Waatea News Update

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Claimants looking for certainty from Crown

Waitangi claimants from the top of the South Island say they want consistent policies for the way Crown agencies deal with Maori.

At Orakei Marae in Auckland today, Ngati Koata summed up its case in Wai 262 fauana and flora claim, 16 years after if first lodged the claim with five other iwi.

Kaumatua Ben Hippolyte says while the iwi has developed good relationships with some departments on issues like the protection of tuatara, they are too dependent on personal connections.

Mr Hippolyte says it falls short of the guarantees of protection in the Treaty of Waitangi.

“We have a good relationship with all government agencies, but like children, some agencies are better than others, and behave better towards us than others. I believe, because it’s taken so long, that it might have been someone’s suggestion, ‘wait until they die off and then we don’t need to have this raruraru,’” Mr Hippolyte says.

The Waitangi Tribunal moves to Wellington next week for the final submissions from the Crown.


Associate Housing Minister Dover Samuels is seeking a change in the Ture Whenua Maori Act to make it easier for Maori to build on multiply owned land.

Mr Samuels has just been on a tour of the East Coast and Coromandel, and was alarmed at the number of people living in shacks and caravans.

Mr Samuels says many were shareholders in the land, but they were unable to build permanent dwellings because approval is needed from 75 percent of owners before house sites can be partitioned off.

“I'm looking at amending the Act. If you’ve got enough equity, in other words if you’ve got enough shares in Maori multiply-owned land, then you should be able to apply to the court to build your house on your share without having to go through this huiitis process,” Mr Samuels says.

He says the change would go a long way to reducing the costs of building a home and make it easier for Maori to borrow money from the banks.


Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira says the 20 year anniversary of New Zealand's nuclear free legislation is a tribute to the country's political system.

Mr Harawira and his wife Hilda Halkyard were part of groups in the 1970s and 80s which pushed for a nuclear free and independent Pacific.

He says it took a lot of effort from different parts of society to force the politicians to make such a strong stand.

“Maori have been involved in that movement way before Labour decided to take it up. Congratulations by the way to David Lange, for standing strong on the international stage. For Helen Clark too, because back in the day not all of Labour was supportive of it, but she was,” Mr Harawira says.

He's heartened the National Party seems to have finally dropped its threat to review the nuclear ban.


After 16 years, WAI 262 claimants are finally able to presenting their case for greater protection of indigenous fauna, flora and intellectual property rights.

The Waitangi Tribunal heard final submissions from claimant iwi at Orakei Marae in Auckland this week, and will sit in Wellington next week for the Crown's summing up.

Ben Hippolyte from Ngati Koata at the top of the South Island says the claimants have had a fair hearing from the tribunal, but there's no guarantee of a positive outcome.

“The Waitangi Tribunal, if they had the power, it would go the way that we would hope it would go. But you see, they only make a report to people who have the power to make the decision, and those people, they don’t hear the cries of our people, they don’t hear the wairua that is spoken in the voice,” Mr Hippolyte says.

He says the claimants want a treaty-based relationship with government agencies, rather than always having to beg for assistance to protect their taonga.


The Pukaha Mt Bruce bird sanctuary north of Masterton is considering adding a centre for visitors to learn about conservation and te taiao Maori, or the Maori environment.

Board member Jason Kerehi, the chairpoerson of Rangitaane o Wairarapa, says it's part of a major upgrade aimed at bringing more tourists into the region.

Mr Kerehi says existing structures will be redesigned, and the emphasis will be on visitors seeing the birds in the open forest, and not in cages.

He says tangata whenua have a contribution to make.

“For the iwi, it’s really important that we are involved and able to provide the Maori perspective of te Aotearoa, starting with the whakapapa of our people because of our connection to the atua,” Mr Kerehi says.


People interested in ta moko will have the chance to learn more at a wananga at Te Kopua Marae south of Te Awamutu tomorrow.

Organiser Shane te Ruki from Kowhai Consultants says the wananga will cover the mystical origins of traditional tattooing and its development after European settlement.

Mr Te Ruki says as people learn about the ancient art, they may be inspired to revive some of the older styles which can now only been seen in the pictures drawn by early European explorers and settlers.

“The moko style that we commonly associate as being the norm is actually a late development. Previously there were some very different styles of skin adornment, which we don’t see any more. There are a couple of examples of puhoro facial designs which are starting to become more common,” Mr Te Ruki says.

