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Friday, June 29, 2007

Maori in Australian up 20,000

The number of Maori living in Australia has increased 27 percent over the past five years.

According to results of the 2006 Australian Census released this week, the number of people of Maori ancestry rose 72,956 to 92,912.

68, 814 of them said both parents were born in New Zealand.

A separate category, New Zealander, increased 30 percent to 160,681 in the same period.

Massey University geographer Manuhuia Barcham, who has been studying Maori migration to Australia, says the increase is probably due to a mix of migration and self-identification.

“It seems in our research in Australia between second, third and sometimes fourth generation Maori New Zealanders, there’s a strong degree of ethnic identity among other groups in Australia, so young Maori are also looking for something to link up to, and in a sense just as it is in New Zealand it‘s cool to be Maori, so you’re getting a lot of Maori over there with stylised Maori tattoos etc,” Dr Barcham says.

He says the mining boom in Western Australia is also drawing many Maori workers.

On this side of the Tasman, 565,000 people identified themselves as Maori in last year's Census.


Maori teachers will be sharing their experiences at a professional development hui in Rotorua.

Te Makao Bowkett from the Post Primary Teachers association say Maori teachers in Maori medium and mainstream secondary schools face unique challenges.

As well as delivering the curriculum, they have strong cultural responsibilities and expectations, and in many cases end up taking on roles which previously belonged within whanau.

She says the hui will hear from law lecturers, oral historians, reo advocates and people with administrative expertise they can pass on.

“They're coming in specifically to talk about teachers’ professional records online, so making sure that especially our young kaiako Maori learn to be smart in the administrative management side of their professional duties,” Ms Bowkett says.


The Maori Party co-leader would like to see more support for Maori businesses to get past the start up phase.

Pita Sharples is one of the presenters at the Maori business awards in Auckland tomorrow night.

The awards are sponsored by the Maori Womens Development Incorporation, which through small loans and mentoring has helped hundreds of Maori into their own businesses since the 1980s.

Dr Sharples says it's the sort of record which has Maori registering as third in the Global Entrepreneurship Survey.

“Our record's not so good after three years, and this has probably got to do with access to resources and maybe a bit of acumen but certainly we don’t lack the enthusiasm and the initiative and the entrepreneurship,” Dr Sharples says.


A mining boom is being credited for a big increase in Maori across the Tasman.

Between 2001 and 2006 the number of people of Maori ancestry in Australia jumped from 72,956 to 92,912, according to Census figures released this week.

Manuhuia Barcham from Massey University, has is studying Maori migration, says some of that increase comes from increased self-identification by young Maori, even if their families may have been in Australia for two or three generations.

But he says there is a lot of Maori attracted by a good lifestyle and easy money in some sectors.

“My initial gut feeling would be a lot of that would be out to Western Australia. With the mineral boom out there you’re getting a lot of jobs in the mining industry, a lot of them not requiring a high degree of skill,” Dr Barcham says.

There is a lot of movement by Maori back on forth across the Tasman, and Maori are also unlikely to become Australian citizens.


A West Auckland grandmother is on the hunt for Maori to train as budget advisors.

Judy Rudolph from the Henderson Budgeting Service says Maori and Polynesian people welcome the chance to talk through their financial problems with someone of their own culture.

That's not always possible because of a shortage of trained advisors.

“The pity of it is we don’t have a lot of Maori budget advisors. It’s not paid work. That’s the trouble, it’s voluntary, but at the end of the day I kind of look at it from this perspective – if we can get Maori more Maori in there, the message gets out to more Maori,” Ms Rudolph says.


The head of a youth health service has leapt to the defence of two Christchurch schools for teenage mothers.

The Education Review Office says the schools are failing because the students continue to have children,

But Sue Bagshaw says the schools are some of the few support services available for young mums keen to gain skills and escape the poverty trap.

She says a disproportionate number of students are Maori, in line with trends throughout the country.

Dr Bagshaw says the ERO shows little understanding for the situation the young women are in.

“All young mums want their babies to have brothers and sisters. It’s really hard to have an only child. I’m not sure if that should be taken as an indicator that the schools have failed. These schools are good. We need community support, we need whanau support to help these young people develop and grow and get out of the poverty trap and these schools are a good way of doing that,” Dr Bagshaw says.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Paraone bill aims to cripple tribunal

A former Waitangi Tribunal manager says a New Zealand First bill will cripple the tribunal.

MP Pita Paraone says conflicts of interest can arise when Maori Land Court or High Court judges serve on the tribunal, and he wants only retired judges to serve.

But Ian Shearer says in the 11 years he worked for the tribunal there were no such conflicts.

He says Mr Paraone's bill would mean there would be few if any Maori judges on the tribunal for the foreseeable future.

Dr Shearer says the pool of potential tribunal members with legal backgrounds is small enough anyway without restricting it to retirees.

“When they retire a lot of them just want to retire. They’re not interested in going back into the fray and the Waitangi Tribunal in particular is fairly demanding. Once you get on to one of those major inquiries, then it‘s full on for quite some time. I suspect they would be hard pressed to find suitable people who would be prepared to take on that task,” he says.

Dr Shearer says rather than attack the tribunal, New Zealand First should try to address the arrogant behavior of the Office of Treaty Settlements which is undermining the claim settlement process.


The head of the Journalist Training Organisation says while the country's ethnic makeup is changing, the same can't be said of newsrooms.

Jim Tucker says news organisations often lack the bicultural and multi-cultural expertise they need to serve their communities.

