Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 15, 2007

Crown getting what it paid for

A member of Auckland's Kawerau a Maki iwi says the Crown is now paying for a shonky claim settlement process.

The Waitangi Tribunal has recommended the Government put its settlement with Ngati Whatua o Orakei on hold until it has negotiated with other tangata whenua iwi in the region.

Te Warena Taua says since the Office of Treaty Settlements opened talks with Ngati Whatua in 2003, other iwi groups tried to be heard.

He says officials ignored the warnings, and are now facing the consequences.

“They should come clean because they knew all along whom the other people were. They cannot say that they didn’t. I would say there was a bit of mockery going on in this whole thing, and that there were individuals who had quite come mana in moving them to this position and that position and going down a particular track,” Mr Taua says.

He says the Office of Treaty Settlements tried to rewrite the history of Tamaki Makaurua to the benefit of one favoured hapu.


Te Wananga o Aotearoa's Waiariki manager says the organisation is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

The wananga has just graduated 1000 students from its four Bay of Plenty campuses.

Jim McTamney says the graduation celebration was a boost to staff morale, which has been low after redundancies and course cutting put in place after the Crown took over control of the institution in 2005.

He says they're determined to rebuild.

“The kaupapa will never change, the opportunity for learning will never change, but what we needed to adjust we have adjusted to succeed and reclaim the spot we have, which is a main provider in tertiary Maori education in New Zealand,” Mr McTamney says.

The oldest person to graduate was an 86 year old Pakeha woman learning te reo Maori.


Maori comedian and pork ambassador Mike King says try as he may, he's been unable to convince the pork marketers to push a Maori favourite.

He was at the Mystery Creek field days in the Waikato today wearing his chef's hat to cook up some of his favourite recipes.

The host of Mike's Meals cooking show says that, sadly, the bais of a good boil-up is not on the menu.

“I make up most of the recipes n there and I’ve been trying to get pork bones in there, but they just won’t wear it. They say ‘How about we call it pork balls, and just use the same ingredients,’” he says.


New te reo Maori resources for those dealing with overseas visitors have been enthusiastically accepted by Maori operators.

The Maori language commission unveiled the resource pack at this week's Maori Tourism Council conference in Taupo.

Chief executive Huhana Rokx says the posters, booklets and desk signage will help give the whole sector some of Maori flavour most visitors are looking for.

“In terms of the Maori operators, they’re already incorporating aspects of their own culture, their Maoritanga, into the services that they operate. I think there were about 110 Maori tourism operators there, and once they were made aware of where the resources were, there was a run on that,” she says.

Huhana Rokx says the resources should be widely available from Maori language week in July.


National's treaty spokesperson says the treaty settlement process is in danger of collapse.

Chris Finlayson says the Waitangi Tribunal's report on the Tamakai Makaurau Settlement shows what happens when the Crown plays favourites with claimants.

The tribunal has recommended the Government put its settlement with Ngati Whatua o Orakei on hold until it has negotiated deals with other Auckland claimants.

Mr Finlayson says the Office of Treaty Settlements has tried to sideline the Waitangi Tribunal process in favour of direct negotiations with selected iwi.

“The wisest thing always to do is have a tribunal hearing, get the record out, and on that basis proceed to a negotiated settlement, or maybe you could do both in parallel, but thinking you can do quick and dirty deals with individual iwi or hapu is just, I think, a process that is fraught with danger,” Mr Finlayson says.

The Government will face a further challenge next week, when the Te Roroa Settlement Bill comes back to the House.

National won't support the bill because it believes the proposed settlement shortchanges the Waipoua Forest iwi and isn't durable.


Hapu from the coast from Port Waikato to the Mokau River are meeting at Pukerewa Marae in Waikeretu tomorrow to sign a memorandum of agreement with the Fisheries Ministry.

Terry Lynch, the Ministry's Maori policy manager, says Nga Hapu o Te Uru o Tainui have been working for some years on issues like management of customary fisheries.

He says the new relationship should help the ministry integrate iwi values into its decisions on issues like changes to the quota management system.

“This sort of process will bring a focus around Maori participation at the level of involvement in setting the setting of total allowable catches and other bigger ministry-led sustainability processes where it is very important for Maori to be having a voice at the table,” Mr Lynch says.

The Fisheries Ministry has similar memoranda in place with iwi in the Bay of Plenty and the top of the South Island, and it is developing them in other regions.


Later tonight guests at a gala dinner in Rotorua will find out which farmer has won the Ahuwhenua Trophy for Maori Farmer of the Year.

This year it's a face off between sheep and beef operations, with efforts in the dairying sector are acknowledged on alternate years.

Roger Pikia from Agresearch says the judges had their work cut out to find the winner.

“Three very very good performers. A property from Ngati Porou, the Matariki Partnership. Tuaropaki Trust from the Central North Island and Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation, one of their 14 stations, Pah Hill Station, as finalists,” he says.

The judges consider governance, financial performance, sustainability and the cultural dimension of Maori farming.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Auckland settlement worst ever

The Waitangi Tribunal has told the Government to hold off on settlement of Auckland land claims until negotiations are complete with all tangata whenua groups.

In a hard hitting report released today, the tribunal says the deal reached last year with Ngati Whatua o Orakei is unfair to other iwi and it is unlikely to endure.

It also contains some scathing criticism of the Office of Treaty Settlements.

The Office has met with Ngati Whatua negotiators more than 100 times since 2003, but it refused to fully engage with any other iwi with historical links to Tamaki Makaurau until after the Orakei hapu signed an agreement in principle a year ago.

