Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 30, 2007

British eyed for Treaty breaches

An Auckland historian wants to hold the British Crown accountable for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Paul Moon from AUT University has been asked by two hapu to investigate whether the British government's signature on the treaty is enforceable.

He's made inquiries of the British foreign and commonwealth office, bit so far he's been fobbed off by officials.

Professor Moon says the colonial government in New Zealand assumed the role of the Crown without consent from Maori.

“If they want to move away and make the New Zealand government the crown, make the New Zealand government the other party, if there’s Maori consent for that, fine but to date no one’s shown me a document in which the chiefs or the descendants of chiefs have signed which says that we’re happy with make the New Zealand government being the Crown, so as it stands in international law, either the treaty is between Maori and the British Crown or the treaty is invalid,” Dr Moon says.

He says there could be billions of pounds in compensation at stake.


The push is on for more Maori firefighters.

The Fire Service is holding open days in main centres tomorrow to bolster ranks in stations throughout the country.

Peter Wilding, the national recruitment manager, says staff need to reflect the communities they serve.

Ten percent of firefighters in New Zealand are Maori.

“That's really useful because they are able to engage with Maori speaking groups, with the local community, We have better understanding of the right protocols and customers, and we have a lot better reception from the public of the safety messages we want to communicate,” Mr Wilding says.


Maoridom's favourite Aunties are out of a job.

Maori Television is scrapping its bilingual Ask your Auntie show, in which host Ella Henry and her other agony aunts offer advice on life, relationships, work and health.

Kim Muriwai from Greenstone Productions says the word has come down that the prime time slot is needed for shows in te reo Maori.

“It's sort of a little hard to understand the rationale we’ve been given behind the decision, but I think the greatest disappointment is that we weren’t given the opportunity to say goodbye and than you to all our followers,” Ms Muriwai says.

While it's the end of their run on Maori Television, the Aunties whanau is talking to other networks.


The co-leader of the Maori Party is backing calls for an investigation into the status of the Treaty of Waitangi in international law.

Paul Moon, a lecturer at AUT University, has asked the British foreign and commonwealth office for proof that Maori consented to the British government transferring responsibility for the treaty to the New Zealand settler government.

Pita Sharples says there could be something in Dr Moon's research.

“Well I think he’s got a point. There are many Maori who have said to me we should sue the Queen. What they mean was England hasn’t carried out its obligations which were signed on behalf of Queen Victoria, so I guess he really does have a point, and that might be an avenue worth exploring,” Dr Sharples says.


National's leader says the slow pace of treaty settlements is slowing Maori development.

John Key says he's impressed by the financial results coming in form post-settlement iwi like Tainui and Ngai Tahu.

But rising land values and inflation are cutting the potential value of settlements for those still in the queue.

“Every day that goes by with Labour sitting on its hands and not getting those financial resources in the hands of those who deserve them and who they rightly belong to is another day they are put further behind,” Mr Key says.


But the Minister of Maori Affairs is defending the pace of treaty settlements.

Parekura Horoimia says the Government wants to be sure settlements are durable.

“We've got a whole lot of the settlements a lot closer than they’ve ever been, even from the beginning of the settlement process. Tainui, the Tenths Trust, Te Roroa, the Top of the Sounds the other day, are all at different stages and some are very close to finality,” Mr Horomia says.


New Zealand's largest business school has doubled the number of Maori PhDs on its staff.

Annemarie Gillies, the director of Te Au Rangahau Maori business research centre at Massey University, and research associate Marianne Tremaine received their doctorates today.

Another research associate, Shirley Barnett, will collect her scroll in May.

Co-worker Farah Palmer says with six PhDs on staff, Te Au Rangahau is putting a Maori face on business.

She says the trio had made a huge contribution.

“Whenever there's any visitors or guests to the university, it’s often the Maori women that are their to look after them and make them feel welcome, so in many ways they’ve got lots of other things that they’re responsible for and then they’ve got their own whanau they’re responsible for so the fact that they’ve managed to achieve PhDs is really great,” Dr Palmer says.

Trustee independence too hard

The Minister of Finance is ruling out an independent board to head a new Maori development bank.

A bill now before parliament will use $35 million of Maori Trustee money to create a new statutory corporation, Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand.

It will be governed by a board appointed by the Ministers of Finance and Maori Affairs.

The money is accumulated profits from the trustee's investments and his management of Maori land.

The Federation of Maori Authorities has called for the Trustee to be overseen by an board chosen by Maori, as happens for Maori fisheries settlement assets.

But Michael Cullen says that won't work.

“There are quite serious issues about who would be the nominators of the board. Obviously the government would be seeking nominations and consultation around the employment of the board. But there is no single set of people who are able to speak for Maori on their behalf, certainly not FOMA, certainly not the Maori Council,” Dr Cullen says.

He says the new corporation will allow for more active use of the funds held on behalf of Maori.


Pushing new mothers out of hospital could rob Maori women of valuable bonding time with baby.

Lynda Williams from the Maternity Services Consumer Council says a short lived Wellington Hospital policy to offer women $100 shopping vouchers if they go home within six hours of giving birth is inappropriate.

She says good mothering starts with getting things right during the pregnancy and birth.
“With Maori mothers who have got two or three other babies at home, this is going to be the only time they get one on one with that baby, learning to bond with that baby, and get breast feeding established, so I do think that for Maori women, this is a particular issue, and it does feel really like a bribe,” Ms Williams says.

With New Zealand's alarming child abuse statistics, more resources should be put into the first few hours of motherhood.


