked his ideas through with her first.

Surprised that they were made public before any discussion with us, but certainly we’re happy to talk to any of the political parties, and from time to time we have talked with the Greens, but of course because Mr Norman is not in Parliament, he has not been party to those discussions,” Mrs Turia says.


A special lunch in Auckland today to honour the surviving members of the 28 Maori Battalion and former Maori All Blacks has taken on an especially poignant dimension because of the death of a noted soldier and sportsman.

Johnny Collins from Ngati Porou was called back from army duty in Malaya to play for the All Blacks in the early 1960's.

He died on Wednesday in Gisborne.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says it's a reminder of how fast many of the old soldiers are slipping away.

“For the last half a dozen years I have been putting a lot of effort behind the 28 Maori Battalion as their numbers dwindle. I think it’s a great thing and certainly is a sad occasion here where Johnny Collins, who is one of the rare Maoris who made the All Blacks, he will certainly be remembered there,” Mr Horomia says.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says there are many similarities between Maaori culture and that of Taiwan's indigenous peoples.

Scientists have used DNA to find links between the groups.

Mrs Turia and other Maori MPs from the Maori, National and Green parties have been in Taiwan as guests of the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture visiting indigenous communities and finding out about the role they play in the country's political system.

She says they face similar challenges of marginalisation and loss of land and culture.

“If you listen to their story, it is our story. The significance of it is that they lost their language, so they’ve had a huge struggle to relearn and restore their reo and are using a number of mediums, similarly to us,” Mrs Turia says.

The tour was significant because it was the first time a Maori cross-party delegation has travelled together on an official parliamentary tour.


Palmerston North's Mana Tamariki school will open its new 4 million dollar complex tomorrow.

The building, which will house up to 170 pupils, was designed by Wellington architects Tennant Brown with input from sculptor Robert Jahnke, the head of Maori studies at Massey University.

Principal Toni Waho says Mana Tamariki has pushed the boundaries by including Maori immersion preschool and primary classes in the same space.

The neat thing about it is we were successful in getting the Ministry of Education to fund both parts of the building under one roof. This building has been designed so that the children begin as infants in kohanga and grow through the building and emerge from it at wharekura,” Mr Waho says.

Up to 1000 people are expected at Grey Street for the dawn opening.


The co-editor of a collection of 19th century Maori writing says old manuscripts are a valuable resource for modern language learners.

Jane McRae says the material in He Pito Pito Korero no te Perehi Maori came from a period when it many Maori were literate in their own language, and delighted in producing letters and essays for publication.

She says it's a shame so few Maori are aware of the existence of such a diverse body of printed material, because of the insight it gives into the ordinary lives of their ancestors and the social and political climate of the day.

“It's an extraordinary thing to be working with, the language as it was in the 19th century, and I think an unfortunate thing for New Zealand history, it’s an even more unfortunate for Maori who perhaps don’t know about the material of their own, there’s a lot yet to be published,” Ms McRae says.

Maori language was common in print up until about the First World War.

Solomon on top after South Island iwi stoush

The long-running battle over leadership of South Island iwi Ngai Tahu appears to be over.

Waatea News editor Adam Gifford says the most recent attempt to unseat Mark Solomon as chair of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu has backfired, and his supporters now make up a majority on the executive.

An acrimonious executive meeting in April ended with deputy chair Donald Couch announcing he was taking over key duties from kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon, and Mr Solomon saying no such deal was struck.

Tribal reaction was swift. At hui through the motu, the constituent runaka censured or sacked delegates who had been part of the nine-member bloc opposing Mr Solomon for the past two years.

Key staff members also quit.

Mr Couch will now chair meetings, but Mr Solomon is still the tribe’s spokesperson, front man and the executive's representative on the commercial boards overseeing the tribe's $500 million asset base.

Mr Solomon wouldn't comment on the leadership row, and says his focus is now on winding up the financial year.

He says Ngai Tahu members will be pleasantly shocked by this year's profits, particularly from its fisheries operations.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says Transit's solution to the row over flying a Maori flag on the Auckland Harbour Brige is a cop out, and it won't last.

The roading authority refused to fly a tino rangatiratanga flag because it didn't represent a sovereign nation, but then came under fire for flying the colours of the European Union.

It now says choosing flags takes up too much time and effort, and it will only fly the New Zealand ensign.

Mr Harawira says Transit needs to learn how to develop policy.

“Our view is not that we should ban the European flag or that we should ban anybody else’s flag but that we should fly everybody’s – the Maori flag, the Australian flag on the appropriate flag, the English flag, everybody’s flag, but on days of significance to Maori, particularly on Waitangi Day, we should be flying the Maori flag as well,” Mr Harawira says.