The tribunal says the office’s pattern of picking winners damages the whanaungatanga or relatedness which is at the core of being Maori.

It says the process followed in Auckland was too flawed to allow the settlement ot go ahead.

While Ngati Whatua would get huge advantages by being the first cab off the rank, there is no process in place to ensure other iwi get heard, let alone that the Crown would have any assets to settle with.

The tribunal says that both the Crown and Ngati Whatua decided not to be candid with the inquiry, and while it’s going too far to say witnesses lied, they definitely chose to provide only partial answers to key questions.


The Waitangi Tribunal's Tamaki Makauru Settlement Process Report has been welcomed by cross claimants.

Marutuahu member and lawyer Paul Majurey says the tribunal has made it clear that the Crown failed to inform itself of the complex web of shared histories and relationships across the Auckland isthmus.

Marutuahu will ask the Crown to accept the tribunal's recommendations and work through the process it has outlined.

Mr Majurey says Ngati Whatua needs to set its settlement aside for now.

“Nothing can really happen without Ngati Whatua. They are part of the story of Auckland. And so without knowing exactly how they are going to react, what our real hope is is that they are going to respect the recommendations of the tribunal, see them for what they are in terms of trying to achieve a just outcome for all, and join in that process so that they can move speedily to their own settlement along with all the other tangata whenua,” Mr Majurey says.


Meanwhile, Ngati Whatua o Orakei says it's up to the Crown what happens with the Waitangi Tribunal report.

But spokesperson Ngarimu Blair says Ngati Whatua believes its settlement should go ahead.

“We believe there is still a lot of redress opportunities for those cross claimants who can prove ultimately that they have a relationship and a right to the wider Auckland isthmus. We hope that they do get to the table with the Crown as soon as possible,” Mr Blair says.

The Treaty Negotiations Minister says the tribunal's recommendations represent a significant shift way from the current Crown approach.

Mark Burton says if accepted they would delay settlements not just for Ngati Whatua but for other claims around the country, and he will be seeking alternate ways to achieve what the tribunal is suggesting.


The Government's treaty settlement process is in turmoil today, with the Waitangi Tribunal calling the proposed Auckland settlement the most flawed it has seen.

The tribunal has recommended the Crown go back to the start and negotiate with all iwi with interests in Tamaki Makaurau, not just the Orakei hapu of Ngati Whatua.

It says the proposed settlement was negotiated in such a secretive fashion it can't even work out what it was worth, let alone whether there's anything left to settle with other tribes.

Ngati Whatua is supposed to get several million dollars in cash, the right to buy naval housing in Devonport, a right of first refusal on surplus Crown properties across Auckland, as well as exclusive ownership of three of the city's iconic volcanoes.

Paul Majurey from the Marutuahu tribes says it represents a stunning defeat for the Crown and an indictment of the Office of Treaty Settlements.

“They're saying at the general level the process is fatally flawed, it’s creating division, it’s pitting whanaunga against whanaunga, and within Auckland they’re saying this is the worst treaty settlement they have ever seen. And that’s why we have an unprecedented recommendation by the Waitangi Tribunal that the settlement must stop in its tracks. It’s never happened before,” he says.

The Government needs to accept the recommendations and start talks with other claimant iwi.


Tonight is the big night on the agribusiness calendar with the naming of this year's winner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the Maori farm of the year.

Roger Pikia from Agresearch says the awards recognise the contribution Maori make to New Zealand agriculture, and they're also a way to showcase innovative ideas and best practice.

He says the winning farm has to impress the judges on a number of levels.

“The interaction between the governing board and obviously the owners and shareholders, bottom line performance, sustainability I guess is a huge one, it’s a given within Maori agribusiness in any case, given the inter-generational nature if the businesses,” Mr Pikia says.


An up and coming Maori baritone says he'll have to go overseas to further his operatic career.

Phillip Rhodes of Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Awa says winning this year's Lexus Song Quest has opened doors internationally.

To sustain his success, he'll have to follow previous winner like Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Dame Malvina Major and leave the country.

“We’ll eventually get overseas and earn some real money, because that doesn’t quite happen here in New Zealand. There’s limited opportunities and a lot of people have got to work and we don’t really have the funds to support an artist or many artists, so the goal is to get overseas,” he says.

Rhodes is now rehearsing Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, which is playing in Wellington as part of the NZI Winter Season.

Treaty office blamed for turmoil

National leader John Key says the Office of Treaty Settlements must shoulder much of the blame for the current turmoil in the treaty sector.

The Waitangi Tribunal will tomorrow release its report on the process used to reach an agreement in principle to settle Ngati Whatua o Orakei's claims to central Auckland.

Next week the tribunal will release a similar report on the proposed Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa settlement, and the Federation of Maori Authorities will be in the Court of Appeal over the use of Kaingaroa Forest land in that settlement.

Mr Key met last night with lawyers involved in treaty claims to get a briefing on the process.

He says it's clear there are major problems with the settlement process and the way OTS goes about its work.

“OTS has got to take its fair share of flak, and I think in part one of the things that is happening, if I can respectfully say this to OTS, is that they are putting up some pretty junior people sometimes in these negotiations, which isn’t necessarily working well, up against some pretty senior people, and it’s partly just a respect issue, so there are real issues there,” Mr Key says.

He says it's not wise to aim for speedy settlements at the expense of durability.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says big Maori incorporations are increasingly working together to seek new opportunities.

Parekura Horomia has been visiting the agricultural field days at Mystery Creek, where he says many Maori farmers are among those doing deals in the backrooms.

He says in some parts of the country the Maori affinity for the land is being expressed in a very tangible fashion.