If the Internet is turning the world into a digital village, then a marae is a good place to start from.

That's the experience of a new web-based service, Naumaiplace dot com.

Director Tahi Tait says it's model of providing a place for marae to post information and reach out to whanau is proving popular, with more than 100 marae signing up in its first three months.

He says hapu are short circuiting some of the bureaucracy surrounding other Maori websites.

“You know the Maori sector is still dealing with this, whether it should be the runanga, the iwi, or the marae, and we’re really feeling good about the marae having the control,” Mr Tait says.


The Minister of Treaty Negotiations will be assuring the Waitangi Tribunal that its reports and findings are taken into account when settlements are negotiated.

The tribunal last week issued a please explain note to the Crown after a letter emerged from the former minister, Mark Burton, saying that completing a tribunal process would not affect the amount the Government offered the Ngati Porou Runanga.

Michael Cullen, the current minister, says that letter was infelicitously worded.

He says when the government enters direct negotiations, it does so in good faith on the basis of the evidence the iwi or hapu presents.

“The government will take account of the evidence in front of the tribunal. That does not prevent the Crown engaging in direct negotiations and many iwi hapu want to engage in direct negotiations and I would not look very favourably on a tribunal indication the Crown should not engage in direct negotiations,” Dr Cullen says.

Going through the tribunal is a drawn out and expensive process for iwi, and many are keen to get down to talks.


It's now 30 years since the first marae to be built in the grounds of a mainstream school.

Melville High School in Hamilton is celebrating the anniversary tomorrow in that wharenui, Te Manaakitanga.

Te Mana Rollo, a kaiako at the school, says the project was driven by a teacher, Marie Copeland.

Sixteen members of her whanau will be at the celebrations, along with other former teachers and students and hundreds of people who have had contact with the marae over the past three decades.

“It's a celebration of the first school marae built on a state school in New Zealand but it’s abut how the marae has developed and how it’s served the students and teachers at Melville High School plus the Melville community itself,” Mr Rollo says.

A korowai will be presented to kaumatua Napi Waaka, to acknowledge his efforts in carving the house.


Whanganui iwi are getting ready for a major exhibition featuring their tupuna.

Whanganui Regional Museum is displaying prints taken around the river in the 1890s and 1900s by William Partingon.

An auction of Partington's glass plate negatives five years ago was disrupted by protests from the iwi, and the collection was eventually bought by the museum, the Whanganui Maori Trust Board and a community trust.

Che Wilson, the co-curator of Te Pihi Mata - The Sacred Eye, says it's not being treated as a usual show of photos.

“It's using the photographs, telling a story and then connecting other taonga to the story, to the history, and another thing we’re doing is using the photographs not just to connect to he history but to connect to today. So there are photographs of tupuna, and then linking to their descendants today,” Mr Wilson says.

The curators took copies of photographs to Waitangi Tribunal claim hearings so the old people could identify some of the subjects in them.

Te Pihi Mata opens on December 7.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trustee $35m putea eyed for new bank

The Government is eyeing $35 million of profits built up by the Maori Trustee as the basis for a new Maori development bank.

The Maori Trustee and Maori Development Amendment Bill, tabled in the House last week with no fanfare, proposes a radical restructure of the trustee, who currently administers more than 100,000 hectares of Maori land.

It proposes to use the money to set up a statutory corporation, Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand, to further Maori economic development.

The corporation will be overseen by a board appointed by the ministers of Finance and Maori Affairs.

The Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, denies it's a grab for Maori money.

“We are not grabbing the money. The money’s being put in more active use for Maori. It’s not the government taking the money. The government doesn’t want the money. It doesn’t have the money, doesn’t own the money, wants that money more actively used. At the moment it’s very passive money,” Dr Cullen says.

As well as the $35 million from the Maori Trustee, the Government intends to contribute a similar amount in the new corporation, and there could be contributions from other Maori organisations in future.


Maori fishing interests are calling for Biosecurity New Zealand to stop the spread of an Australian virus that threatens the paua industry.

Peter Douglas from Te Ohu Kaimoana says tighter border controls and an education campaign are needed to stop people bringing in anything which may contain traces of Abalone Virus Ganglioneuritis or AVG.

Any fishing gear or water sports equipment such as surfboards, wetsuits and diving gear which has been used along the Victoria coastline must be cleaned and dried before leaving the infected area.

Any shells or stones collected from the coast should be confiscated at the border.

Mr Douglas says paua contributes millions of dollars a year to the Maori economy.

“It's not just a commercial species. It’s something that features in all components of the fisheries. It’s a recreational fish for a lot of people. It’s a customary fish in terms of the things we gather when we have hui and things like that as well,” Mr Douglas says.


Rangitahi in south Auckland are creating their own online social networking space.

The Haps website has been put together by teenagers at Computer Clubhouse 274 - an after-school drop in centre in Otara which is backed by Clover Park Middle School and Te Whanau o Tupuranga.

Mike Usmer from the Computer Clubhouse Trust says the site, which is due to go live early next year, will try to take the energy kids put into online networking and use it to foster learning.

“What we're about is creating a learning model that is created by our community for our community and it is relevant to our culture and the way we do things, so this is just an extension to that through the virtual space of technology,” Mr Usmar says.

He says Otara is under-served compared to other communities, so Haps is a ways to extend its resources.


Maori are signing up to an alliance with other indigenous groups around the world.

23 iwi and hapu, mostly from the Mataatua confederation, put their signatures to the Treaty of Indigenous Nations at a ceremony in Whakatane yesterday.

