Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa settling

A Northland iwi will tomorrow gather at the place its ancestors were forced off so it can set course for a new beginning.

Guest of honour is the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Michael Cullen, who will sign an agreement in principle to return Stony Creek Station to Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa.

Pita Pangari, who led the claim through the Waitangi Tribunal, says the 22 hundred hectare block north of the Whangaroa Harbour will be returned as a working farm.

Its what's left of land the Crown took from the iwi in the 1840s - even though Ngati Kahu families continued to live there until the early years of last century.

Mr Pangari says Taemaro Bay was chosen for the tomorrow morning's ceremony because it was where Te Parata settled when he came from Hawaiki on the waka Maimaru.

“When he arrived here, that’s where they settled in Taemaro, and that’s where the whanau and hapu of Ngati Kahu started from, right there in Taemaro. Taking it back there is paying respect to our ancestors and the spiritual side to that,” Mr Pangari says.

It has been 27 years since his elders entrusted him with the claim, and it's been a long road to get to this point.


Hawkes Bay iwi are welcoming a decision to fast track an application for a controversial wind farm.

The Environment Minister, Trevor Mallard, has referred Unison Networks' 34-turbine Te Waka development direct to the Environment Court, bypassing the Hastings District Council resource consent process.

Contact Energy's planned Te Mihi geothermal power station near Taupo was also called in.

Jolene Patuawa, the lawyer for Ngati Hinerua and the Maungaharuru-Tangitu Society, says the iwi has already beaten off an almost identical 37-turbine proposal in the Environment Court, so the court is familiar with its concerns.

“They've already been through an inquiry, the Mohaka ki Ahuruiri Inquiry, where they’ve set out those concerns, and that particular piece of land was subject to confiscation, and this was a big concern of theirs and they’re wanting to protect that site and its waahi tapu nature,” she says.

Ms Patuawa says it was almost inevitable the applicaition would have ended up in the Environment court anyway.


A survey on the effect of the Internet on society has found it's a positive for Maori.

The World Internet Project found Maori usage was similar to non-Maori with 78 percent using the web.

Allan Bell from AUT University, who led the New Zealand part of the international survey, says the Internet has contributed to the Maori sense of identity.

“There are a lot of Maori websites, iwi websites or organisations with their own websites, and also strengthening the language, we have a particular interest in language, and Maori people think the web is actually a strong force to help te reo be established and I would agree with them on that,” Professor Bell says.

He says the Internet is now considered a more important source of information than newspapers, television, radio and even friends and family.


Jim Anderton wants the Law Commission to clarify what rights people have over the bodies of deceased partners or relatives.

The Sydenham MP says he was approached by a constituent for help after a body was taken from a Christchurch funeral home for burial in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

There was a similar case this month in Wellington.

He says cultural issues from both the Maori and Pakeha side need to be respected.

“Gotta make sure that everyone’s on the page on this and people don’t put one cultural call over another one. Either way we’ve all got our cultural traditions and they should all be respected and so we’ve got to be doing better than we have been doing and we need some clarification from the Law Commission. The government needs to make sure the law is clear, and then every needs to honour it,” Mr Anderton says.

He has sympathy for the views of Ranginui Walker, an emeritus professor of Maori studies at Auckland University, that when both partners are Maori, the final resting place may be negotiated, but when the surviving partner is non-Maori, their rights must be respected,


Maori wardens should be able to do their job more effectively from now on.

At a ceremony at Papakura Marae in south Auckland today, kaumatua from six districts took delivery of 10-seater vans fitted with radio equipment.

They're part of a support package in this year's budget which also included new uniforms and training programmes.

Titewhai Harawira from the Maori Wardens Advisory Group says the vans are going to Taitokerau, Tamaki Makaurau, Tanui, Te Arawa, Tairawhiti and Ngati Kahungunu.

“These vans have come out of the police budget, and at a time like this we have to be seen to be building bridges in our communities because the bottom line is the safety of our communities,” Mrs Harawira says.

The wardens are planning a show of force - in their vans - at February's treaty commemoration at Waitangi.


The astronomy of the ancients will be celebrated - and practised - in the Wairarapa tomorrow morning.

That's when Stonehenge Aotearoa will mark the summer solstice.

The henge, which is based on Stonehenge on Sailsbury Plain in England, includes features of the observatories built by Celts, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and Maori.

Richard Hall from the Phoenix Astronomical Society says the Egyptians and Maori have the same name for the sun - Ra.

In Maori cosmology, Te Ra had two wives, Hine Takirua and Hine Raumati.

“Takirua is the bright star we know as Sirius. Hine Raumati is the bright star Antares. If we go out of the summer solstice, stand in the dawn twilight, what we will see is Hine Raumati or Antares rising up in the dawn twilight with Te Ra, and she marks the moment of the summer solstice. Six months later, it will be Hine Takirua that will be rising with the sun,” Mr Hall says.

Both Celtic henges and Maori houses of learning have stones or posts lined up to track the movements of the two stars.

Scholarship applications plummet

A long serving official with the Maori Education Trust says government policies are having a devastating effect of Maori participation in teriary education.

Doug Hauraki says if Auckland University's plan to cap popular courses spreads to other institutions, it will make it much harder to get Maori into the system.

He says the trust had already seen a massive drop-off in Maori participation after the axing of Manaaki Tauira grants.

“When you have a look at us taking 11,000 applications a year up until the time of that decision. We’ve now dropped right down between 3000 and 5000. So once again, it is our people that will miss out on the opportunities that are available,” Mr Hauraki says.

The Maori Education Trust allocates more than a $1 million a year of scholarships as secondary, undergraduate and postgraduate level.


A Northland hapu wants to know what's happening with 18,000 hectares of land still in tribal ownership.

