Waatea News Update

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Tuhoe mana motuhake on the table

Ngai Tuhoe claimant Tame Iti says mana motuhake and sovereignty issues are definitely on the table in treaty talks with the Crown.

The activist and artist, who is currently on bail on firearms charges stemming from last October's police raids in the eastern Bay of Plenty, was at Parliament yesterday with other Tuhoe claimants to sign terms of negotiation.

He says the government must now face up to issues which he and others have tried to raise for years, such as ownership of the tribe's Urewera heartland and its distinct consitutional status.

"Not very long ago members of government were calling me and Tuhoe that we were in cuckoo-land to believe Tuhoe is able to get into a discussion about this issue about Tuhoe as a nation within a nation. That's not going to happen. He's dreaming. Yesterday, that is not a dream, it's a reality," Mr Iti says.

A taiaha he presented to Michael Cullen,  the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, was used at the battle of Gate Pa, and he expects it to come back when agreement is reached.

South Island iwi were meeting today to discuss what needs to go into an early settlement of their aquaculture claims.

Richard Bradley from Rangitane, the chair of the Kurahaupo cluster of iwi, says the Minister of Fisheries, Jim Anderton, has agreed to take an offer to Cabinet which would be included in a comprehensive Te Tau Ihu settlement.

He says under the 2004 Maori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Act, the Crown has to make a cash offer in 2014 if it can't come up with marine space ... and there's no more space to be had in the top of the South Island.

"Justice delayed is justice denied. If there is no space, and there is unlikely to be any space in the foreseeable future, what are the chances of moving the cash-up option from 2014 to now, so Jim Anderton, he's been interested in that.
Mr Bradley says.

More than 80 percent of the country's developed marine farms are in the Marlborough Sounds and Tasman Bay, so any settlement could top $100 million.

It's the 21st birthday of the Maori Language Act, but one of its promoters says there's not a lot of adult korero to heard.

Pita Sharples says when Hoani Waitit Marae was established in west Auckland, it would run programmes around what was then Maori language day to get mainstream schools to teach their pupuls some simple Maori.

The Maori Party co-leader says there has been a lot of progress since then, but complacency is setting in and much more needs to be done.

"We're getting a little complacent. We're far from out of the woods. Unless we can get really deep speaking, deep thinking people, language is a bit shallow at the moment, and while many Maori can converse conversationally, nevertheless you have to be able to talk about the combustion engine, Halley's Comet, all those things, in Maori, in order to feel safe," Dr Sharples says.


South Auckland's Ngati Te Ata people want to have a say about in a new reserve on their ancestral kainga.

The proposed reserve will cover the Matukuturua Stonefields and the remains of the volcanic cone Matukutureia, or McLaughlin's Mount, next to  Puhinui Reserve in Manukau City.

Nganeko Minhinnick, a Ngati te Ata elder, says it was the home of Te Ata i Rehia, who gave her name to the iwi.

She says despite the years of industrial use, there are still signs of the walls and gardens built by her ancestors.

"Poor old Matukutureia's been beaten up over the years, quarried big time, and the part that is going to be set aside is the remnants. It still brings a swlling in the heart when you think about it, when you go there," Mrs Minhinnick says.

The importance of the stonefields was the reason Ngati Te Ata tried to stop the Auckland Women's Prison being built on part of the land.

New Zealand First's law and order spokesman says Maori are staying silent on Wanganui's plan to ban gang patches in the city.

Ron Mark says Parliament's law and order select committee has heard a range of submissions on a bill being put up on behalf of Wanganui District Council.

They range from people who see the measure as an attack on civil liberties, to those who see gangs as terrorists to be suppressed.

He says despite the bill's potential impact on the city's predominantly Maori gangs, Maori didn't turn up either to support or oppose the bill,

Mr Mark believes the Committee is likely to recommend Wanganui gets the powers it is seeking.

It's the National Party conference in Wellington this weekend, but don't expect any Maori policy to come out of it.

Tau Henare, one of the party's Maori affairs spokespeople, says no presentations regarding te ao Maori are planned, and it's more of a chance for him to shoot the breeze with those Maori candidates and delegates who do turn up.

With the election only three months off, the party has other priorities than courting a group of voters who traditionally have been immune to its charms.

"We're not looking to release our Maori policy for a little bit now so we will use the opportunity this weekend to do some networking and seek some advice as well," Mr Henare says.

Maori bank plan flawed

The Federation of Maori Authorities says there's a need for a Maori investment fund, but not the one the government is proposing.

FOMA has made a submission against the Government's plan to put $35 million of the Maori Trustee's accumulated profits into a new agency called Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand.

Chief executive Paul Morgan says a viable fund would need to be well over $100 million, and focus on helping Maori owners unlock the value in their existing resources.

"We look at the industries we're in and also industries that Maori are not in, and then say to ourselves what would be the strategy to invest in those industries, how will we position and who will we work with to take up those opportunities. Clearly if there was a strategic fund there, Maori businesses would have a potential partner," he says.

Mr Morgan says the Government should split the Maori Trustee Bill so long-delayed reforms can go ahead, while more work is put into the business agency concept.