“In Wairoa where most of the bnuy-ups are by big Maori incorporations. Same as on the East Coast. A lot of these big farming conglomerates are really muscling up. It’s how they get together collectively and use that leverage,” Mr Horomia says.

Maori incorporations are now looking at how they can encourage their young people to get the skills needed to take up farm management positions.


An art auction to raised funds for a Waikato Maori health provider has raised more than $20,000.

Tureiti Moxon from Te Kohao Health says buyers put their hands up for 75 works by artists including Para Matchitt, Lisa Ormsby and master-carver Ray Mihaere.

She says the top price went to a work by a Tainui artist.

“Fred Graham gave us a drawing, Kaitiaki, and it was a statue of a hawk with a living hawk flying with the sun behind it, and it was absolutely stunning, and that fetched the highest amount on money of the night,” she says.

The money is going towards a new $3 million building for the service, which has about 5000 people on its books.


New Zealand First's justice spokesperson says the number of gang members in prison makes a nonsense of efforts of rehabilitate other prisoners.

Ron Mark says figures released to the law and order select committee show the prison muster now stands at more than 8000 inmates.

He says a quarter of the prisoners are affiliated to one of 32 gangs, whose members stand over other prisoners and pose a threat to staff.

Mr Mark says a disproportionate number are Maori.

“Unfortunately those are the extended whanaunga we have who we often see on our television screens, be it Black Power or Mongrel Mob. They’re the dumb end of the criminal fraternity. Regretfully though, they tend to leave a lot more victims on the streets,” Mr Mark says.


The pressures on whanau to care for their elderly is being blamed for abuse of kuia and kaumatua.

Tauranga marae manager Te Moata Willison says many whanau don't know what support they can get to help them care for maatua.

She says it's often hard to balance cultural obligations with economic reality.

“The pressure’s on families to take care of their elderly people. That tends to I gues put them into situations where abuse occurs, and it’s not to say it’s intentional. It’s just all of the pressures that are placed on families to actually support their elderly people, let alone supporting their own families,” Ms Willison says.

She is organising a hui of mainstream service providers at Huria Marae next week, so whanau can learn what's available.


Pupils from Te Kura o Maketu have an early start to school tomorrow.

They'll be up before dawn to look for the seven stars of Matariki, which mark the Maori new year.

Spokeswoman Toni Cummins says the day will also include a fashion show, kapa haka performance, art presentations and a hangi.

“We've been studying Matariki all term, that’s been our focus, looking at the stars and it’s been awesome. The kids are excited, they’re looking forward to it, but I don’t know if they’re looking forward to getting up and how they’re going to survive at five o’clock in the morning,” Mrs Cummins says.

The school day will finish at lunch, to compensate for the early start.


Work by Maori artists from the central North Island is on show this week at the Toi Ake Tuwharetoa art and design expo in Turangi.

Keri Ivory from Tuwharetoa and Ngati Kahungunu, who sculpts in paper mache, says the Matariki event is a great opportunity for Maori artists to share ideas.

She switched her own art practice from weaving to sculpture after visiting an agricultural field day and seeing a paper sculpture of a women in a doorway.

“And it actually made you open the door and see if she had gone through, and I thought ‘Gosh that’s beautiful,’ and so I started working with paper and the human form is pretty cool, so I do faces, bodies, torsos, all sorts,” Ivory says.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Field days key to unlocking dairy mystery

Expect a lot of Maori farmers at the Mystery Creek field days this week, as they join their colleagues in weighing up whether to shift to dairying.

Kingi Smiler from Pouakani Farms near Mangakino says that's the sort of question farmers are asking as they look at high milk fat prices.

He says Pouakani, a past winner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy for best Maori farm, hasn't looked back since it converted some of its blocks.

“A lot of our incorporations have land that may be available for conversion to dairy. It’s sheep and beef farming at the moment. Certainly in the central plateau region I would expect that to accelerate over the next three to five years with price trends forecast to be high next year and continuing the next couple of years,” Mr Smiler says.


The organiser of a hui on the abuse of elders says agencies need to be sensitive when dealing with the problem.

The hui at Ruapotaka marae in Glen Innes is to mark World Elder Abuse and Neglect Awareness Day.

Keita Dawson, who runs a disability service in South Auckland for kuia and kaumatua, says many whanau neglect their elders because of naivety, or they don't appreciate how others may be taking advantage of relatives with dementia.

She says it's an issue that needs to be dealt with face to face.

“Instead of taking the education to the community, we’re focusing on whanau, because I felt there’s more value for whaanu to be spoke to in their own home, and it’s private, and dirty washing don’t get laundered somewhere else, and it’s a sensitive approach to all that. Otherwise whanau are not going to take any notice of you,” Ms Dawson says.


Iwi are gearing up for the rising of the constellation Matariki, or Pleiades as the ancient Greeks called it.

Haare Williams, the Maori advisor to Manukau City Council, says Matariki is a cultural event unique to Aotearoa, and should be celebrated.

Maori mark the new year from the first new moon after the rising of the constellation, which this year is on Saturday.

“We have other cultures that celebrate leprechauns and Santa Claus and Jesus Christ and dragons and things that relate to their cultures, but here in New Zealand we have taniwha, we have Patupaiarehe, and of course Matariki is one of the most dominant features of our calendar,” Mr Williams says.

Manukau is marking Matariki with kite flying, seminars and kapa haka performances.


There's a call for papers for the fourth young Maori leaders' conference later this year.

Te Kohu Douglas from FIRST, the Foundation for Indigenous Research, Science and Technology, says the conferences follow a tradition dating back to 1939 of young Maori networking and sharing ideas.

