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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 06, 2008

Party usurps iwi role

One of Labour's Maori MPs says the Maori Party is usurping the role of iwi in its claim to be the Crown's treaty partner.

Mita Ririnui, who is trying to regain the Waiariki seat from Te Ururoa Flavell, says the basis for Labour's relationships with Maori is still the compact it formed with Ratana in the 1930s ... which focuses on the social and economic needs of Maori people and the rights and privileges guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi.

He says the Maori Party's call that it wants a treaty partner rather than a coalition partner flies in the face of sense and tradition.

“They are elected representatives. They aren’t the treaty partners. That role remains with iwi. The way they’ve expressed it, it seems obvious to me they’ve usurped the role of iwi in terms of that relationship. They are the conduit, we all (MPs) are the conduit between the Crown and Maori and iwi, and we should never forget that,” Mr Ririnui says.

The Maori Party launched its campaign for all seven Maori seats at its annual conference in Hamilton this weekend.


The Ngapuhi Runanga wants to help Maori landowners move into orcharding.

Relationships manager Allen Wihongi says it is forming a joint venture with Omapere Taraire E and Rangihamama X3A Ahu Whenua Trust to look at what fruit crops can offer continuous year-round employment.

Kiwifruit, avocado, feijoas and berry species are being considered.

“We have a lot of whenua up there that is under-utilised and what we are hoping to do is take what we’ve learnt from this research and development and transplant it to whenua throughout Taitokerau, throughout Ngapuhi. The whole focus is to lift hapu, for people to become self-sustaining. The two resources we have most of is whenua Maori and people,” Mr Wihongi says.

The Ngapuhi Runanga is talking with Northland College about a horticulture training scheme to tie in with the venture.


A great migration story has been set off on another journey.
Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre is touring the United Stage with Waka, a theatrical spectacular based on the story of the Takitimu.

Its creator, Tama Huata, says it encompasses the whole of the Pacific.

“We tell of its origins from the Pacific out of Samoa through the many islands of Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, all the different name changes of the waka to its arrival at Rarotonga and finally to Aotearoa some 300 years after it was built,” Mr Huata says.

The 20-strong group performed Waka last month at a Pacific Festival in San Diego, and it's now headed for New Hamshire, Boston, Washington DC and Alaska.


The Maori Women's Welfare League has wound up its 56th annual conference in Manukau City with a review of what it can do to address Maori social problems and support families through any tough times ahead.

Long time member Pae Ruha from Wellington says younger women are taking their places in the organisation.

Meagan Joe, from a well-known Hawkes Bay whanau was elected president in a keenly-contested battle, with Jane de Feu from Te Tau Ihu voted in as her deputy.

Both have experience working with iwi and government departments.

Mrs Ruha says there is still a place for the skills and knowledge of the older members... especially as families come under increased economic pressure.

“I think we're going to come to a time when we go back to growing things, making things like jams and preserves and so on which is what the league used to do once upon a time to help the mothers in the cities,” Mrs Ruha says.


A group representing 10 Northland marae wants to turn 26 square kilometers of the northern Bay of Islands into a mataitai or hapu-controlled fishery.

Chairperson Judah Heihei from Te Tii says hapu in the region have been trying to get some kind of local control for more than a decade.

He says the Ministry of Fisheries has been unable to control poaching in the area, and it's up to local people to restore stock of scallops, paua, crayfish and other species.

“Mataitai is not a closing. Mataitai is allowing us to take part in their regrowth and to ensure that shellfish continue to prosper in our area,” Mr Heihei says.

Anyone with concerns about the proposal is welcome to come to a public meeting tonight at Whitiora marae in Te Tii.


Hundreds of people passed through Putiki Marae over the weekend to pay tribute to Rangitihi Tahuparae, who died on Thursday at his home in Whanganui.

Mr Tahuparae was one of a select group trained in the traditional arts of the Whanganui River, and he was known for his cultural skills and his commitment to tikanga.

In later years he became Parliament's first official kaumatua, providing advice on protocol and acting as spokesperson on official occasions.

Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia says her relative had links to all the major houses in the lower North Island, so there was considerable debate about where he should be laid to rest.

“The tono went for him to go back the Ruaka where our whanau has connections and to Maungarongo. To Ngati Rangi, but Tahu grew up, one of our kuia brought him up, kuia Wiki Pumipi, and the people of Putiki felt that because he has lived down there for much of his life, that they would like him to lie there and be buried there,” Mrs Turia says.

The funeral service for Rangitihi Tahuparae will be held tomorrow morning.


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