On Sunday Te Kopua Marae is hosting a separate wananga on mo rakau or Maori martial arts.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Committee rubber stamps Te Roroa bill

The Maori Affairs select committee has made only minor changes to a bill settling claims around the Waipoua forest north of Dargaville.

National has withdrawn its support for the Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill, because it says it fails to adequately address questions of bones taken from burial caves in the forest.

It is also concerned the $9.5 million dollar settlement package may not be economically viable.

Select committee chair Dave Hereora says the only change will be a six month extension to the period Te Roroa can select Crown properties to buy at 2005 valuations.

Mr Hereora says select committees have little room to change settlements.

"Neither a select committee not a committee of the whole House can substantively amend such bills without the agreement of both parties to the deed or treaty being implemented. So in effect the deed of settlement that’s struck between the claimant group and the Crown is the basis that forms the draft for legislation that comes before a select committee,” Mr Hereora says.


New Zealand's only Maori coroner says the relationship between Maori and coroners will improve when the new Coroners Act comes in next month.

Gordon Matenga says the changes will make the coronial office more responsive to Maori cultural needs.

Whanau members can be more involved in decisions affecting the tupapaku, and can formally challenge a request for an autopsy.

Mr Matenga says the coroner then has 24 hours to reconsider whether the autopsy is absolutely necessary.

“And then the family has 48 hours to apply to the High Court to stop that happening if they wish to. It’s one way under the new Act that the law is seeking to address some of the cultural aspects and the understandable abhorrence by most people to the idea of a postmortem,” Mr Matenga says.


A study confirming Polynesian contact with the Americas before Christopher Columbus endorses the Maori view that their ancestors regularly crossed the Pacific.

Lisa Matisso Smith, an associate professor of Biological anthropology at Auckland University, was part of a team which collected chicken bones from an archealogical site in Chile.

Dr Matisso Smith says the DNA in the bones matched a 2000-year-old chicken bone from Tonga, and others from Samoa, Nuie and Rapanui or Easter Island.

She says while the only animals introduced by Maori were the kuri or native dog and the kiore or rat, it doesn't rule out a Maori connection.

“The pig and the chicken, which were the other tow animals the Polynesians carried with them, weren’t introduced here, so they couldn’t have taken chickens from Aotearoa to South America, but chickens were introduced, along with kiore, to Easter Island, and that’s the closest location and a very likely source for those voyages to South America,” she says.


A two year research project has found degradation of waterways and commercial fishing are having a profound impact on the size and numbers of eels in the lower North Island.

Environmental researcher Pataka Moore says he used a kaupapa Maori approach to identify problems and then attempt to develop strategies to restore tuna or eel stocks to past levels.

Mr Moore says 18 marae helped assess the state of the fishery, and they had strong views about where the problems were.

“Ngati Raukawa ki te Tonga, between Bulls and Waikanae, have opposed commercial fishing and we continue that stance. Commercial fishing is having a huge impact in the number of tuna in our rivers and streams. It’s just not a very good state,” he says.

Mr Moore's study was supported by Te Wanaga O Raukawa and the Foundation for Research Science and Technology.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says as Maori are becoming more global, it stands to reason others would want to do the same.

Parekura Horomia says changes to entry requirements which will allow more wealthy investors to migrate here should provide positive benefits for Maori.

He says many of the potential migrants will be prepared to work with New Zealand's indigenous people.

“Most of the Asian immigrants who come in, and a lot of the Chinese too, are very kosher with our culture, dare I mention a lot more kosher than a lot of Pakeha here, so in my mind anyway I think immigration is, if you understand like I do our people are starting to go global, we need to encourage that,” Mr Horomia says.

He says migrants help maintain the country's population base, and are a source of potential investment for Maori businesses.


The organiser of a symposium on the historic Maori Council lands case says it will be a chance for some of the country's finest legal thinkers to say what the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi mean today.

Otago University senior law lecturer Jacinta Ruru says speakers include retired judges Sir Ivor Richardson and Sir Maurice Casey, who were on the Court of Appeal which heard the case 20 years ago, and Justice David Baragwanath, who was the Maori Council's lawyer.

The Court ruled the Crown had to take treaty principles such as partnership and good faith into account when transferring land to state owned enterprises.

Ms Ruru says many Maori feel things have gone backwards since then.