The report from this month's Asia-Pacific Interfaith Dialogue in Waitangi has called for the media to do more to fostering understanding between cultures.

Mr Tucker says the place to start is the way tertiary journalism courses attract students.

“To get out there and recruit from the ethnic Maori communities, because the figures really are shocking. If you look for instance at the number of students from Maori, PI and Asian areas, the number of students just does not match the latest census figures,” Mr Tucker says.


Police are looking at a little used recruitment tool to get more Maori in blue.

Stategy advisor Huri Dennis says Maori officers can have the most effect convincing young Maori to join the force.

Traditional strategies aren't getting the response the police are looking for, so they are considering a roadshow using some high profile Maori cops.

Mr Dennis says many Maori officers excel in other areas of life such as sports, music and the arts, and potential recruits will be told they can continue to pursue outside interests.

“Using our Maori officers in uniform but un a different setting, doing different things may provide that motivation, and we hope to take it from Ngai Tahu maybe all the way up to Te Rerenga Wairua and by the time we get up north we’ve got a list of names we can follow through with a bit of grunt,” Mr Dennis says.


West Auckland Maori are mourning one of the people who has helped build a community for urban Maori.

Sam Waiti is lying at Hoani Waititi Marae, where he sat on the paepae for more than to decades.

Mr Waiti's ancestry came from the historic union of Ngati Porou and Hauraki lines, but the former wharfie showed a long-standing commitment to his adopted city.

He was also a founding trustee of Te Whanau o Waipareira, which was formed to provide social services, economic development and fellowship for Maori in the west.

He'll be taken on Saturday to Te Kie Kie marae at Waipiro Bay for his funeral on Monday.


The Maori Party says it's time for its fellow opposition parties to stand up for what they say they believe in.

The party is asking National and United Future to back its Foreshore and Seabed Act Repeal Bill.

Co-leader Tariana Turia says the bill is due to come up again in the next month, and if those parties are true to their word, they will back it.

“If they are going to talk about one law for all and equality before the law, then the one thing they owe us as tangata whenua is to treat us with enough respect to allow us top be able to go to court and to take our claims there, rather than holding hands with Labour and continuing to deny us,” Mrs Turia says.


A Maori lawyer says New Zealand First's Waitangi Tribunal Amendment Bill smacks of electioneering.

MP Pita Paraone's Removal of Conflict of Interest Bill would bar Maori Land Court and High Court judges from hearing tribunal claims, because they might also sit on cases on the same issues.

But Moana Jackson says no such conflicts have arisen.

He says the bill is an attempt to raise unjustified doubts about the integrity of the tribunal and of the judges.

“The Maori judges of the Maori Land Court who sit on the tribunal bring to their role at least an empathy in terms of often being fluent in the reo, often having some understanding of the cases involved because they are part of the Maori story,” Mr Jackson says.

He says replacing Maori land Court judges with retired judges, most of whom would be non-Maori, would take away much of what gives the tribunal mana in the eyes of Maori.


The producer of a Maori musical showcase tonight expects it will be standing room only at the Auckland Town Hall.

Native Noise brings together some of the country's most popular Maori bands to celebrate Matariki, including Shem, Open Souls and Katchafire.

Piripi Menary says the online response to the free concert shows indicates it's a hot ticket.

“The only downfall of it I suppose is the venue size is a little bit smaller than we thought at first conception. We didn’t expect our web site to be totally overblown like it has been,” Mr Menary says.

Preferential tickets to Native Noise can be picked up from Auckland University of Technology campuses.

Finances show dependency thing of past

National's deputy leader says a solid financial result from Tainui shows it is possible to get Maori out of the dependency trap.

Bill English says the $64 million profit from Tainui Group Holdings shows the tribe has put behind it the problems it experienced in the first years after its treaty settlement with the Bolger government.

He says other iwi have been watching.

“The success of groups like Tainui and Ngai Tahu are the high profile ones, but increasingly a lot of smaller iwi, is shifting the whole outlook of many Maori because they see the path ahead now as being about successful enterprise, business, and getting out of some of the traps of the past,” Mr English says.

Maori groups are now more willing to foot it in the commercial sector rather than seeking help from the government at every turn.


The Minister of Maori Affairs will put money behind an oldies' kapahaka festival.

The Taikura stage, which featured performers aged over 55, was one of the most popular at this year's Matatini Maori performing arts festival in Palmerston North.

Members enjoyed the exercise so much they're getting back together for a turn at the Kahungunu Matariki concern in Hastings tomorrow night.

Parekura Horomia says he'd like to put the movement on a more solid base.

“We'll support it next year to bring them together. I hear they’re talking about being at Matatini but also doing their own thing together, and I think it’s a great thing where our older people do something they enjoy. It’ll be a fabulous evening,” Mr Horomia.

Tomorrow's event at the Hawkes Bay Opera House also includes the inaugural Kahungunu music awards.


Maori should look further than biculturalism.

Veteran journalist Jim Tucker says a new report on the role of the media highlights the need for acceptance of multiple cultures.

The report, which came out of this month's Asia-Pacific Interfaith Dialogue in Waitangi, focused on the role of the media in fostering understanding.

Mr Tucker says the New Zealand media has become accustomed to Maori culture, and now needs to embrace all cultures.

“Maori have quite rightly clung to the idea through the renaissance that biculturalism was the first issue we have to deal with, but I think we’ve moved past that point and multiculturalism now really affects everyone. I think Maori have made sufficient gains now to be quite relaxed about the fact they can broaden their approach,” Mr Tucker says.