He says rather than tell participants what leadership is, the foundation wants the delegates to set the tone of the conference through the papers, which will be discussed in break-out sessions.

“There's so much we an talk about in this issue, and so many people that can offer something, that we can’t have it all in plenary sessions. And so the more contributions we can get from younger people, the better it will be for all of us,” Mr Douglas says.

The Take Up the Challenge young Maori leaders’ conference will be held in October in the Wellington Town Hall.


The chair of one of the largest Maori farmers says landowners could do more to get their young people interested in the sector.

Kingi Smiler from Pouakani Farms says few young Maori seem to want a career on the land.

But he says the rewards are good for those who persist, and owners should look at ideas like cadetships for young people in the wider whanau.

“We're noticing on our farms we’re having the opportunity to attract some of our shareholder’s whanau, but certainly it’s a job opportunity that has a lot of potential and we continue to encourage the whanau to work in the sector and more particularly we’re looking eventually for our whanau to be managing and running all the farms on Pouakani,” Mr Smiler says.

Pouakani has a number of blocks around Mangakino in the central North Island, and is a past winner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy for best Maori farmer.


A linguist who worked on a new dictionary for learners of te reo Maori says the book should stop some of the bad habits students pick up.

Brian Morris says previous dictionaries translated Maori words in into English or vice versa, but Tirohia Kimihia gives Maori definitions of Maori words.

He says that means the Maori thought process isn't disrupted.

“Been so use to the English language mediating a lot of our learning and understanding for learners. A lot of what comes out of their mouths is actually an English thought process in Maori language, so what this does, it puts it in a Maori way of expressing the language,” Mr Morris says.

Five linguists spent seven years researching the dictionary, which is a finalist in the reference section of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Clean slate act needs review

Green Party MP Nandor Tanczos says it's time to review the Clean Slate Act.

He sponsored the bill which allows for some criminal convictions to be wiped from an offender's record after seven years.

The clean slate process can be particularly valuable for Maori, becuase of the disproportionate rate of arrests and imprisonment of young Maori men.

Mr Tanczos says the Act only applies to New Zealand, so many people are caught out when they are denied access to other countries.

He says it's also limited when it comes to offences which carry prison terms.

“It should be extended because we introduces a very modest clean slate regime in this country, and if we really believe in rehabilitation, giving people the opportunity to put their past behind them and make a fresh start, I think we have to be prepared to go further and allow it to cover at least sentences of imprisonment,” Mr Tanzcos says.

He wants to meet the Minister of Justice to see what mechanisms are in place to monitor the Act's effects.


A south Auckland Maori health service believes more needs to be done to prevent abuse of elders.

Keita Dawson from Te Oranga kaumatua kuia disability service says urbanisation means Maori communities no longer share the responsibility of looking after their elderly.

She participated in a four-year research programme which found a link between dementia or mental illness and elder abuse.

“Ninetynine percent of our kaumatua kuia during that research work who were victims of abuse also had some form of dementia. They are the most vulnerable,” Ms Dawson says.

A hui tomorrow at Ruapotaka Marae in Glen Innes will Maori perspectives on the elder abuse and neglect.


A proposed walking track along some of Taranaki's most rugged terrain will promote some significant Maori sites.

The Department of Conservation wants to build a 40 kilometre track from the coast to the summit of Mt Taranaki through the Kaitake and Pouakai ranges.

Robert Bennett, DoC's Stratford area manager, says Taranaki Tuturu will be asked to tell the stories of places along the way, particularly the high peaks.

“A number of these sites are associated with reasonably significant events in Taranaki history, where Waikato tribes came down and invaded the local iwi. The locals moved up0 to some of these fortified pa sites which are now within the park,” he says.

The track could be completed by 2010, if it is approved as part of the planning process for Mt Egmont National Park.


Passion and drive are what entertainer Pio Terei will be looking for when selecting candidates for a prestigious scholarship.

The Te Rarawa man has joined the judging panel for the AMP Premium Scholarship, which has a putea of $80,000 to distribute among 12 high achievers in business, arts or sports.

Mr Terei says previous recipients such as Northland-raised squash champion Shelley Kitchen should inspire more talented Maori to apply.

“The money is there for people who deserve it, and I reckon we should go for it. There will of course be some wonderful Maori candidates who come up, and they will be judged on their merits,” Mr Terei says.

Applications to the AMP scholarship close at the end of the month.


The Maori Party is challenging new rules for immigration.

The Government is making it easier for skilled people to settle here, and it is also dropping language requirements for people willing to invest over two and a half million dollars here.

Party co-leader Tariana Turia says once again the government has failed to consult Maori on who settles here.

She says the number of people coming in is cause for concern.

“We do not need the level of immigration we have in this country, some 40 to 50,000 a year. We simply don’t have the infrastructure to meet the health needs of those people who live here and are from here,” Mrs Turia says.


The ban on junk food in schools has riled National's Maori affairs spokesperson.

Georgina te Heuheu says it's up to parents to teach their tamariki about nutrition, not the government.

She says if Maori truly believe tamariki are the future of the people, they should give them healthy food.


Some of Te Arawa's most precious taonga have gone on show at the Rotorua Museum.

They are items collected by Gilbert Mair, known to Maori as Tawa, who led Te Arawa forces in the wars of the 1860s and 1870s.

Paul Tapsell, the Maori curator of the Auckland War Memorial Museum where Mair's collection is held, says the taonga in the Ko Tawa show were gifted by friend and foe alike.

He says Mair understood the obligations contained in such gifts, which create continuing obligations to iwi.