“With a lot of the court decisions that are coming through as well, the judged might be thinking about what are these treaty principles, but then saying because they are just one of a number of other things that they need to have regard to, then something else trumps and then you don’t get the outcome, and I think that’s a real concern to be considering and thinking about,” Ms Ruru says.

More than 100 people have already indicated they will travel to Dunedin for the June 29 gathering.

Te Pumanawa Hauora gets research boost

Massey University's Te Pumanawa Hauora Maori health research programme has won a further $2.3 million in funding from the Health Research Council.

Director Chris Cunningham says the money will support the second half of a six year programme around kaumatua health, Maori mental health and the health of children.

Dr Cunningham says a key outcome of the programme is workforce development, and the extra funding will give more certainty for the 14 researchers at the centre.

“In particular we anticipate graduating another four or five PhDs in the next three years, to add on top of the ones who have already come through the programme, and that’s a significant increase in the number of Maori who are available to be involved in this whole activity,” he says.

Chris Cunningham says the centre is developing models of Maori-centred research which are different from other institutions.

Other Maori programmes in the university got a further $2 million, with Massey picking up a total of $5.6 million from the Health Research Council.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says Maori stand to benefit from new business immigration policies.

Under changes announced yesterday, wealthy investors will find it easier to move to New Zealand, even if they can't speak English.

Mr Horomia says the policy should create business opportunities.

“A lot of Maori organisations who are looking for investors, you know this is real positive news. You can look at it the other way and say ‘Keep them out’ but I think when you get to the stage we’re at, in relation to our assets, what you need is to grow them and make them more solid, you need that sort of investment,” Mr Horomia says.


The MP for Waiariki says the Rotorua District Council could have avoided a stand-off over extensions to the Rotorua Airport runway if it had taken more time to talk to affected Maori.

Ngati Uenukukopako is meeting on Sunday to discuss asking the Environment Court to stop the plan.

The extension would require Ngati Uenukukopako to move its marae, kura and kohanga reo, and it would impose harsh restrictions on landowners in the flight path.

Te Ururoa Flavell says he's been contacted by many hapu members who are dissatisfied with the planning process and frustrated by the council's lack of consultation.

“Picking up a wharenui or moving a wharenui base from ancestral land is not a straightforward process, even if people wanted to do that. I would suggest that most iwi would not want to be picking up a tipuna whare and moving it in any way, shape or form. So it’s a difficult situation, but it is not going to be helped by simply closing off and pulling down the shutters and saying we’re not going to talk things through,” Mr Flavell says.

The hapu had already moved its marae in the 1960s because of the airport.


Otago University is planning a symposium at the end of the month to mark the 20th anniversary of the Court of Appeal's judgment in the Maori Council state owned enterprises case.

Organiser Jacinta Ruru from Ngati Raukawa says the Maori Council won legal recognition of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, changing the way the Crown interacts with iwi and hapu.

Ms Ruru says claims by politicians that there is confusion about the principles ignore that case and subsequent work done by the Waitangi Tribunal and the courts.

“Courts themselves are really thinking about what does partnership mean, and they may have pulled back some way from that, but really thinking about consultation and what are those duties when, in law, we are looking at recognizing and respecting Maori. What does this mean? What do these legal directives mean for us,” Ms Ruru says.

The symposium will include contributions from Justice David Baragwananth, who was one of the Maori Council's lawyers, Sir Ivor Richardson and Sir Maurice Casey, who were on the Court of Appeal, and other involved in the case.


A three day hui on work safety should help boost the pay packets of Maori in the forestry sector.

Syd Kepa, the convenor of the Council of Trade Unions' runanga, says Maori make up 80 percent of the 10 - thousand workers in the sector.

He says the hui is looking at ways to increase the skills of Maori workers, who often shy away from Pakeha learning environments.

Mr Kepa says it helps if training can be linked to better pay.

“Forest Industries Training is offering these levels one, two three and four certificates. Once they get to the top level, their renumeration follows as well, so we want to upskill our people, not only to give them some confidence in the industry, but also to try to create better renumeration for them,” Mr Kepa says.


The MP for Waiariki says he's disappointed at the response of Maori to Environment Bay of Plenty's proposed shift of its headquarters to Tauranga.

The regional council is meeting tonight on the district plan change needed for the relocation.

