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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sir Graham Latimer honoured with study

The chairman of the New Zealand Maori Council has been hailed as heading a network of modern Maori leadership that extends well outside his own organisation.

Summing up a day long symposium on the life of Sir Graham Latimer, Massey University professor Mason Durie said Maori progress is being driven by collective action rather than charismatic individuals.

He says in a network developed over the past three decades that spans iwi, communities, institutions and political persuasions, strategic vision and the ability to read the signs of change are especially valued.

Sir Graham, who has been part of successful claims over fisheries, forests, state owned lands, broadcasting and the status of the Treaty of Waitangi, has been at the heart of the network.

“He has shown sustained tenacity, endurance, resilience, a knack for sensing the right moment for action and for picking the right people to act with, or to act against.

“His breadth of thinking, combined with a healthy dose of pragmatism and an uncanny intuition set him apart as a master of confrontation, of negotiation, of timing and of expedience.

“In his several capacities he has been a navigator across turbulent waters, an architect of change, a chair for the boardroom, a servant of his people and an unswerving champion for Maori,” Professor Durie says.

Because of the efforts of Sir Graham and his network, Maori entered the 21st century with greater certainty than when they stumbled into the 20th century.


After 15 years of fighting local councils, the descendants of 19th century Ngai Tahu ariki Te Maiharanui have succeeded getting his landing place recognised as an historic reserve.

George Tikao, the chair of the Onuku Runanka, says Takapuneke near Akaroa has been site of a rubbish dump and effluent treatment plant.

Its significance is now to be recognised by the Christchurch City Council and the Historic Places Trust.

Mr Tikao says Ngai Tarewa and Ngati Irakehu have plans to rehabilitate the reserve.

“We have now become successful in hopefully allowing this property to regenerate what it used to be like. Indigenous forests practically came down to where Te Maiharanui had his village,” Mr Tikao says.

In 1830 Te Maiharanui and 200 of his people were captured and killed by Te Rauparaha and a Ngati Toa taua, which had been taken to Banks Peninsula on a British ship.


Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki has pledged to give away some of his personal wealth to fund new health and education programmes.

The 10-year old church is seeking to be recognised as an urban Maori authority as it boosts its welfare programmes.

Bishop Tamaki says while he has been accused of an extravangant lifestyle, he gives away almost 60 percent of his income.

“We're big givers. We want to give 90 percent away and live on 10 percent. I’m putting up my bikes and my car and some of the profits from some of my assets to invest n our children’s schooling and health facilities we are setting up in the next five years, so Hera and I, we know in our hearts that we hold on to everything with an open palm,” Mr Tamaki says.

Hbe says about 80 percent of the 7000 destiny members are Maori, but there are also growing numbers of Pasifika, Asian and Black African immigrants.


The Historic Places Trust is defending its actions over a development which threatened an archaeological site on the south Wairarapa coast.

Haami Te Whaiti from Ngati Hinewaka says the trust and local council aren't doing enough to protect sites in the area.

But Ann Neill, the trust's central region manager, says a resource consent allowed Martinborough Coastal Developments to put a boundary fence for a 24-section subdivision at Tora along a ridgeline ... cutting through a terraced pa.

“What we did was work very hard with the landowner and iwi and facilitated an agreement with them all that while that legal boundary would stay as drawn, the fenceline wouldn’t go down that ridgeline so the cultural site could be intact both physically and culturally, and the new fenceline would go round the bottom of the hill at the base of the site,” Ms Neill says.

The developer started work without the required consultant archaeologist on site, which allowed the trust to stop the work once it was informed of Ngati Hinewaka's concerns.


The Prime Minister is urging Maori voters to looking at what has happened in their everyday lives under Labour rather than hark back to the row over foreshore and seabed claims.

Helen Clark says Maori unemployment reached 25 percent under the last National-led government.

She says it's now less than a third of that.

“We've got a big increase in the number of children in early childhood education. We’ve got people living longer. Maori life expectancy is up. Cultural renaissance in Maoridom, Maori television, the support for iwi radio, support for culture, people’s real lives, incomes, jobs, schooling, further education, interest free loans, student allowances, you name it, things are better,” Ms Clark says.

The government has made significant progress settling foreshore and seabed claims through negotiations with individaul iwi and through the Maori commercial aquaculture settlement.


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