Maori lawyers fear intellectual property laws don't give enough protection to matauranga Maori.

Karen Waaka, the chair of the Maori Trademarks Advisory Committee, says threats to Maori knowledge such as bioprospecting were topics of debate at the seventh annual Maori Legal Forum in Wellington this week.

She says patents, trademarks and copyrights only apply to new knowledge, and don't cover the historic nature of the Maori collective experience.

"Nga Taonga i tuku iho, nga mata nei tino rangatiratanga o tatou taonga katoa, so it's looking at those things that are inherently Maori from our arts, our crafts, our language, those concepts, imagery, photographs, taonga Maori," Ms Waaka says.

The Waitangi Tribunal's report on the WAI 262 fauna and flora claim should give lawmakers some guidance on the issue, but that's not expected until some time next year.

Maori are still interested in joining the police, despite strained relations with some Maori communities since last October's terror raids in the Urewera.

Wally Haumaha, the manager Maori, Pacific and ethnic services, says a recruitment roadshow earlier this year is paying rewards.

"We attracted over 380 signatures from people ranging from 17 to mid-40s and I thought that was an excellent effort and excellent support from our people looking at policing as a career because it does make a difference in the way we police our communities," Superintendent Haumaha says.

There has been interest from police in Australia, Canada and Britain to find more about how New Zealand police manage their iwi liasion scheme.


Maori men need someone to stand up for them.

That's the response of Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere to a study which found more than twice as many Maori women are getting a tertiary education than Maori men.

The former Labour MP says Maori men have struggled to cope with the changes in the labour market over the past 30 years, and they are no longer able to look after their families the way their fathers and grandfathers did.

He says they find they're on their own.

"We go down the family courts today in Henderson, if a man arrives, he arrives by himself. When a woman arrives, there's about three agencies sitting there to support her. And that's good. I don't knock that. But there's no group supporting men in their hour of difficulty and need. And so they often walk away rather than contest custody or contest access," Mr Tamihere says.

He says organsiations like Te Whanau o Waipareira may need to put more of their focus into young Maori males.

Maori wardens are being credited with reducing shop thefts in Hamilton.

Wally Haumaha, the police manager for Maori, Pacific and ethnic services, says the city used to be one of the worst in the country for shoplifting.

He says the offenders were mainly Maori women ... and those dishonesty offences locked them into the criminal justice system.

Superintendent Haumaha there have been almost 400 fewer offences this year, thanks in part to Maori wardens working closely with the police.

He says more than 300 wardens have done special training courses at the Police College in Porirua since April last year, giving them more skills to do their mahi.

Preserving Maori traditional knowledge is the challenge for a hui opening at Hopuhopu today.

The Taonga Tuku Iho Survival 2050 Conference will look at how to protect, preserve and disseminate the treasures whcih come down from the ancestors.

Organiser Hinureina Mangan says the ease with which information can be converted to digital formats has brought up ethical questions of tikanga and kawa which could be overlooked in the haste to engage with the new technology.

She says the hui will bring together kaumaatua who are experts in cultural heritage with some of the rangatahi who are working on its preservation.

Murupara has gone off the air.

Radio station Rangatahi ERFM stopped broadcasting to the remote community in the middle of the Kaingaroa Forest after it was burgled and vandalised.

Bill Bird, the chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Manawa, says it's a major blow after a decade of service.

"But you know we're in a state of shock at the moment about the damage that was done, about $15,000 worth. It's a community service that has basically been shut down through acts of vandalism," Mr Bird says.

Police are still investigating the vandalism, which was probably done by young people.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

FOMA no to bank plan

The Federation of Maori Authorities wants the government to rethink plans for a Maori development bank.

Chief executive Paul Morgan says FOMA's members support the first part of bill now before Parliament, which will split the Maori Trust Office from Te Puni Kokiri.

But there is little backing for the second part of the bill, which will use the Maori Trustee's accumulated profits to create a new organisation, Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand.

"We're supportive of the concept but we don't think enough development work and thinking has gone into what would be the vision and purpose of such a fund. There's been no consulation with the Maori business community. If it's going to be successful, it needs to be able to work alongside Maori business and Maori people," Mr Morgan says.

He says it's not appropriate that the Maori Trustee continue to be appointed by the Minister for Maori Affairs, and many parts of the bill show a paternalistic approach which takes Maori back 100 years.

The mist descended on Wellington today as the Tamariki o Te Kohu... the children of the mist... gathered in the capital to sign terms of negotiations for their treaty claims.

Issues include the loss of Tuhoe land and lives by Crown actions, the execution of unarmed prisoners during the new Zealand wars of the 1860s and 70s and the 1916 raid by armed police on prophet Rua Kenana's settlement at Maungapohatu.

Parekura Horomia, the Minister of Maori Affairs, says tribal leaders are now keen to talk with the Crown.

"It's only about the third time they've ever stepped up to try and work things through with the Crown. They never signed the treaty but they certainly had the land confiscated and I think today's a wonderful start heading towards something that should have been put right generations ago," Mr Horomia says.

An agreement in principle is expected in eight to ten months.


A Maori academic says the huge imbalance between the earnings of male and female graduates shows women still aren't valued in the community.