He says the government needs to step in and give Transit some guidance.


Maori Smokefree Coalition head Shane Bradbrook says a five percent drop in Maori smoking rates in recent years is no reason for complacency.

Mr Bradbrook says today's World Smokefree Day observance is a chance to reflect on how much more needs to be done.

Almost one in two Maori adults smoke, compared to one in four Pakeha.

Mr Bradbrook says bringing the rate down means stopping young people before they become addicted to tobacco.

“Those underlying messages to get our rangatahi Maori onto this kaupapa and provide them with that information and a voice there that says for Maori, we were traditionally tobacco free and we should continue to be tobacco free,” Mr Bradbrook says


New education programmes promoting religious tolerance may be an outcome of this week's Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue in Waitangi.

New Zealand delegate Manuka Henare says it's been a valuable week, with a real commitment to build bridges between leaders of the various faiths and political leaders in the 15 countries represented.

Mr Henare expects to see more cultural exchange programmes for young people, and new ways to enhance the education of various communities about the importance of religious diversity.

“This is not about teaching people how to practice the life of a Muslim or a Christian or a Buddhist but to understand the way that other people think about themselves and their faith, and it’s in that sense Maori faith, Maori religion and whether we’re Christian or whatever can be understood,” he says.

Mr Henare says he was heartened by the strength of indigenous religions in the region, with many of the delegates keen to learn more about ideas of spirituality which Maori have carried over from pre-European times.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira has unveiled his members bill to outlaw the production and sale of tobacco products in this country.

Because of the effects of smoking on young people, the bill was launched at Hato Petera College on Auckland's North Shore on World Smokefree Day today.

Mr Harawira says education programmes are no match for the promotional efforts of the tobacco companies, so stronger action is needed.

“We have a lot of good young role models, and they’re doing as well as they can, but we’re seriously up against a multi-billion dollar cartel whose primary objective is to hook us into tobacco and it requires the attention of an organisation like the government to put a stop to it,” he says.

Mr Harawira says he'll be taking the bill to anti-smoking organsiations for support before he puts it into the ballot.


Former Maori coach Matt Te Pou says a commemoration lunch in Auckland tomorrow is a chance to acknowledge the achievements of both the Maori Battalion and Maori Rugby.

Speakers include 28 Maori Battalion Association president Nolan Raihaania and former All Black and Maori All Black captain Buck Shelford.

Mr Te Pou says both the organisations have inspired Maori for more than half a century:

“The part played by the 28 Maori Battalion and the attitude they showed in 1939 has always been without a doubt something for us to aspire as Maori people. During the time of peace the Maori All Black and the values they hold near their heart mirror those of the 28 Maori Battalion as well and the veterans,” Mr Te Pou says.

Tainui elders get river briefing

Tainui elders will gather at Hopuhopu today to receive a briefing on the proposed settlement of Waikato River claims.

Negotiator Raiha Mahuta says it's the first time kaumatua from the 65 marae affiliated to the Kauhanganui parliament will hear the details of the agreement in principle, which was signed in Hamilton on the weekend.

Lady Mahuta says the views of the elders are valued by the negotiators.

“They still remember what the river was like when they were children, so most of their commentary was about what they used to do in the river and the food they used to get. That’s going back to semi-pristine times of courser before everything started happening,” she says.

Lady Mahuta says once Waikato Tainui has consulted with marae in the raupatu area, it will talk with other stakeholders and neighbouring iwi about the part they can play in the settlement.

The settlement will create a guardians body to look after the river from Huka Falls to the sea, and a statutory body covering the Waikato-Tainui part of the river, from Karapiro to Port Waikato, which will work alongside Environment Waikato.


The principal of Feilding Maori boarding school Hato Paora says changes to the NCEA need to be accompanied by resources to improve standards.

Schools will be able more descriptive grades in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement, from excellent down to "not achieved", and more effort will be put into standardising internally-assessed marks.

Tihirau Shepherd says the changes address some of the flaws in the system, while hanging on to the positive features.

But he says they will mean more work for teachers, and that should mean more resources.

“It is about the quality of delivery in the classroom of the programmes in which these students are not achieving, and what are the contributing factors – resourcing, extra staffing to our schools, extra funding at the operational grant level, all those sorts of things contribute to that factor where kids are not achieving,” Mr Shepherd says.

He says the system still hasn't come to grips with how to properly assess Matauranga Maori or Maori knowledge.


The project manager for the rebuilding of a Tauranga marae destroyed in a blaze last year says the hapu is feeling for those in Mangakino whose marae suffered a similar fate this week.