Ngati Hine Hauora is mapping the physical and natural features of the 750 land parcels that make up the five Motatau Blocks.

It will record the rongoa, kai and marae sites, the stories around landmarks such as rivers, maunga and caves, and the existing and potential uses of the land.

Percy Tipene, the project manager, says it's a natural fit for a health trust.

“Because most of their clientele is in the rural areas, they looked at is the land healthy because if your land is healthy, so too is the people.
Mr Tipene says.

Some information will be published on a public website, with more specialised information available only to beneficiaries and title-holders.


Ngati Rangiwewehi is today burying one of te Arawa's most well loved characters.

George Paramena Rehu was one of the youngest members of the 28 Maori Battalion, serving in the Italian campaign.

On his discharge he became a successful builder and a valued member of the Te Arawa Maori Returned Services League.

Jim Perry, a fellow league member, says Mr Rehu did a lot of things for a lot of people, and was known to put his hand in his pocket to help others.

His knowledge of tribal matters won him a place on Rotorua District Council's iwi consultative group, and on the group advising the Rotorua Museum on preservation and placement of taonga.

“Very important when claims are being laid, fellows like George who were raised in that area, knew all the configurations of the territory, to be able to take people and say this is where the boundary goes, this is where it stars and this is where it finishes,” Mr Perry says.

The funeral at Puhirua Marae beside Lake Rotorua starts at 11.


The new head of strategy for the Alcohol Advisory Council wants to work with Maori health services to get the message out.

Tuari Potiki from Kai Tahu says the council hasn't had a comprehensive plan to tackle the negative effects of alcohol in the Maori population.

It fears any programme could get lost in a welter of other health messages.

“What we don't want to do is come in with anther kaupapa on top of the hundreds of kaupapa that are already out there. We’ve got diabetes and asthma and heart disease and whanau are being bombarded by all of these health messages, obesity, stop smoking, don’t eat bacon. We don’t want to come in with another one, ‘and by the way don't drink,’” Mr Potiki says.

He has a 20 year record in Maori health, mental health and justice, as well as managing social programmes for Ngai Tahu Development Corporation.


A Timaru group wants to an early Maori settlement registered as an area of historical importance.

Stephen Lowe says the Friends of Patiti Point has spent five years fending off developers, and its latest battle is against a tribute centre - a fancy name for a funeral home.

It has lodged an application with the Historic Places Trust to protect the site.

He says while there has been no full archaeological survey of the area, which included a seasonal Maori village called Hine te Kura, moa bones and middens have been discovered.

“It's where Maori since earliest times gathered to hunt and fish and to land their boats. In slightly more recent times, 1838 to 1845, whalers had a whaling station there, and this was the first interaction in our area between Europeans and Maori,” Mr Lowe says.

Friends of Patiti Point is concerned the council may let the developer start work before the Historic Places Trust can act.


What's an English IT consultant doing with a taiaha.

That's a question people may be asking in the Hawkes Bay this weekend, as they see Chris Reynolds going for his third level in Mau Rakau.

He's a member of Maramara Totara - the London chapter of Te Whare Tutaua o Aotearoa, the governing body for the ancient Maori martial art.

An interest in Maori culture set him on the path to the wananga and grading session at Takapou.

“I was a member of the London Maori club, Ngati Ranana, and I was looking for something to try and keep fit, so my wife and I went along to a practice session and my wife couldn’t put the time in but it appealed to me so I carried on and that was three years ago,” Mr Reynolds says.

Twelve mau rakau exponents have come out from London to be graded and sharpen up their skills.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Maori PHOs form united lobby

Maori public health organisations are banding together to improve Maori health.

The eight PHOs were set up by Maori development organisations, urban authorities and iwi groups, and have more than 60,000 Maori enrolled in their general practice networks.

Simon Royal, the coalition's interim chairperson, says they have common issues over the way healthcare is funded.

“The way in which we access primary health care services and the way in which we engage or not engage with primary healthcare programmes is out of step with the way in which our current funding has been provided because primarily the government funds on a profile of the mainstream,” Mr Royal says.

Maori patients cost the PHOs more to service, because they only seek care when they are very ill - at which stage they often have multiple problems.


Short term funding has been confirmed for Television New Zealand's Maori programmes, but their long term future could be conditional on better viewing times.

John Bishara, the chief executive of Te Mangai Paho, says the Maori broadcast funding agency is keen to keep funding Te Karere, Marae and Waka Huia.

But the state broadcaster needs to come up with better proposals than it presented during the latest round of negotiations.

Mr Bishara says a short term agreement has been hammered out for the first half of 2008, covering the transition from funding by calendar year to funding by fiscal year.

“I believe both parties are satisfied with the agreement. Te Mangai Paho will continue to fund these programmes. Little bit of process to be confirmed, but I’m happy to advise everyone the programmes will be available for the calendar year beginning January 2008,” Mr Bishara says.

TVNZ says the agreement gives its Maori department some certainty for programme planning and staff retention.


The London chapter of Te Whare Tutaua o Aotearoa has come home to test its martial arts skills.

The 12-strong Maramara Totara group is in Takapou in the Hawkes Bay for the annual Hui a Tau and wananga of the mau rakau body.

Tutor Kateia Burrows says during her eight years in England she has seen interest in the ancient art growing among Maori and tauiwi abroad.

While practitioners may feel isolated, it can be fixed with a visit home to fill the kete.

“All of our mau rakau training is over in London and obviously we’re limited with resources and we try to cram in as much training opportunity as we can, not just physically but the wairua side as well and hinengaro side, in preparation for the grading which starts of Friday,” Mrs Burrows says.

Maramara Totara trains in London parks.


A leading anti-P campaigner is warning against reading too much into police statistics on drug use among criminals.