A study for the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee found that on average men with degrees were earning 50 percent more than their female former classmates.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith, the pro-vice chancellor Maori at the University of Waikato, says Maori women are entering tertiary study in increasing numbers ... but they may start questioning the rewards at the end of it.

"We're not valued in the labour market. We're not earning what we ought to be earning. And it says to Maori women our status is still very low in society and it's probably low in our own community as well even though many women are also the primary wage earners for their family," she says.

Professor Smith says the wage gap could also be a disincentive to Maori men seeking to extend themselves through further education, as they can probably earn more than higher-qualified women.


A month after coming to Wellington to ink its acceptance of the Central North Island forestry settlement, Ngai Tuhoe was back in Parliament today to sign terms of negotiations for its individual claims.

The negotiations will cover the attacks on the tribe by the Crown during the wars of the 1860s and 70s, the loss of its lands including Te Urewera, the socioeconomic effects of past government policies and the constitutional relationship between the iwi and the Crown.

Bill Bird from the neighbouring Ngati Manawa iwi, was there in support.

He says all while tribes in the central North Island each have specific grievances, they also has many concerns in common.

"There's a determination there for getting out of grievance mode. I think we're all on about getting into an independent mode, not being dependent on handouts. We want to get out of grievance mode and move on," Mr Bird says.

The Minister of Maori Affairs is defending a proposed new Maori development bank.

The Federation of Maori Authorities says the plan for Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand, or M-banz, was included without any consultation in a bill overhauling the Maori Trust Office, and it needs further work.

The Maori Trustee has also criticised the scope of the reform.

But Parekura Horomia says it's a good idea, and the Government is putting its money, and the Maori Trustee's money, where its mouth is.

"We've made available $40 million of Crown money,. We want to see the Maori Trustee go wider in the sense of hat they do with our people and certainly I'm very supportive of MBANZ which is getting together a board and income and revenue to support Maori from different areas," Mr Horomia says.

He says it could be possible to split the Maori Trustee and Maori Development Bill, as the Federation of Maori Authorities is suggesting, so the separation of the Maori Trust Office from Te Puni Kokiri could go ahead.

Maori lawyers have been meeting to discuss better ways to control and manage Maori assets.

Karen Waaka, from Te Arawa says seventh Maori Legal Forum at Te Papa looked at some of the structures Maori have to work with, and whether they are relevant.

She says Maori need to balance development with the desire to maintain their heritage for future generations.

"We are risk averse, particularly because we have a collective responsibility. It's not the same as western philosophy of an individual property right or share. So Maori at this time are looking at all of our assets, all of our resources, and how we can maintain and control those or have a share of that management and control," Ms Waaka says.

Maori are looking for a way to achieve sustanable development without relying on government support.


Gap a degree of concern

There's a growing education gap between Maori men and women.

A report on university graduates by the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee found that in 1999 about 5000 Maori women and 3000 Maori men completed a tertiary qalification.

By 2006 more than twice as many Maori women than men completed degrees.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith, the pro-vice chancellor Maori at the University of Waikato, says Maori women are now pursuing tertiary study at about the same rate as Pakeha.

But Maori men have gone missing.

"There might be different opportunities that men have that are alternatives to education. They might get more job opportunities than women do which takes them away. Or their aspirations for themselves are really really different, and we don't really understand that. I don't think there's enough research that tells us what's going on in the men's minds, how they are making decisions," Professor Smith says.

Getting a degree doesn't  translate into a bigger pay packet for women, with Maori male graduates earning on average 50 percent more than Maori women with degrees.

A Maori health researcher of says racism is thriving in the health system.

Matire Harwood, the Medical Research Institute's director of Maori health, has been invoved in workshops to make mainstream providers aware of ways to address inequalities.

She says there are three levels of racism which need to be tackled.

"We have our systematic racism, which drives a lot of inequalities in health determinants. We have one on one racism, within the doctor-patient interaction. And there's also the level of internalised racism. We might feel we don't deserve to have certain procedures," Dr Harwood says.

Mainstream health providers can learn from Maori providers, who have developed patient-based approaches to care within te ao Maori.

The Maori Party plans to stay at home this election season.

In 2005 the fledgling party put considerable effort into campaigning in Australia, but got very few special votes from across the ditch.

Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says the plan this time is a basic two tick campaign.

"Last time we tried to be all things to all people and this time we're trying to be very focused about just concentrating on winning the seven Maori seats. The party vote as well, but the seven Maori seats and particularly here in Aotearoa," Mr Harawira says.

His team will try to knock on every Maori household in his electorate to get the Maori Party message across kanohi ki te kanohi... or face to face.


Government agencies are coming under fire from tangata whenua for the botched clean-up of a former pesticide plant at Maapua.

The Parliamentary commisioner for the Environment says work done on the former Fruitgrowers Chemical Company site near Nelson may have released toxins into the surrounding environment.

Rahui Katene, the Maori Party's Te Tai Tonga candidate and a member of Ngati Koata, says central and local governemnt agencies have failed to properly communicate the extent of the hazard.