The Journalists Training Organisation head says newsroom staffing falls well short of reflecting the country's ethnic diversity.


Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust in West Auckland are mourning the loss of one of its staunchest supporters.

Chief executive John Tamihere says Hamiora Mangakahia Waiti, or Uncle Sam as he was known to thousands in the west, had a colourful life.
The former wharfie of Ngati Porou and Hauraki ancestry was known for his strong Christian values.

Mr Tamihere says that helped guide him through the trust's darkest days.

He says the whanau at Waipareira has lost a special man.

“He's been one of the stalwarts of Hoani Waititi Marae, a stalwart of Whanau o Waipareira, in fact he was a foundation trustee for Waipareira Trust. He was a very unassuming chap, but his passing away will have the impact of the loss of a Jack Wihongi, or Auntie Mavis Tuoro, or Tuini Hakaraia, he’s in that ilk, he’s in that status and that standing,” Mr Tamihere says.

Sam Waiti is at Hoani Waititi marae until tomorrow, when he'll be taken to Te Kie Kie marae at Waipiro Bay for his funeral on Monday.


A former manager of the Waitangi Tribunal says there is no basis to claims of conflict of interest in the appointment of tribunal members.

New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone yesterday introduced a bill to prevent judges of the High Court or Maori Land Court serving on the tribunal, because they might have to preside over the same matters in their own courts.

It proposes instead the jobs be filled by retired judges.

But Ian Shearer says in his 11 years at the tribunal, there was never any suggestion of the sort of conflict of interest New Zealand First is alleging.

He says the bill is an unjustified attack on the tribunal.

“The more you get to know Maoridom, the more you realise that a very great deal of the numbers of the people throughout New Zealand are in one way linked I with others so where does this conflict of interest start and end, if they’re going to allege that,” Dr Shearer says.

He says if serving judges are barred, there aren't enough suitable retired judges who would be willing to serve on the Waitangi Tribunal.


Manukau Police plan a repeat of last year's dawn vigil against family violence.

Several hundred people gathered on Mangere Mountain to show their anger at violence which resulted 14 homicides in Counties Manukau in one year, including the Kahui twins.

Police iwi liaison Maryanne Rapata says people are reporting domestic violence earlier, and that's contributed to a drastic reduction in deaths.

“I think last year we had to show the severity of family violence in our district of Counties Manukau and this year we’re still going to do the same, but it’s about moving forward as opposed to being stuck in the past,” Ms Rapata says.

The vigil will be held next Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Taupo land occupations ended

Taupo police have broken up two land occupations.

At dawn yesterday they swooped on a Taupo District Council property south of the town and arrested two people and removed 40 others.

In the afternoon they arrested 11 others who were preventing a development on land at Acacia Bay owned by the Hiruharama Ponui Trust.

Trust secretary Andrew Kusabs says the move is long overdue.

He says the occupiers don't have authority to speak for the trust.

“The committee of management who were appointed by the people, who were working for the people, and this little group here are people who claim they have rights that the other owners don't have,” Mr Kusabs says.

He says the occupiers have built on waahi tapu and dug long drops on an old pa site.

Meanwhile, a kaumatua involved in the other occupation says he'll be back on the land.

Tiger Wall from Ngati Tutemahuta says both the district council and Landcorp are occupying land which the hapu has never sold.

“They've got to prove to us that they own the land, come with their titles. And then we’ll leave it alone. If they can’t, we've got our title,” Mr Wall says.

He says two of the occupiers chose to be arrested so they could take the battle into the courts.


A Maori who has worked with Aboriginal outback communities is slamming the Australian Government's planned crack-down.

Prime Minister John Howard has ordered government agencies backed by the army into the Northern Territory to enforce bans on alcohol and pornography, in what he says is a response to widespread child abuse.

Tamehana Pomana, who now works for an Aboriginal trust in Sydney's Redfern, says the answer to any community's problems must come from within.

He says the government's big stick approach won't work.

That type of reaction is Neanderthal. It’s somebody running around with a big stick and going bang bang. I would ultimately think that these communities have always provided good answers over time, but it’s just that governments of the day, they just don't want to listen,” Mr Pomana says.

He says Maori have experiences they can share with Australia's indigenous people.


Rangatahi are providing valuable help to a Northland fire service.

Kawakawa Volunteer Fire Brigade deputy chief Annette Wynyard says students from Bay of Islands College are boosting brigade numbers.

“Our brigade is made up of about 85 percent Maori. Over the last three or four years we’ve had about 12 students come down and join as volunteers. It is quite difficult finding people who are available, especially during the day,” Ms Wynyard says.


A 69 year old kaumatua cleared from a land occupation near Taupo says he'd rather fight than talk.

Tiger Wall from Ngati Tutemahuta was one of more than 40 people rounded up by police yesterday in a dawn raid on a Taupo District Council-owned property just south of the town.

Mr Wall's group has laid claim to the Tauhara Middle lands owned by Landcorp and to other land held by the council.

The group has taken out newspaper ads ordering Crown enterprises to remove all structures from the land.

Other Tuwharetoa trusts are trying to buy the land from Landcorp, which is subject to Waitangi Tribunal claims, but Mr Wall says he disagrees with that approach.

“Our trust is trying to borrow money to buy all this land, to buy our own land back. Why should that happen. The land belongs to the Maori, why should you by your own land back. That's our fight,” Mr Wall says.

Taupo Police also ended an occupation at Acacia Bay yesterday afternoon and arrested 11 people who had been stopping a development on land owned by the Hiruharama Ponui Trust.