Aroha Mead, who signed the treaty on behalf of Ngati Awa in the homeland of the Lummi Indian Nation in Washington in August, says other iwi were there to observe and may sign next year.

She says the United League of Indigenous Nations aims to strengthen the voice of indigenous communities.

“There is clearly a political aspect that goes with the treaty, and that’s about coming together as a collective of indigenous peoples in the international scene and being able to provide an independent voice for ur concerns on issues such as climate change, globalisation, cultural and intellectual property rights," Ms Mead says.


National might seek the help of some of its former ministers to accelerate treaty settlements.

Leader John Key says settlement negotiations need people of mana in both the Maori and Pakeha worlds.

He says while iwi send senior people to negotiate their claim, too often they are met by junior officials.

“The people like a Doug Graham or a Doug Kidd, there’s various people out there that I think we could put in there to negotiate because, with the greatest respect to OTS, there’s been some pretty junior people involved, they’re changing all the time,. Maori are putting up in good faith their kaumatua and very senior people on their side,” Mr Key says.

He says the treaty process is bogged down by a lack of qualified historians and the under-resourcing of the Waitangi Tribunal.


An internet site for marae to share their stories has struck a chord.

Director Tahi Tait says naumaiplace.com has taken off since its launch three months ago, with more than 100 marae around the North Island having pages up.

He says marae are embracing the chance to reach whanau living away from the area and are filling the site with a wide range of content.

“Put up video, audio files, waiata, photographs, to the minutes of their last committee meeting, so there’s a lot of transparency. The range of content that’s been put on is quite phenomenal,” Mr Tait says.

He was speaking from today's Digital Future Summit in Auckland.

Waipareira back in black

Te Whanau o Waipareira is back in the black after a year of major restructuring.

The West Auckland Maori social services provider had to rebuild after its previous management team abandoned key revenue streams, lost contracts and sold assets to cover loss making activities.

John Tamihere, who returned as chief executive after being ousted from parliament, says a lot of the hard work has been done, and the trust now has a strong balance sheet to build from.

“We don't get treaty settlements. We don’t get preferential contracting entitlements and rights like other groups. We have to fight tooth and nail for what we’ve got. So basically the bottom line broke $19 million this year, we cleared our decks absolutely of all debts, we don’t need an overdraft facility for the first time since 1999,” Mr Tamihere says.

Waipareira is back up to 160 staff, and it turned over $9 million in revenue over the past year from contracts delivering health, economic development, education and other social services.


Think global, act local.

That's what has prompted 11 iwi and 12 hapu to meet in Whakatane yesterday to sign a declaration of indigenous rights put up by the newly-formed United League of Indigenous Nations.

Aroha Mead, who signed the declaration on behalf of Ngati Awa at the league's inaugural gathering in Washington DC in August, says it's an attempt to develop and strengthen links between indigenous peoples around the world.

“This is not just at a theoretical or philosophical level. This is also a very concrete action. These include looking into future possibilities for trade and commerce,” Ms Mead says.

Other iwi including Ngai Tahu had observers at yesterday's ceremony at the Awanuiarangi wananga, and could join the league after they have consulted members.


A Ngapuhi Te Rarawa woman is looking for ways to save and use traditional Maori and Polynesian knowledge on fungi.

Rebekah Fuller is studying for a doctorate to the University of Hawaii.

She says her work, which is helped by a Te Tipu Putaiao Fellowship from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, crosses a range of disciplines in a way that hasn't been done before.

“This is pulling together a whole lot of little bits and pieces that have been recorded by other people in different fields, like mycology or botany or ethnology, and trying to pull all that information together and then going and talking to people about the specific resource which, if you’re a botanist, you’re not going to be really interested in mycology or the use of fungi, just in the use of plants,” Ms Fuller says.

She will also be looking at the economic potential for indigenous communities of wild edible fungi.


The first Maori Party candidate for next year's election has been found.

Angeline Greensill will again challenge incumbent Nanaia Mahuta for the re-drawn Waikato-Hauraki seat.

She's the daughter of the late Maori rights campaigner Eva Rickard, a Waikato university geography lecturer and grandmother of ten.

Ms Greensill says now Maori voters have seen the Maori Party in action, the contest for individual seats will be easier than last election, when she trailed by 18 hundred votes.

“It'll be a contest between the Labour MP and ourselves and I think there is a lot more support for the Maori Party and my own candidacy. To win this election you need the people power, you need the putea and you need the policies. I think we've got those,” she says.

The Maori Party is still picking candidates for Te Tai Tonga and Ikaroa Rawhiti.


The fragile relationship between Maori and police has taken a beating after last month's anti-terror raids.

Lawyer Moana Jackson has studied Maori attitudes to the police as part of his work on Maori in the criminal justice system.

He says an attitudinal survey during the original research 20 years ago found Maori rated police a the bottom of a list of 20 professions.

A similar test of 2 thousand Maori earlier this year found police had risen to 11th spot, probably because of the work done on iwi liaison and community responsiveness.

Mr Jackson went back to his sample a fortnight ago.

“We asked if they would rank the professions again and the police had dropped from 11th back to last, and I think that’s a direct result of the behaviour of some police in Ruatoki and elsewhere during the so called anti-terrorist operation,” Mr Jackson says.

He's working towards a publication next June marking 20 years since his original report on Maori in the justice system.


Te Whanau o Waipareira has stopped its financial haemorrhaging and is looking forward to rolling out new programmes.

