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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Algae bloom closes Bay of Island fishery

A toxic algae bloom in the Bay of Islands is intensifying debate over local control of the fishery.

Northland Health has banned shellfish collection in the lower Bay of Islands and Waikare Inlet after high levels of a Diuretic Shellfish Poison was detected in water off Tapeka Point near Russell.

The closure comes as Ngapuhi hapu are trying to get a 26 kilometre mataitai or Maori-controlled fishery covering the northern Bay of Islands.

Emma Gibbs from Te Pataka Matauranga Trust says local control is a way to stop poaching in the area by outsiders, which is rampant.

“If you steal the seafood and you don’t know there is toxic bloom you could be killing your kaumatua and your mokopunas. DSP is diuretic shellfish poisoning. It simply means diarrhea, dehydration, all those sorts of things that give you a very sore puku and it’s very very dangerous,” Ms Gibbs says.

DSP outbreaks are often followed by even more toxic algae blooms.


A Maori political commentator says the Maori Party should heed a poll showing a majority of Maori will throw their party vote to Labour.

The Maori Television/Baseline Consultancy poll of 420 Maori voters, done for last night's Kowhiri 08 show, showed 52 percent would give their party vote to Labour, 20 percent to the Maori Party and 15 percent to National. The margin of error was 4.8 percent.

Former MP Sandra Lee, one of the panelists on Kowhiri 08, says it shows Maori voters aren't being swayed by the Maori Party's two tick campaign.

She says they will be disillusioned if the party helps National form a government.

“The Maori Party has become sophisticated enough in the parliamentary arena to recognise that numbers count in politics. The old saying is learn how to count and they are going to have to learn where their support base sees in a coalition environment, their best friends,” Ms Lee says.

The poll did show the Maori Party still has strong support from Maori.


The Greens Maori affairs spokesperson says National's prison reform plan will divert scarce resources into a very small section of the inmate population.

National is promising to deny parole to anyone convicted of a second violent offence, and it will spend more than $300 million on a new prison to house them.

Metiria Turei says about half of prisoners are Maori, and there is no investment in their rehabilitation.

“Forty percent of prisoners are only in there for six months. It’s only like small crimes but they aren’t entitled to any rehabilitation programme because they’re only in for six months or less but if you put rehabilitation programmes in for them you would be able to shift a lot of them out of reoffending,” Ms Turei says.


More than 400 members of Ngati Apa and neighbouring iwi were at Whangaehu Marae today to witness the signing of the iwi's deed of settlement for historic treaty claims.

Chairperson Adrian Rurawhe says in the 16 months since the signing of an agreement in principle, Ngati Apa has negotiated up the quantum from $14.2 million to $16 million, and it will now receive interest backdated to the AIP, rather than the deed signing.

The settlement also includes the transfer of a dozen sites in fee simple title, including Marton Golf Course, and the opportunity to buy parts of the Santoft and Lismore Crown licensed forests.

Mr Rurawhe says as part of a cultural revitalisation package, the 3000-strong iwi is getting land to build papakanga housing round five of its marae.

“Our hapu have asked for land to attract our people to come back home, and of course they won’t do it if they can't build here,” Mr Rurawhe says.

Legislation implementing the settlement should be introduced in the New Year.


The Maori Women's Welfare League could be fingered for a greater service delivery role under a National government.

Maori affairs co-spokesperson Georgina Te Heuheu accompanied party leader John Key to the league's conference in Auckland at the weekend.

She says it is an influential organisation in the Maori world.

“National is not averse to having government services being delivered by non-government agencies and looking at their strength in numbers at the weekend, it did seem to me and in fact John Key did indicate as much that we would be looking to organisations like theirs to help lift the prospects of those Maori families who aren't doing well,” Mrs te Heuheu says.


A Kawhia whanau which tours schools promoting a smokefree kaupapa is taking its message south.

The Whiu whanau has developed a theatrical presentation based on tales of the demigod Maui.

Hinga Whiu, husband Lloyd and their tamariki will perform their latest production, Maui Tamatoa, at seven schools in Te Wai Pounamu next month.

She says being a growing family, line-up changes are inevitable.

“We have eight and three have left home so we’ve still got the other five at home that are still performing.. There’s the whole auhi kore kaupapa but also there’s the whanau aspect of it as well,” Mrs Whiu says.

While the theatre is a great way to see the country, it's always a relief to be able to come home to Kawhia.


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