Rahera Ohia says work on a new house at Whetu O Te Rangii marae in Welcome Bay will start in June, eight months after the wharenui was gutted.

Ms Ohia says her thoughts were with the people of Ngati Kahungunu ki Pouakani, who have lost their house Tamatea Pokai Whenua.

“Soon as I saw the story I though ‘Oh my god, I know how they feel.’ There’s no describing really how shattering that is to have something that’s always been there suddenly taken away,” she says.

Ms Ohia says Ngati Pukenga will be sending their best wishes to Mangakino.


The treaty relations manager for the Manukau City Council says more Maori councilors are needed to reflect south Auckland's ethnic makeup.

Moana Herewini says a hui tonight at the Manurewa Marae is the first step in a campaign to encourage Maori to put their names forward for the local body elections in October.

Forty seven thousand Maori live within the council's boundaries.

Ms Herewini says the days when councils were run by middle aged Pakeha men in suits are gone, at least in Manukau.

“There's five Samoan councilors. There’s at least four women. We’ve got a young fgellow, aged 20, and there are other people who are in their 30s and 40s on council, so council isn’t quite run by that caliber of person any longer, but there is still not enough brown faces sitting around that are of tangata whenua,” she says

Ms Herewini says any Maori candidates would be wise to do so from the basis of support from within the Maori community.


The Maori language commission has teamed up with anti-smoking group Auhi Kore to tackle tobacco use among Maori.

Huhana Rokx, the chief executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori, says they'll be offering an award for organisations which come up with the best way to use Maori language in anti-smoking messages.

Ms Rokx says the Maori smoking rates is still too high at almost one in two adults, while the number of Maori speakers is still too low.

She says the health service providers should consider the Maori language an asset when designing their services.


Tauranga iwi Ngati Pukenga is talking to experts about storing taonga, as it rebuilds its fire-damaged wharenui.

Whetu O Te Rangi at Welcome Bay was razed to the ground in September, and project manager Rahera Ohia says the iwi has raised more than a million dollars since then to rebuild.

New foundations will be laid in a fortnight, and the shell should be completed by the end of the year.

Ms Ohia says this time the house will include a sprinkler system, and the iwi is also taking advice from whanaunga working in museums on the best way to protect their cultural treasures.

“We're actually going through a process right now of thinking about how we do store tainga. Everything from the whaariki through something as precious as a kiwi feather cloak, if there were another fire you don’t want water damage on them, so we’ve got all of those sorts of things to think about as well,” she says.

Ngati Pukenga feels the pain of the mangakino hapu which lost its wharenui to fire this week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Maori needed on Manukau council

Manukau City Council is looking at ways to encourage more Maori participation in this year's local government election.

Treaty relationships manager Moana Herewini says it's mounting an education campaign, starting with a hui at Manurewa Marae tomorrow night.

Ms Herewini says when nominations open for the elections, it would be good if they reflect the high number of Maori living in south Auckland.

“47,000 people, we have got the largest Maori population in the country and one Maori should not stand alone. So anyone going or wanting to stand for council should look at who is going to support them in their community, so when they speak they speak not with just one voice but with the voice of many Maori,” Ms Herewini says.

Manukau city would also like to see voter participation up from the 40 percent who turned out last election.


A Maori boarding school principal says the changes to the National Certificate of Educational Achievement are an improvement, but the system will still struggle to assess Maori knowledge.

Schools will be able to use more specific grades, from excellent down to "not achieved", and there are also changes to the way internally-assed marks are balanced between schools.

Tihirau Shepherd from Hato Paora says the changes may be enough to stop the migration of schools towards other assessment systems like the Cambridge examinations.

IN: The Cambridge qualification system which some of these grammar schools use are actually within the context of he whenua ke, international targets etc so our kids are ending up sitting exams that are from other countries that are in the context of other countries, not within the context of Aotearoa, but where does that leave matauranga Maori? It leaves it right out to the right hand side really,” he says.

Mr Shepherd says the NCEA changes will increase teacher's workload, so more resources need to be put in to help.


Paparoa marae in Tauranga has gone green.

It's the first marae to achieve the Green Globe benchmarking status used for the travel and tourism industry.

Marae manager Karen Nicholas says the marae, which is a popular destination for cruise ship passengers, now monitors its energy, water, and waste consumption.

Waste food goes to feed pigs, water conservation is enforced, office paper is recycled as much as possible, and the marae uses biodegradable cleaning products.

Ms Nicholas says when Maori lived off the land they understood how everything was inter-connected, but that connection has been broken in recent times.

She says the benchmarking is a way to address that.

“We feel this is the best way of teaching our people, because there’s always a lot of people that come to the marae, not only visitors but also our whanau to the marae,” Ms Nicholas says.