"You have this utter contempt for the people. They seem to think we don't need to know what's going on, whether it's poisoning the air, whether it's poisoning the soil, the water, whatever. We try to show kaitiakitanga towards the resource and we're not being supported by the authorities," Mrs Katene says.

The plant destroyed an important mahinga kai or food gathering area.

Four Taranaki iwi have agreed on boundaries with their neighbours and taken delivery of the balance of their fisheries settlement assets.

Ngati Ruanui, Ngaruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki received the population-based part of the settlement more than a year ago, totalling about $17 million in cash, quota and shares in Aotearoa Fisheries.

The coastline-based assets add another $2.2 million to the pool.

Peter Douglas, the chief executive of Te Ohu Kaimoana, says nine iwi have now completed the allocation process, and the pace is accelerating.

"There's been quite a lot of groundwork done and there are agreements. Some people have reached agreement with their northern neighbours but are still to complete the agreements in the south end. And there are situations like that which are very close all around the country. So I'm very confident about the way people are moving," Mr Douglas says.

He says having all their fishing assets will help iwi maximise their participation in the fishing industry.

Maori educationalists are meeting in Christchurch to discuss challenges to Maori education in the 21st Century.

Norm Dewes, the chief executive of urban Maori authority Nga Maata Waka, which is hosting the hui, says there has been huge investment into a system which successfully educates Pakeha and the wealthy, and fails Maori and the poor.

He says Maori have developed alternatives, but they can't put them into practice.

"The system is too tunnel-visioned and it thinks 'this is the way we teach you an that's the only way to learn.' We say there's more than one way to skin a cat. We're saying a lot of our children and a lot of our people are missing out on opportunities, simply because the system in refusing to be flexible," Mr Dewes says.

There will be major social and economic problems unless the Maori who make up 20 percent of the school population get a proper education.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

CNI iwi thank Sir Graham Latimer

Central North Island iwi this evening paying tribute to the person who more than anyone else made possible the half billion dollar Treelord settlement.

Sir Graham Latimer and his whanau are being welcomed onto Wahiao Marae in Whakarewarewa about now by Te Arawa.

Kaumatua Te Poroa Malcolm says the action taken in 1989 by the New Zealand Maori Council to stop the sale of Crown forest assets paved the way for the forestry settlement, which creates a new economic future for the region.

"You know we get back thousands and thousands of hectares of land and millions of dollars in rentals and all this was brought about by the New Zealand Maori Council which Sir Graham chaired. Sir Graham has been right of the forefront. Others of us were in the vanguard, giving moral support, but he's been right there in the front," Mr Malcolm says.

The loss of an entire electorate is how Hone Harawira sees the purging of 47,000 Maori voters from the electoral roll.

The Maori Party MP says the mobility and youth of the Maori population and the lure of life across the Tasman means many voting packs came back as not known at the address.

It's unlikely to mean less work for his campaign team as they canvas every Maori household from Waitakere to Cape Reinga, knocking on every door.

Hone Harawira says unlike last election this year the Maori Party won't be chasing voters across the Tasman.

Professor, performer and TV presenter Scottie Morrison has used all his skills to make a splash at one of the world's oldest universities.

The Unitec adjunct professor took part in an Oxford Round Table conference, using the 1987 Maori Language Act to describe the relationship between Maori and Pakeha in Aotearoa.

He introduced himself to the 40-strong group of academics from round the world in the traditional way, reciting his ancestral maunga and moana.

"Straight away you've got their attention when you speak Maori at the top of the show, and at the end I did a one-man haka and after I'd done my presentation and we had a coffee break I was inundated by them so they were really enthusiastic and interest in Maori people, Maori culture," Mr Morrison says.

The Oxford appearance led to an invitation to speak at Georgia State University in Atlanta next year.


Kaeo was spared the feared flood, but other Northland communities have felt the brunt of the storm.

Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira flew into Kaitaia this morning and spent the day talking with locals about the damage in Kaeo, Pangaru, Mitimiti and other Far North communities.

"The rain's still there. It's nowhere near as heavy as it used to be, but the wind has done some real damage on the farms. A lot of homes have been knocked round because they're not always watertight homes people are living in. some pretty serious damage has been done to the Tai Tokerau," Mr Harawira says.

He says settlements along State Highway One need protecting, because slips or floods can cut off the entire North.

A Taranaki Maori health provider is celebrating a decade of service to its community.

Hayden Wano, the chief executive of Tui Ora, says the organisation now acts as the umbrella for 13 Maori health roopu in the region.

He says the model of combining te ao Maori with health care has proved influential around the country.

One of the things that has worked particularly well for us is that the service providers typically come out of the communities they serve so very much about our own people providing responsibility and the people providing those services come from within the their own communities and I think that's made a huge difference in terms of the quality of the engagement that our people have with the services," Mr Wano says.

The celebrations at Manukorihi Marae in Waitara included marking the accreditation by Quality Health New Zealand of 10 Tui Ora providers.

A Maori short film maker says the medium is a natural way for Maori to express themselves.

Te Arepa Kahi and Quentin Hita of Kura Productions have funding from the New Zealand Film Commission to make three short films.