Mr Flavell says the Whakatane economy will feel the loss of 100 jobs.

He says the situation hasn't been helped by a split among Maori councilors, and the lack of direction from iwi.

“The ones who are associated with Tauranga say move to Tauranga, and the ones associated with Whakatane say leave it as it is. What I tried to do was get a letter out to all the iwi authorities and marae to seek some sort of feedback, and I sent out 20 plus letters and got two responses,” Mr Flavell says.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tainui women get moko kauae

A group of Tainui women are preparing to get the ancient moko kauae or chin tattoo.

70-year-old Te Aroha Tairakina says the moko will be done at Turangawaewae Marae on Friday and Saturday by ta moko experts Haki Williams and Mark Kopua from Tolaga Bay.

The moko will serve as a living tribute to the late Maori queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, and will mark the ascendence of King Tuheitia.

Mrs Tairakina has been thinking about getting a moko since Dame Te Ata suggested it more than 10 years ago.

“People were beginning to get themselves done, and she asked the question, why didn’t we women of Tainui do it? And so it’s taken 10 years for it to happen, and I don’t know, I suppose it wasn’t the right time, but we feel with her passing, it was a good idea just to honour her memory,” she says.

Mrs Tairakina says she's relieved the moko will be put on with modern tattooing needles, rather than the ancient chisel method.


A former candidate for the Auckland mayoralty says it's imperative more Maori stand and vote in local body elections.

Pauline Kingi, who is now the Auckland regional manager of Te Puni Kokiri, says the votes she pulled showed Maori will support a Maori candidate, if they can find one on the ballot.

She has no regrets about her unsuccessful campaign.

“I never regretted putting my hand up and having a go, because I think it’s vital. You can’t just stand back as a critic on the sideline and say ‘I’m not going to participate, but whatever you do, I’m not going to like.’ There’s something inherently negative about that approach. But the reason our people are not supporting is we haven’t got enough role models showing us that it's achievable,” Ms Kingi says.

She says under the current system, elections are the only way to ensure Maori have a voice at the table when decisions are made.


Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says setting up a trans-Tasman body to oversee natural remedies is a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.

She says the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill has minimal cross-party support, and the Government may struggle to get it passed into law.

Ms Kedgley says the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority will be based across the Tasman and it is unlikely to take the treaty into account.

“Frankly what is being proposed is a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and your right to use and if you wish commercialise any of your traditional herbs which you have used for centuries,” Ms Kedgley says.


A Tainui delegation including King Tuheitia is in Canada this week exploring ways to build cultural and economic exchanges with indigenous communities there.

Pauline Kingi, the Auckland manager of the Ministry for Maori development, says the trip is a sign of the increasing economic maturity of Maori.

Ms Kingi says while there was talk about such indigenous networks 20 or so years ago, they are more realistic now.

“When I was at Harvard I looked at the potential of us doing business with the United States, the Continent, with Chinese people through the Chinese economic zones but it’s taken 25 years for that to happen, and it’s happening now. They say there’s a time that comes and I think our time is here now,” Ms Kingi says.


A union-backed hui in Rotorua is looking for ways to improve the skills of Maori working in the forestry industry.

Syd Keepa from the Council of Trade Unions runanga says four in five workers in the sector are Maori.

Mr Keepa says the unions are concerned about safety, and they identified lack of training is often a cause of workplace accidents.

“We found out after doing a bit of a scope of the industry that it was due to training, and a lot of our people are shy in terms of fronting up to those Pakeha institutions, so what we developed was to try and learn them in a Maori concept rather than a Pakeha concept,” Mr Keepa says.

He says 90 delegates are attending the three day hui, run by the Engineering Printers and Manufacturing Union, and the Northern Distribution Union, and they'll be encouraged to take what they learn back to the worksite.


A doctoral researcher looking at coastal management says Maori need to be given more resources to participate in managing the resource.

Sarah Hemmingsen is finishing her PhD at the Australian National University in Canberra, after working with Ngai Tahu runanga while completing a Masters degree at Canterbury University.

She says while some of the processes described in the Resource Management Act, district plans and the Fisheries Act may look good on paper, the voluntary structure of most iwi organisations means it is a struggle for Maori to have effective input.

Ms Hemmingsen says the whole community is missing out as a result.