The urban Maori trust told its annual meeting at Hoani Waititi Marae in West Auckland last night that assets now stood at $19 million dollars, revenue from social services contracts topped $9 million, and it had no debt and no overdraft.

That's in contract to recent years where paper profits from property revaluation disguised loss making activities, with asset sales needed to maintain cash flow.

John Tamihere, who returned as chief executive after losing his seat in parliament, says the restructuring is complete and staffing levels have topped the 160 mark.

“We've repopulated the organisation with very capable good people and we’re lifting our performance day by day and we’ll be rolling out new programmes, innovative programmes, to drop Maori offending, lift Maori performance, but not only that, be a significant organisation in the health of the west Auckland community,” Mr Tamihere says.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Police plummet down preferred list

It's going to take a long time to repair relations between Maori and the police.

Researcher Moana Jackson says earlier this year he asked 2000 Maori to rank professions, and the police came in at number 11 out of 20.

A poll after last month's terror raid found the police were back at the bottom of the list - the same spot as when he first ran the survey in 1988.

He says despite the investment in iwi liaison officers and more cultural training, the police keep falling back on their history.

“The relationship has always been fragile historically because it was the armed constabulary of course that was sent in to invade Parihaka. It was the armed constabulary that was sent in to attack the followers of Rua Kenana in Tuhoe, and it was the armed constabulary again that was sent in to Tuhoe on October 15,” Mr Jackson says.

He says not just Ngai Tuhoe but other Maori round the country are concerned at the way the community in Ruatoki was treated.


A Maori health advocate says the response to a select committee report on the obesity epidemic is weak and flabby.

The Government agreed to set up an expert advisory group on the problem and directed the Health Ministry to work with the food and advertising industries on the way they market to children.

But it rejected recommendations to restrict junk food ads, end exports of mutton flaps to the Pacific and set up an independent commissioner to focus on type 2 diabetes prevention.

Leonie Matoe from Obesity Action Coalition and Te Hotu Manawa Maori says given the upsurge in diabetes and other obesity-related diseases in Maori communities, tougher action was needed.

“The response is relatively weak and not agreeing to types of things that affect economy in terms of exporting, importing and food supply, kind of indicates to us they’re really only coming half way,” Ms Matoe says.


Tangata whenua and Pacific people need better access to the taonga held by museums in their region.

Sean Mallon, Te Papa Tongarewa's senior Pacific curator, says that's one of the things that came out of a workshop in Canberra last week for curators and museum staff from Pacific Island states, New Zealand, Australia and Timor Leste.

He says the collection and preservation of indigenous cultural items is a major business of museums, and those museums have a responsibility to reach out to the living communities.

“We’re looking at ways we can involve them in exhibition development and public programmes so that they can be part of the decision-making process and can help museums and institutions interpret the material for their own communities,” Mr Mallon says.

The larger institutions in New Zealand and Australia could also help their smaller Pacific neighbours bring back human remains held by European institutions.


Angeline Greensill has again been picked by the Maori Party to take on Nanaia Mahuta in the Waikato Hauraki seat.

In 2005 Ms Greensill, a lecturer in Maori geography at Waikato University, lost by 18-hundred votes to Labour's Nanaia Mahuta, taking 42 percent of the vote.

She says Maori in the region are ready for a change.

“The current Labour Government has created turmoil amongst our people with the way they have been relentlessly pursuing our people over different things, especially looking at what’s happening around Tuhoe recently. That’s the beginning of a whole lot of legislation coming in that impacts upon us, so I definitely thing people will be supporting the Maori Party the next time around,” Ms Greensill says.

The sheer size of Maori electorates make campaigning a challenge, but she has good networks built up from her previous campaigns for the Maori Party and Mana Maori.


An Otago mobile nursing service for Maori and Pacific Island people is tracking down the elusive Maori male.

Nancy Todd, the manager of the Mornington Primary Health Organisation pilot programme, says it was started because of concern Maori were not seeing health services.

In its first 10 months vaccination rates and checkups for Maori and Pacific patients have increased.

Ms Todd, from Ngati Maniapoto, says being able to see patients in their own homes makes a big difference to Maori.

“We've got this age bracket of mid 30s through to 60 where men don’t generally access general practice because perhaps they‘re working or for various reasons so it’s about looking after their health as well,” Ms Todd says.

The home-based services has also led to a big increase in the number of Maori women are having cervical smears.


Maori living in Australia are keeping a close eye on their new prime minister.

Sydneysider Jasmyn Pearson from Ngati Awa says Kevin Rudd has given minority communities hope that the new government will address Aboriginal issues in a positive manner.

That would start with a long-awaited apology.

“At least he was talking about it and it was on the agenda. They seem to think it’s a good idea to address those topics. Now that is a start compared to what the Howard government did,” Ms Pearson says.

A good place to start would be the withdrawal of Australian troops from the Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

Tax takers look at tikanga

Inland Revenue is trying to work out how various Maori customary and voluntary activities should be treated for tax purposes.

Its discussion paper on reimbursement and honoraria is asking if there is a difference between volunteering and manaakitanga.

Hori Awa from the Waahi Whanui Trust in Huntly says there certainly is, and the debate is long overdue.

He say Maori prefer to use the term mahi aroha for the time they give to whanau, hapu and iwi activities.

“It is not volunteering. It is our life. It is really our spiritual and cultural existence eh, so there’s no comparison with the term volunteering so that’s why it’s quite a key issue to us and even to talk about recompense of financial recognition of that is kind of tika, it’s against our kaupapa,” Mr Awa says.