Maori in Australia are feeling for the Aboriginal communities being targeted by the Australian Government.

Tamehana Pomana, who has spent many years working in outback Aboriginal communities, says the army-backed crack down on alcohol and pornography in Northern Territory settlements is unlikely to work.

The intervention has been ordered by the federal government after reports of rampant child abuse in the communities.

But Mr Pomana says Maori know the roots of the problem lie in the colonial experience.

He says Maori have had to tackle similar issues, and they should share their experiences.

“We have a lot of Maori that are coming across. They’re very learned Maori, in all concepts in relation to society as well as their own culture and tikanga, as well as being humanitarian thinkers so I’m a firm advocate that we should be playing a greater part.” Mr Pomana says.

He says many Aboriginal groups are open to alliances with Maori.


Tainui Group Holdings has won resource consent for the fourth and final stage of its $100 million retail development in Hamilton.

Chief executive Mike Pohio says the company can now look for an anchor tenant for a two-story mall at the southern end of the complex, known as The Base.

Tainui will do the development on its own, after this week buying out joint venture partner The Warehouse for $37 million.
Mr Pohio says the company will be trying to beat last year's $64 million operating surplus.

“We are looking to continue the momentum on The Base. It’s unlikely that in financial terms there’ll be anything other than work in process payments sitting on our balance sheet by March 31 next year but we’ll certainly be looking to get construction underway by then,” Mr Pohio says.

Tainui Group Holdings is looking to complete its Ibis Hotel joint venture development in Hamilton by December the first, and it's looking around for other acquisitions in the Waikato and further afield.

Tainui looking to fresh fields

Tainui's commercial arm is on the hunt for further investments after strong asset growth over the past year.

Tainui Group Holdings recorded a $64 million surplus in the year to the end of March, and paid a dividend of $10.5 million to the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust.

Chief executive Moke Pohio says when the acquisition of remaining shares in The Base retail complex at Te Rapa is completed next month, the company will have more than $415 million in assests.

He says the focus this year will be starting the fourth and final stage of The Base, completing the new Ibis Hotel in central Hamilton, and work on the Huntington residential subdivision on the city's northeast fringe.

Mr Pohio says it's also looking for new acquisitions.

“Quite where and what value is the question. We still see the Waikato as a concentration of our portfolio, but we are starting to look outside now,” Mr Pohio says.

The accounts include $11 million in fisheries settlement assets.


Maori around the Aotea Harbour are backing a trawl ban aimed at protecting the country's most endangered marine mammal.

Davis Apiti from Ohapu Marae says the population of Maui's dolphins is at a critical level.

The dolphins' usual range is just off the coast between Port Waikato and Raglan Harbour.

He says the area needs to be closed off to trawlers out to 10 nautical miles.

“We got sanctuaries down in the South Island, and it’s about time we had one for the North Island. It’s been dragging on for a while, but we know a sanctuary’s the only thing that’s going to save the Maui dolphin from extinction,” Mr Apiti says.

A basketball team has been sponsored to promote the marine sanctuary.


A former Maori language commissioner says Maori language learners need to recapture the language of the marae.

Patu Hohepa says the reo people are picking up from kohanga reo, kura kaupapa and wharekura is a sort of pan-Maori dialect.

Almost half of Maori speakers are under 25 years old.
Dr Hohepa says their reo lacks some of the depth it needs.

“Schools are bringing out nga reo o nga kohanga reo, or nga kura kaupapa, but the one that’s really suffering is te reo o te marae, or te reo o kawa, and we have to pick up on that,” he says.

He'd also like to see more effort made to strengthen tribal dialects.


The principal advisor for a review of the Police Act says planned changes to fingerprinting rules will help cut down on identity theft.

Maori have expressed concerns at proposals to allow roadside fingerprinting without the need for an arrest.

Young Maori men are more likely to be stopped than non-Maori.

But Mike Webb says many Maori attending the public consultations can see the value of the change.

“We're seeing just as much enthusiasm from Maori members of the community, who can recognize the benefits of being able to quickly verify that they are who the say they are rather than for example their identity being used by other people who are unfortunately passing themselves off as somebody else,” Mr Webb says.

Police hope to have new legislation introduced next year.


An Auckland Maori health worker says the strength of Maori language correlates directly to Maori health.

The Auckland District Health Board last year got a Maori Language Week award for the bilingual signage inside and outside its facilities.

The board's tikanga advisor, Naida Glavish, says it was hard to convince the board to erect the signs, but it made Maori more comfortable to be there.

“Language is also an issue of inclusivity, and issue of belonging. Therefore, if we are addressing the health needs of Maori, there are intangible levels of acceptance and access which became a health issue,” Ms Glavish says.


The Green Party says policies focused on city dwellers aren't helping Maori who want to return to their ancestral lands.

Co-leader Russel Norman says while housing affordability is a major issue, Maori are also affected by the closure of services schools in rural communities.

He says the regional development is a way to stop the spread of large cities, and it makes sense environmentally and socially to encourage people to go back to their communities.


The Waitangi Treaty Grounds have been rated the New Zealand's most iconic place.

The place where the country's founding document was first signed in 1840 took more than a third of the votes in an online survey conducted by game maker Hasbro, as it weighed up sites to put on a New Zealand version of Monopoly.

Michael Hooper from the Waitangi National Trust says the result reflects the way people treat the Bay of Islands landmark.

