Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ngati Awa pa damaged by council

A Ngati Awa member says the Whakatane District Council has displayed titanic ignorance in destroying parts of a historic Puketapu Pa for which it has been fined $9000.

Maanu Paul of Ngati Awa says his iwi is humiliated by the desecration of the pre-European Pa near Whakatane.

Puketapu Pa is located just above the Whakatane township and was established before the settling of the area by Mataatua waka.

It is said to be one of many Pa belonging to founding Maori ancestor Toikairakau who migrated to Aotearoa around 1150.

He says the Council dug 32 post holes around the Pa without obtaining archaeological authority from the Historic Places Trust.

Mr Paul says the Hara committed to this sacred site is hard to digest.

"This is actually an act of genocide, removing me, my identity, they've taken away our legacy. That's an act of genocide. It's terrible," Mr Paul says.

He is calling for the dismissal of Council chief executive Diane Turner.

A Pakiri kaumatua fears the Auckland Regional Council's $4 million dollar purchase of land at Te Arai Point at the northern end of the beach could put further pressure on Maori landowners.

The council is buying the land from troubled Hanover Finance, which had a mortgage over a planned eco-lodge development on the 50 hectare block.

Laly Haddon says as one of the nearest unspoiled beaches to Auckland, land values at Pakiri are heading ever upward.

"It's all to do with valuations and rates. There's no Maori land sold, so it doesn't create a value. It's only European and, they pick up their money and go, and those values are reflected on Maori land, so something has to be done. You can't just can't meet your commitments unless you develop. But of course you can't now develop, because you've got very restrictive zones on Maori land," Mr Haddon says.

He says Maori landowners preserve a lot of sensitive land for the national benefit, at their own cost.

The general manager of Maori arts promotion organisation Toi Maori says the organisation will work alongside those promoting the Takitimu Festival being held later in the year.

Garry Nicholas says renowned ta moko artists Derek Lardelli and Mark Kopua will speak on contemporary ta moko, and award winning writer Witi Ihimaera will also be invited to speak.

He says Maori artists across the board are keen to get involved in the inaugural Takitimu Festival.

"Nga waka federation with Hector Busby and Ben Mamaku to korero to the Samoans and the many other cultures that have a Takitimu connection. The Takitimu Festival will also be hosting the Maori music awards and we certainly want to be there to tautoko that," Mr Nicholas says.

The festival will take place in the Hawkes Bay from 12 to 16 November.


Ngati Awa are furious at a lack of consultation from the local council which has left a historical Pa ruined.

Maanu Paul says the Whakatane District Council desecrated Puketapu Pa, north of Whakatane, out of ignorance and failed to acknowledge the mana whenua of Ngati Awa.

The council was charged and fined over $9000 under the Historic Places Act for failing to gain archaeological permission before digging 32 post holes on the Pa.

Mr Paul says not only have they disregarded the Historic Places Trust, Ngati Awa have had no say or compensation.

He said someone should pay - preferably the chief executive, Diane Turner.

The pre-European Pa was home to Toikairakau, a founding ancestor of the iwi.

However the Whakatane District Council says they're relationship with Ngati Awa is strong... despite council workers destroying part of historic Puketapu Pa.

Diane Turner, the CEO, acknowledges there was a miscommunication within the council and a lack of appropriate systems... which they have moved to fix.

Ms Turner says the council was trying to address an issue of public safety by replacing an aging fence... and that there was no intent to damage the pre-European pa

"We have a very good and long-standing relationship with Ngati Awa and we will work through the runanga and as appropriate work with hapu, depending on what the project is. In terms of this particular project, we had been working with Ngati Awa on the design of the fence and once we recognised we made an error we went back and worked closely with Ngati Awa ti mitigate what happened with us digging the post holes on the site," Ms Turner says.

She says the council they indicated from the outset that they would plead guility... and they've taken steps to make sure such an event doesn't happen in the future.

A korowai made for the Olympic flagbearer is adding a special Maori touch to tonight's opening ceremony in Beijing... and a small headache for Kiwi organisers

Beatrice Faumuina wore the korowai... which was handmade by Tainui weavers and presented by the late Maori Queen Dame Te Ataairangikaahu... in Athens four years ago.

Tonight it's Mahe Drysdale turn.

Amster Reedy from Ngati Porou who is in Beijing to support the athletes says Mahe's spare, tall frame, which is perfect for rowing, is posing a slight challenge in putting it on the rower.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Progress on treaty deals

It was a big day yesterday for the Government on multiple Treaty settlement fronts.

The Treaty Negotiations Minister, Michael Cullen, and Ngati porou negotiator Api Mahuika initialled a deed of settlement covering the east Coast tribe's foreshore and seabed claims.

Dr Cullen also signed terms of negotiation with Auckland iwi Te Kawerau a Maki.