There are also questions about how the charitable status of businesses which manage treaty settlement putea.


Getting government departments to work together may be the key to taking better care of our children.

That's one of the messages coming out of the Paediatric Society's conference in Christchurch.

Riripeti Haretuku from the National Maori Sudden Infant Death Syndrome programme says health status is affected by a wide range of factors, most of them out of the control of the health sector.

She says government agencies need to look at how their policies affect on the health of tamariki.

“How is it that they’re influencing the health of our families and how is it that we’re getting this amount of varying illnesses and morbidity, how is it all coming to up, what is it they are not doing. I’m not sure the other sectors understand how much they influence the health of our children,” Ms Haretuku says.

Reports released at the conference highlighted how badly tamariki Maori fare when compared with other New Zealand children.


A Maori tourism group is using a phone card to make foreign tourists more aware of what Maori operators have to offer.

Te Waipounamu Maori Regional Tourism developed the Manaaki card with TelstraClear and AA Tourism, and it will be sold through Maori outlets, AA Travel outlets, holiday parks and other tourism sites.

Dawn Muir from Te Waipounamu says as well as offering up to three hours of phone calls, the $30 card gives access to up to $1200 of services.

“It also gives them a fold out brochure that lists all these operators, over 50 of them now, that are offering added value benefits and special offers just for the holder of that manaaki card. If you stay at the Mud Hut in Rotorua for a night for instance, you might get a bottle of Tohu wines, or you might bet a 10 percent discount off a trip,” Ms Muir says.

Profits from the Manaaki Card will go to the Maori regional tourism organisations.


Tauranga's Ngaiterangi iwi is looking ahead to how it might mange its treaty settlements.

The iwi is still going through hearings before the Waitangi Tribunal, and it has just gone through the structural changes needed to pick up its treaty settlement assets.

Hauta Palmer, the chair of the Ngaiterangi Runanga, says a wananga last weekend helped members see the road map ahead.

He says with only $6 million in the bank so far from fisheries settlements, iwi members aren't expecting any great increase in their personal wealth from settlements.

“The wealth is not in the form of tangible cash that people can get their hands on and the second is that we are working towards a regime where we try and expand out capital base, and whatever dividends fall off that capital base is what we will be able to distribute to the people,” Mr Palmer says.

Members were also concerned at the lack of depth in te reo Maori and knowledge of tikanga within the iwi, which will need to be addressed.


Maori suicide rates are not dropping as quickly as those of non-Maori
New figures show suicides are down on a peak in the 1990s.

But because non-Maori rates dropped faster, Maori now make up nearly 18 percent of all suicides - especially Maori males.

Merryn Statham from Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand says they are often dealing with a combination of mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, relationship breakdowns and trouble with the law.

The biggest challenge is often getting them to admit they have a problem.

“Sometimes they find it quite challenging to first of all acknowledge that they might need some support or need some help. They find it quite hard to describe maybe what’s going wrong, so it is hard to ask for help when you’re not quite sure what's wrong,” Ms Statham says.

She says there are few support services designed around the needs of young Maori men.


Policy makers need to get a better sense of the realities of New Zealand life.

That's the reaction from the head of a children's telephone counseling service to new data on the health of the country's kids.

Grant Taylor says the Indicator Handbook launched at the Paedatric Association's conference in Christchurch this week shows the ethnic gradient of health status, with Pakeha at the top and Maori well down the slope.

He says the handbook corrects what has been the haphazard collection and display of data, which has affected the way policy is developed.

“Our policy makers really do need to come to grips with the fact that this is inequitable, that too many children are living in poverty and that children who are born into certain ethnic groups are not getting the same sorts of outcomes in terms of their health as other kids in society, and that’s just not good enough,” Mr Taylor says.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cullen wants claim cap flexibilty

The Treaty Negotiations Minister wants to see more flexibility in the way claim settlements are constructed.

Michael Cullen says while the billion dollar cap imposed by the former National government is no longer considered binding, the Government is still attempting to ensure there is fair relativity between claimants.

He says the historical circumstances, the number of people involved and the kind of land taken or available all need to be taken into account.

“What I'm hoping to do I think is sometimes to be able to take a more creative approach if you like, not always to be too rigidly locked in to formulae, which may not work terribly well from individual iwi perspectives, and I think there is an issue particularly round land relativities given the vast increases in land prices since the big settlements with Tainui and Ngai Tahu,” Dr Cullen says.

He says the total amount being spent on settlements is relatively small compared with the total level of economic activity over the lifetime of the historical claim settlement process.

The minister was in Nelson this afternoon signing terms of negotiation with four iwi - Ngati Koata, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama and Te Atiawa - who have come together under the banner of Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga.


A Maori health researcher wants to see government departments audited for the impact of their policies on children.

Lorna Dyall from Auckland University's Te Kupenga Hauora Maori says two reports on the health of children, released at this week's Paediatric Society conference in Christchurch, confirm huge disparities between the health of Maori and non-Maori children.

She says most of the things that impact on health status are out of the health sector, so other government departments should be monitored.

“The framework highlights the importance of accountability, that government agencies should not only be audited on their financial management but also the outcomes they achieve and I think this should be a key responsibility of the Audit Office of New Zealand,” Dr Dyall says.

She says to protect the future of the society, the needs of children need to take precedence over adults and the elderly.


Auckland’s civic centre today formally recognised its relationship today with Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

The memorandum signed by the Aotea Centre board of management will create an advisory group known as Taumata Waihorotiu The Edge.