“There are a lot of people in these communities that have knowledge that is astounding. They can sit there and just look at the weather and tell you things about what will be happening, and if you go down and look, that is exactly what will be happening. So there needs to be recognition of the knowledge handed down, greater involvement, communication,” she says.

Prison to hotel plan backed

A proposal to scrap Wellington's Mt Crawford prison and build a tourist facility on the site is being backed by Maori.

The plan is the brainchild of economic development group Enterprise Miramar Peninsula and has provisional support from the Wellington City Council.

Peter Love of the Wellington Tenths Trust says the proposal is workable despite the shortage of prison beds at present.

Mr Love says he's told Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor that Mt Crawford Prison has passed its use by date.

“The public know that the prison, Mt Crawford, like Mt Eden, is faling apart. It’s almost irreparable it’s so old. So I suggested to the minister that we could maybe extend Rimutaka Prison. Crawford is not going to be the answer because it’s just too prohibitive to fix it,” he says.


Maori exporters are being invited to put their staff through a new course aimed at increasing the skill level of people working in the export sector.

New Zealand Export Academy director Mark Carrington says the course came out of his experience in logistics, where he saw the same mistakes being made over and over.

Mr Carrington says the academy has factored the needs of Maori exporters into the programme.

“It's really identifying for Maori how they will best move into various parts of the world and it fits with a lot of the work various Maori groups have been doing, in particular in relation to land-based based exports,” he says.

Mr Carrington says the academy is still waiting for NZQA accreditation, and it is talking to overseas tertiary organisations about offering an internationally recognised qualification.


The Prime Minister says marae trustees should be familiar with the grants available for installing in fire security systems in their whare.

A blaze gutted Mangakino wharenui Tamatea Pokai Whenua last week, destroying tribal taonga.

Helen Clark says such fires are a tragedy, and trustees should cast a wide net for support to protect their treasured buildings.

“It might be worth talking to TPK about it. In the past the Lotteries Board had an allocation for marae as well, but I’d certainly urge our marae to be thinking about putting in some prevention like that because it’s just a huge sorrow when we see this happen,” she says.


Taranaki's Ngati Tawhirikura hapu today signed an agreement to jointly manage a piece of its ancestral land in New Plymouth.

New Plymouth District Council bought the 26 hectare Rewa Rewa Reserve from the Ministry of Defence in 2005.

Ngati Tawhirikura spokesperson Rangi Kipa says the hapu wasn't able to afford the coastal land when it became surplus, and the council's involvement has allowed it to put forward a vision for the land.

“You have to have a bit of vision I think to let go some of the baggage that we’re had, at least here in Taranaki, and hold hands with the council and say ‘We’re ratepayers as well, and you should be protecting our interests and our ability to visualise a future that not only seeks to manifest our aspirations but can also contribute to the wider betterment of the community out there,” Mr Kipa says.

Plans for the block include an art and cultural heritage centre, a papakainga and a marae, as well as extending the existing coastal walkway.


Green MP Sue Kedgley says Maori rongoa practitioners and users will suffer under the proposed trans Tasman regulatory body which will oversee therapeutic products.

Ms Kedgley says almost all the submissions received by the select committee considering the bill oppose the new agency.

She says while individuals may be able to keep using traditional medicines like kawakawa, it would stop rongoa practioners bottling up remedies based on native plants.

“You would have to apply at huge expense for a licence to be able to sell your traditional herbs and remedies, and I thought that the Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed Maori protection of their fauna and flora,” Ms Kedgley says.

She says the Government may not have the numbers to get the bill through parliament.


An advisor to the Community Organisation Grant scheme says more Maori groups should apply for support.

Margaret Hudson says COGs usually gives out grants of under $3000 to non-profit community groups.

Maori are one of ten priority areas for funding, along with rural based programmes and those aimed at the elderly and tamariki.

“A lot of marae apply for COGs grants. Some of the hui they may be looking at are the regular monthly hui by kaumatua and kuia, or it might be Maori Women’s Welfare League. Maori wardens, so Maori groups would certainly have access to the funds available, and we would love to see many more apply,” Ms Hudson says.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ngapuhi acted on social services scandal

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the Northland tribe's runanga had acted quickly when it discovered money missing from its social services arm.

The runanga has come under fire from a disaffected tribal member over the departure of former Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services chief executive Arapeta Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton was stood down last December, then sacked when a forensic audit ordered by the runanga revealed up to a million dollars had been siphoned off from the social services agency over the past three years.