But the unexpected deal was the government's purchase of a 20 year right over the Matahi and Oponae forests in the Bay of Plenty  for $11.8 million.

The owner of the forest, multinational Matariki Forests, has been unable to log the trees because of an occupation by a Tuhoe hapu.

Dr Cullen says the underlying land was the subject of a complex grievance dating back to Crown purchase activities in the 1890s, and the purchase will allow the grievance and surrounding issues to be dealt with.

The Minister of Maori Affairs is commending the Electoral Commission for its work reaching Maori voters.

The Maori Party is criticising some of the strategies used to reach the 50 thousand Maori who have dropped off the rolls since last election.

But Parekura Horomia says there's a lot of work going on behind the scenes, and he's seen Electoral Commission staff at sports and social events, enrolling Maori.


A Ngai Tahu archaeologist has been reappointed to a further three year term on the Maori Heritage Council.

Judith Tizard, the associate minister of culture and heritage, says Gerard O'Regan brings a wealth of experience to the council, which works alongside the Historic Places Trust.

She says it maintains maintains the high calibre of councillors charged with protecting significant Maori sites.

Mr O'Regan is doing a masters in archaeology at Auckland University, and was formerly Ngai Tahu Development Corporation's heritage manager.

The Maori Heritage Council is chaired by Tumu te Heuheu and includes Waaka Vercoe, Rima Edwards, Te Aue Davis, Merata Kawharu and Mike Spedding.

An ancient bird has been adopted to represent the power of the Customs Service.

Customs Minister Nanaia Mahuta will this morning unveil the carving of a hokioi or Haast eagle overlooking the secondary search area at Auckland International Airport.

The master carver, Blane Te Rito of Ngati Kahungunu and Te Rarawa, says with its 12 metres wing span, the carving will remind travellers of the risks of smuggling.

"I wanted to use it as a symbol to dominate the space and to be intimidating almost to let people going through customs know that these are the people that have the authority to protect our borders, our waterways and our airways. So I've used it as a symbol of power and dominance, and when you see it you'll get that impression," Mr Te Rito says.

A team of five artists worked on the project.


Rugby supporters across the country are mourning the death of former All Black fullback Ken Going, who died yesterday in Taitokerau.

The 66 year old and his brothers Sid and Brian delighted rugby crowds with their unpredictable style in the 1960's and 70s.

His brother in law, Mana Forbes, says Ken's down to earth ways made him popular in his other career as a tour coach driver.

He says the Going whanau grew up with rugby in its veins, and its backyard.

"After the milking in the summer, you had to hope like hell you could survive the rugby match on the lawn. You had to sidestep the tree and you had to have 180 degree vision so you knew where the fence was and the house. Otherwise it was tackle, not touch. That was how they all developed their skills," Mr Forbes says.

Ken Going made the All Blacks as a 32 year old in 1974, after 24 games for the Maori All Blacks.

The Children's Commissioner, Cindy Kiro, says there are encouraging signs in the fight against child poverty.

A new report by the commissioner and Barnadoes has found about 230,000 children are living in unacceptable poverty.

Dr Kiro says the data shows the 1991 benefit cuts in then National Finance Minister Ruth Richardson's mother of all budgets are still affecting living conditions 16 years later.

But there are positive signs.

"What the report does show and what I've been telling people is that working for families has been making a difference because it has lifted the working poor primarily out of that situation and has helped families who've got dependent children. We've got the flow on effects to come through yet from the 1 April changes last year which I think will further improve the lot of benefit-dependent families," Dr Kiro says.

Full time employment by someone in the household is often the difference between being above or below the poverty line.

West Auckland hip hop fans are buzzing at the international triumph of a troupe of Kelston dancers.

Sweet and Sour's slick routines and choreography won it the hip hop world championships in Los Angeles.

Stephanie Harawira from the Ezekiel Trust, which raised funds for the trip, says months of extreme dedication and practice paid off.

She says the group is a mix of Maori and Pasifika rangatahi aged from 17 to early 20s.

The Sweet and Sour Dance Crew will get a huge powhiri when they fly back into Auckland early next Wednesday.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Rival makes a meal of Moon

A new book on Maori cannibalism has been branded a return to Victorian values.

This Horrid Practice by Paul Moon from Auckland University of Technology argues that eating slain enemies was a by-product of battle rage and a violent society, and not about mana.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, says early European visitors  exaggerated cannibalism as a way of demonising Maori.

While revisionist historians may have sanitised or excused past cannibalism, the pendulum has swung the other way.

"There's also this neo-reactionary or new right wing historian who sort of goes back into the past, albeit trying to be objective, but nevertheless falls into the trap of repeating those same Victorian sorts of Eurocentric perceptions of Maori society, and my concerns on reading the book so far is that's what Professor Moon does," Mr Taonui says.