Danny Tumahai was appointed kaumatua to the facilities, which include the Aotea Centre and the Auckland Town Hall.

Piripi Davis from the Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board says it builds on a 15-year relationship between the hapu and the centre managers.

He says it's not an exclusive deal.

“We're not the only iwi here but there is provision for turanga to be taken up but our whanau who are out there who are other iwi, they can participate in those discussions, whatever it is that The Edge does,” Mr Davis says.

Ngati Whatua is keen to see more Maori events in the Edge.


The head of Ngati Toa Rangatira says a judicial review won't stop his tribe pursuing direct negotiations over its claims to the Cook Strait region and upper South Island.

Ngai Tahu is seeking to overturn a Waitangi Tribunal finding that the six Te Tau Ihu tribes, including Ngati Toa, had customary interests in its rohe.

Matiu Rei says Ngai Tahu has already got more than they could have expected out of Waitangi Tribunal processes.

He says the essential issue is whether the southern tribe's deed of settlement excludes other tribes from its traditional area.

“That's been proven to be not the case all the way from the High Court to the Privy Council. They’ve said no, that deed is between the Crown and Ngai Tahu but it doesn’t bind the Crown with any other iwi. And so I’m not sure why Ngai Tahu want to attack the tribunal for in fact carry out what many would see as its obligation to all iwi,” Mr Rei says.

He says the court action seem like a bid by Ngai Tahu to maximise the amount of inshore quota it can get under the fisheries settlement, which is determined by coastline length.


There a call from a teachers union for the pastoral work Maori teachers do in mainstream schools to be acknowledged with more support and better pay.

The Post Primary Teacher Association says many schools are struggling to find staff, particularly in specialist areas like te reo Maori.

Robin Duff, the president, says it's enough of a challenge to attract Maori language speakers to train as teachers, let along hanging on to them when they can get more money elsewhere.

He says it's usually workload rather than money that causes them to leave.

“The te reo teacher not only has the class work and the course work to do but, and it’s like many of the other teachers in there, there is a huge amount of pastoral work that goes on too and involvement in the local community, particularly with family and whanau, and that’s an extra area of stress,” Mr Duff says.

The extra work can be particularly hard on people who have just started teaching.


While most rugby fans would like to forget this year... South Island Maori are celebrating a string of successes.

Ana Haua from Te Waipounamu Maori Rugby was named sports administrator of the year at the National Maori Sports Awards.

It caps off a great year for the region, whose senior, colts and women's rugby teams were all unbeaten against the central districts, Te Tini-a-Maui or Central Districts and the north, Te Hiku o Te Ika.

Ms Haua and her husband Smiley, the chair of Te Waipounamu Maori rugby, got involved in sports administration through their work as teachers of te reo Maori.

“We just saw that there was a bit iof a void with relation to things Maori. It wasn’t just the rugby that was important. It was the Maori aspect, that tikanga Maori, taha Maori side of things that a lot of our young men were missing, and this was one avenue of being able to put that in place with them and give them a little bit of teaching that way,” Mrs Haua says.

Positive messages for violence change

Organisers of a summit on child abuse believe the Maori community will respond to a positive message.

Hone Kaa from St John's Theological College, which is hosting the hui, says it has attracted a strong line-up of people who have been working on the issues in isolation for years.

He says the aim is to change the mindset within Maori families and communities, and the key to success will be focusing on solutions rather than problems.

“Because if we just tell ourselves that we are abusing our children, we run up against a brick wall within ourselves, but if we tell ourselves there is a solution to this, let’s begin to discover how we might strategise to bring that to fruition, then we are on the right path,” Dr Kaa says.

Representatives from the Ministry of Social Development will attend the last day of the three day hui to hear what strategy has been developed.


Government funding agencies need to be much clearer about what they mean by kaupapa Maori services.

That's the view of Janice Wenn from Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, who earned a doctorate with her study of the interaction between kaumatua and the health services they use.

She says some agencies hide behind the Treaty of Waitangi, rather than spelling out what services need to do.

The 74 year old spoke about her studies at last weekend's commemoration in Taranaki of Maori health advocate and MP Te Rangihiroa.

Her thesis was sparked by her interest in developing health systems that make sense to the people using them.

“I was invited to analyse some of the contracts that Maori health providers held. In fact there were about 62 of them. And each one said you will provide a kaupapa Maori service, and when I asked the funder exactly what they meant by this, they didn't know,” Dr Wenn says.

She is working with Maori health providers to develop values-based frameworks they can apply them to services they develop.


Singing together has given a group of teenagers the chance to see the world.

The 50-strong Wellington based Kotuku Choir is fundraising for a month long trip to the United States, Canada and England, where it will perform and hold workshops.

Director Sharon Thorburn says the choir sings in 12 languages, including a strong Maori component.

“We've got a haka and we do waiata and we’ve got a Maori elder traveling with us to do our karakia before we perform everywhere and at schools in the States and in London we’re doing workshops on teaching Maori. Anyone who is in the choir brings in their whanau to teach us their language and their dance and their song, so everyone learns Maori, everyone learns Samoan, Maltese, Latin, Italian,” Ms Thorburn says.

Many of the children had not sung before they joined the choir at the start of the year, so it has been a huge effort getting their voices up to international standard.


Maori children should be at the centre of all government health policy.

That's the view of Dr Lorna Dyall from Te Kupenga Hauora Maori, the Maori Department within the School of Population Health at Auckland University.