A survey of more than 900 people arrested during the year found almost three-quarters tested positive for at least one illegal drug, and 80 percent of those on methamphetamine were Maori.

Dennis O'Reilly says that's contrary to Otago University research, which shows Maori are less likely to use drugs than other groups.

He says the figures are skewed by the fact Maori are more likely to be stopped by police than non-Maori.

“Peter Doone, the ex-commissioner of police, did some research for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and came to the assessment it was about a three to one ratio that Maori would be stopped, would be arrested, and would be convicted and would be imprisoned, than other New Zealanders, If you get a sample of people you’ve already arrested, that multiplication factor is already at play isn't it,” Mr O'Reilly says.

He says campaigns by Maori communities against methamphetamine use were starting to bear fruit, as the communities were successfully tackling demand rather than the police approach of concentrating on supply.


A Northland hapu is waking up to how much Maori land is at risk of being sold.

Ngati Hine Hauora is mapping the 18,500 hectares in the five Motatau Blocks, so it can get an overview of the health of the whenua and the people in its rohe.

The project will also give landowners an idea of alternate uses for the land.

Percy Tipene, the project manager, says many of the 750 individual parcels within the blocks are freehold rather than Maori title.

He hopes whanau may convert back to Maori title to make the land harder to sell.

“Changing it back would be a wise decision if whaanau was looking at their whenua and securing it for ake ake noa because my understanding of whenua is it is whenua tuku iho which means it goes down to the generations. It is not whenua kei hoko. That's the difference,” Mr Tipene says.


An employers' advocate says the burden of being Maori is driving people across the Tasman.

27,000 New Zealanders moved permanently to Australia over the past 12 months, a third up on the previous year.

Alasdair Thompson from the Northern Employers and Manufacturers association says higher pay, lower taxes, warmer weather, a high demand for labour and more affordable housing were the attractions.

He says Maori can also escape the negative stories in the New Zealand media.

“They can get on with their lives without getting involved if you like in the burden of treaty claims and that sort of thing, They can say ‘somebody’s looking after that, I can go and do this. And hey, I’m not criticising that, I’m saying I understand why Australia looks attractive to New Zealanders, and I think there’s an extra reason why it’s attractive to many Maori,” Mr Thompson says.

Ngati Porou wins foreshore deal

Ngati Porou will spend the summer consulting on a breakthrough agreement which will give the tribe's hapu a say in management of the foreshore amd seabed on the East Coast.

Api Mahuika, the chair of the Ngati Porou Runanga, says after three years of talks, there is a deal on the table which gives the iwi back its mana over takutai moana.

It strengthens notification provisions in the Resource Management Act, requires the iwi to be recognised in regional plans and other statutory documents, and allows coastal hapu to develop management regimes and set bylaws.

Mr Mahuika says Ngati Porou had a strong case to take on the Government.

“That is actually part of the strength of our case, the fact that we owned those lands juxtaposed to the foreshore and seabed. That certainly made us stronger and made us different from other iwi, the fact that we still own our coastal land, I would say about 95 percent,” Mr Mahuika says.

He hopes the agreement can be finalised in February.

Many Maori workers will be looking for a boost in their pay packets come April, when the new minimum wage kicks in.

Carol Beaumont, the secretary of the Council of Trade Unions, says Maori and Pacific island workers are disproportionately at the bottom of the wage scale.

She says while the new rate of $12 falls far short of the $15 the union movement thinks is reasonable, it is welcome news.

“It's building on the momentum of removing low wages from our economy but there’s still a long way to go. It’s very important for Maori and Pacific workers because they are disproportionately represented in the lower wage area and so certainly any lift of the minimum wages, 140,000 workers will directly benefit from this change,” Ms Beaumont says.


New Zealand's treatment of adolescent sex offenders is reducing future sex offending.

A study of 682 adolescents who completed programmes in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch between 1996 and 2004 found only 2 per cent reoffended.

Robert Ford from Safe Network Auckland, which runs the biggest programmes, says treating young sexual offenders in the community has proved to be far more effective than custodial sentences.

He says it's critical to work closely with whanau, especially with Maori, who made up almost a third of the teenagers on the programmes.

“In the Kokano, in the Maori programme that we run, it’s especially important to try and make sure we work with all the family, all the whanau, all the support group that person has, and that’s an important part of making sure that the treatment programme that we provide actually works, because at the end of the treatment people are going to go back to their family, and they’re going to go back to the environment where they came from,” Mr Ford says.


Radio spectrum allocated to Maori is going to benefit the whole community.

That's the view of Bill Osborne from Hautaki, the pan-Maori company set up to use spectrum allocated to Maori under a treaty settlement.

Hautaki has just been given the right to buy a 25 megahertz block held back from the latest auction of spectrum for Wimax mobile data and cellular services.

Mr Osborne says by the time the spectrum rights become available for use at the end of 2010, it may be clearer how the technology will be used.

But he says Hautaki's success in bringing a new entrant to the mobile phone market has earned it the confidence of government.

“It is extremely valuable for Mari to be recognized as partners in the development of the spectrum and to be allocated some on the same or similar basis to hoqw the 3G was allocated I think it is testimony to the Crown’s faith now in Maori’s ability to develop that for the benefit of everybody,” Mr Osborne says.

New Zealand Communications, which will use some Hautaki spectrum, plans to launch its mobile phone network once it has built 450 cell sites.


It's the politics of envy.

That's what New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone believes is behind criticism of his leader.

He says Winston Peters has had a great year, but you wouldn't know it from listening to other MPs and the media.

“It's one thing that is never popular in this country, is a little Maori boy from a backblock place like Whananaki, succeeding in the way he has done, not only on the political stage here in New Zealand but on the (inter)national stage in his position as foreign affairs (minister), Mr Paraone says.