He says Paul Moon bases many of his claims on the lack of recorded evidence from Maori before 1850 ... but Maori didn't share their tribal secrets before that time.

Voting rights don't feature highly when people are on the move.

That's the experience of the Electoral Enrolment Centre, as it tidies up the rolls for this year's election.

It has purged more than 7000 names from the Maori roll in since May, and almost 29,000 since the last election.

Murray Wicks, the centre's national manager, says that's because those people's enrolment update packs were returned unopened from their last known address.

He says keeping on the rolls is a job people overlook when they're moving house, and the election date catches up with them.

It's a simple process to re-enrol, though it's too late to get on the printed roll for the election.


It's the 10 day countdown for some of Aotearoa's finest artists to play tribute to a showbiz legend.

Sonny Day, known to his Hokianga whanau as Hone Wikaira, died in his Auckland home a year ago at the age of 64. 

His career started in the late 1950s with bands like the Sundowners.

Organiser John Dix says it will be a good opportunity for friends and whanau who missed the tangi to remember Day.

"The urupa's on the other side if the harbour from where Sonny's marae was, so they didn't know what the tides were at the time. As it was, we had to get Sonny in the ground by 10am, so people were turning up during and after the event, so this will be a way of sending him off properly. It will be groovy," Mr Dix says.

Artists confirmed for next Sunday include Herbs Unplugged, Hello Sailor,  Kim Willoughby, the Lowdown Dirty Blues Band (aka Supergroove), Midge Marsden and Unity Pacific. 


A Bay of Plenty claimant says a process to determine the mana whenua of central North Island forestry land makes no provision for natural justice.

The Maori Affairs Select Committee was in Rotorua today to hear submissions on the Central North Island Forests Land Collective Settlement Bill.

What's known as the Treelord deal will share out the Crown's forestry business and accrued rentals on a broadly population basis.

Reuben Perenara from Ngati Rangitihi says the same small group who negotiated the settlement will then determine ownership of the land underneath by what the bill calls a tikanga Maori process.

"There is no challenge to that determination. There is absolutely not process to include any provisions for natural justice principles, legislative of otherwise. There is absolutely no determination as to what that tikanga process is. So we have absolutely no idea what process or tikanga is going to be used to determine the mana whenua," Mr Perenara says.


A media veteran and Maori Party candidate believes the Electoral Enrolment Centre is looking in the wrong place for Maori voters.

The centre is trying to find some of the thousands of Maori voters who have dropped off the rolls since the last election, and sign up ones who have never been enrolled.

It has put up a page at social networking site Bebo, and information packs in large retail chain outlets.

Derek Fox, who is standing in Ikaroa Rawhiti, says the centre needs a wider range of strategies.

"Bit stereotyping to suggest we should look for Maori at the Warehouse and Burger King and McDonald's. What about the gyms? Why aren't we at the rugby clubs? I know there is a very active waka ama group in Gisborne. Why are we not down at the waka ama club?" Mr Fox says.

It's a critical vote because it may be the first time a Maori Party gets to determine who leads the next government.

The fifth series of Marae DIY is in the can.

Nevak Ilolahia, the producer and presenter of one of Maori Television's most popular programmes, says it's encouraged whanau and hapu and get serious about doing up their special places.

She says it's a privilege to be part of the renovation team ... and there's no shortage of subjects.

This time the series gets to Great Barrier and Maraekopa in Whanganui, but there are still 1000 marae to go.

It will air in September.

Mobile population slipping off electoral rolls

Low home ownership rates are being fingered as a reason for Maori falling off the electoral roll at an alarming rate.

About 47,000 Maori voters have been dropped from the both general and Maori rolls since last election after enrolment packs were returned, address unknown.

That amounts to a 12 percent drop in the Maori roll.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori studies at Canterbury university, says while some of it is down to social and demographic factors such as age and income, there's more the Electoral Commission could do.

"Maoridom's doing everything it can when the electoral option comes up to enroll people, inform them and all that sort of thing. It's really the Electoral Commission that has to go out there and keep those people on the roll., That's their responsibility. Just running a red line through the names, that's too easy. In a country that prides itself on being a modern democracy, it's an appalling indictment," Mr Taonui says.

Anti-violence campaigner Hone Kaa says it's disturbing that Michael Laws repreatedly uses his public platforms to bash Maori.

Radio Live has been forced to apologise to the Children's Commissioner, Cindy Kiro, after a series of on air attacks by the talk host, including a false claim she had failed to support Dr Kaa's Te Kahui Mana Ririki Trust.

Mr Laws was unrepentant, saying he continues to harbour significant misgivings as to the office and its conduct.

Dr Kaa says the attacks on Dr Kiro by former MP turned Wanganui mayor seem highly personalised, but they are also part of a wider pattern.