“I think it's a reflection of the affection New Zealanders hold the Treaty Grounds in, and that’s been increasingly obvious every Waitangi Day for the past three or four years, as the numbers, with the exception of an almost wash-out last Waitangi Day, almost doubling year by year, so people and quite proud and pleased to come and celebrate at Waitangi, he says.

Mr Hooper says although the Treaty grounds have a million dollar price tag on the game board, it is priceless for many New Zealanders.

Tainui reports $24 million profit

Tainui's chairperson says the Waikato-based tribe's commercial arm has had a fantastic year.

In the year to the end of March, Tainui Group Holdings made a net surplus of $64 million dollars, down $5 million on the previous year because of property revaluations.

It will pay its shareholder, the Waikato-Tainui Lands Trust, a $10.5 million dividend.

Tukoroirangi Morgan says group assets grew to almost $380 million, up from $312 million last year.

He says the tribe's assets now stand at almost half a billion dollars.

“It has always been our belief that we have to grow the asset and the wealth and the capacity so that we can leave a legacy for those that come after us. We are now determined to carry on the good work. We’re much more focused and much more cautious about how we approach business. Our commercial company at $380 million provides the tribe with significant economic power base to operate from,” Mr Morgan says.

Since balance date Tainui Group Holdings has struck a deal to buy the Warehouse's half share in The Base retail complex at Te Rapa.

The $37 million deal will increase group assets to $415 million.


Non-Maori shouldn't fear the use of Maori custom in New Zealand courts.

That's the view of Richard Benton, one of the legal scholars behind a new compendium of Maori customary concepts.

Professor Benton, from Waikato Law School's Matahauariki Institute, says there are aspects of the way Maori have customarily thought about things which would be very beneficial to all New Zealanders.

“The idea of looking at the community, the ideas in justice relating to restorative justice, rather than simply punishing people as we seem to do very ineffectually, would have great benefit for all New Zealanders, and rather than having things to fear, they would have much to welcome,” Professor Benton says.

He says the Government lost an historic when it brought in the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which stopped a case which was trying to find out whether Maori custom law could assist in the allocation of coastal space for aquaculture.


Associate Housing Minister Dover Samuels says Maori organisations could be doing a lot more to house their beneficiaries.

Only about 30 percent of Maori own homes, about half the Pakeha rate.

Mr Samuels says the people running land trusts, incorporations and runanga are too often concerned with dollars rather than people.

“Yes economic development is important also, but what I’m saying is that it’s just not good enough for the beneficiaries of those organisations that are responsible for the management of hundreds of thousands of acres, to set aside maybe 10 acres of 15 acres to occupy so they can build their homes,” Mr Samuels says.

With high freehold land prices, the only chance many Maori have of owning their own homes may be in building on land they already have shares in.


The Prime Minister says the treaty settlement process could be derailed if Waitangi Tribunal recommendations are acted on.

The tribunal has criticised the way settlements were negotiated in Auckland and the Rotorua region in a way which excluded other iwi and hapu with interests in the same lands.

Helen Clark says the reports are the opinions of one judge.

“Those recommendations from that report actually throw a shadow over every settlement that’s been reached and potentially could throw a spoke in the wheels of every settlement that’s currently being negotiated and I understand that the Crown’s involved in negotiations with about 26 different iwi, so I think you’ll find that report gets a mixed response around Maoridom, because a lot of people have a lot of traction in their settlements, and that's terrific,” Ms Clark says.

She doesn't concede mistakes have been made.

The Waitangi Tribunal is in Rotorua this week hearing further claims against the way the Government intends to use forestry assets to settle some Te Arawa claims.


The Unite Union says employers are taking advantage of the mainly Maori and Polynesian workforce in South Auckland.

National director Mike Treen says workers in the region are getting around $200 a week less than staff at competing firms elsewhere.

Workers have picketed the Independant Liquors site in Papakura seeking pay parity with other brewery workers.

Mr Treen says the company got away with paying lower rates because it was able to keep unions out.

“They pay what they call South Auckland rates, which in their minds is several hundred dollars less than other rates. We don’t think there is such a thing as South Auckland rates or a brown rate or Pacific Island rate or whatever else they seem to think there is. We think there should be a rate and it should be similar to what workers in the liquor industry get elsewhere,” Mr Treen says.

He says Independent Liquors has been sold to a private equity firm, who seem to think they can get some of their billion dollar stake back from low paid staff.


New Zealand first believes it has found an ally for its immigration policies.
Deputy leader Peter Brown says he agrees with the Maori Party that more New Zealanders should have a say in who settles here.

The Maori Party has focused on the whether the Treaty of Waitangi should give Maori some oversight of immigration, but Mr Brown says all permanent residents should have input into such decisions.

“The Maori Party as I recall it a few years ago were decrying Winston Peters in particular and our party for our stance on immigration so it’s quite pleasing to see that they’ve seen there is potentially a huge problem and they want to put some rules in place and they want to have a part in how it all happens,” Mr Brown says.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tainui takes full control of The Base

Tainui has bought out the Warehouse to take 100 percent ownership of The Base retail complex in Hamilton.

Chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the $37.4 million deal gives the tribe the opportunity to bring in more investors in future.

The Warehouse will continue as the anchor tenant at The Base, which is on the former Te Rapa airforce base acquired by the tribe as part of the Waikato-Tainui raupatu settlement.

Mr Morgan says it's a flagship development for the iwi.

“There is huge celebration among our people that as you come into the northern end of the city the commercial hub of Te Rapa is ours, completely and totally. And that is a magnificent achievement for the tribe. It’s representative of the degree of promise and prosperity that the tribe will continue to enjoy,” Mr Morgan says.