“Most of them when they do engage with the taonga, they realise that their tupuna presented these taonga as gifts to Gilbert Mair, but not just gifts like ‘Here you can have this,’ but ‘This is who we are,’ and Gilbert Mair at the time understood the obligations sitting behind the gift,” Dr Tapsell says.

Ko Tawa will remain under the mana of the Ngati Whakaue until August, when it will be handed over to Ngati Tuwharetoa for exhibition in Taupo.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Witarina Harris joins her ancestors

Te Arawa matriarch Witarina Harris is to be buried today among her ancestors.

Hundreds of people have been through Rotorua's Te Papaiouru Marae to acknowledge of the kuia, who died on Sunday at the age of 101.

Rotorua historian Don Stafford says her life would make a great subject for a book.

He has special memories of spending time with Witarina at her home at Te Koutu, on the shores of Lake Rotorua.

“I would certainly like to farewell Witarina, who I’ve known for a great many many years. I can’t think of anyone who has actually been more respected and loved in this district for so long. Haere ra e kui. Haere ra i te po. Haere ki te ao marama. Haere ki te iwi.”

The funeral for Witarina Harris starts at 11 at Tamatekau Marae in Ohinemutu.


A top of the South Island iwi wants action on implementing the Maori commercial aquaculture settlement.

Richard Bradley from Ngati Rangitane says the Government's new Blue Horizons policy fails to address many of the main impediments to Maori getting into marine farming.

The policy released last week includes a $2 million contestable fund to help councils with the cost of creating new aquaculture management areas, and the appointment of a Maori economic development manager for the industry.

Mr Bradley says the reality is most iwi won't start getting access to the marine farming space they are due for at least six years.

“For iwi to actually get what they’re entitled to under the settlement act, we actually need to have a settlement now. To have to wait until 2013 is more of what’s happening in other parts of the settlement industry, justice delayed is justice denied,” he says.

Rangitane is working with Marlborough District Council to try to get around the problems in the settlement Act.


The man responsible for commissioning programmes for Maori Television says it's wrong to assume the channel is competing with mainstream broadcasters.

Larry Parr says there is a marked difference in the funding the new challenge can access compared with Television New Zealand and TV3.

He says the channel has to look for cost effective programming ideas which appeal to its audience, rather than compete with the major players for market share.

“We can't afford to think about ourselves being in competition with them because we just don’t have the money to think like that. So really what we try and do is just concentrate on what we can do with the putea that we have and come up with programming that we believe our audience will respond to,” Mr Parr says.


The Crown is today summing up its case in the Wai 262 fauna and flora case.

The Waitangi Tribunal is sitting in Wellington for the final week of hearings, 16 years after the case was first lodged.

Maori intellectual property expert Aroha Mead says there is a lot riding on the claim.

She says that's why the East Coast Ngati Porou iwi turned out in force at the hearing to spell out what they want from the tribunal.

“They're wanting an acknowledgement from the tribunal that the cultural heritage of Ngati Porou, as with other iwi, is vested with iwi, not with any pan-Maori organization, not with the Crown, but it’s the role of the iwi hapu whanau to manage the integrity of the cultural heritage that’s passed on to future generations,” Ms Mead says.

She says claimants feel they were forced to go to the tribunal because the Crown refuses to consult on a wide range of important cultural matters.


South Taranaki Maori say the Patea Landfill could have continued on for another 50 years if the District Council hadn't dumped sewage from the wider district there.

A community group, Nga Tangata Whenua o Patea, has been protesting the dumping and the council's plans to close the landfill.

Group member Mario Mendez says residents will now have to go out of the region to dump their rubbish.

“Human waste was getting dumped in Patea. It wasn’t ours. It wasn’t Patea’s. So it’s time for us to stand up, and they can go dump their shit in their own back yard, not in ours,” Mr Mendez says.

Tangata whenua want a public apology from the council for the way the dumping issue was handled.


A new book aims to dispell any ill feeling that remains between Napuhi and Te Arawa over events more than 180 years ago.

Wind from the North by Rotorua historian Don Stafford documents the 1823 raids by Ngapuhi chief Hongi Hika which overwhelmed Te Arawa forces.

The title refers to the weapons training undergone by Ngapuhi warriors, where they were urged to strike like the wind with their taiaha.

Mr Stafford says the bitterness from the raid lasted for generations, but has now faded.

“I suppose it's still a talking point, but I don’t think there’s the violent attitudes that once existed. In fact I’m not even sure that most of the young people today even understand what it was all about,” Mr Stafford says.

A large ope from Ngaphui is coming down to Rotorua from Tai Tokerau in a fortnight to emphasise their peace with Te Arawa and to help launch the book.

Rangitane slights aquaculture package

Marlborough's Rangitane iwi wants practical help to get it into aquaculture, not more talk.

Chief executive Richard Bradley says the government's new Blue Horizon policy doesn't address the issues the iwi has identified in its attempts to set up a marine farm in the Marlborough Sounds.

He's also skeptical of Te Puni Kokiri's plans to build stronger relationships between industry and Maori.

“Oh hell that's what we need eh, more Maori liaison people (laughs). The problem is it’s supposed to be a commercial aquaculture settlement so it really needs to be business focused, so we actually need not more consultants. We need someone who is able to come up with a business case to get Maori into the business,” Mr Bradley says.

Maori want action now on the commitment in the Maori commercial aquaculture settlement to give them 20 percent of all existing and new aquaculture space.


The principal of west Auckland's Hoani Waititi kura kaupapa says his school is already trying to get across a healthy food message, but a lot depends on parents.