Mr Kahi says Kura Productions, which is a joint venture with South Pacific Pictures, puts a lot of emphasis on training and mentoring.

He says shorts are a good way to help young Maori tap into their natural story-telling ability.

"Being able to combine the word, our oral culture with the image that's conveyed is an easy stepping stone for us to make but the fact that it goes into film and all the technical expertise that's required for that is going to require a little more up-skilling. There's no better place for that than a short film," Mr Kahi says.

Kura Productions has a year to product the three shorts.


Maori on the move purged from rolls

Almost 47,000 Maori voters are missing from the electoral roll.

Murray Wicks, national manager of the Election Enrollment Centre says 28,953 voters previously on the Maori Roll aren't enrolled to vote and 17,615 Maori who were on the General Roll are now no longer enrolled.

“These are people who were enrolled at some stage in the last three years and they are no longer there. They have changed their address and they haven’t updated their enrollment details and therefore they’ve dropped off the system,” Mr Wicks says.

In the 2005 election the difference between the two main parties was around 50,000 votes so the missing voters could well affect the outcome of the election and he is encouraging potential voters to enroll immediately.


Maori considering entering into the aquaculture industry now have a better appreciation of what is required.

A one day aquaculture conference held last week hosted international speakers who pointed out the expectations of importers of New Zealand cultivated kaimoana.

Don Collier, the aquaculture manager for Aotearoa Fisheries, says their korero was invaluable for Maori interests contemplating a move into the sector.

He says they heard how important sustainability and safety are to marketing seafood offshore.

“It was pleasing to see that there was a wide range of Maori/iwi representation there. Us, sure, from the commercial perspective, but I noted also that there were iwi there in their own right looking to get up to speed and be aware of the things you have to be to be a long term player in the sector,” Mr Collier says.

The Government has reserved 20 percent of new aquaculture space for Maori under the Maori commercial aquaculture settlement.


A Rotorua schoool principal is competing at the coming world waka ama champs in North Carolina to show her students they too can be world champions.

Cathy Dewes is the tumuaki at Te Kura kaupapa o Ruamataa, and is paddling in the masters section of the worlds, which attract crews from 35 countries.

The New Zealand Squad left on Monday, and Ms Dewes says staff at her school are expected to walk the talk.

“The te aho matua kaupapa that we follow states that we have to be the role model for our children. Whatever we expect of our children has to be modeled by us, so we can be national champions. We can also be world champions,” Ms Dewes says.


Building and Construction Minister sees an initiative he is developing for a major boost in State house construction having a major spin off for Maori.

Shane Jones is hosting a hui in Auckland on Friday of more than 100 people from within the construction industry as the next step in furthering the initiative which he sees as creating jobs for Maori keen to get into the building industry.

“I'm not saying building’s the only one but over the years there’s a lot of our men who did come back into education and training because they found there’s a practical application and there was a benefit to learning things that would perhaps suit their style of learning because they like doing as opposed to just head stuff,” Mr Jones says.


A large number of young people are among 47-thousand previously enrolled Maori voters now missing from electoral rolls.

The national manager of the Election Enrollment Centre, Murray Wicks says 29,000 voters previously on the Maori Roll and over 17,000 Maori on the General Roll have dropped off the rolls.

He says that's due to them changing their addresses and not updating their enrollment to vote.

“Nationally it’s looking around 40 percent of those are in the 18 to 24 year age group so high numbers of youth, lot of first time voters,” Mr Wicks says.

He is encouraging older Maori to ensure the younger voters get on the roll
He says at the last general election, the difference between the two major parties was only 50,000 so those not enrolled could make a real difference.


Aotearoa's short film industry is about to get an injection of Maori content.

The New Zealand Film industry has awarded $300,000 to Kura Productions' for Te Arepa Kahi and Quentin Hita to produce three Maori short films.

Mr Kahi says they will oversee the projects from development to production over 12 months.

He says they will be written by Maori for Maori, and short films are a natural medium for tangata whenua to tell their stories.

“Short films are good because they’re small, they’re achievable, they’re a good tutu around, they should be viewed for all of us as a papatakaho to go and have a tutu but really think strongly about how we want to tell a Maori story,” Mr Kahi says.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plan to raise Kaeo above floods

Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones is confident of gaining Government support for a package to lift up to 25 houses in the Kaeo area of Northland to avoid future floods.

Shane Jones says local authorities in the area are putting together a package for the Government following a visit to the area last week by Prime Minister Helen Clark who saw first hand the plight of the largely Maori population living under the constant threat of flooding.

"The solution for a lot of our home owners there is you have to have at least I'd say nigh on a meter off the ground because the reality is we are going to have ongoing flooding. It's not going to be of biblical proportions, but the weather is changing, and we're finding the flood catchment and management systems we've got in the north are just not capable of holding the water with these huge downpours we've been going through this last year or three," Mr Jones says.

A precedent was set for such measures when assistance was given to residents of Panguru and Whirinaki suffered severe flooding a few years ago. 


However a Kaumatua from Kaeo says the Government's efforts to raise the houses of 25 families in the flood-prone area may be too little, too late.

Harry Brown of Waihapa says one more big flood in areas like Kaeo and Matangirau could break the back of the situation.