"I find it disturbing that he does take a strongly racist stance because much of the stuff he criticises is Maori and I just wonder what it does for him personally, that he is so inclined," he says.

Dr Kaa says Cindy Kiro's work on child abuse, and the efforts of his trust, are having a real impact on Maori communities.

More than 300 Maori immersion and bilingual schools are learning how to deal with the wrath of Ruoaomoko.

The kura have been provided with a Maori language resource on what causes natural disasters... and how they should react.
Kia Takatu is designed for rangatahi aged between 8 and 12 and includes a teacher handbook, visuals and an audio CD for children to listen to disaster stories in te reo Maori.

Chandrika Kumaran from the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management says knowing about what causes disasters helps reduce children's fear.

"We've got so many in New Zealand from earthquakes, storms to tsunami, and to encourage kids to learn about it and also to go home and talk about it to encourage their parents to take the simple steps to be better prepared," Ms Kumaran says.

Kia Takatu is based on the "What's the Plan, Stan," English-language resource put out by the Ministry a few years ago.


A campaigner against Maori child abuse says Children's Comissioner Cindy Kiro has made a real impact on the problem.

Radio Live has apologised to Dr Kiro over on air criticism by talk host Michael Laws, which it accepted were innaccurate unfair.

The Wanganui mayor falsely claimed that Dr Kiro did not back Te Kahui Mana Ririki Trust, set up by Anglican priest Hone Kaa to look for solutions to abuse.

Dr Kaa says the Children's Commissioner was in fact the first government agency to offer support and resources, and she has continued to make an effective contribution.

"As a result of what we're doing and what Dr Kiro is doing, especially in the Maori community, there is a lot more open talking abut child maltreatment. It's something you would have not heard a year ago. Once our trust got up and running and started talking about it, it started a conversation all over the country," Dr Kaa says.

He's disturbed that Michael Laws uses his public platforms to consistently voice anti-Maori attitudes.

It's not enough to be on the roll ... Maori also have to get out and vote

That's the word from the Maori Party's Ikaroa rawhiti candidate, Derek Fox,  who is in a tight race in against Parekura Horomia.

He says while it's a real concern almost 4000 voters have dropped off the roll in the East Coast seat because they moved without telling the Electoral Office, the result will be termined by turn-out on the day.

"Last time round in Ikaroa Rawhiti there were 34,000 on the roll - 10,000 didn't vote. And when you consider the seat was won by less than 2000 votes, you can see that five times the majority was wasted because people didn't go and vote," Mr Fox says.

He says whanau need to ensure everyone who is enrolled gets to the polling booth.

More than 600 members of Ngati Kuri braved the weekend storms in the far north to celebrate the hundreth birthday of kuia Nina Subritsky.

Those at Waiora marae in Ngataki included the survivors among Mrs Subritzky's 16 children, and scores of her mokopuna.

A grand-niece, Marlena Uruamo, says a highlight on the centenary was the presentation of a korowai, woven by Heeni Marshall and incorporating feathers collected by the families.

"A lot of it was what birds they were able to gather, some of course the paradise duck and the toroa, the albatross feathers, being beautiful white, they bordered either side of the korowai that represented the sand, the Kokota (spit) at Parengarenga Harbour because Auntie Nina was born at Te Hapua. That was where her family, the Normans, were living. It was symbolic of the life cycle of a woman in that environment," Mrs Uruamo says.

Nina Subrizky has long played an important role holding the whanau of Ngati Kuri together.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Orakei stalwart Cyril Talbot dies

Ngati Whatua o Orakei has laid to rest one of its most well known characters.

Cyril Talbot was a familiar figure around Auckland's courts, where he gave assistance to young Maori, and in representing the iwi in public events such as the blessing and dedication of buildings in the city.

A long time dialysis patient, he died at the weekend in his 50s.

Grant Hawke, Ngati Whatua's chairman, says Mr Talbot was one of 17 children, and he made his life helping others.

“He did a lot of that work helping communities that were struggling in the community here in Glen Innes and eastern suburbs and also a lot of that kind of work around the marae and the people around the marae. He had a lot of goodwill about him, and the size of his funeral told you about the caliber of people that he had dealt with,” Mr Hawke says.


Green MP Sue Bradford is welcoming an increase in the amount beneficiaries and low income families can claim for food.

The former unemployed rights activist says the effective doubling of Special Needs Grants is good, but more could be done.

“If you're in a situation where you simply don’t have enough food or money for food, you can apply for a grant and if you’ve already used up your grant for the year, you can go in sooner to get some, so I think it will be helpful. Of course it doesn’t address the big issue around benefit simply not being enough for people to live on,” Ms Bradford says.

A Ministry of Social Development report shows beneficiaries are now worse off compared to people on wages than they were in 1991 when the then National government cut benefits.


The sun was shining on the East Coast today, but communities are still marooned by floods and slips.