The Government has told schools to stop selling high fat and high sugar food and drinks, as part of its efforts to tackle the country's obesity epidemic.

Tipene Lemon says Hoani Waititi supports the idea, but parents are driven by their own economic conditions.

“We as a kura may have some ideas about hauora and nutrition and what is appropriate for our kids here However, the reality is that whanau will possibly be able to purchase the more inexpensive kai, and that’s the kai their kids will bring to kura, even if it isn’t the stuff we really want to see them bring to kura,” Mr Lemon says.

The most important thing is parents are providing food for their tamariki.


Maori working for the Auckland District Health Board will get a chance to strut their stuff later this month.

In a bid to boost staff morale, Maori services within Starship Hospital, Greenlane Clinical Centre and Auckland City Hospital will get together to dance and sing at a special two day event.

Mero Cooper, the kai-atawhai for the board's He Kamaka Oranga Maori health secretariat, says staff are getting into the spirit of the event.

“We were approached to put in a group and sing some songs, and we though that was bring to just get up and sing, so we wanted to put the x factor in and we’re going to be all bling and dressed up and kopua and kauhine outfits. We’re doing it to the tune of Achey Breakey Heart,” she says.

The performances will be judged by health board tikanga advisor Naida Glavish.


Hundreds of people have been through Rotorua's Te Papaiouru Marae today to pay tribute to an exceptional woman.

Te Arawa kuia the late Witarina Harris, who died on Sunday at aged 101, is lying in state at the Tamatekapua meeting house.

Known as a silent film actress and in her later role as kuia of the New Zealand film archive, whaea Harris worked for many years for politician Sir Apirana Ngata and was a founding member of the Maori Women's Welfare League.

National MP Georgina Te Heuheu says it was an extraordinary life.

“Absolutely a wonderful lady, a sharing, generous human being, just one of those people that in any tribe you describe them as the duchess or the queen. Every tribe has their special ladies, and she was one of the ones in the Te Arawa tribal family who was very special,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.

The funeral service for Witarina Harris will start at 11 tomorrow


Family group conferences are being described as a gift from Maori to the world.

Allan MacRae, the family group conference manager for the Child Youth and Family Service, says more than 20 countries have adopted the process of bringing offenders, victims and their families together.

The American Human Society last week honoured New Zealand for the achievement.

Mr MacRae says Maori provided crucial input into the development of the conferences 20 years ago.

“It's come about through the activities of Maori in advocating for the rights of families to have a say in what’s happening to their young people, about harnessing the initiatives of the Maori people and the community at large to address the problems, and it is a gift that Maori have give to New Zealand society,” Mr MacRae says.


A new book is telling the stories of some of the 5000 people who share Maori and Chinese whakapapa.

Jade Taniwha author Jenny Bol Jun Lee says many of them came out of relationships formed between Maori women and Chinese market gardeners.

She says the children often struggled to fit in.

They talk about difficult experiences being both and feeling on the margins a lot of the time, both from Maori and Chinese communities and Pakeha society, so it has been awkward for the people I've interviewed,” Ms Lee says.

Jade Taniwha will be launched tomorrow at Auckland University's Waipapa Marae.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mangai Paho sticks to fundamentalist line

The head of the Maori broadcast funding agency says it won't be backing Maori shows in English any time soon.

Te Mangai Paho has come under fire over the years for only funding programmes in te reo Maori, despite the fact Maori focused programmes in English attract larger Maori audiences.

Sam Bishara says that's the way the agency interprets its mandate, and it wants more programmes in the reo.

“I think New Zealand is ready for higher-content Maori language programmes and I wouldn’t like to go backwards I also believe that mainstream resources could adequately pick up that other piece,” Mr Bishara says.

He says New Zealand on Air and Television New Zealand should be spending their money on Maori focused programmes.


The Maori Party wants less talk and more action from the Minister of Fisheries.

Co-leader Tariana Turia says Jim Anderton's latest five point plan for aquaculture is long on telling Maori what to do, but short on action where it is needed - at the local government level, where the decisions are made on what areas are to be made available for marine farming.

She says the minister is blaming Maori for lack of progress, when the solution is out of their hands.

“It's one thing to say we haven’t brought Maori people along as the economy has developed. It’s anther thing to actually, physically, do something about it. He has a lot of rhetoric but we don’t see the action that goes along with it,” Mrs Turia says.

She's skeptical that much will come out of the appointment of a Maori relationships manager, who is supposed to liaise between district councils and iwi wanting to invest in marine farming.


Wellington City Council is finally responding to long-standing Maori concern about overflows from its Moa Point sewage treatment plant.

The council is applying for new resource consents to run the plant on the city's south coast for another 35 years.

Councillor Ray Ahipene Mercer, who lives nearby, says it has taken into account the views of Ngati Toa and the Wellington Tenths Trust that pumping human sewage into Cook Strait defiles the mauri and mana of the sea and prevents gathering of kaimoana.

He says such discharges are not normal, but they happen too often.

“We've got a really good sewage treatment plant here, the best in New Zealand, but the amount of water hitting it sometimes form the excessive rainfall and from the climactic conditions we’ve experienced like last winter, we were getting overflows that the plant can't deal with,” Mr Mercer says.

Wellington is looking at options including ultra violet treatment, or storing overflows for treatment later.


A treaty claim for compensation for Vietnam veterans exposed to agent orange will benefit Maori and non Maori.

That's the word from Tom Poata, the spokesperson for claimant Whakahuihui Vercoe.

Bishop Vercoe was padre to New Zealand troops in Vietnam in the 1960s.