With Northland predicted to be hit hard by the storm expected later today, he fears Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones' proposed financial package may be too late to help the families devastated by last year's floods.

"I mean let's face it, another big flood in Kaeo like we had last year would probably spell the death knell for Kaeo as a township. People would be too afraid to open up new businesses. Things like moving to a new area, shifting the township itself, it'll no longer be Kaeo. When you think about it, it's probably to only reasonable answer," Mr Brown says.

Over the next 24 hours rainfall in the area is expected to be as much as 20 millimetres an hour.

A Waharoa kaumatua says the fatal driveby shooting in the rural Waikato town was gang related.

Butch Hakaraia says the 23-year-old charged with the murder of 28-year-old Matamata man Desmond Arahanga are both known to the community.

Mr Hakaraia says the shooting is a shock to Waharoa residents.

"That boy was a damn good boy. Bit of a mischief when he was young. Just lately he's got a family of two and iI think another on the way. He's a really good boy and well respected in the community, pays rugby for the local club and he's really got his life together, and then then this happens to him," Mr Hakaraia says.

The body of Desmond Arahanga will lay at his whanau home tonight before heading to Raungaiti Marae tomorrow.


Prime Minister Helen Clark says any suggestion that the Maori Party might go with National after the election would be very damaging to them.

However she says any approach to Labour to form a united front before the election would be over to the Maori Party and their tactics.

"I think there's a lot of concern in the Maori Party itself over the National Party. They know the National Party's voted against everything that's positive for Maori. In fact in the last few years we haven't seen them supportive of treaty settlements. Now they may soften up a bot on that in the run up to the election," Ms Clark says.

She says Labour has been able to pass Treaty Settlements because of the support of other parties but National has not taken a bipartisan approach on many settlements.

A Wellington based artist says a waharoa he helped build  for an Otago marae has special significance to him and the hau kainga.

Ross Hemera and Ngai Tahu artist James York built the totara and metal gateway as part of the refurbishment of Puketeraki Marae in Karitane.

He says the project became more special when he discovered his grandfather, who died in the flu epidemic of 1918, was buried in the urupa beside the marae.

The unique gateway was well received by the hau kainga when it was unveiled on the weekend.

"The tekoteko looks like it's suspended in midair but of course it's held up there by aluminium and each of those pieces of aluminium corresponds to the three manu or the three bird forms we've used in the gateway, the toroa, the albatross, the kea, and we've used the morepork, the owl," Mr Hemara says.


Kaeo residents who have suffered major flooding in recent years are preparing to batten down the hatches as a major storm approaches.

Waihapa kaumatua Harry Brown says he will be do what he can to protect his home following Civil Defence warning those in the Northland area to prepare for heavy rain over the next 24 hours.

Mr Brown says the weather at the moment shows no sign of the storm, but that could be deceiving.

"Could well be the calm before the storm. There's really nothing we can do about it. We could well be in big trouble. We'll batten down and expect the worse," Mr Brown says.

Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones is seeking Government support for lifting 25 houses in the Keao area including Mr Brown's after floods in the past but he fears such help could come too late if the approaching storm hits hard.

Quota sale flies in face of iwi support

A prominant fisheries negotiator is disappointed Chatham Island Moriori are considering selling their deepwater fishing quota.

The Hoketihi Morioiri Trust Board is holding a postal ballot seeking 75 percent support to sell the quota to raise money for inshore and on-land activities.

Ngahiwi Tomoana on Ngati Kahungunu, who is now the deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana, says iwi throughout the country came together in support of Moriori being allocated quota over a 200 mile limit, and he would be surprised if they now turned around and sold the quota.

"It just flies in the face of every iwi and I'm talking about Ngapuhi and Te Arawa and we all stood together on that even though we duked it out with each other on other issues, we were in total unity with the Chathams on that on that," Mr Tomoana says.

Sue Bradford, the Green's resource development spokesperson says Government moves to reform tax laws are insane.

Ms Bradford says Labour's proposed Taxation Bill introduced in Parliament last week, which gives tax breaks to New Zealand-owned companies operating offshore,  will destroy manufacturing in this country pushing workers onto benefits and the social inequities created will take generations to address.

She says the changes would have particularly disastrous effects for Maori who occupy many of the manufacturing jobs which would be lost.

"Connection between unemployment and poverty, then all the other health and justice and criminal and family breakdown and violence out there comes as a result of that, why they can't see that connection I simply don't understand. We should be dong everything we can to foster jobs in this county, to foster our own home base manufacturing, to keep the factories open, to keep the businesses going and to keep the jobs here," Ms Bradford says.

The Greens will strenously fight the legislation.

A leading Northland kaumatua has joined the chorus paying trbute to a prominant Northland kuia who died over the weekend.

Del Wihongi was one of the original claimants on the Wai 262 claim on flora and fauna, still unresolved although lodged  nearly 20 years ago.

Kingi Taurua from Waitangi says Del Wihongi was a tirless worker for Maori causes in the North, and in the early nineties was a principal mover in the establishment of an influential forum for Taitokerau, the Taumata Kaumatua o Ngapuhi.