Two reports released yesterday at the Paediatric Society Conference showed huge disparities between the health of Maori and non-Maori children.

Dr Dyall says if policies aren't designed around the needs of Maori, the evidence it that Maori go backwards.

It makes more sense to build policy around those most at need.

“If you're going to consider whose rights should take precedence, Maori children should be at the centre of any policy decisions at a national, regional, local, community or tribal setting, so if I was to develop policy and say who should I focus on, I should be starting with Maori children because their rights are guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi,” Dr Dyall says.

Most of the factors that influence health status are beyond the direct control of the health sector, so all government departments should be audited on how their policies affect Maori children.


The Post Primary Teachers Association says a shortage of applicants is making it harder for schools to maintain depth in their staffrooms.

A PPTA survey found 10 percent of schools had positions open for more than three terms.

President Robin Duff says it's not just a problem in subjects like te reo Maori and technology but in core subjects like English.

He says getting only one job applicant can be as bad as getting none.

“There are a whole range of other areas in the school from keeping a balance within the staff in terms of gender, in terms of ethnicity, in terms of experience, all those factors are simply taken out of a principal’s control and they are with only one candidate left with a take it or leave it situation,” Mr Duff says.

As well as better pay, more effort needs to be put into reducing the workload and stress on new teachers to keep them in the profession.


Te Papa Tongarewa wants to help other museums around the Pacific repatriate ancestral remains.

Sean Mallon, the senior curator of Pacific cultures, has just got back from a workshop at the Australian National Museum in Canberra which discussed common problems among museums in Australasia, Pacific island nations and Timor Leste.

While Te Papa is having good success in its efforts to bring back toi moko and other human remains, smaller Pacific museums struggle to get co-operation from institutions in the northern hemisphere.

He says the biggest barrier is often financial.

“Australia and New Zealand being a little better resources have the opportunity to pursue repatriation quite strongly whereas smaller institutions in places like Papua New Guinea or the Solomons are very restricted in what they can do,” Mr Mallon says.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ngati Kahungunu reports profit

Ngati Kahungunu is looking to work with other iwi to strengthen its economic hand.

At its annual meeting on the weekend, the Hawkes Bay tribe reported a 42 percent profit jump to $970,000 on revenue of $3.6 million in the year to June 30.

Equity jumped to $35 million with the inclusion for the first time of $31 million in fisheries settlement assets.

Chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says that puts the iwi on a much firmer financial footing and allows it to plan ahead with confidence.

It is considering aquaculture ventures in its own rohe, but it is also ready to enter collective investments with other iwi.

“It's just a natural progression form one of mana motuhake and tino rangatiratanga, and now kotahitanga, and it’s just looking at opportunities and similarities and similar ideas with other iwi, and if there is possibilities of economic advancement, it’s really on the cards for us,” Mr Tomoana says.


Casting is underway for a new film by award winning director Taika Waititi.

Volcano is a feature length exploration of some of the characters and ideas introduced in his Oscar-nominated debut short, Two Cars One Night.

Producer Ainsley Gardiner says schoolmates of the short's stars will be included in Volcano, to be shot in the Bay of Plenty next spring.

She says it will have broad appeal.

“This film is going to be a Maori film. It’s also a general film. It’s got universal storylines so it appeals broadly which means we don’t have as much trouble going through not only the normal New Zealand kind of system but we also have, because of Two Cars One Night’s success overseas, we do have access to and interest from overseas financing partners,” Ms Gardner says.


The minority codes dominated at this year's Maori sports awards.

Sportsperson of the year was sculler Storm Uru, who picked up a gold at this year's world rowing championships in Scotland.

The top woman's award went to Ramona Belford, who has dominated the New Zealand women's snooker game in recent years.

Te Kauhoe Wano, who won the media category for his documentary on surfer Airini Mason, says one name on the lips of everyone at the ceremony in Rotorua was former All Black and Maori captain Pat Walsh, who died in Auckland on Saturday.

“He was an amazing rugby player but he was even more than that, he was a real giver, big time fundraiser and all those sorts of things, he was very much thought about,” Mr Wano says.

The crowd also warmed to the return of Stacey Jones from France and the induction of Waimarama Taumanu, Wynton Rufer and Buck Shelford into the Maori Sports Hall of Fame.


Ngai Tahu's chairperson is drawing strength from the personal support he attracted at the tribe's hui a tau last weekend, as members responded to a strong financial result.

Mark Solomon has fended off several leadership challenges during his term, but the pressure had gone off after grass roots runaka replaced some of his fiercest critics.

He says the nonsense at the top table didn't slow down the tribe's economic arm, which made an $80 million profit for the year.

It paid over a $20 million dividend to the runanga to run social and cultural programmes.

Mr Solomon says that should shut up those who say he has no support.

“I've always known that my support base was extremely high. It was during the challenges and it still is now. I’m looking forward to another year and another term after that,” Mr Solomon says.

Ngai Tahu's priorities over the next year include protecting its monopoly over the mining of pounamu, reaching coastline agreements with neighbouring iwi so it can finalise the allocation of fisheries settlement assets, and challenging a Waitangi Tribunal report that found other iwi have customary interests in parts of its rohe.


Northland Regional Council has handed out more than half a million dollars to farmers, landowners, iwi trusts and community groups to improve the environment.

Kathy Mortimer, who administers the fund, says it will be spent fencing off wetlands, improving water quality, and controlling weeds and pests.