Keri Kaa from Rangitukia says the rains have been some of the worst residents can remember since Cyclone Bola 20 years ago.

Kemp's Hill, between Rangitukia and Ruatoria has been closed because of subsidence, but one lane has been open for short periods today for essential traffic.

Ms Kaa abandoned an effort to go to Gisborne a few days ago when the road at Tokomaru Bay became flooded ... and then she encountered rising rivers on the way back home.

“I've never been in swirling floodwaters before but what’s scary is it’s the trees, the foliage you can’t see, because you can’t see tree branches, little logs and things, We were too scared to go through the water so we had to stop at an auntie’s house and we hitched a ride home on a four wheel drive, but even those drivers were very cautious about floodwaters,” Ms Kaa says.

She says people living north of Ruatoria who want to go to Gisborne must go via Opotiki - a three-hour trip.


The Children's Commissioner has accepted an apology from Radio Live over on air comments by host Michael Laws ... but the Wanganui mayor is unrepentant about his fact-free diatribe.

The radio station said it accepted Mr Laws was wrong to claim that Cindy Kiro only got involved in abuse cases involving white families, and that she had not supported Maori initiatives on stopping child abuse.

In fact, she supported and funded a trust set up by the Reverend Hone Kaa to tackle the problem, and was involved in a wide range of initiatives across all ethnicities.

Dr Kiro says she laid a formal complaint not only because of the inaccuracies but also because of the level of vitriol expressed by Mr Laws, which went well beyond fair public scrutiny.

Mr Laws says he still has significant misgivings about the office of the Children's commissioner and its effectiveness with regard to child abuse.


The head of Auckland City Mission's crisis care team says more innovative grants may be needed to get people off the streets.

Wilf Holt says more than half of those sleeping rough in Auckland's central business district are Maori, and many are there because they can't afford to move into permanent housing.

He says a loosening of the rules around Special Needs Grants, which can be used to buy food, is a good first step, but there are up front costs to getting people under a roof.

“Any attempt to put more benefit is good but ultimately people want to stand on their won two feet, and perhaps at the same time looking at an establishment grant, a setting up grant of some kind, may in fact be more effective in the long run,” Mr Holt says.


There's a warning a symbolic return of the Urewera forest will not be enough for Tuhoe.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and Indigenous Studies at Canterbury University, says the Bay of Plenty iwi is unlikely to accept a distinction between Crown forests, which have been returned... and Conservation land which the Crown says is off limits for settlements.

Other settlements have included a symbolic provision where land is returned to claimants, only to be returned to the nation or placed under the control of central or local government agencies.

Mr Taonui says that won't work with the fiercely independent Tuhoe.

“They not only had their lands taken off them, but when the Crown was in pursuit of Te Kooti they went through that area and burnt all the crops, and people basically starved to death. We don’t know what the numbers were but there was horrific suffering there. And they’re not going to be bought off with a kind of postcard settlement I don't think,” Mr Taonui says.

Gushing geyser of a settlement

A small but significant ceremony took place at Parliament last night.

Three reserve areas in Rotorua's Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley... including one which hosts the famous Pohutu Geyser... were returned to iwi... Ngati Whakaue, Tuhourangi and Ngati Wahiao

The Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia says last night's ceremony is a further sign of the government's commitment to move forward on Maori grievances.

"I think the thing that Maori are really starting to tweak to is that if you don't move and you stay in grievance mode, everyone else takes off. So I think it's a wonderful day for these three. It's taken some intense negotiation," Mr Horomia says.

The signing sits outside the $400 million dollar Treelord settlement signed last month

The vesting of the reserve areas with the trust for the three iwi has been welcomed by the head of Te Pumautanga, Eru George.

He says the tribal elders were determined to see the return of the culturally significant sites in their lifetime... and they'll now focus on divvying up the land.

"We've got a hive of interest and a hive of support for the process we've gone through. It's a long time happening, bt it's happened,. and I think that's the best outcome we could expect and wish for," Mr George says.

The chair of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa says the fate of Te Puia... the old Maori Arts and Crafts Institute at Whakarewarewa... is still unresolved.

A two day hui looking into the reasons behind the higher incidence of mental illness among Maori than the general population is being held in Upper Hutt this week.

Northern Development Manager with the Mental Health Foundation, Cinnamon Whitlock says mental health workers from around the country will come together to not only find ways of helping sufferes but to stop others becoming mentally ill.

"Mental health promotion is about including local councils. It's about educating people. It's about making sure we've got adequate funding. It's about making sure the environment's well looked after and nurtured. For us as Maori that's key. It's also about making sure we have for Maori those linkages back home," Ms Wicks says.

She says Maori need to open up and speak more openly about Maori mental health.

Keynote speakers at the hui include Moana Jackson, Sue Bradford and Tairana Turia.