Mr Tau says the runanga's priority has been to ensure services are maintained.

“None of the services have suffered, The contractual obligations and outcomes were fully met, and Child, Youth and Family, who by and large is the contracted agency, commissioned its own inquiry at the time and they are fully satisfied that the contractual obligations were met,” Mr Tau says.

The fraud was discovered because the Ngapuhi Runanga moved to bring the social services arm under its direct control, rather than being run by an independent board.


The director of the New Zealand Export Academy says Maori busineses would benefit from sponsoring students through the course.

Mark Carrington says the Hawkes Bay-based academy is a response to a shortage of skills in the sector, with exporters struggling to recruit staff with export knowledge.

Mr Carrington says that includes the many Maori businesses involved in land-based exports, who may see the opportunity to upskill their staff.

“There was a recent business survey that identified a number of New Zealand businesses had staff that came out of the baby boom years and are approaching their retirement years, and we are hearing of a skill shortage currently, but it would be our view that that skills shortage is going to increase in the next few years as people leave the workforce,” Mr Carrington says.

The first intake for the New Zealand Export Academy will be early next year.


The head of the Marlborough Museum says the time is right for iwi to work more closely with the museum sector to ensure tribal taonga are protected.

Steve Austin says a blaze which gutted a Mangakino marae last week is a reminder of how vulnerable taonga can be if they are in marae without adequate fire protection.

Steve Austin says there are Maori now working in museums, and more dialogue is needed with iwi so taonga remain accessible but well cared for.

“There’s a real opportunity for iwi to develop facilities, if those resources are there, that do meet the criteria that a lot of museums have in terms of fire protection and security and I would say that generally iwi would find museums are worthy partners in that endeavour,” Mr Austin says.

The Marlborough Museum has just opened a new show of taonga from its region.


A lawyer involved in the Wai 262 indigenous fauna and flora claim says it's long overdue for the claim to be resolved.

Grant Powell has been acting for Ngati Kahungunu since the claim was lodged by members of six iwi back in 1991.

Mr Powell says while the Crown may try to argue the country has moved on, none of the issues raised have been resolved, and in many cases Maori seem further disadvantaged when it comes to questions of resource management, environmental protection and intellectual property rights.

He says the passage of time has taken its toll.

“Eight of the Ngati Kahungunu witnesses who have given evidence in the three Ngati Kahungunu evidence hearings have passed away. We’ve lost two of the four senior lawyers involved in the claim, lost the judge. We’ve definitely got to bring this thing to a conclusion before we lost anybody else,” Mr Powell says.

The hearing continues today at Orakei Marae in Auckland, with lawyers for Northland tribes summing up.


The principal of an Auckland kura kaupapa says Maori immersion schools face a continual battle for access resources.

Katene Paenga heads Te Kura Kaupapa o te Puao o te Moananui a Kiwa in Glen Innes, which has just secured a 5 million dollar education ministry grant to build a new five classroom facility.

Mr Paenga says the kura has been occupying various former mainstream school sites since it opened in 1990, and it has only survived because of the phenomenal support it has been able to gain from the community.

He says it's a similar story throughout the country.

“Kura kaupapa Maori is still having to prove our worth, having to say to the ministry, to the government, look, we’ve been around for 25 years now and we’re still having to demand and fight for our resources,” Mr Paenga says.

The kura aims to become a composite school, taking children from primary through to secondary level.


Tai Tokerau kicked off its Matariki celebrations over the long weekend with art exhibitions and kite-making.

Co-ordinator Jacqui Walters says the Whangarei workship attracted Maori and non-Maori alike to learn from renowned kitemaker, Harko Brown.

The Northland man flies kites competitively, and was part of a Maori delegation to the world kite flying championships held in Europe last year.
Ms Walters says it was an inspiring start to the Maori new year.

“Harko Brown is really an amazing man and it was great seeing him at work. He is so encouraging and understanding of people and their creativity and the kites were really interesting, He gave people quite a lot of creative freedom and it was fascinating to see what people came up with,” Ms Walters says.

Claim chance to change relationship

The lawyer for Ngati Kahungunu treaty claimants says the Wai 262 claim is a real chance to change the way the Government deals with Maori people.

Grant Powell opened the final hearing on the claim at Orakei Marae in Auckland with a summary of the evidence the Hawkes Bay iwi has submitted over the past nine years.