He says Winston Peters has outlasted many of his detractors, including those National Party MPs who kicked him out of their Caucus and cabinet a decade and a half ago.


A Maori scholarship programme is doing its bit to pump Maori blood into the health sector in Christchurch.

Pegasus Health gives six scholarships a year to Maori and Pacific Island medical students.

Wendy Dallas-Katoa, its cultural advisor, says while almost 16 percent of New Zealand’s population is Maori, just 2 percent of its general practitioners are.

“There's a huge shortage of Maori doctors in New Zealand. There’s definitely a shortage of Maori doctors in Christchurch. We can’t determine whether they stay in Christchurch, but we can help and support the workforce towards young Maori doctors who are studying in Christchurch to move towards their goal,” Ms Dallas-Katoa says.

Other Pegasus initiatives to improve services for Maori and Pacific people including workforce development and programmes to encourage greater use in those communities of general practice services.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hautaki picks up more spectrum

The Government has added another 25 megahertz to the pool set aside for Hautaki, the company set up to exploit Maori spectrum rights.

The block was kept out of the auction which ended yesterday of spectrum suitable for cellular or Wimax mobile data services.

The eight lots on offer netted the Crown $4.3 million, and Hautaki will have to pay a percentage of the average price.

Bill Osborne, Hautaki's chairperson, says it's still unclear how the spectrum will be used.

“We don't really know how this spectrum range is going to be used. The Wimax service is still very immature in how it is going to pan itself out. What is important is that it is an extension to the existing spectrum range that Maori has access to, so it doesn’t close Maori out to the future of the spectrum world,” Mr Osborne says.

The spectrum has allowed Hautaki to build a significant asset for Maori, through it's involvement in New Zealand Communications, which is building a mobile phone network.


More than a third of Maori know someone in their household in trouble because to gambling.

The Gambling Helpline is encouraging people whose habit is getting out of control this Christmas to seek help from their wider whanau.

Krista Ferguson. the chief executive, says gambling can increase the normal financial and emotional stress at this time of the year.

Helpline's latest survey showed a lot of Maori at risk.

“Thirty eight percent of Maori knew someone in their household or wider family who’d got into trouble by gambling. That’s the highest of all the groups that were surveyed. It’s not just the financial damage but there is significant emotional damage going on, so you really need to use your whanau and the emotional support you can get that way,” Ms Ferguson says.

The Gambling Helpline can offer advice on how to seek that help from whanau.


If you want to know a culture, get to know its food.

That's advice Charles Royal is acting on.

The Whanau Apanui chef is looking for ways to meet tourists' appetite for distinctively Maori cooking.

He oversees a garden at Rotorua's Te Puia Maori arts centre, where guides explain the history of the plants before guests head off for a feed of hangi flavoured with horopito, kawakawa and piko piko.

He says visitors want something different from the Pacific Rim cooking available in most restaurants, and that creates opportunity for Maori ventures.

“It's good now that people are interested because every Maori business can incorporate their style of Maori food and offer something different,” Charles Royal.


Progress at last on foreshore and seabed claims

After three years of talks, Ngati Porou has won agreement on measures it believes will restore the mana of its hapu over the coast from Te Toka a Taiau just north of Gisborne to Potikirua or Lotton Point.

Its northern neighbour, Te Whanau a Apanui, is close to a similar agreement.

Api Mahuika, the chair of the Ngati Porou Runanga, says the direct involvement of Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen led to the breakthrough.

He says it will affect government departments and the Gisborne District Council.

“Such things as the Resource Management Act, the council’s plans, will have to change to accommodate this new piece of legislation or agreement that we have made. It also empowers our people to set up their own management committees and they can set bylaws concerning customary fishing areas,” Mr Mahuika says.

The agreement will need to be ratified by the High Court.

More than 90 percent of the land adjoining the coast is owned by Ngati Porou.


One of the recipients of a Maori health scholarship is setting her sights on a rural general practice.

Kiri Wicksteed, from Tuhoe, Whakatohea and Tuwharetoa has one of the six Pegasus scholarships, which aim to get more Maori and Pacific Islanders into the sector.

The fourth year student at Christchurch School of Medicine says it means she can concentrate on her study without worrying about financial pressure.

She says her studies have made her more aware of Maori needs, particularly of having Maori doctors so Maori people feel more comfortable about going the doctor.

Ms Wicksteed says less then one percent of doctors in rural areas are Maori.


Access to university study should be on the top of the Maori agenda next year.

Green MP Meteria Turei says the changes to the way the tertiary sector is funded could hinder Maori participation, because it doesn't reflect the fact Maori start at university later, after starting families and careers.

She says moves by university to restrict open access to courses in faculties like arts and education will hit Maori hard.

Ms Turei says Maori leaders stress the importance of education to enhance their people's prospects, so they could make it a hot political issue when Parliament resumes.

Kelvin Davis takes on Taitokerau

Labour's Taitokerau candidate believes the small stuff is just as important for Maori as the big issues like the foreshore and seabed.

Kelvin Davis from Ngati Manu is the sole Labour nomination to take on the Maori Party's Hone Harawira for the seat, which stretches from Henderson to Te Hapua.

He's a strong supporter of government policies like Working for Families and greater investment in public health.

He says his time as principal of Kaitaia Intermediate, a decile two school, brought home the need to create opportunities for ordinary Maori families.

“Addressing those needs at our level on a day to day basis is more important than resolving the big issues such as the foreshore and seabed and the Declaration of Indigenous Rights. Those things are important to us all as Maori but if they were resolved tomorrow, they wouldn’t actually put shoes on kids’ feet or give them breakfast in the morning,” Mr Davis says.

He has resigned from Kaitaia Intermediate to free himself up for the campaign.


What's good for Tainui is good for Manukau City.