She says going Green Globe has already made an impact on the marae and its community.


Greens co-leader Russel Norman is floating the idea of a more formal relationship with the Maori Party.

Mr Norman says the two parties have so much in common, it makes sense for them to talk about how they can work more effectively in Parliament.

They share similar views on the foreshore and seabed, the Treaty of Waitangi and the environment.

Mr Norman says a starting point could be discussing how they can avoid cutting into each other's support during the next election campaign.

“We'll also need to have a bit of a discussion about whether we’re going to have some kind of joint approach to dealing with Labour and National after the next election. That’s still a fair way down the track. But when you share so much kaupapa, it’s really important that you don’t let politics get in the way of doing the right thing, and I think there’s a lot of opportunity for the Green Party and the Maori Party to work together,” Mr Norman says.


Starting up is not the problem for Maori operating small businesses, but keeping going is.

That's the word from Leisa Nathan from business training company Ochre Consultants, one of the exhibitors in the Maori zone at the three-day Small Business Expo in Auckland.

Ms Nathan, from Ngati Whatua, Ngapuhi and Tainui, says most small Maori entrepreneurs can do with more mentoring and advice.

“There's a high of start-ups when it comes to Maori entrepreneurs but when it comes to sustainability, many Maori businesses do not get beyond that year two, year three phase A lot of it’s got to do with not knowing and not understanding, particularly their tax obligations, so being able to give that advice and information, we hope to minimise that rate of failure,” she says.

Ms Nathan says the Expo at the Greenlane showgrounds is proving a good investment, with more than 100 leads already from the first day.


The Fisheries Ministry's Auckland district compliance manager says the region needs honorary fisheries officers from all ethnic communities.

Ian Bright says honorary officers are on the front line of enforcement, as well as playing an important education role, so they need to be able to communicate with the many communities who collect kaimoana.

He says volunteers were responsible for picking up a recent case in which two Pacific Island women were fined and had their vehicles confiscated for taking more than 10 times the daily bag limit of cockles.

Mr Bright says the system is working well.

“We have 45 of the honorary fisheries officers in Auckland. They are supported by the full time staff who train them, mentor them, accompany them out on the patrols, and pick up the paperwork, because of course the job doesn’t finish when you intercept people with excess, the job then goes, as in this case, right through to the court phase,” he says.

Auckland has Maori, Pakeha and Asian honorary fisheries officers, but no Pacific Island officers.

New beginning ahead for coast tribes

Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia is taking a keen interest in settlement talks with the Turanga cluster of tribes around Gisborne.

Mandated groups representing Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitangi a Mahaaki claimants yesterday signed terms for a joint negotiation of their claims.

While the area was affected by the wars of the 1860s, especially the campaigns against Te Kooti, the iwi retained much of their land.

Mr Horomia says bodies like the Mangatu Incorporation and the Wi Pere trusts are already economic powerhouses in the Maori world, but a final settlement should really unleash the potential of the three iwi.

“Where other Maori incorporations hadn’t ventured out, they’d be going for a fair while, so if this settlement can be done sooner than later, I think you’ll see some real valid benefits to the beneficiaries, and I think you’d be seeing a fair bit of that now,” Mr Horomia says.

Talks may start as early as this week.

Labour Maori MPs and Prime Minister Helen Clark in the Tairawhiti region for the next two days visiting businesses, farms, schools runanga and marae.


A researcher of pre-European Maori theology says Maori are an example of how faiths can co-exist together.

Manuka Henare is part of the New Zealand delegation to this week's Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue in Waitangi which is looking at ways religious tolerance can counter the sort of extremism that leads to terrorism.

Mr Henare says Maori religion is as old as Bhuddism and Christianity, a religion it sits comfortably with.

“That's the way our ancestors, our tupuna, looked at it when they decided yes, let’s become members of the Anglican Church, the Methodist church, the Presbyterian Church or the Catholic church and so forth, and that membership of one of these new religions didn’t necessarily mean they put aside their traditional religion,” he says.

About 180 political and religious leaders from 15 countries are taking part in the event.


The co-ordinator of Matariki celebrations in Taitokerau says Maori concepts and patterns are being embraced by all of Northland's artists, not just Maori.

Jackie Walters says more than 80 events are planned during June to mark the Maori new year.

She says many of Northland's art galleries are hosting exhibits with Maori themes, some of them done by non-Maori artists.

“Thinking of Thomas Lauterbach whose art is often on display in libraries here, and at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. His work is definitely deeply attached to things Maori, quite lovely to see. In some ways Northland is leading the country in that respect,” Ms Walters says.


Veteran activist Titewhai Harawira says she was disgusted at the shoddy treatment of tangata whenua at the opening of the Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue in Waitangi yesterday.