Mr Powell says the multi-iwi claim quickly expanded beyond its original focus on indigenous fauna and flora because at its heart are the Treaty of Waitangi guarantees of tino rangatiratanga, which has been translated as everything from chiefly authority to full sovereignty.

“What is the proper place of Maori within the New Zealand legal framework, within the intellectual property framework, within the environmental management regimes, within local government. We’re always going to have unresolved issues, so the faster we can grasp hold of it, complete this claim and get on to working through the issues, the better,” Mr Powell says.


Maori and Pacific Island workers will have a big say in whether an offer to avert rolling strikes in the country's public hospitals will be accepted.

2000 members of the Food and Service Workers Union will vote later in the week on whether to accept a 50 cent an hour pay rise.

Union spokesperson Alistair Duncan says they're workers whose efforts go largely unseen.

“We estimate that 60 percent, that’s six out of 10 people are either Maori or Pacific Island, and these really are the invisible heroes and heroines of our public hospitals. They’re the cleaning staff. They’re the orderlies. They’re the food services. They’re not doing work that is seen as glamorous, but without them the hospital simply doesn't function,” Mr Duncan says.


The secretary of a Taupo land trust says the discovery of human skeletons on the land is no reason to stop a $30 million dollar subdivision.

Andrew Kusabs from Hiruharama Ponui Trust says the majority of owners agreed to give developers Symphony Group an 80-year lease over a small part of the 800 hectare block.

A small minority who objected started occupying the land when bones were found last month.

Mr Kusabs says the bones, and the 140-year-old female skeleton found last year, were not in a known urupa, and there is no reason to think any other bones will be disturbed.

“The area takes its name from Ponui Pa. Ponui is the fighting pa of Ngati Rauhoto a tia, which is further down the road, and there’s every prspect that someone got killed and was left behind, or it might have even been part of a cannibal breakfast. You don’t really know what’s happened there,” Mr Kusabs says.

The subdivision will give the trust could have an income until the forest of the rest of the block matures, and it has saved the best lakeside land for a serviced camping ground for owners.


Greens Maori Affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei says Maori should be wary of switching their land to dairy production.

Ms Turei says World Environment Day today was a good opportunity for Maori to consider the way they use their land.

High dairy prices is encouraging many dry stock farmers to convert, but Ms Turei says the environmental price may be too high.

“There's a big push at the moment for Maori industry to look at ways of becoming more sustainable in terms of environmental impacts. A lot of our Maori business in agriculture is in sheep and beef. There is growing dairy across the country, and I think we need to be careful about our investment in dairy,” she says.

Ms Turei says run-off from dairy operations can pollute waterways, affecting the Maori communities who collect kai downstream.


Work has started on the country's newest purpose-built kura.

Te Kura Kaupapa o Puao o te Moananui a Kiwa has received $5.2 million to build a new facility on the site of a former Intermediate in the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes.

Principal Katene Paenga says since the kura started in 1990, it has occupied classrooms in the former Tamaki Girls High and other schools.
He says despite such limitations, it has built up the community and whanau support needed to guarantee a steady flow of students.

“The Karaka family, the Nathans, the Nichol whanau, whaea Esther and all of the principals, were the force behind Puao always going forward, and now we’ve reached the stage we’re getting a new school,” Mr Paenga says.

The kura is seeking composite status, so it can take children from primary to secondary levels.


The head of the Marlborough Museum says ancient taonga can be a catalyst for better understanding across cultures and generations.

The museum has just opened Kei Puta Te Wairau, an exhibition of taonga from the region.

Steve Austin says nearly three quarters of the Marlborough's residents been in the area for less than 10 years, so the exhibition gives them a different view of the place they have come to live.

“A number of artifacts are made from pakohe, which is argillite, an interesting stone, it’s harder than iron. There are a number of artifacts found on the Wairau Bar, fishhooks which were found at Rarangi. It’s a great exhibition from that point of view,” Mr Austin says.

Other taonga include a carved whale rib, stone sinkers, and a raincloak made from the nei nei tree which grows in the Wairau Valley.

Monday, June 04, 2007

WAI 252 to Orakei for penultimate hearing

Hearings for the long running Wai 262 Maori fauna and flora claim are almost over, with the Waitangi Tribunal sitting at Orakei Marae this week for final submissions from claimants.