That's the view of Julie Wade, the new deputy chair and highest ranking Maori on the Manukau Council's Tiriti O Waitangi Committee.

The Waikato Tainui woman hails from Pukaki marae, and has a long record of tribal, environmental and Maori development activities.

She says an important part of her role will be to strengthen the council's links with Maori communities it covers.

“It's also about building relationships with the current members of the committee, and helping those relationships to move out into the wider council so that the council itself is better placed to respond to what Maori want in Manukau. We actually have this adage in Tainui that what’s good for Tainui is good for the world,” Ms Wade says.

The committee only has an advisory role.


A new show at Rotorua's Museum of Art and History over the summer exposes the truth behind some of our colonial art.

Te Huringa or Turning Points includes work by Pakeha and Maori artists from the 1800s to more recent times.

Peter Shaw, the co-curator, says by putting the works in historical context, today's viewers can get an insight into Pakeha colonisation and Maori empowerment - the show's subtitle.

“These paintings are works of art that have been looked at extremely innocently for years so that a painting of Maori people living on the banks of the Waikato River in 1910 looking happy, pleased with their life, are in fact the victims of grinding poverty,” Mr Shaw says.


The Government's refusal to recognise Kohanga Reo's in house teacher training could cost the movement dearly.

New regulations means pre-schools must increase the number of registered teachers to qualify for new early childhood funding.

The percentage of Maori early childhood education teachers who were registered increased from 23 percent to 45 percent between 2004 and 2006.

But Titoki Black, the chief executive of the Kohanga Reo National Trust, says that doesn't include kohanga kai ako who have gone through the trust's Whakapakari course.

“Our Board is still working on trying to have it recognised by tauiwi, the same values that’s placed on ECE qualifications but as a Maori organisation, the justification is just so much greater than what others have to go through,” Ms Black says.

One consequence of the wrangle is kohanga reo struggle to compete for Maori speaking staff against better funded competitors.


A former minister of Maori affairs says treaty settlements are the wrong place to look for Maori development.

Tau Henare, who is now a National list MP, says he's concerned individual Maori are being overlooked in many of the government's policies.

He says Maori are more than their iwi.

“We've got to get our people rich, personally rich. It’s alright having treaty settlements, That’s collective wealth, and that’s great for the nation, but sometimes I think let’s start getting Maori personally wealthy so they can look forward to the future, so they can do things, put bread on the table, put a shelter over their heads,” Mr Henare says.

He says before the government starts congratulating itself about low unemployment, it should look at the number of Maori who have crossed the Tasman in search of higher wages and lower taxes.


A Rotorua tourism venture is tapping Maori knowledge about edible ferns ferns.

The Mai Ora cultural experience at Te Puia's Maori village is growing horopito, kawakawa and pikopiko to add to the pork, chicken and lamb it puts in the hangi, and for dips and snacks.

Only seven of New Zealand's 312 ferns are known to be edible.

Charles Royal, who runs the garden, tapped kaumatua and tohunga for their knowledge of plants, as well as using some of the tips he picked up as an army chef from the Vietnam veterans.

“To see if a plant was poisonous they would rub it in between their hands and then put it under their armpits or somewhere there was no hair and keep moving through the jungle. In a couple of hours, if you came up in a rash, that’s how you would know if a plant was poisonous,” Mr Royal says.

Tourists are keen to experience genuine Maori food, and they can't find it at most restaurants.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Funeral plans start on wedding day

Newlyweds should talk about what should happen when they die.

That sobering advice comes from Keri Kaa of Ngati Porou, in the wake of another bitter family dispute over a tupaapaku.

The High Court today put off a hearing on Carterton woman Tina Marshall-McMenamin, whose body was taken by her father from a Lower Hutt funeral home and buried on whanau land on the East Coast.

The judge gave more time for negotiations among the family.

Ms Kaa says conversations about funerals are particularly important for Maori who move to the cities, or who are in cross-cultural relationships.

“When our people move to the cities they have to devise new tikanga and come to different sets of agreements to achieve good results, otherwise we have a private family hui becomes a public spat, resolved by the courts,” Ms Kaa says.

The tradition for Ngati Porou is "ka hoki te whenua ki te whenua" ... that people are buried in the home area where their placenta was ritually buried after their birth.


The Kohanga Reo National Trust fears new licencing rules will hit its whanau hardest.

Its chief excecutive, Titoki Black, says because whanau often modify existing buildings for use as Maori language immersion pre-schools, they may not meet the strict conditions.

She says staff and parents at kohanga already spend a considerable part of their working day on compliance issues - which says a lot about the government's priorities.

“The actual kaupapa of kohanga, te reo me ona tikanga, is not valued. We’re more valued by the government policies around ensuring that we comply, we’re accountable, and we have no issues with accountability, but the costs around compliance to whanau is quite horrific,” Ms Black says.

More than a quarter of Maori children participating in early childhood education were enrolled in kohanga reo.


Ngati Kahungunu rangatahi are using kapa haka to develop an anti-violence message.

The 40 young people have been working with Kahurangi Dance Theatre on Whakamoe Patu - Lay down your arms to rest.

It will be performed at the Hawkes Bay Opera House on Thursday night.

Mereana Pitman, who helped develop the Ngati Kahungunu's violence free iwi strategy, says the rangatahi interviewed their kaumatua about domestic violence and how conflicts could be resolved in other ways.

“From that they drew up a storyline and began work on a production, so we have valued their input greatly. They are a pretty on to it group of rangatahi, very committed to the message as well as to the production,” Ms Pitman says.


It was a big day today for Labour's next candidate for Taitokerau.

Kelvin Davis finished up as principal of Kaitaia Intermediate to take on the Maori Party for the huge seat.