Rev Poata says the Waitangi Tribunal claim is an attempt to address intergenerational illnesses and psychological and emotional problems linked to exposure to the defoliant.

He says many Maori veterans haven't known where to go to get help.

“Both groups of servicemen, Maori and Pakeha, will in some way benefit from the outcomes of this claim. Because he’s made it quite clear in the past that he makes no distinction between those boys that he served with as padre, because they were all New Zealanders. But he still has an affinity now for the Maori servicemen, because it seems now that potentially Maori servicemen have been treated perhaps a little worse,” Rev Poata says.

While Australia and the United States list 14 illnesses as qualifying for Agent- Orange-related compensation, New Zealand only acknowledges five.


John Tamihere says a simple how-to manual would save a lot of grief for Maori building on family land.

The former Labour MP is backing Associate Housing Minister Dover Samuels' call for changes to Maori land law.

He says the requirement to win consent from 75 percent of owners before building on multiply-owned land, and the obstacles put up by local government, can be a nightmare for Maori keen to return to their traditional whenua.

Mr Tamihere says it could be made a lot easier.

“Not enough resource goes into putting in place systems and methodologies like a very simple compliance schedule or manual. I think one of the biggest problems we’ve got is just putting together a toolkit which is easily usable and it stops us having to go to high powered, high paid experts all the time,” Mr Tamihere says.


A Rotorua District Councilor says extending the city's airport is in the wider interests of the community.

Ngati Uenukukopako is challenging the runway extension in the Environment Court, because it will have to move a marae and a kohanga reo.

Maureen Waaka says Maori on the council have sympathy for the hapu, but they must act in the interests of the whole community.

“You can't always vote for a few people who have an opinion, and you will get ones who are feeling betrayed expressing their point of view. What I’ve done is try to double check that the process has been as open as possible to allow everyone to have their say,” Ms Waaka says.

The consultation on the airport extension was more than adequate.

Family group decision making lauded

New Zealand's system of family group conferences has won international acclaim.

The American Humane Society has presented New Zealand officials with an award for sharing the concept with the world.

The accolade was given at the 11th annual Family Group Decision Making conference in Washington DC last week, attended by 500 delegates from the 22 countries which have such systems.

Mick Brown, who was chief judge of the Family Court when the group conferences were first trialed in the late 1980s, says the concept was always seen more favourably overseas than in this country.

Judge Brown the best thing about family group conferences is they allow the victim to have a say, rather than just being treated like another witness.

“I still think that that was its greatest virtue frankly, and often when they had the opportunity to see the offender and see his family and if there were the appropriate responses made and the regret, many of the decisions reached were in fact very generous in my view,” Judge Brown says.

The foundation for family group decision making was the Samoan ifonga system and the Puao Te Ata Tu review on the social welfare system led by the later John Rangihau of Ngai Tuhoe.


There's a critical response from the Maori Party to plans to appoint a Maori relationships manager for the aquaculture sector.

It's one of the main measures in a package aimed at increasing Maori participation in marine farming.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the deal fails to address the problems which are emerging with the 2004 Maori commercial aquaculture settlement.

“If I genuinely believed that appointing one Maori economic development officer was going to make the world of difference to all of these councils, to the whole marine industry, I would hold my hand up and say this is wonderful, but I have to say I am really skeptical,” Mrs Turia says.

Her Party wants to know how the government will ensure Maori get quality marine farming areas, rather than being left with less productive space.


A group of Tainui ruruhi will formally show their newly tattooed faces at the first anniversary of King Tuheitia's coronation in August.

16 women from their 40s to their 70s had the traditional moko kauae applied to their chins and lips over the weekend by East Coast ta toko artists Mark Kopua, Haki Williams and Rikirangi Manuel.

Tainui spokesperson Te Rita Papesh says a 100 strong contingent of women with moko kauae from Tolaga Bay iwi Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, came to Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia to support the kaupapa.

She says Tainui is excited by the revival of the traditional art form.

“They were just marvelous over the whole weekend and were really ready for it, and an exciting happy time to have moko kauae back on the paepae at Turangawaewae as it was when we were kids is I think an awesome idea,” Mrs Papesh says.

The women wanted to wear the moko as a living tribute the late Maori queen, Te Atairangikaahu.


The long standing dispute over Whangarei's Hatea River has been settled.

Some of the tangata whenua had been pushing for the river to be renamed Hoteo.

But the Geographic Board says it will stay as Hatea, with a macron added to emphasise it is pronounced with a long initial a.

Whangarei District Councillor Kahu Sutherland says the decision is in line with a hui last August, which found insufficient evidence to justify a name change.

“Even within Maoridom, there wasn’t clear advice either way. In staying with Hatea, we’re staying with the status quo.”

Mr Sutherland says whatever way the decision went it would have left some Maori unhappy.


The head of one of Rotorua's largest Maori trusts says long term strategic planning is needed in the region.

Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands Trust has asked the Rotorua District Council for a zone change to allow residential and commercial development of its 1500 hectare Wharenui Station on the eastern edge of the city.

Chairperson Rick Vallance says the trust is seeking community support for the plan, which it believes is in the best interests not only of the landowners but of the city.

“I think what we're trying to do is stand back and take a look 50, 100 years out, get a feel for what really should happen here over the next 100 years and set off down that road, so rather than the normal haphazard little bit here, little bit there without any real thought, we’re going to try and do it in a strategic way,” he says.

Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands Trust has already closed a 350 hectare dairy unit on the land, because it was concerned at the effect of run-off into Lake Rotorua.


Rotorua hip hop group Fearless is heading for Los Angeles next month to fly the flag for Maori at the World Hip Hop Championships.