The tribunal will try to pull together almost nine years of evidence on a bewildering array of topics.

The claim was lodged in 1991 on behalf of six iwi concerned at the challenges faced by Maori who sought to use native plants and animals in a traditional way.

It quickly expanded to cover intellectual property issues, matauranga Maori or Maori knowledge, environmental management, the education system, the health system as it affects rongoa or traditional medecine, and even the way the Government signs this country up to international treaties.

The claimants this week will argue the tribunal has the evidence before it say where the treaty has been breached, and what needs to change.

Next week in Wellington the Crown gets its final right of reply before the tribunal goes off to write its report.


The Queen's Birthday Honours brought recognition to a number of Maori who have been quietly working behind the scenes in their communities.

Names which surfaced this weekend included long time Napier community worker Marjorie Joe, Justices of the peace Hemana Manuera from Te Teko and Maurice Rahipere from Tauranga, Rangitane kaumatua Jim Rimene from Masterton, and Rangi Maika from Rotorua, one of the stalwarts of the Te Arawa paepae.

More well known names included writer Patricia Grace, Capital and Coast District Health Board chair Bob Henare, businessperson and Maori Television chair Wayne Walden and Prison Fellowship head Kim Workman.

Mr Workman, from Ngati Kahungunu, says his Queen's Service Order for services to prison welfare is a welcome acknowledgement for the work of many unsung people.

“Not an activity that easily gets acknowledged. There’s about 3000 volunteers who go into the prisons about New Zealand but I think it’s an acknowledgement, not for me so much, but for all those other people who are doing that work,” Mr Workman says.


The New Zealand Rugby League's most capped Test player says he never expected to end up on the honours list when he embarked on his professional sports career.

Ruben Wiki was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to sport.

Otara-raised Wiki, who has Maori and Samoan whakapapa, has played almost 270 first grade games.

He has also strapped his boots on for 55 tests for the Kiwi's, 18 of them as captain.

Wiki says awards were a long way from his mind when he left New Zealand as a teenager with a professional contract with the Canberra Raiders.

“When I left the shores back in the day, I just wanted to play with Mel Meninga, and 15 years down the track I’m getting an honour from the Queen, so that’s pretty huge eh,” Wiki says.


The chairperson of the Hawke's Bay's Ngati Kahungunu iwi says this week's Waitangi Tribunal hearing is about the grandfather of all claims.

The tribunal is a Orakei Marae in Auckland to hear final submissions on the long running Wai 262 claim, with Kahungunu first up.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says while it's often referred to as the fauna and flora claim, it has expanded to include questions of intellectual property, environmental management and government policy across a range of departments.

“It is about our whakapapa, our intellectual property, our knowledge base, and everything associated with it. We were here 1000 years before any Pakeha arrived and we built up a philosophy and a kaupapa about who we are, what we are, what we stood for. What we want is acknowledgement of that in a legal framework,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says the Crown is not the only source of rights in Aotearoa.


The Greens says the two main parties are yet to produce policies which address the hardships faced by the country's poor.

Co-leader Jeanette Fitzimons says Labour's Working for Families package and the Kiwisaver package discriminate against people who for whatever reason cannot work.

Ms Fitzimons says too many Maori are still not working, or working in low wage jobs.

“We have a treaty obligation that the Greens take extremely seriously to make sure that all our people are treated fairly, and of course Maori wouldn’t be so disproportionately represented in the low income group if they had their due entitlement of their land back and their status in society recognized,” Ms Fitzsimons says.

The party held its annual conference in Nelson over the weekend.


Novelist Patricia Grace says her Queens Birthday honour is down to the supportive family and community she has around her.

Mrs Grace from Ngati Toa, Ngati Raukawa and Te Atiawa was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, the equivalent of a Dame under the previous honours system.

Since her first collection of short stories, Waiariki, was published in 1975, Mrs Grace has been a prolific writer of short stories, children's books and novels.

She says the honour belongs to many people around her, especially her husband Dick Grace.

I've been very fortunate that I’ve been able to be a full time writer since 1985, which not so many New Zealand writers have the luxury of being. Dick’s support in all sorts of ways including moral support and advice and so forth has been really important, so I’m glad for his sake as well,” Mrs Grace says.

Other Maori in the creative sector to be honoured were singer Tina Cross, who was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and filmmaker Barry Barclay, who became a member of the Order,