The Ngati Manu 40 year old is expecting a tough fight, with sitting MP Hone Harawira playing up issues like the foreshore and seabed and New Zealand's refusal to endorse the UN Declaration on Indigenous rights.

He says those issues don't affect Maori day to day, and he's inspired by Labour's focus on social democratic policies like Working for Families.

“I just believe that the current direction is right. I know that there are issues that affect Maori in particular that are quite overarching but I’d like to put money in people’s back pockets to make sure their lives and their kids lives are happy, healthy, that they’re well educated, and to me, that’s the real path to Maori improving ourselves,” Mr Davis says.

His campaign proper will probably kick off on February the fifth at his home marae at Karetu in the Bay of Islands.


Tainui's chairperson says Maori still aren't making their presence felt economically.

Tukoroirangi Morgan hosted a hui of iwi and incorporation chairs last week to discuss how they could work together on investment opportunities.

Tainui has improved its financial performance in recent years, growing its post settlement balance sheet to more than $500 million.

He says it's important to put in place a road map so Maori organisations get a sense of where they need to be heading - and how much they can do better by combining their resources.

“Individually we have some successes, but I don’t think this country has seen the might, the economic horsepower of Maori because we haven’t collectively been able to pull it together,” Mr Morgan says.

He says a Maori investment strategy needs to include some overseas investment.


Maori have a new advocate on the body which regulates tertiary education.

Robin Hapi from Ngati Kahungunu has had a long involvement with Maori development and education, serving on the board of Te Wananga o Raukawa and in the Seafood Industry Training Organisation.

He is also the chair of Maori fisheries settlement company Aotearoa Fisheries.

Mr Hapi says he will take a particular interest in the wananga sector because of the different perspectives the three wananga have given to tertiary education, and their success in boosting Maori participation.

“Getting Maori people onto that conveyor belt and getting theme to develop in terms of upskilling themselves, learning new things, being prepared to participate in a whole range of interesting programmes. It’s the kind of thing wananga have been very proficient and very skilled in providing,” Mr Hapi says.

Long term strategy in early education

The push to get tamariki Maori into early childhood education will pay off down the line.

That's the word from the Ministry of Education, whose draft Ka Hikitia Maori education strategy includes a goal of 95 percent of Maori at pre-school.

The latest Nga Haeata Mautauranga report found 90 percent of Maori new entrants in 2006 had participated in early childhood education, compared with 86 percent in 2002.

Cherie Shortland-Nuku from the ministry's Maori Policy Unit says that's encouraging.

“So we are happy but there is more to do to make sure that whanau who haven’t got the opportunity to be involved or need more information support get that so that their children can be involved, because we know that having a good strong early childhood experience is a strong predictor for future success in schooling,” Ms Shortland-Nuku says.

A quarter of Maori children attend kohanga reo.


The newest judges of the Maori Land Court are looking forward to a challenging workload.

Two Hamilton lawyers, Craig Coxhead and Stephen Lewis, were yesterday elevated to the court, which has been expanded to cope with an expected increase in cases involving aquaculture and foreshore and seabed claims.

Mr Coxhead says there is also pressure coming from treaty claimants, who are getting frustrated with their settlement negotiations and want the Waitangi Tribunal to determine compensation.

“There's some interesting matters that are being brought before the Waitangi Tribunal – because a Maori Land Court judge sits in the Waitangi Tribunal as well as the Maori Land Court - I understand there are a number of remedies hearings that are being put before the tribunal. Those I think will be challenging and interesting areas,” Mr Coxhead says.

He will take up his appointment after finishing as executive chair of Te Wananga o Aotearoa during its restructuring.


Womens Refuge is warning Christmas won't be a time of celebration for many Maori women and children.

Its chief executive, Heather Henare says it's only two years since seven women were killed by partners or former partners during the holiday season, leaving 19 children without mothers.

Last Christmas week there were more than 200 women and children in safe houses.

She says additional stress and alcohol fuel violent behaviour.

“Money's tight, particularly after Christmas. There’s a lot more alcohol around, a lot more family around. The pressures of feeding extra people, the pressures of having a lot of people in a small environment, having a house full of children, a house full of guests you need to look after, sometimes creates an atmosphere that can kick a vulnerable family right over,” Ms Henare says.

Whanau should be aware of the danger signs of domestic violence, such a jealous and controlling behaviour, and be prepared to step in.


Improving... but could try harder.

That's the verdict from the Maori Party on the Education Ministry's annual report card on Maori education. Nga Haeata Matauranga.

Spokesperson Te Ururoa Flavell, a former school teacher, says but gaps between Maori and non-Maori students are not closing.

“Sure some gains have been made but the gaps between Maori and non-Maori remain, So let’s be positive and take some good things out of the report, but let’s not believe that all is well. Because the gains are not enough that are going to tell us that the education system is being fully responsive to young Maori students,” Mr Flavell says.

He says the report shows the real impact of restrictions placed by the Crown on Te Wananga o Aotearoa, with the number of students learning Maori at tertiary level down to 21,000 last year from a high of 41,000 in 2003.


The Fire Service is encouraging marae to install proper fire systems this summer

Trevor Andrews, its Northland commander, says on 20 of the 256 marae in his region have fire alarms, and only one has a sprinkler system - Pakanae near Opononi.

He says most marae fires are caused by arson - so no amount of prevention can compare to a good sprinkler system.

“Despite the fire safe behaviour of marae and the people who live there and look after it, quite often these attacks are malicious. They’re arsons. So you can’t really plan for that. But having these sprinkler systems there, these silent sentinels just waiting to extinguish those fires, brings a lot of resilience and reassurance to those marae,” Mr Andrews says.

A spate of devastating fires in recent years has been a catalyst for increased focus on marae fire safety.