Mrs Harawira says Ngapuhi kaumatua weren't invited to be part of the powhiri to welcome the 180 religious and political leaders from 15 countries.

Mrs Harawira she tried to convince kaumatua to go anyway.

“As much as I tried to get them to come, they all decided not to attend, and the kaumatua there – we had tamariki in it like Pita Paraone and Manuka Henare, just lick the stamps boys, Dover Samuels, they aren’t kaumatua and kuia, they don’t represent Ngapuhi. It was a sad day,” she says.

Mrs Harawira says she felt uncomfortable being in a room with Philippine leader Gloria Arrayo, because of that country's human rights record.


The chair of Mangakino's Pouakani marae says it will take time for the whanau to come to terms with the loss of their marae.

The meeting house Tamatea Pokai Whenua was razed in a suspicious early-morning fire yesterday, and the neighbouring wharekai was also badly damaged.

Dave Dick says many tribal treasures of Ngati Kahungunu ki Pouakani were lost.

“All our carvings and our whakairo all gone and our whakawahuuatanga, the – photos, the whole lot o ko ngaro, ko ngaro katoa,” Mr Dick says.


Northland indigenous filmmaking will be on display at the Second Hokianga Film Festival, which starts this Friday at Moria Marae in Whirinaki.

Organiser Margaret Morrow says highlights will include The Waimate Conspiracy, The Last Resort, a selection of archival work by Ngapuhi filmmaker Lloyd Latimer and a documentary about attempts by Ngapuhi owners to restore the health of Lake Omapere.

There will also be a selection of short films, music videos and documentaries shot during school and holiday programmes by the region's rangatahi.

Ms Morrow says because of the region's population mix, the festival has taken on a real Maori flavour.

“Two years ago we had it partly on Moria Marae and partly at Rawene Town Hall. This time we’re focusing it entirely n the marae and we’re inviting lots of elders to come and see what the local students have been doing,” Ms Morrow says.

Organisers hope the festival will inspire more rangatahi to go out and film their own stories.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Negotiations starting on coast

Three East Coast iwi today signed terms of negotiation to settle their historical treaty claims.

Rongowhakaata chairperson Stan Pardoe says the ceremony at the Mangatu Incorporation offices paves the way for a lot of hard work.

The Waitangi Tribunal reported on the claims of Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Mahaaki and Ngai Tamanuhiri two years ago.

Mr Pardoe says all three iwi are in a positive mood.

“We're on that road now and hopefully if not before the wet end of spring we’ll be in negotiations proper with the Crown on those issues that we need to negotiate through and hopefully get a settlement that oll of us can be comfortable with,” Mr Pardoe says.


The proposed shared management of the Waikato River between the Crown and Tainui will have major implications for other tribes.

That's the view of Maanu Paul, who for many years has challenged authorities over the pollution of the Whakatane River.

An agreement in principle for a Waikato River settlement was signed in Hamilton on the weekend.

Maannu Paul says other iwi will have to fall into line with Tainui deal, if it is ratified by tribe members.

“What it does do is set a precedent so those tribes who want to negotiate the running of their rivers have to conform to a model that has been set by both the Crown and Tainui,” Mr Paul says.


The Harris whanau from Te Atiawa is in line to create history in the sport of Kings.

18 year old jockey Troy Harris is leading the apprentice premiership with 47 wins.

If his good form continues he will join his uncles and father Noel Harris, all former top apprentices.

His grandfather was also a formidable hoop in his day, winning the Auckland Cup.

Noel Harris says Troy has come back well after breaking both legs in a fall two years ago, and he's a well balanced rider and a quick learner.

“He's got two months to go and he’s six winners in front. My oldest brother John, he won the premiership as an apprentice. Des, he won the apprenticeship and myself, so it would be nice if Troy could hang on for the season,” Mr Harris says.

In the five races the two have ridden in, Troy has yet to beat his old man.


A member of the New Zealand delegation to this week's Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue at Waitangi says indigenous religions are strong in the region.

The Dialogue, which is a response to the 2002 Bali bombings, aims to promote moderate religions as a counter to the sort of religious fanaticism which can be linked to terrorism.

Manuka Henare says the region is known for the diversity of its religions, and there are long histories of tolerance and respect.

“In the Asia Pacific the religions of the indigenous people are very strong, so while many of us may belong to one of the big global religious like Buddhism and Islam and Christianity, culturally speaking we are still very very close to the religions of old, our ancient religions,” he says.

Mr Henare says Maori ancestors were comfortable to integrate aspects of Christianity into their spiritual life without completely abandoning their traditional beliefs.