Tainui is looking for other retail investments for its property portfolio.


A Maori trust wants to supply Auckland with its sand needs.

Te Uri o Hau has formed a joint venture with former Whangarei mayor Stan Semenoff to mine sand from its land south of Mangawhai.

They're seeking resource consents from Rodney District Council and the Auckland Regional Council.

Director Laly Haddon, who opposed earlier applications to take sand off the coast at Pakiri, says land-based extraction is less damaging to the environment.

He says Mr Semenoff has considerable experience in mining sand.

“He'll find the contracts, and there’s no doubt about it, this Auckland is growing so quick it needs the sand. There has to be a supply and if that can be supplied by Te Uri o Hau, it would be beneficial to the Maori people from Te Uri o Hau,” Mr Haddon says.


The Maori rugby coach says the departure of Rua Tipoki to play in Europe will be a big loss.

The Maori All Black will move to Irish club Munster subject gaining a medical clearance and work permit.

Donny Stevenson says Tiipoki showed his worth at the Churchill Cup, where he was named player of the tournament:

“His passion for Maori rugby was just so evident this year when he was our tour captain, and though we didn’t win the Churchill Cup, there was strong feeling throughout from the team and management that Maori rugby was the stronger out of this tour and Rua played a big part in that in terms of the leadership that he offered,” Mr Stevenson says.


A Maori-backed mobile phone company says Telecom is up to its old tricks of trying to squeeze out potential competitors.

Project director Tex Edwards told a Telecommunications Summit in Auckland today that after eight months of negotiations, there is still no agreement with Telecom to co-locate its equipment on Telecom sites.

That's despite a co-location code the industry took five years to negotiate, and statements from Telecom chair Wayne Boyd that the company will behave more sensibly than it has in the past.

New Zealand Communications is trying to roll out a nationwide GSM phone network which will use spectrum held by the Maori spectrum trust, which has a minority stake in the company.

Mr Edwards says using such tactics, incumbents like Telecom can raise the cost of entry for new operators.

He told the conference Telecom's cell sites should be put into a separate network company as part of the proposed structural separation of the company by the Government.


The Ngati Ruanui Runanga is distancing itself from the occupation of the former Hawera Hospital.

A group from the Ngati Tupaea hapu occupied the complex on Friday after is was put on the market by the Taranaki District Health Board, but left after police served trespass orders.

Runanga chairperson Sid Kahukuranui says the tribe has already turned down an offer to include the hospital in its treaty settlement.

He says the occupiers have their own agenda.

“They're unemployed, they’re looking for things to do because no one’s doing it for them, so they’ve taken things into their own hands, They say they’ve got the answer to the economy of their people, their own hapu, and they’re saying they should still have been given that land back without any deals being met. They say it was originally their land. They see no reason why they should pay for it to have it handed back,” Mr Kahukuranui says.

While he has sympathy with the occupier's aims, there is no point bucking the Crown this long after the settlement.


The Maori Party says the Government has helped create a situation where a French security can call itself Maori Group.

The Prime Minister says there are no international mechanisms to address this issue, but it could eventually be covered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

But Pita Sharples says it's a bit rich for Helen Clark to bemoan the lack of protection for Maori imagery and concepts, given her government's opposition to the UN Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

“She had her chance because it was actually written into the United Nations convention on the rights of indigenous peoples. It was in there as one of the articles. So on one hand she’s saying we don’t have the international law machinery to protect indigenous peoples, and on the other hand she’s one of the countries that won't sign it,” Dr Sharples says.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Waitangi CNI report too late for Arawa

The main Te Arawa land claim negotiator says the Waitangi Tribunal's Central North Island Report wouldn't have added anything to the settlement which was achieved.

The first volume of the report was released today.

It contains no recommendations, but it does criticise the Crown for not giving the tribes the autonomy or self-government they sought during the 18 hundreds.

Eru George from Te Pumautanga o te Arawa, whose settlement includes about half the Te Arawa confederation, says the negotiators feel they got as good as deal as wos possible under the circumstances.

“We had the information required to do the high level, the generic level and of course the tangata whenua, mana whenua korero that we were able to capture, so we were able to use that also to balance out the negotiations we went through,” George says.

He says yesterday's Waitangi Tribunal hearing in Rotorua on the proposed Arawa settlement was positive because it focused on the Crown's process, rather than the actions of the tribal negotiators.


The chief executive of west Auckland's Waipareira Trust says Maori service providers are in an unequal competition for staff with state agencies.

John Tamihere says there is a huge disparity between what he can pay good workers, and the salaries they are offered to shift to government departments.

He says if government is serious about having services for Maori delivered by Maori, it should be reflected in the funding it gives organisations like Waipareira.

“Basically Maori have got the break, quite enterprise driven, quite entrepreneurial and have added some significant capacity to some areas, but that capacity is now under significant threat because of very poor and I think knowingly poor, consciously poor funding regimes,” Mr Tamihere says.


Hawkes Bay Maori will this week celebrate their musicians and composers.

They're launching the Kahungunu Music Awards as part of the Hawkes Bay Matariki festival.

Organiser Tama Huata says as well as traditional categories such as haka, moteatea and waiata, contemporary genres like urban and popular music will be acknowledged.

Mr Huata says the the area has always been a strong centre of Maori musical activity, and the awards will build in that tradition ... and could help performers take the next step in their careers.