The largest of this year's 156 projects is fencing a 30 hectare wetland above Te Puna inlet in the Bay of Islands.

Smaller initiatives include cleaning up the local waterhole at Otiria.

“It's an area that was dangerous for swimming and it is being cleaned up so that it is very useful. It is also tied in with cleaning up and assisting people to clean up where septic tanks aren’t working properly because there was a bit of pollution in the water from those. A lot of people don’t have the money to clean them out regularly, so it was assisting people with that as well,” Ms Mortimer says.

The Environment Fund is now in its twelfth year ... and the results of earlier grants are starting to be felt in the area.


It's not quite taonga puoro - but combs have been played by Maori musicians for decades.

As part of her music studies at Whitireia Polytechnic, Gloria Hildred from Taranaki iwi is researching comb playing.

She's also part of the Porirua Comb Club - two comb players supported by a live band.

The most famous Maori comb player was probably Prince Tui Teka, but Ms Hildred says it's been a staple of music making among working class people, who couldn't afford pianos or violins.

“One of the things in terms of our culture is that it’s been used in the family for years. A lot of people have mentioned that their grandparents played the comb in the trenches in the war because a lot of the men had combs and cigarette papers. In a way it’s a very practical instrument,” Ms Hildred says.

Because it uses air and vibration, the comb is a sort of reed instrument.

Ngai Tahu signs MOU with Tainui

Ngai Tahu have set a path for the new year by forming a closer alliance with the other major post settlement iwi.

Ngai Tahu and Tainui signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with Tainui on the eve of the South Island tribe’s annual hui a tau held at Arowhenua over the weekend.

Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon says the deal paves the way for joint business ventures and is a sign of the growing maturity of the two iwi.

“Sharing information on social, cultural and environmental issues, we hope to be working together economically and it’s something that we want to do with all iwi. We all deal in the same fields. My view is that Maori have every network they need amongst themselves, all they have to do is learn to share it. There’s no reason why you can’t do exactly the same on the economics level,” Mr Solomon says.

After the leadership struggle earlier in the year that divided the executive, tribal members were pleased Ngai Tahu came out of the year with an $80 million surplus.


Maori children are taking advantage of a dedicated helpline for tamariki.

Grant Taylor from 0800 whatsup, a telephone counseling service for pre teens, says the service is proving popular, especially with children living in rural areas.

He says the helpline often gives children the confidence to raise issues with their peers or family members.

Figures point to strong usage by tamariki Maori.

“We don't routinely ask kids what their cultural background is, but if it comes up in the course of the counseling conversation, then it’s recorded. What is suggests is that minority groups use Whatsup in much greater proportion than their size in the population, so if you look at our ethnicity data, I think it’s about 28 or 30 percent Maori,” Mr Taylor says.


There was sadness at this weekend’s Maori sports awards at the death of one of its biggest supporters, former All Black and Maori rugby captain Pat Walsh.

Awards organiser Dick Garret says Mr Walsh, who died Saturday morning, had been attending the awards since their inception in the early 90's.

But he says there was much to celebrate including the induction of some well known names into the Maori sports hall of fame.

“To have on stage Waimarama Taumanu and Buck Shelford and Wynton Rufer and their pedigree of success and achievement and their pedigree as great ambassadors for Maori and indeed all New Zealanders on the national and international stage and there’s nothing better you can produce on the night,” Mr Garrett says.

World champion rower Storm Uru took the major awards, with snooker player Ramona Belmont from Ngati Kahungunu named top sportswomen.


Ngati Kahungunu is promising a big push to encourage the learning and use of te reo Maori in its ranks.

The Hawkes Bay iwi drew 1500 people to its annual hui and pa sports day at Hastings’ Splash Palace Amusement Centre over the weekend.

Chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says while members are pleased that its asset base has grown to nearly $40 million dollars, they asked for more emphasis to be put on their culture and language.

“And that was the core korero, use it or lose it. So although our bank balance looks healthy, our tikanga reo balance looks really unhealthy, and that’s what we’re going to emphasis in the next two or three years, and any strategy and every device will be used to upgrade our reo,” Mr Tomoana says.


The country's top young engineer is heartened by the number of young Maori and Pacific Island engineers coming through.

Tyrone Newson, who has Te Rarawa and Tongan heritage, says the acknowledgement of his peers in the Engineering Excellence Awards is a major boost.

The award recognises not only his work managing major refurbishing projects at Auckland Airport but his contributions to the profession, including starting Maori and Pacific Island support groups.

He says Maori graduates are moving into good roles.

“And they're starting to move up the ladder now whereas in the past you never used to see many professional Maori and Pacific graduates, You saw them a lot in the trades and the draftsman levels, but now they are moving up the engineering, designers and project managers as well, so it's great to see,” Mr Newson says.

Now he's topped New Zealand, he's off to manage projects in South East Asia and the MIddle East.


Kaumatua across the country are using Tai Chi as a way to improve their health and prevent falls.

Master trainer Toi Walker says the Accident Compensation Commission is backing the Te Puawai o te Tinana programme for Maori and Pacific Islanders.

That's because the ancient Chinese martial art improves posture, muscles, balance and fitness.

“The majority of our Maori people thjat we work with are really enjoying the programme because it’s like body, mind and spirit type work where you can balance out all those three elements, and as Maori we’re aware of our wairua and our tinana and our hinengaro, and when those three are in equal balance, you can see the health of people improve,” Mr Walker says.

He says Australian research also indicated Tai Chi can help people lower their blood sugar, control their arthritis and improve heart function.