Del Wihongi will be laid to rest tomorrow beside her old people at Mangamuka.


There is a  prospect of Iwi combining to buy Moriori offshore fishing quota if the Chatham Islands iwi decides to sell its interest allocated as part of a Treaty settlement.

Ngati Kahangunu fishing negotiator Ngahiwi Tomoana says Iwi throughout the country would be surprised and disappointed if Moriori agreed to sell the quota after a ballot currently being held, but if they did other iwi may well be interested.

"Well we'd put our hands up along with other iwi, if it means keeping it within the integrity of the settlement I'm sure we would be part of a consortium having a look at it. There would be great commercial interest from the different commercial boards too," Mr Tomoana says.

While Kuhungunu would be interested from a political point of view the iwi now has a company  running its commercial affairs and they would have to look at it in a commercial light 

Mahara Okeroa, the associate Minister of Conservation will be in Taitokerau on Wednesday to celebrate the success of a replanting programme to cleanup wetland areas and streams.

Mike Mohi, the kaitakawaenga for Te Whenua rahui who are overseeing the restoration project at Poroti,  says local farmers and tangata whenua have planted out thousands of seedlings along the banks of the Waipou stream.

He says tamariki living in the settlement  20 minutes north of Whangarei are helping drive the project, which is being supported by the local farming community.

Mr Mohi says farmers have been given three years by Fonterra to ensure streams on their land are fenced off from stock, but many are getting in early.

"Rather than holding the gun to people's heads, it's so much easier to do it, and farmers are finding that they increase production by having the wetlands and the streams fences, so it's really quite a successful project actually," Mr Mohi says.

A Christchurch based academic says new books are helping to change old views on Maori history.

Rawiri Taonui, from Canterbury University says books such as the award winning work by John and Hillary Mitchell are hugely important.

Te Ara Hou: The New Society, the second volume of the Nelson's pair's history of Te Tau Ihu o te Waka, won the history section of this year's Montana book awards.

Mr Taonui says the book, along with Nga Iwi O Aotearoa produced by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage two years ago, addresses common misconceptions of Maori history.

"We just have to remember that sometimes when we think of the tribal landscape of the country, it has often been written by Pakeha simply through the strength of their publications. These books are really really important about revitalising the perception of our own world, our ancestral world and our perceptions in this world today," Mr Taonui says.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kapa haka choir impresses Rice

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was deeply impressed by the impact Maori culture had on her during her short stay in New Zealand.

Although a powhiri for Dr Rice had to be canceled because of bad weather on her arrival in Auckland, a Maori culture group which performed at the NZ-US Council dinner made a definite impact.

“She was fascinated by what she learned in the brief time she was here, very encouraged by the things she saw, the visual effects of seeing a brilliant choir singing on the evening function last Saturday night was not lost on her,” Mr Peters says.

Dr Rice was also moved by the way she was received by Pacific leaders in Samoa and he was confident her visit had done much to improve understanding of indigenous peoples issues across the whole Pacific.


Maori workers stand to be heavily affected by proposed changes to taxation laws introduced into Parliament last week.

Sue Bradford, the Greens’ resource development spokesperson, says the bill will destroy manufacturing in New Zealand, and she can't understand why the Labour-led government will support it.

She says the bill give breaks to New Zealand businesses which move their operations overseas, and the loss of local jobs in the manufacturing sector will devastate communities as it did over 20 years ago.

“If it goes ahead I think it will have the same devastating effect on another generation of Maori workers as did the reforms the Labour government carried out in the 1980s when heaps of jobs were lost in manufacturing very deliberately then as well,” Ms Bradford says.


One of the people behind a long running Treaty of Waitangi claim is being farewelled by those who were influenced by her work.

Del Wihongi is best known for being a part of the group that logged the WAI 262 Claim against the Crown in 1991.

Known as the "Flora and Fauna" claim, WAI 262 included a wide scope of intellectual property, traditional knowledge and environmental management.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia shares her memories in tribute of the highly respected Ngapuhi kuia.

“She never gave up. When I was minister, she would write to me probably once a month over these issues that were confronting our people, mainly around the use of our traditional medicines and the way in which the land had been cleared and less and less of our people were able to get access to that, so her loss will be hugely felt,” Mrs Turia says.

The tangi for Del Wihongi will be held on Wednesday at Mangamuka Marae.

A forestry sector leader is confident iwi will develop the skills they need to get more Maori into the forestry industry.

Forestry Industry Training organisation chief executive, Ian Boyd says forestry is a strong industry with 35,000 people currently working in technical, management and operational positions.

Mr Boyd says the Maori statistics are very promising.

“They’re obviously a significant part in the industry and for example we have 11,000 trainees around the country in FITEC, 35 percent of those are Maori. In the industry, that’s right across forestry, pulp and paper, the percentage there will be between 20 and 30 percent will be Maori,”
Mr Boyd says.

The forestry training organisation is reaching out to high school students starting with schools in the Northland area this week.


A Maori language expert is critical of the level of fluency among Maori broadcasters.

Playwright and producer Quentin Hita says the expectation of Maori language broadcasters should be higher if they are to be the main source of Te Reo Maori outside the classroom.