Levin iwi are up in arms at plans to dump Kapiti Coast rubbish in the Horowhenua landfill.

The Kapiti Coast District Council has an agreement to truck waste to the and Horowhenua council's Hokio Beach landfill when its Paraparaumu tip closes next year.

Mahanga Williams, the chair of Muaupoko Tribal Authority, says there was no consultation with iwi or the wider community.

“We wish the Kapiti coast take care of its own landfill, that it not be trucked up here to our people, because why should we take on other people’s rubbish when we’re trying to deal with recycling our own,” Mr Williams says.

Muaupoko will consider appealing the decision.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Goodall confirmed top of the south

Ngai Tahu has a new chief executive.

The top management job at the country's largest iwi has been vacant most of the year, since the departure of Tahu Potiki after a long power struggle with kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon.

It has now been filled by Anake Goodall, a former Ngai Tahu employee who has also worked as a policy analyst for Te Puni Kokiri.

Mr Goodall helped research the Ngai Tahu claim, and managed the claim process.

“I've had the privilege of being round the organisation since before the time there was such a thing in fact, so get a good feeling of where we’ve come from and why we’ve established its institutions the way we have, so that’s obviously a significant advantage,” Mr Goodall says.

He is keen to build up staff numbers to support the South Island tribe's institutions and its 500 million dollar asset base.


Maori dairy farmers are being told they're never too small to enter the largest Maori farming award.

The Ahuwhenua Trophy is given year about to dairy farms or sheep and beef operations.

Doug Leeder, the chief judge, says by competing, farmers can gain confidence in their professional skills and get valuable feedback from industry experts.

He says it's not just the big incorporation farms in with a chance.

“There are individual sole traders out there who do an excellent job, They just get on, day in day out, turning grass to milk and I think it’s those individuals we need to encourage to participate in this competition this year because I’m sure there are many sole trader dairy farmers, dairy families out there, performing equally as well as the top 10 percent are in the New Zealand dairy farming industry,” Mr Leeder says.

Farms are rated on governance, financing, management, sustainable farming and the recognition of nga tikanga Maori.

Entries close this Friday


The Fire Service is applauding the first Northland marae to fit sprinklers.

Pakanae Marae, north of Opononi, has put 100 sprinklers in its dining hall, kitchen and toilet buildings.

Trevor Andrews, the Northland commander, says only 20 of the region's 256 marae even have fire alarms.

He says many marae cry poor, but they put their heritage at risk.

“That's a funding issue, but we look at Pakanae Marae, they faced those issues. They’re a beacon to Hokianga. They’re a beacon to Northland and they’re a beacon to Maori throughout New Zealand. I’m really proud of them,” Mr Andrews says.

The sprinkler systems at Pakanae were fitted unobtrusively so they don't detract from the look of the building.


A Hamilton lawyer chosen by the Government to steer Te Wananga o Aotearoa through a major restructuring has been made a judge of the Maori Land Court.

Craig Coxhead has acted as executive chairperson of the Maori tertiary institution over the past year and a half, while its finances have been under the control of a crown manager.

His career has combined practical experience before the courts and the Waitangi Tribunal with his work as a senior lecturer at the Waikato University law school.

“While those skills that I’ve got ion practice will help me in fulfilling requirements of the job, I also think academic experience in terms of writing, in terms of the critical rigour you take in academic work will also be of assistance, so I think those are two of the main things I bring, along with knowledge of reo and tikanga,” Mr Coxhead says.

The second new judge of the Maori Land Court is Stephen Clark, a partner at Hamilton law firm McCaw Lewis Chapman, where Mr Coxhead used to work.


More Maori are starting school earlier and staying longer ... and that time in the classroom is paying off.

Nga Haeata Matauranga, the Education ministry's annual report card on Maori education, found 60 percent of year 11 Maori students passed their NCEA literacy and numeracy credits last year, up 8 points on 2005.

Their completion rate at wananga and universities was 47 percent, compared to 44 percent for all students.

Cherie Shortland-Nuku from the ministry's Maori Policy Group says there are gains across the education sector.

“There's been an increase in the number of children attending early childhood education; they’re up to about 90 percent. There’s been a 10 percent increase in the number of children enrolled in Maori immersion or Maori medium education. More Maori whanau have put themselves up for boards of trustees. And in the national certificate of education, there have been increases across all three levels of NCEA,” Ms Shortland-Nuku says.

Nga Haeata Matauranga gives the ministry rapid feedback on the effect of policies and new initiatives.


Iwi and community groups at the top of the South Island are banding together to preserve tuatara.

They have come together as the Spinyback Tuatara Education and Conservation Charitable Trust, to support Ngati Koata's work as kaitiaki of the living fossil.

Dion Paul, the trust's chair, says the trust will develop resources to take into schools, giving the iwi's perspective on conservation and its relationship with tuatara.

“Because of its longevity, it lives up to 100 years, we see it as a taongha that holds a lot of knowledge, and so putting it up as an ancient taonga allows us to think in a long term,” Mr Paul says.

90 percent of the known 40,000 tuatara population live on Takapourewa or Stephens Island at the top of the South Island in the Ngati Koata rohe.

Tainui river settlement inches closer

The shared management deal of the Waikato River signed yesterday betweeen Tainui and the Crown signals a new era for the tribe.

That's the view of Tainui Chairman Tukuroirangi Morgan.

He says the welfare of the river has always been at the heart of iwi concerns and yesterdays signing now gives the tribe the legislative muscle to ensure the river between Hamilton and Port waikato suffers no further degradation.

Mr Morgan says a lot of the finer detail still has to be worked through, a long term startegy is needed to restore the mana of the river.


The stage is set for iwi to collaborate and take advantage of a growing worldwide demand for milk products.