Ngati Kahungunu ki Pouakani has today been grieving the loss of its meeting house Tamatea Pokai Whenua in Mangakino.

The house on Poaukani Marae burned down in an early morning blaze.

Fire Service national adviser Piki Thomas says the fire destroyed most of its carvings and irreplaceable photos of ancestors.

Mr Thomas says fortunately the marae stored its mattresses in a separate area, which effectively reduced the amount of fuel to the fire.

“The majority of the burning occurred in the meeting house. The dining room has obvious smoke and heat damage, but at least that’s still standing. That can’t be said for the whare tupuna unfortunately,” he says.

Mr Thomas says the fire should serve as a warning to other marae about the need to install smoke alarms and sprinkler systems.


A member of Te Arawa's local government standing committee says a last minute consultation on Environment Bay of Plenty's plans to move its headquarters from Whakatane to Tauranga is an insult.

Hawea Vercoes says Rotorua is a major contributor to the region's infrastructure, but the regional council is treating its views as an after-thought.

“This is nearly a month after submissions have closed and only three days before they are due to make their decision on the whole proposal, and it just seems a really tokenistic approach,” Mr Vercoe says.

The move has been widely criticised by iwi, because it will put the council's administrative centre away from most of the region's Maori population.

Iwi need to be called in after prison riot

The head of Prison Fellowship says greater involvement of iwi in prisons could prevent disturbances such as the riot at the youth wing at Rimutaka prison over the weekend.

Kim Workman says there are few resources going into the 14 to 19 year olds who fall foul of the judicial system.

He says many in the units are far away from their tribal areas and feel disconnected from their whanau.

Mr Workman says that's where iwi can help.

“What we need to do I think is engage the iwi more in those units, and it’s not just having a kapa haka programme or a tikanga programme. It’s about constant bombardment by Maori pro-social role models, and that can make a big difference,” he says.

Mr Workman says contact with Maori sports stars and entertainers, and even with the 1500 Maori who graduate each year from Universities could inspire young offenders to alter their behaviour.


An expert in Maori resource management says the Waikato River settlement may not set any useful precedents for other iwi.

Maria Bargh from Victoria University's Maori studies department says the draft agreement in principle signed on Saturday deliberately sets aside questions of ownership, customary rights and aboriginal title.

The agreement proposes co-management arrangements between Waikato-Tainui the Crown and the Waikato regional council to restore the health of the river.

Dr Bargh says the Crown has cleverly restricted the settlement to Waikato-Tainui by acknowledging the claims arise from the raupatu of confiscation of the tribe's lands in the 1860s.

“That narrows the whole issue down from one that is a much bigger issue. I mean we’ve seen a number of tribunal reports actually point to the primary assumption of Crown law taking precedence over Maori law. The assumption that took precedence over Maori law regarding waterways is a treaty breach,” Dr Bargh says.

She says questions of ownership of natural resources like water may require a more pan-tribal approach to resolve.


Massey University's oldest doctoral graduate is setting her sights on post-graduate research into kaupapa Maori health programmes.

74 year-old Janice Wenn from Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa will collect her PhD at a ceremony in Wellington today.

Her thesis used interviews with 40 kaumatua to identify cultural values which can serve as the foundation for Maori health services.

Dr Wenn, who established Masterton community health provider Whaiora Whanui after a long career in nursing and health management, now wants to put those ideas into practice.

“The special challenge for me now is to put what I found out in a research framework into practice and to actually obtain some funding to do that,” she says.

Janice Wenn undertook her research because she was concerned the Crown was contracting for kaupapa Maori health services without specifying what constituted such services.


The Minister for Treaty Negotiations is in Gisborne today to sign terms of negotiations with Turanga tribes.

Turanganui a Kiwa Runanga chief executive Ronald Nepe says in the two years since the Waitangi Tribunal reported on their claims, the claimants have been developing a joint negotiating strategy.

Mr Nepe says Rongowhakaata, Ngai Tamanuhiri and Te Aitanga Mahaaki claimants will also have specific items which are special to them.

“They generally know what they’re after. I don’t want to say anything before we go into negotiations, We’re looking more for cultural redress. The financial and commercial side is there, sure, but generally the clamour is looking at it more from that aspect” Mr Nepe says.

Turanganui a Kiwa claimants believe the negotiations can be settled reasonably quickly.


Taharoa C has hired birdwatchers to help it to establish its case for a wind farm south of Kawhia Harbour.

Consent authority Environment Waikato has asked for more information on the effect of the $280 million joint venture on migratory birds.

Incorporation chairperson Monty Retemeyer says that meant hiring five birdwatchers and a sophisticated radar system to chart the birds' flight path.