Over half of the people sleeping rough in Auckland's CBD are Maori;

An annual survey of homeless sleeping in the open within 3km of Auckland's Sky Tower has seen the number jump since last year... from 65 to 91 this year.

Wilf Holt, from the Auckland City mission's crisis care team, says while they have got better at counting rough sleepers in the four years that they've been doing the survey, he believes the true figure is around 150 people... and that number is on the rise.

He says rough sleepers are the most marginalised of the marginalised... so it's not surprising to find Maori making up a huge proportion of those living on the streets.

"Maori on the streets support each other hugely. Not just Maori for that matter but that notion of whanau, street whanau, is a fairly strong one and at times I think we have to be careful it's not exerting that pull factor that keeps people on the streets sometimes. It's an indictment to all society where people will feel greater support amongst their peers on the street as opposed to with to their own family or whanau of origins," Mr Holt says.

He says the number of people having difficulty finding appropriate affordable accommodation has slowly increased with people not moving off the streets as quickly as they could and new people coming onto the streets all the time.

The Maori Party is quietly confident that it'll take all seven seats in the upcoming election.

The latest Marae Digipolls show them ahead in six of the seven seats... only four points behind Nanaia Mahuta in Hauraki Waikato... and taking the PARTY vote in all seven seats.

Tariana Turia... the co-leader of the Maori Party... says if they sweep the Maori seats... and pick up 8 percent of the party vote... they could return to parliament with 10 MPs.

"There's absolutely no reason why we shouldn't get to 8 percent. I listened to Winston talking on Maori Television and he was saying that they polled at 1 percent one year and then ended up with 13 MPS," Mrs Turia says.

She says with four MPs the government only talks to them when it can't find the numbers anywhere else... 10 MPs would give them much more bargining power.

The Electoral Enrolment Centre is confident that it will be successful in getting people from groups over -represented among non-enrolled voters onto rolls in time for the coming general election.

National Manager Murray Wicks says the percentage of Maori, Pacific Islanders, Asians and young people generally who have not yet enrolled is higher than average.

But  he says measures are being put in place to address this.

"We have a target of somewhere between 93.5 percent and 95.5 percent enrolled and we're hoping that our new initiative using the Bebo community to spread our message, particularly to the young, will help get us there," Mr Wicks says.

as well as being on social networking sites such as Bebo the centre has field workers at events and on the street getting electors enrolled.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Corrections fails to meet Ngawha promises

Maori from Ngawha say the prison is falling short in delivering promises made to them.

Percy Tipene, an organic farming advocate from the area, says when local Maori gave their approval for the prison  they were promised that there would be close co-operation between inmates and the wider community.

He says they were led to believe this integration would work in such areas as farming and gardening but this hasn't happened.

"They're concerned Ngawha is turning into a rural Mt Eden (prison) sort of style rather than the original philosophy that was advocated by the hapu when they made the engagement with the Corrections Department," Mr Tipene says.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira has confirmed that the party would work with National if that was necessary to further Maori interests.

Hone Harawiri says his first preference would be working with Labour but he would not be opposed to working with National in a loose political arrangement if that was necessay.

"Really I dont care at the end of the day which one it is. My personal preference is it not be National but at the end of the day you got to do the business if you want to advance your people's interests," Mr Harawira says. 

Kaumatua from West Auckland are being aknowledged today for their participation in a programme to get them more active.

One of the members of the 30 strong group is Dennis Hansen, from Te Paatu in the far North.

He says Waitakere City Council, Sparc and Sport Waitakere are behind the kaumatua programme, which includes nutritional advice.

He says its a chance for them to come together and talk while they walk, and it's much more fun than excercising on their own.

"It's better to be working together so they can kanohi ki te kanohi and kia ora and peihana and how's things that you're doing your walking, and it's better to be walking in numbers rather than to be at home, because we believe that working as a whanau, you get more done than relying on yourself," Mr Hansen says.

The Chairman of Te Wananga o Aotearoa says the balance sheet is not the only guage of the tertiary institute's success.

Richard Batley says the wananga has benefited from the well publicised review of its operations which resulted in a number of uneconomic courses being slashed.

He says while numbers are down on their peak a few years ago, the wananga continues to attract Maori students, many inspired by the success of their own.

"There's absolutely no doubt about it. Typical situation is you get one member going up to get their diploma and then the next week you get all the family enrolled, so sometimes you get two or three different generations coming up to get diplomas," Mr Batley says.

Anti-Apatheid activist John Minto has paid tribute to the role Maori played during the 1981 Springbok Tour of New Zealand.

He says while many think of the anti-tour protests as being middle class and largely Pakeha in nature this certainly was not the case and many Maori distinquished themselves in protests around the country.