“Kahungunu music, compositions of Ngati Kahungunu and composers to encourage our people to write more music to really reinforce the whole Maori recording industry. Therefore having a good look at the economic base through Kahungunu music,” Mr Huata says.

The inaugural winners of the Kahungunu Music Awards will be revealed at Hawkes bay Opera House in Hastings on Sunday.


The head of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa says there is little evidence the controversial Te Arawa land settlement is fragmenting the iwi.

The Waitangi Tribunal has criticised aspects of the settlement reached with the group, which represents about half the iwi, and it is sitting in Rotorua this week to hear complaints about the way forestry assets were used in the settlement package.

Eru George says the hearing so far has been positive because claimants have made it clear their issue is over the Crown's actions, not Te Pumautanga.

He says people who talk about fragmentation don't understand how the tribes function.

“We still go to tangi. We still share the same relationships we’ve had in the past and I know at many tangi the issue about the settlement is not discussed, unless you happen to be with people who are involved with you. But certainly for the people who are not in Pumautanga, life still goes on,” Mr George says.

A Waitangi Tribunal report on Central North Island claims, released yesterday, doesn't contain any information that would have helped Te Pumautanga get a better settlement if it had waited.


The Electoral Commission is planning more research into why Maori are less likely to vote than non-Maori.

Chief executive Helena Catt says democracies worldwide are struggling to increases voter participation, especially among young people.

But overseas data doesn't explain conditions here, particularly among Maori.

Dr Catt says a good example is the contest in Tamaki Makaurau between John Tamihere and Pita Sharples last election.

Turnout was only 54 percent, the lowest of all the electorates.

“There's these two well known people, and it’s the lowest turnout, and we don’t understand enough about that. This is something where we’ve got to do our own research. There is no international research on this, so there doesn’t seem to be any easy answer and every time we do research we end up with more questions than we started with,” Dr Catt says.

Once the Electoral Commission understands what motivates Maori voters, it might consider campaigns to increase voter participation.


The Te Papa Matariki hangi cookoff is set to become an annual event.

Organiser Mere Boynton says hundreds of people turned out to watch chefs from around the city put their spin on a traditional wood fired ground hangi.

The basic ingredients were the same, but the chefs brought their own condiments.

“The flavours were so different, even though they were in the same hangi. The Oriental Thai guy used a lot of carved vegetables in his. Kai in the City did things like stuffing the pork with the titi, to give a very salty flavour through the poaka. The guy from Sweet Mother’s Kitchen, rubbing some chili over his,” Ms Boynten says.

The winning hangi came from Logan Brown chef Shaun Clouston

Airport compo raises hapu ire

A hapu has accused the Rotorua District Council of racism over planned extensions to Rotorua Airport.

Ngati Uenuku Kopako says Pakeha landowners affected by the extensions have been offered compensation for disruption, but there were no offers to neighbours on Maori ancestral land.

Spokesperson Hera Naera says the discrimination is blatant.

“Redress has been offered on properties that are non-Maori ancestral land There has been no redress offered whatsoever to any Uenuku Kopako landholdings,” Ms Naera says.

Ngati Uenuku Kopako has filed a complaint against the council to the Human Rights Commission


The head of the electoral commission says there is no easy answer to lifting Maori election turnout.

Green MP Sue Bradford wants to lower the voting age to 16, which has led the Maori Party to question whether it is doing enough to engage rangatahi in the political process.

But Helena Catt says low turnout, particularly among young voters, is a concern for democracies worldwide.

She says more research is needed to determine why Maori voting levels remain stubbornly lower than the rest of the population.

“Is it because they’re not interested? Is it because they’re whakamaa? ‘I don’t want to go in there and I don’t know what to do, it’s a scary place, the whole choice of who to vote for is too hard, it’s a big responsibility, I can’t do it.’ We need to work out which of those things is the important trigger,” Dr Catt says.

She says there is little point in running media campaigns to encourage more Maori to vote without understanding what inhibits them from doing so.


The editor of the Maori Law Review says a new work on Maori custom should improve the way the courts handle Maori issues.

Te Matapunenga is a 500-page compendium of references to Maori customary law drawn from court cases, Maori Land Court minutes and historical accounts.

It was released in electronic form at a symposium at the Tainui Endowed College over the weekend.

Tom Bennion says questions of Maori custom are increasingly turning up in the courts, but judges and lawyers don't know where to look for authoritative guidance.

“In a number of court cases in the general courts, outside the Maori Land Court, High Court and the like, you get decisions where the judge pretty much is picking up the Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand and saying ‘there’s a definition of mana’. One line. And I think the suggestion is probably suggesting we should be improving on that, and I think the document assists in that regard,” Mr Bennion says.

Courts aren't required to use the compendium, but its development as a work of scholarship by Waikato Law School's Te Matahauariki research institute will give it mana or authority.


The Rotorua District Council is denying any racial discrimination in the way residents affected by airport extensions are being compensated.

Ngati Uenuku Kopako has complained to the Human Rights Commission that residents on ancestral Maori land weren't offered similar compensation to their neighbours.

But Nigel Wharton, the council's environmental services director, says the commissioners who made the airport decision made compensation orders to Maori and non-Maori property owners alike.

“The ethnicity of people is not a consideration at all for the commissioners so it’s mischievous for anyone to accuse the district council of Rotorua of racism simply because the commissioners who were appointed to hear the process didn’t give them the result that they wanted,” Mr Wharton says,

If the Environment Court rules the extensions can go ahead, the Rotorua District Council will offer to buy properties at the southern end of the airport.