Mr Retemeyer is sure the scientists won't find the wind turbines cause any problems, but says it's a lesson for others.

Any wind farm I think would have to go through the process we are going through now, and it will pave the way for other iwi to do likewise during the consent period, not having to be disappointed later,” Mr Retemeyer says.

Taharoa C expects to start stage one early next year, if it gets the green light.


A Ngati Ranginui elder says Tauranga ratepayers shouldn't have to carry all the costs of the city's new $23 million dollar museum.

Colin Bidois says the museum will carry Maori and Pakeha toanga from thoughout the region.

He says that means the Western Bay of Plenty District Council needs to chip in.

“Most of the taonga, particularly the Maori taonga, comes from outside the Tauranga City area itself, So to me it’s imperative that the Western Bay make provision in their financial arrangement to also contribute very substantially to the development of the museum,” Mr Bidois says.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bishop lodges Agent Orange claim

The former Bishop of Aotearoa and New Zealand has lodged a $170 million claim with the Waitangi Tribunal challenging the proposed $30 million Agent Orange settlement.

Whakahuihui Vercoe, who was an army chaplain, says 65 percent of the New Zealand service personnel who served in Vietnam were Maori.

His son, Graeme Vercoe, says his father's claim is as much for the non-Maori he shared foxholes with.

“He still has a strong affinity with those people he served with in the Vietnam war and I guess he perceives he is continuing his work as a padre in terms of supporting their take on the issue,” Mr Vercoe says.

The claim asks for a hearing at the Defence Department's Waiouru marae so Maori veterans and their whanau can voice their anger and suffering, and their thoughts on a better way forward.

Bishop Vercoe says the current settlement on the table is woefully inadequate, and $170 million should be put in a trust to provide for the future needs of veterans and their families.


Former Alliance president Matt McCarten says the votes of the Maori Party will still be crucial to forming the next Government.

The latest One News Colmar Brunton poll put National 25 points ahead of Labour, with enough support to form a Government on its own.

But Mr McCarten says that level of support won't last into the election, and National doesn't currently have a viable coalition partner.

He says that means the four or five seats the Maori Party is likely to win will be crucial.

Mr McCarten says National's surge is the result of astute positioning by new leader John Key.

“He isn't a (Don) Brash. I mean he’s even sticking up for the poor and Labiour’s traditional constituency and they’ve taken all the things like nuclear stuff out. He’s been very gentle around Maori issues, he’s even been sticking up for workers, so that’s a different sort of National,” Mr McCarten says.

He says National's policy shift to the centre means the next election is likely to be fought on personalities.


Age should be seen as no barrier to higher education says a 74 year old Massey doctoral graduate.

Janice Wenn of Ngati Kahungunu earned her PhD with a study of kaumaatua perspectives on Maori health.

Dr Wenn wanted to test how heath services could be based on Maori values.

She says it was a particularly rewarding experience.

“I went to 40 kaumatua and tested that and what their values were, and I came up with a set of eight values, but I also came up with an incredible number of stories which supported their belief in those values,” Dr Wenn says.

Fellow PhD Selwyn Katene and other Maori graduates were honoured at a special ceremony at Massey's Wellington campus this afternoon.


Former Labour cabinet minister John Tamihere says the devil is going to be in the detail of Tainui's historic deal to settle Waikato River claims.

Tainui negotiators have signed a draft agreement in principle with the Crown on Saturday to establish a guardian's body to oversee the waterway.

Mr Tamihere says the negotiators are likely to face some tough questions from their people about how Tainui interests will be protected, and what co-management means.

“You've got Environment Waikato and a number of local authorities up and down that river that play a management role. The question is to what extent now is Tainui’s rights either above those or alongside them,” Mr Tamihere says.


National list MP Tau Henare says a multi-party delegation of Maori MPs to Taiwan is about making connections with other indigenous peoples.

Mr Henare has joined Maori affairs co-spokesperson Georgina Te Heuheu, Maori Party MP's Tariana Turia, Hone Harawira and Te Ururoa Flavell and the Greens Metiria Turei on the trip.

He says the group is looking for things which can give pointers for Maori development.

“We were invited by the Maori Party to come up to Taiwan with them just to have a look with some development issues, meeting with a few indigenous peoples, some government officials, and just generally see what's going on,” Mr Henare says.

The group returns to New Zealand on Wednesday.


Ousted Television New Zealand kaihautu Hone Edwards says the state broadcaster has a critical need for Maori input at a senior executive level.

Mr Edwards left TVNZ earlier this month after a review by new chief executive Rick Ellis abolished his position giving Maori input into the decision making process.

He says last week's gaffe, when Mr Ellis told a parliamentary committee that Police 10-7 was an example of Maori participation in television, would not have happened with better advice.