"If you look at any of the photos of the protest in Auckland, you find the very tall figure of Syd Jackson with his helmet on, standing ahead above everybody else, because he was very tall. Tame Iti was there, very involved, bringing people over from the Bay of Plenty and again he was on the field in Hamilton. Donna Awatere Huata, who everyone will know. Hone and Hilda Harawira, they were very much at the core of the Auckland organising, right from the start," Mr Minto says.

The chairman of Te Waka Kaiora, an umbrella group representing Maori organic farmers is urging Maori to put themselves forward for the annual Organics association of New Zealand awards.

Percy Tipene says maori are involved in all aspects of the organics sector, including organic beef farming.

He says nominations are now open, and he is keen to see maori involved.

"Looking at our whanaungas from the East Coast with their kumara wine, our biofarm wahine from the Wairarapa doing the yoghurt, and there's a few other small but enterprising activities growing peruperu or taewa, there's a whole lot of activity in that area," Mr Tipene says.

He and Tawhai McClutchie are the maori representatives on the board of Organics New Zealand. 

Monday, August 04, 2008

Waipareira buys The Learning Post

Former Labour MP John Tamihere is highly critical of the Government's Maori education policy and services.

The CEO of West Auckland based Te Whanau O Waiparera Trust says to fill the void left by the government the Trust has spent more than $2 million buying a private training establishment - The Learning Post - which specialises in distance learning.

Waipareira was forced to close many of its own courses during its financial crunch in 2005, about the time Mr Tamihere rejoined the organisation.

"We've made a decision to go back into (education) despite present government policy which is really against private entry into education. We've determined the state doesn't have all the answers. It's obvious. 86 percent of all Maori children haven't moved forward to a tertiary qualification over the last four or five years," Mr Tamihere says.

He says people with a tertiary education earn 70 percent on average more than those that don't and Maori are being severely disadvantaged by the present policies.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Te Wananga O Aotearoa says the organisation has benefitted from a government review of its services, which resulted in many uneconomic courses being cut.

Richard Batley says although student numbers are down by nearly half the 63,000 who were enrolled in 2003,  the wananga is now in a healthy state and looking positively to the future.

"I think we needed to look at our business and also admit that certain things had to be fixed. It was a good period where we could stocktake and attend to things that needed be fixed," Mr Batley says.

Te Wanaga O Aotearoa posted a 5.4 million dollar profit for the last financial year.

Televison rugby commentator Ken Laban says a number of Maori rugby players including midfielder Richard Kahui deserves time to settle into life as All Blacks.

The specialist centre played wing for the All Blacks in their resounding 39-10 win over the Wallabies at Eden Park on Saturday night.

Mr Laban says there are a number of talented Maori players waiting in the wings for a call up by Graeme Henry, and like Kahui have a lot to offer.

"I hope the public give him some time to warm into that role of international footballer because he's a class act and a very good player. He's not a winger, he's a centre. Another player I have an enormous respect for at the three quarter is Jose Gear. He's an international player in the waiting," he says.

Mr Laban says Piri Weepu deserved his recall to the national squad after strong form for the Maori in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says the electoral commission is failing Maori by inadequate measures to get young Maori on the electoral rolls.

47,000 Maori voters have dropped off the rolls in the past three years having changed address, moved to Australia or failed to respond to voter information packs.

Mr Harawira says that equates to nearly 10 percent of the Maori population, and if the same percentage of non Maori were lost from the roll you wouldn't hear the end of it.

"If there was 470,000 Pakeha dropped off the roll, there would be hell to pay. It would be on the front page of all the newspapers, it would be item one on the television news," Mr Harawira says.

He says Electoral Commission staff in high visibility waistcoats on intersections don't do it for Maori, and door to door is the only way to ensure they get the message.

A total of 380,162 who identify as being of Māori descent are currently enrolled to vote - 164,962 on the General Roll and 215,200 on the Māori Roll.


The co-spokesperson on Maori affairs for the National Party says Maori social service providers are well poised to play a part in key areas if there is a change of government later this year.

Georgina Te Heuheu was at the party's annual conference held in Wellington over the weekend.

She says John Key's indication that private sector experience will be sought to improve academic performancec in New Zealand schools opens the door for Maori.

Mrs Te Heu Heu says the success of Maori health providers is a worthy template.

"The potential for private enterprise like the Maori health providers that developed in the in the 1990s under National is significant. There is a lot of non-govrnment agencies in the private sector, and Maori are some of those, who have garnered a lot of experience over the last two decades in delivering services to he community. We will certainly want to engage with them in some of the key policy areas," Mrs Te Heuheu says.

The CEO of Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust says Donna Awatere Huata is the right person to spearhead the organisation's latest education initiatiave.

The West Auckland based Trust has just spent more than $2 million dollars The Learning Post, a private training establishment that specialises in distance learning.