It will also pay for houses affected by noise to be soundproofed.


A new standard for Maori organic growers may lead to trade with other indigenous peoples.

Percy Tipene from organic growers' group Te Waka Kai Ora says 10 hui will be held around the country on how tikanga Maori can be applied to organic farming.

He says any new standard or brand won't be in competition to existing organic certification, but it should give Maori growers an extra way to market their goods.

“The actual long term benefits would be round indigenous people looking to get together and creating their own indigenous market based on indigenous standards,” Mr Tipene says.

It's an idea which has been around for several years, and there have already been discussions with patent lawyers and indigenous groups from other countries.


The author of a new history of Hongi Hika has a personal stake in telling the story of the Ngapuhi chief's raid on Rotorua tribes.

Don Stafford's book A Wild Wind From the North was launched on the weekend at an historic meeting between Ngapuhi and Te Arawa.

The 1823 invasion led to decades of bitterness between the tribes, but it also led to strong whakapapa links.

Mr Stafford says he's always felt an affinity towards the northern tribe during his 40 year career as a historian.

“I have a more than passing interest in Ngapuhi because three of my grandchildren carry the blood of Ngapuhi, and the others all carry the blood of Te Arawa, so I have a foot in both camps,” Mr Stafford says.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Consultation on Waikato kaitiaki

A longstanding advocate for cleaning up the Waikato River says the co-management structure proposed in a new treaty settlement is inspirational.

Tainui has started consulting key stakeholders on its Waikato River settlement.

The deal includes shared management by Tainui and Environment Waikato of the river downstream of Lake Karapiro, and a multi-iwi guardian's group looking after the river from its source.

Carmen Kirkwood from the Huakina Trust says the agreement in principle is what Tainui has been asking for for decades.

“It focuses on the well-being of the river, which is the main issue. We’ve been talking integrated management since the 1970s, and this document, it’s brilliant. All those key stakeholders that have jurisdiction on the river, there is a role for them to play,” she says.

Mrs Kirkwood says the river is in a terrible state and needs a lot of work to recover.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says the proposed Te Arawa settlement needs to go ahead.

The Waitangi Tribunal last week criticised the process used to negotiate a settlement with Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa, and suggested changes so the rest of the tribe is not disadvantaged.

Parekura Horormia says the government is considering the report, but it doesn't want to lose the progress already made on that and other settlements.

“And what the tribunal hasn’t said is hold up the Arawa claim, and I think there is a part in this that we as Maori have to sort out and we as Government have to reconsider some of the issues that it brought out, but certainly turning your back on it won’t help it. A lot of people have worked on these, have passed on, but we certainly want to continue to ensure that settlements are done,” Mr Horomia says.

The Waitangi Tribunal is a holding a hearing in Rotorua this week on how the forestry aspects of the Nga Kaihautu settlement package will affect other iwi and hapu.

The tribunal's report on the Central North Island claims is due out next month.


Taupo Maori landowners say it's up to developers what happens to protesters occupying a lakeside site.

The occupiers moved onto the land near Acacia Bay after a skeleton was found during earthworks for the Symphony Group's $30 million Parawera subdivision.

The secretary of the Hiruharama Ponui Trust, Andrew Kusabs, says the skeleton issue is just the latest excuse the protest group is using to block the development.

“We've gone through the resource consents, all the Taupo hearings, and the same ones are causing all this problem. And it’s really a problem now between Symphony and the dissident group, which are very minor owners in the block, some not even owners, they’ve just come along for the ride,” Mr Kusabs says.

The lease fees paid by the developers are the Hiruharama Ponui Trust's only income.


A Maori Party MP says it's hard enough to get 18 year olds involved in the political process without giving 16 year olds the vote as well.

The Green's Sue Bradford has put up a members bill to lower the voting age.

Hone Harawira says the bill raises some interesting challenges for Maori, who have a younger median age but who are less likely to vote than other New Zealanders.

“Really we've got to consider the impact not so much for us as a party but us as a people and whether or not we’ve really done enough work to encourage 18, 19 and 20 year olds to participate in the process. No sense in opening the door for 100 16-year-olds if 70 of the 18-year-olds haven’t bothered to participate in the process,” Mr Harawira says.


A mobile breast screening team is making a special effort to reach Maori women in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Angela Keno, a health promoter for Te Puna Ora O Mataatua, says the unit is working its way from way west from Te Kaha, and it's in Te Teko this week.

She says many Maori women give their own health issues a low priority, and there are also cultural constraints to be overcome.

“Most of our people are very whakama and very shy of that subject. Their bodies are something they don’t want to get touched or prodded or pushed around, but sometimes you just have to go through that. It only takes 10 minutes to have your mammogram done,” Ms Keno says.

Getting to appointments in hospitals can be a real challenge for rural Maori women, so the screening bus means the service comes to them.


Maori organic growers are being asked for input a new indigenous brand.

Percy Tipene from Maori growers’ organization Te Waka kai Ora says a series of hui starting in Tairawhiti and Taranaki next week will discuss how tikanga Maori can be incorporated into the proposed new framework.

He says organics certification by the Food Safety Authority doesn't take into account Maori concepts involved with the growing of kai.

Mr Tipene says Maori organic growers are not looking to break away from their mainstream counterparts.

“I think it's important that we understand the status quo before we undertake developing standards that meet the criteria of Maoridom. What we’re doing is not duplicating the present standards. What we’re doing is looking at a process where tikanga can overlay the standards that are presently being utilised by the certifiers,” Mr Tipene says.