Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 17, 2008

Young Bailey walks free from court

One of the people arrested last year in connection with camps in Te Urewera says the police have taken people's actions out of context.

Rongomai Bailey was today discharged from the proceedings after Judge Mark Perkins found insufficient evidence to try the six charges against him.

The 17 other defendants including Tuhoe rights campaigner Tame Iti were ordered to stand trial in the Auckland District Court next year on arms charges.

Mr Bailey says he's relieved he no longer has to report in to police every week.

He says the trial is a complete waste of money and based on misinterpretations.

“I think a lot of it was people taking things out of context, say sipping a latte in Ponsonby and talking about a revolution or something, but if you don’t know the people and you don’t know the context, they you just know they’re full of shit and they like talking big, but because they’re taking in that way, people think they’re serious, whereas I don’t know … they’re just living in a fantasy land,” Mr Bailey says.

The 17 remaining defendants were released on bail until February 17, but Judge Perkins says there are applications before the High Court which if successful would lead to almost all the remaining charges being thrown out.


The kauri industry of the late 19th and early 20th century is the focus of a new Department of Conservation visitors centre opened by Hauraki iwi at dawn today.

Hauraki Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta says the centre in the Kauaeranga Valley, 30 minutes from Thames, should stimulate other historical and eco-tourism opportunities and bring more international visitors to the region.

She says the electorate has a large conservation estate, which needs to be used sustainably.

“My hope long term is Hauraki becomes a foundation component of that eco-tourism experience and long term management of the DOC estate,” Ms Mahuta says.


A hui in Wellington this weekend will try to feed a growing appetite for Maori stories ... both here and overseas.

It brings together established and aspiring Maori writers with publishers and industry heavyweights.

Charlie Holland, who helped organise the gathering, says there's a demand for all kinds of work... fiction and non-fiction, traditional and contemporary tales.

She says it's a chance for aspiring writers to get advice and support and network with other writers.

The Maori Writer's Hui opens tonight at the National Library with presentations from storyteller Apirana Taylor and filmmaker Nancy Brunning.


The ordeal is over for one of the people arrested a year ago in connection with camps in Te Urewera, but 17 others will go on trial on arms charges.

In a reserved judgment delivered at the Auckland District Court today, Judge Mark Perkins said there was insufficient evidence from camps run in November 2006 and April and August last year to allow arms charges stemming from those camps to go ahead.

That means Rongomai Bailey was discharged from the proceedings.

Mr Bailey says he and his partner have moved to the Coromandel peninsula, where they are trying to put the past year behind them by growing plants and trying out ecologically sustainable ideas.

He says police misinterpreted what was going on in the camps near Ruatoki, and the trial has been a massive waste of money.


Maori doctoral graduates and students are looking for ways their skills can be used in their iwi.

Patricia Johnston from Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi says that's the main theme of this year's Maori Doctoral Conference at the Whakatane wananga this weekend.

Speakers including Takirirangi Smith, Riri Ellis and Jenny Lee will share their experiences of returning to work in their communities after post-graduate study and research.

Professor Johnston says it's not an automatic pathway.

“There's no straight recipe or formula for that to happen and that’s what part of the conference is going to look at this weekend, what are some of the ways this can happen, because it’s not necessarily straightforward or easy,” Dr Johnston says.

More than 100 people have registered for the conference, which began this afternoon.


Auckland school kapa haka groups will this weekend compete in a breakaway competition.

Organiser te Keepa Stirling says Te Ahurei broke away from the huge annual Polyfest a decade ago as an affirmation of tino rangatiranga and a protest against the corporate drift of the larger event.

He says 13 schools will take part in the competition at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori a Rohe o Mangere.


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