John Tamihere says Mrs Awatere Huata, a noted academic and former ACT MP, will head the Trust's training arm, Waitech which will manage The Learning Post.

"You know regardless of what anyone says about Donna, no one in academia or anywhere else can fault her intellectual and academic qualifications and capacity to do a very good job, and so we are very happy about that," Mr Tamihere says.

Taranaki Whanui endorse Poneke deal

Taranaki Whanui claimants have endorsed a proposed settlement which will make them the landlords of many of Wellington's government properties.

Some 31 percent of eligible members took part, with 98 percent voting in favour of the settlement and 95 percent in favour of the proposed governance body.

15 percent cast their votes online, a higher percentage than the last local body election.

Ngatata Love, the chair of the Port Nicholson Block Claims Team, says the next step is to introduce the settlement legislation into parliament, and he hopes out again before the end of the current term.

The deal is conservatively valued at around $200 million dollars.

It includes 23 sites of cultural and spiritual significance, including Matiu- Soames Island in Wellington Harbour, the former Wainuiomata college and Wainuiomata intermediate school sites, and Pipitea Marae and associated properties along Thorndon Quay.

It also includes a 100 year right of first refusal to buy surplus Crown land in the Wellington area, and the right to immediately buy from a portfolio of properties including Wellington Railway station and the Defence Force's Shelley Bay complex on the Mirimar Peninsula.


Wakatu Incorporation has reached agreement with Tasman District Council over water for its land around Motueka.

It's dropping a High Court appeal against the council's plans to redirect bore water to new subdivisions along the coast, rather than make it available for irrigating the incorporation's land.

Chief executive Keith Palmer says a change in council leadership after the last election was a major factor in the way the parties had been able to find a way through their difficulties.

He says the deal means there will be enough water for everyone who has irrigable land.


A Gisborne paua hatchery is almost ready to start growing the delicacy after a five year funding delay.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry promised Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa $230,000 for the project in 2002, but didn't hand the money over until last year.

David Carter, National's agriculture spokesperson, says it was a massive bureaucratic bungle.
Sharon Maynard, the manager of the runanga's education subsidiary, Turanga Aranui, says the delay probably means the organisation is better prepared to use the money.

She says the land-based hatchery was funded by the runanga, and the MAF money was for kai.

"It's mainly focusing on growing algae to feed the paua on at some stage later on. We're just seeing what's the best way to grow it, indoors or outdoors. It's more experimental to find the best feed for them, the best way to grow their feed," Ms Maynard says.

Turanga Aranui will grow paua to about 1 centimetre, and then sell them on to other hatcheries or use them to restock wild populations.


Te Tau Ihu iwi have joined forces to seek early settlement of their aquaculture claims.

Richard Bradley from Rangitane says the 2004 Maori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Act means the Crown has to make a cash offer in 2014 unless it can come up with marine space.

He says there's no chance of finding any unused space at the top of the South Island, so the iwi have asked for aquaculture to be included in their treaty settlement.

He says Fisheries Ministry officials have estimated the total cost of the aquaculture settlement could be up to 100 million dollars.

"Our expectations are a bit greater than that but the opportunity we have is for some people to come down to get a settlement now and other people to come up to get a settlement now, or we just dig in for the long road, see what the ground looks like in 2014," Mr Bradley says.

The talks include Ngai Tahu, so a settlement covering the entire South Island is possible.

Port Nicholson Block claimants hope legislation putting in place their $200 million settlement can be in place before the election.

The claimants from Taranaki Whanui who settled around Wellington Harbour voted by a 98 percent margin to ratify the proposed settlement, which includes the return of cultural sites like Matiu-Soames Island and Pipitea Marae.

The financial value of the deal lies in the opportunity it gives the claimants to buy and develop sites such as Wellington Railway Station and the Defence Force's Shelley Bay complex.

They will also become the landlord of Crown agencies like the National Library and National Archives, which are built on the former Pipitea Pa.

Claims team chairman Ngatata Love says they want to move quickly on initiatives such as housing for its people.

He says the claimant community, which overlaps with the Wellington Tenths Trust, has considerable experience as a landlord and responsible developer of land in the city, and it has good relationships with the region's councils. 


A proposed reserve in south Auckland will preserve the gardening secrets of the ancients.

The park will cover what's left of the Matukuturua Stonefields and the remains of the Matukutureia volcano in Manukau City.

Ngati Te Ata elder Nganeko Minhinnick says it was the home of her ancestor, Te Ata i Rehia, and is an important reminder of her iwi's hold over that part of the region.

She says there are still signs of the sophisticated system of stone walls and raised gardens used to sustain a large population.

"They used the rocks, the stones, to grow their kai. They didn't have to water it because the rocks provided the heat and the water and the necessary things to make the kai grow," Mrs Minhinnick says.

Ngati Te Ata will want a say in how many reserve at Matukuturua is run.