Mr Hita says Maori Language Week serves its purpose as a promotion within mainstream for Te Reo Maori, however ongoing Maori language broadcasters need to improve their act.

“One of the advantages of television and radio is that with a very small group of people you can cover the entire country, and my argument has been that small group of people we have on television that are providing te reo Maori for our households out their, our homes, our children, our families, that small group of people we should expect more form the standard of language and the level of fluency of that group of people,” he says.

Mr Hita is in post-production of Maori language teaching show Toku Reo with a third series of Maori Television's Pukoro also on its way.


A founding member of one of the most influential kiwi reggae bands says legendary musician Sonny Day's whanau deserve to know how much impact he had on the New Zealand Music scene.

Dilworth Karaka, from Herbs says the whanau of the northern born entertainer who died last year missed out on the stories that made Sonny Day an icon of the music scene in Aotearoa and the Pacific.

Musical friends including Barry Saunders, Josie Rika, Bullfrog Rata and Annie Crummer are in the lineup for a tribute concert early next month in Auckland.

Dilworth Karaka says it will be a good opportunity for Sonny's whanau to hear more about their talented brother.

“You know I’ve spoken to the brothers and that, and when Sonny left home, he left home. He encompassed the life of a musician that they’d really like to hear about, the stories about their brother on the road as a musician. It’s quite ironic that after a two hour session here with the brothers, just the little things that I knew about Sonny and related back to them, they were only too pleased to hear it and look forward to the gig,” Karaka says.

NZ First wary on trust plan

New Zealand First's Maori spokesperson is urging caution in the creation of a new Maori business development organisation.

The plan is for the Government to put $40.5 million in capital into Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand, with another $35 million dollars coming from the Maori Trustee's accumulated profits.

Pita Paraone, who worked for the Maori Trust Office before entering Parliament, says his party supports Maori economic development, but concerns raised week at the Maori Affairs select committee last week need to be investigated.

"We do need to consider the business of the Maori Trustee because any business that has $35 million taken off its balance sheet and with no likely return is of some concern and we need to take due regard to the comments made by the Maori trustee himself," Mr Paraone says.

The Maori Trustee, John Paki, told the select committee he didn't think it prudent to invest his funds in Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand in its present form, but he was keen more work be done on the idea.

Maori are being encouraged to swim for life ... in Maori.

Mark Haimona from Water Safety New Zealand says resources in te reo are being sent to all kohanga reo, kura kaupapa and marae.

More than one in five people who drown in New Zealand are Maori, and Akona Te Kauhoe programme aims to get more Maori learning how to look after themselves in the water.

A shortage of Maori political and social commentators is being blamed on the public service.

Rawiri Taounui, the head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, says the increase in Maori media means there's a need for more Maori with academic and life experience to speak out.

But many end up being gagged by their employers.

"Once people do degrees or once they get known there's lots of job offers and if you get into the pubic service or get a high ranking private position, you become muzzled so a lot of really talented people we have out there are not really free to speak," Mr Taonui says.


One of the big players in the Maori commercial scene has a new home.

Wakatu Incorporation's new Nelson headquarters includes was opened last week.

The four-storey central city building includes an eight metre pou carved from Northland swamp kauri, which depicts the migration of Te tau Ihu tribes.

Keith Palmer, the incorporation's chief executive, says the building has got the town talking.

"They've really kind of respected that Wakatu's come of age in terms of being an essential part of Te Tau Ihu's commercial scene and it's kind of got a life of its own. We didn't really mean for it to make a statement but the whole community's embraced it," Mr Palmer says.

Only a small head office team is needed to run Wakatu Incorporation's $250 million business in land, horticulture and fishing, so most of the building is leased out.

The Maori Party says the China free trade deal is a threat to New Zealand's rangatiratanga.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says the party intends to vote against the treaty when it comes before Parliament later this year.

He says its stance getting flak from some Maori, but there's not a lot in the deal for this country or for tangata whenua.

"It will put pressure on our immigration policies and practices whether we like to admit that or not. Now it's not about excluding people either. It's about keeping our rangatiratanga, our control of New Zealand and being able to stop the flood that will follow of finance as well as people coming in to run businesses and so on," Dr Sharples says.

He says the deal gives China a virtual free rein from day one, while key New Zealand sectors like dairy and forestry must wait years for any loosening of restrictions.

An attempt to cast Maori in a European light has been rescued from the dusty depths of Te Papa.

Te Mata, the Ethnological Portrait, which opened at the Adam Gallery in Wellington at the weekend, includes a collection of heads sculpted early last century for the Dominion Museum.

The curator, Roger Blackley, says sculptor Nelson Illingworth was commissioned to depict Maori types, but he ended up depicting prominent rangatira of the time including Patara te Tuhi from Tainui, Kahutea te Heuheu from Tuwharetoa and Tikitere from Te Arawa.

"A century after they were produced I think that whole anthropological thing has shifted off them, they're now cared for by the Maori department at Te Papa, not ethnological but matauranga Maori, and there they are some portraits of some really important people from 100 years ago," Mr Blackley says.

Te Mata also includes paintings from the same period by artists like Charles Frederick Goldie.