The nine members, aged between 12 and 17, have only been together for five months, but they cleaned up in New Zealand championships with what judges called their high risk precision choreography.

John Newton, who chairs the Fearless Dance and Culture Trust, says what gives the group its edge is its members' background in kapa haka.

“It's provided the facials during high intensity dancing. They’re not so much able to pukana as make those facials at different aspects of the dance because hip hop is similar to haka in that the whole body shows the effect of what you’re going through as a dancer,” he says.

Fearless is performing at a gala at Rotorua Girls' High School on Saturday to raise some of the $60,000 dollars the group needs for the Los Angeles trip.

10,000 steps to health

Massey University's Te Pumanawa Hauora Maori health research programme is considering giving Maori pedometers and encouraging them to walk their way to health.

Director Chris Cunningham says the 10-thousand steps programme is a way to encourage people to maintain a reasonable level of fitness as they get older.

Dr Cunningham says it's a practical response to research that show high levels of diabetes and heart disease among Maori, especially Maori men as they enter their 40s and become less physically active.

He says 300 Massey staff and students have been issued pedometers, and over 12 weeks they are being tested for weight, circumference and blood measures such as insulin and glucose.

“We're just trialing this as a process to understand how much support do I need to give a Maori person or a whanau, how much support do they need to be able to stick to a habit of increasing physical activity to maintain wellness, and that’s kind of a classic public health approach, but we’re trying to do it in a Maori sense,” Dr Cunningham says.

As a public health initiative, it's a lot cheaper than giving 600,000 people personal trainers.


The claimants have spoken. Now it's the Government's chance to say if it believes Maori have any treaty interests in native plants and animals that need to be protected.

The Waitangi Tribunal is sitting in Wellington this week to hear closing submissions from the Crown on the long-running Wai 262 claim.

Grant Powell, the lawyer for Ngati Kahungunu claimants, says during evidence hearings, officials from various government departments seemed to concede they should do more to protect Maori interests, but closing submissions filed with the tribunal take a much harder line.

“The Crown submissions have taken a lot more, it’s almost like shutting up the shutters, and saying basically ‘No, there isn’t anything here to answer at all,’ which is not what their witnesses conceded in cross-examination over Christmas and the New Year,” Mr Powell says.

He says the Crown lawyers haven't responded with many of the issues the claimants put before the tribunal.


Ngati Whakaue Lands Trust wants to turn its farm on the eastern edge of Rotorua into a mixed commercial and residential development.

Chairperson Rick Vallance says it is seeking a zone change to allow shops, houses and parks on the 1500 hectare Wharenui Station.

Mr Vallance says the trust has already shut a dairy unit on the land because of concerns over the effect of dairy run-off into Lake Rotorua, and it doesn't believe its future is in farming.

“Farming is capital intensive, but it doesn’t yield much cash, as anyone who knows farming knows. So this is a way of getting a greater benefit to the owners,” Mr Vallance says.

The Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands Trust is trying to take a long term view of its assets, rather than get bogged down in day to day detail.


Ngati Whatua o Orakei has called taihoa on a push to get Auckland’s volcanic field declared a world heritage site.

The plan was supposed to be announced on Saturday at Maungawhau or Mt Eden by Prime Minister Helen Clark, but the event was postponed at the last minute by the Department of Conservation.

According to a contentious agreement in principal for settlement of Ngati Whatua’s central Auckland claims, the Orakei hapu is supposed to get ownership of three of the volcanic cones, including Maungawhau.

Chairperson Grant Hawke says DoC failed to put tell hapu what was going on.

“We ended up on our tables with an invitation list of about 150 organisations and iwi organisations to be present on Saturday morning for this launch and we just didn’t have any idea how it had come about without any consultation processes by DoC,” Mr Hawke says.

The Conservation Department has asked to meet with Ngati Whatua tomorrow to apologise for the incident.

Meanwhile, the Waitangi Tribunal will release its Tamaki Makaurau Settlement report on Friday, which is expected to be critical of the way the Crown failed to consult with other iwi with interests in Auckland.


A lawyer in the long-running Wai 262 indigenous fauna and flora claim says the Crown has to be constantly reminded the Treaty of Waitangi is a partnership.

The Waitangi Tribunal is sitting in Wellington this week to hear the Crown's final submissions on the claim, after nine years of hearings.

Grant Powell, who represents Ngati Kahungunu claimants, says while the claim has taken on a huge scope, it is about many of the same principles of partnership and good faith established by earlier claims.

“It is a belated picking up of some of those principles and applying them across the board to the local government regime, to the resource management regime, to the Conservation Cat regime, biosecurity, biodiversity, those sort of things, and finding out what the place of Maori is within the legislative framework. Because unfortunately, New Zealand has never really had that discussion,” he says.

Mr Powell says the Crown's final submissions ignore many of the concessions already made by departmental witnesses, and its lawyers are likely to face some tough questioning this week from the tribunal.


Maori balladeer Dean Waretini has an unlikely hit in Moscow.

The Christchurch-based singer is best known for his song the Bridge, recorded over 30 years ago.

Mr Waretini says a friend wrote Russian words to the tune, so he cut a new version.

He says the mix of Maori, English and Russian works well with the classic melody.

“That's the name which means in Russian Parent’s Home, that’s what he wrote, and to my surprise and everybody’s surprise they’ve actually put it on a play list in rotation there in Moscow and I thought to myself ‘Oh my god, hit the jackpot again,’” Mr Waretini says.

He will hold a concert at Christchurch's Theatre Royal in August to raise funds for a Russian tour.