“I think it's important for Television New Zealand or any organisation that has a sort of legislative responsibility that it does, that you do need Maori working at that senior executive level, and the only thing I’m sad about is that since I’ve left, there’s nobody there to fill that gap,” Mr Edwards says.

Tainui now to nail down river deal

Tainui is gearing up for three months of intense consultation as it tries to win agreement for its settlement of claims to the Waikato River.

An Agreement in Principle was signed on Saturday in Hamilton by negotiators Raiha Mahuta and Tukoroirangi Morgan and Treaty Minister Mark Burton.

The deal will create a guardians’ body to oversee the river, and another statutory body which will work alongside Environment Waikato on its day to day management.

Many details of the agreement, such as financial redress, still have to be negotiated.

Mr Morgan says the document will be taken out to all Waikato-Tainui marae and other stakeholders for consultation.

“It allows the robust discussion to happen among our interest groups, our people, our marae, but we’re going ot get where we need to get to, because this river is far too important for us to stand aside and continue as we used to, as bystanders,” Mr Morgan says.


The co leader of the Maori party says Kiwi Saver discriminates against Maori.

Peter Sharples says the scheme unveiled in the Budget has little in it for low income workers, which includes a disproportionate number of Maori.

Dr Sharples says it's likely many Maori won't join up, but their taxes will still be used to fund the scheme.

“The ones who can afford it get this brilliant subsidy, but those who can’t save are missing out, on that government subsidy, so it’s discriminatory against poor and it’s discriminatory against Maori because of where we sit with the income levels. There must be other ways of introducing savings into our culture, rather than penalising half the people,” Dr Sharples says.


The Minister of Fisheries says he has to manage the resource for all fishers, and not just the industry and iwi sectors.

Jim Anderton says an amendment to the Fisheries Act, which is being held back by the Primary Production Select Committee for come consultation, is needed so he can address sustainability issues.

Labour's Maori caucus is opposing the bill, because of concerns it will slash the value of Maori fisheries settlement assets.

Mr Anderton says a recent court case, which found his predecessor erred when setting quota for kahawai, highlights the need for change.

“What I has determined is the Minister of Fisheries actually satisfies recreational need before anything is talked about regarding the total allowable commercial catch. Now that’s been a wake up call for everybody, and I’ve said to them, if you want, that’s everybody, is you want a long term solution to this, you’ve got to have one which you do on a cooperative buy in basis,” Mr Anderton says.

He says fishing rights have no value if there is no fish to catch.


Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says this generation is just putting the finishing touches on a claim the tribe has carried for more than a century.

Mr Morgan and fellow negotiator Raiha Mahuta and Tukoroirangi Morgan signed an agreement in principle with Treaty Minister Mark Burton on Saturday to settle claims to the Waikato River.

It will give Waikato-Tainui tribes co-management rights over the river, along with some money and land along the riverside between Karapiro and Port Waikato.

Mr Morgan says the negotiators built on the work of past giants like Te Puea Heranga, Pei Te Hurinui Jones and members of the Tainui Trust Board.

“The late Sir Robert was there galvanized to resolve the issue of raupatu. Our queen was there to ratify it. They are no longer here, and one was moved to tears as we sat in the Kauhanganui yesterday in front of our 65 marae to put our draft agreement in principle,” he says.

The draft agreement will now be taken out for consultation with Tainui marae and other stakeholders.


Te Puni Kokiri head Leith Comer says his organisation is taking the Auditor General's call for improvements seriously.

Kevin Brady looked at more than $15 million in grants in five programmes and identified deficiencies in approval and monitoring processes.

Mr Comer says the Maori development ministry has accepted all 16 of Mr Brady's recommendations.

A report found TPK weren't monitoring their grant programmes properly and changes were recommended.

“We have already implemented fully eight of those recommendations. We will complete another seven of those recommendations by the end of June this year, and the final one will be implemented in 2008,” Mr Comer says.


Groups working to reduce Maori smoking rates stand to benefit from increased funding into the sector.

Smokefree Coalition director Mark Peck says while there was a a slight reduction in Maori smoking over the past decade, the figure has plateaued at about 44 percent - twice as many as Pakeha.

Mr Peck says the $43 million earmarked in the budget will be welcomed by organisations providing cessation and advocacy services for Maori.

“Te Ao Marama, Te Hotu Manawa Maori, Aukati ka Paipa and Auahe Kore, they will see significant benefits from this year’s budget in the services they try and deliver,” he says.

Mr Peck says more funding for health workers, increased access to nicotine replacement therapy, and increasing the capacity of the Quitline, should help more people give up tobacco.