Last week dairying giant Fonterra announced a rise in the price for milk fat solids, which is good news for the dairying sector.

Roger Pikia an executive member of the Federation of Maori authorities says recent discussions between post settlement iwi pave the way more substantial investment.


A pa site predating Ngai Tahu has been uncovered at the site of a new township being built north of Christchurch.

Ngai Tuahuriri liasion and cultural advisor to Pegasus town Te Marino Lenihan says the pa is believed to be 500 to 600 years old.

He says archaeologists have discovered fence-post bases, housing structures, greenstone chips, bones, and hunting weapons.

Mr Lenihan says the discovery is significant as fortified pa were uncommon in that era, and is close to the largest of the local historical greenstone industry sites.

Pegasus town is being built from scratch 25km north of Christchurch and is expected to eventually house 5000 people.


Tainui Chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan has paid tribute to the new Minsister of Treaty negotiations.

Yestarday the waikato based iwi signed an historic agreement granting them co-management with the Crown of the waterway between Hamilton and Port Waikato.

Mr Morgan says while the finer details are still to be worked through, the agreement shows Tainui are near the final leg of their 150 year struggle for justice.

Mr Morgan says the lead negotiator for yesterday’s signing deserves kudos.


Tangata whenua are concerned they are being left out of a Conservation Department plan to eradicate pests from Hauraki Gulf islands.

The department intends to remove rat, mice, stoats, feral cats, rabbits and hedgehogs from Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands, and reintroduce kiwi, kaka, tuatara and mistletoe.

Peter Turei from Ngati Paoa and Ngai Tai says as kaitiaki, the iwi are keen to know how they can participate in the planning and implementation of the project.

Pita Turei says the Conservation Department held a workshop last week for restoration trusts and other groups with interest in the Hauraki Gulf ... but only asked Ngati Paoa in to open the event.


The Salvation Army hopes to boost its services to Maori.

The Army has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Social Development which could lead to an increase in services and more strategic input into the ministry's planning.

Major Campell Roberts, the chief executive, says the agreement is designed to increase the number of social services provided by the Sallies, but gives them the ability to talk at a strategic level about community's needs.

He says Maori make up a significant percentage of their clients, and the Salvation Army has always valued the relationship they have with the Maori community.

Tuhoe to sue police

Friday December 14

The police have left Tuhoe with little choice but to ask the courts for justice over the October anti terror raid on Ruatoki.

That's the reason Tuhoe spokesperson Tamati Kruger is giving for a planned action to be taken by about 30 people caught up in the raid.

Auckland Queen's Counsel Peter Williams is acting for the group.

Only one person was formally arrested in the eastern Bay of Plenty township during the raid, but armed police maintained checkpoints until late afternoon, detained people, searched vehicles and buildings, seized computers, and made people stand beside their vehicles to have their photos taken.

Mr Kruger says Tuhoe had attempted to get explanations and apologies from police, with no success.

He says Tuhoe is concerned about the costs of any action, but it needs to make a stand for what is right.


Te Mangai Paho is losing patience with the way Television New Zealand treats its Maori programmes.

The Maori broadcast funding agency is in talks with the state broadcaster about continuing funding.

The chief executive, John Bishara, says it is keen to continue funding Te Karere, Waka Huia and Marae, which are rebroadcast on Maori television.

But he has questions about TVNZ's commitment, give the poor time slots it gives Maori language programmes.

Mr Bishara says the Maori programmes have a loyal audience who will follow them to whichever time they are scheduled.


Opotiki is celebrating Christmas early.

One of organisers of tonight's Christmas in the Park in the eastern Bay of Plenty town says it's chance for the community to show appreciation for the tireless work done by volunteers in the region.

Up to 4 thousand people are expected at the concert, which features bands kapa haka group Opotiki Mai Tawhiti, the third place getter in this year's Matatini competition.

Tania McCormack says a special call has gone out to kaimahi from the local marae.


The Crown has loosened its grip on Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
A Crown manager and observer were put into the wananga three years ago as the government moved to check its rapid growth, which was straining its systems.

The chairperson, Craig Coxhead, says at today's council meeting, all handed financial delegations were handed back to the chief executive, Bentham Ohia.

The council asked the Crown manager from accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers to stay on for a few months until it can find a chief financial officer.

While the wananga is predicting a strong financial result this year, it hasn't fared well in the latest allocations from the tertiary Education Commission.

Its grant for 2008 is up only 3.8 percent to $113 million, compared with an 18 percent rise at te Wananga o Raukawa, 25 percent at Awanuiarangi and a 15 percent average across all tertiary institutions.


A high profile lawyer says the police broke all the rules during the so called terror raids in Ruatoki on October.

Peter Williams QC says the police have failed to respond to offers of an honourable settlement, so he has been instructed to sue the force on behalf of about 30 Ruatoki residents.
It will take a couple of months to prepare and file up to 30 writs, and apply for legal aid.

Peter Williams says there was no interest in taking the case to the Independent Police Complaints Authority


Stargazers in Wellington are getting the chance to learn the astral trails of ancient Maori navigaters.

Carter Observatory has invited today's navigators to mark the start of the voyaging season, when the constellations rise that guided tupuna across the ocean in their waka hourua.

Hector Busby, Jack Thatcher, Hoturua Kerr and Matahi Brightwell, are talking this weekend at Te Pataka in Porirua and Wellington's Museum of City and Sea.

They're also taking part in tonight's Mata Ora concert at Queen's Wharf, along with astronomers and singers including Rhian Sheehan, Jess Chambers, and Mina and Maaka.

Toa Waaka, the observatory's Maori advisor, says it's about reclaiming an ancient knowledge base.

Toa Waaka says the Matariki star cluster can be seen in the northeast sky at dusk - joining the other markers of Polynesian astro-navigation.