Waatea News Update

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Court-tribunal job split welcomed

The sponsor of a bill to split the top jobs at the Maori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal is welcoming the fact his objective is achieved ... for now.

With today's elevation of Joe Williams to the High Court, his deputy Wilson Isaac becomes acting chief judge of the Maori Land Court, and Judge Carrie Wainwright becomes acting chair of the tribunal.

New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone says that's what he wanted to do with his bill, which failed at the third reading stage.

“We've always been of the view that there’s a perceived conflict of interest to have one person to hold that position of chief judge of the Maori Land Court and also at the same time hold the position of the chairman of the Waitangi Tribunal,” Mr Paraone says.

New Zealand First was unaware the appointments would be made and did not lobby for the split.


South Waikato iwi Ngati Raukawa is looking ahead to ensure its descendents are speaking te reo Maori.

It's giving out awards this weekend to organisations promoting the language in the rohe.

Roger Lewis, the organiser of Nga Tohu Reo Maori o Raukawa, says the aim is to have the reo firmly established by 2030, and a century later the Raukawa rohe and people will be Maori-speaking.

He says that means starting now.

“We also get alongside marae helping them create their own reo plans. We’re just starting up a programme to encourage Maori to speak te reo in the home. We do marae interviews with kaumatua. We have our own Raukawa reo brand, called nga kahu reo o Raukawa. The whole goal is ko aranui mai, te iwi ki te reo, that Raukawa people will speak Maori," Mr Lewis says.

A highlight of tomorrow's ceremony will be tohu given to kuia and kaumatua who have recorded histories in te reo for study by future generations.


The country's southernmost Maori land trust is looking at expanding its tourism operations.

Steve Harteveld from Rakiura Maori Land Trust says a hunting operation on its Stewart Island blocks has been unprofitable, and is under review.

But given the strength of tourism in the region and interest from Queenstown and Milford Sound operators, there are opportunities opening up for the trust.

“The trust itself administers 75 percent of the available land on Rakiura, given that 92 percent of Rakiura is in national park, so we have a 6 percent stake in the remaining land on Rakiura,” Mr Harteveld says.


Whale Rider star Rawiri Paratene is standing for the Green Party in Maungakiekie.

The Green's Maori spokesperson Metiria Turei says he will be campaigning for the party vote rather than the seat.

She says Mr Paratene, who has been a familiar figure on stage and screen for more than three decades, has a longstanding commitment to green and Maori issues.

“He has an enormous standing, both in the arts community and the Maori community as well, and has been committed to Green policies for many years now and he fronted a number of adverts for out 2005 Green Party party vote election campaign, so we’re really pleased to have him on board even more this time as a candidate for us,” Ms Turei says.

Rawiri Paratene made his decision too late to be considered for a high place on the Party list, but she hopes he will consider that option in future.


A top Maori netballer says the Silver Ferns aren't too far off the pace in the trans-Tasman netball.

The Silver Ferns lost by two points to the Australians on Wednesday night ... and Joline Henry says that can be fixed by just one turnover.

The versatile Whanganui player says the strong showing in Christchurch by new Australian caps Kate Beveridge and Kimberlee Green show the depth the Ferns are up against.

The Silver Ferns take on Australia in the second test in Auckland on Saturday.


While most of the league fraternity's attention will be focused firmly on the action at Mt Smart Stadium tonight... there are other crucial league games in Auckland this weekend.

Maori coaches are to the forefront of the Fox Memorial final on Saturday, when Richie Blackmore-coached Otahuhu Leopards line up against Brett Genmmel's Mt Albert Lions on Mt Smart's second field.

Gordon Gibbons from Auckland Rugby League says Richie Blackmore has matured into the coaching role after his career at centre and wing for the Warriors, the Kiwis and Leeds.

He picked up a well-deserved top coaching gong at this week's awards.

This evening's Warriors-Roosters game won't be a refuge from the election campaign - Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate Derek Fox has hired a plane to buzz the crowd with a giant banner bearing the Maori Party's symbol.

Maori could rally round victim Peters

A former New Zealand First MP is counting on Winston Peters' stoush with Parliament's privileges committee to rekindle Maori support for the party.

Mr Peters made a closed door appearance before the committee yesterday to answer further questions about a donation by expatriate businessman Owen Glenn to the costs of his 2005 Tauranga electoral petition.

Edwin Perry, who now heads the Wairarapa Maori wardens, says Maori know Mr Peters has used his party's confidence and supply relationship with Labour to advance their interests, and they don't like the way he's being treated by his political opponents.

“The Maoris I have spoken to say they are going to vote for Winston on the party vote because if you are Maori on the Maori rill, a lot of our people still don’t know that you can give the party vote to anther party, and I’ve said to them give us the party vote and give the constituency vote to the candidates in your area,” Mr Perry says.

Auckland University political scientist Raymond Miller says Maori overwhelmingly supported New Zealand First candidates in the 1996 election, and Winston Peters is perfectly capable of exploiting the underdog effect to win their votes.


The Police southern district commander says responsibility to Maori communities doesn't end with kaitakawaenga or iwi liaison officers.

Superintendent George Fraser will today sign a memorandum of understanding with Ngai Tahu at Karitane's Puketeraki Marae near Dunedin.

He says there must be a wider involvement than kaitakawaenga can provide.

“We should never rely in individual officers in individual roles. It’s a responsibility across 11,000 police officers in the New Zealand police and in the southern district we’re very much putting our hand up and saying every officer here has that responsibility,” Superintendent Fraser says.

He hopes the MOU will generate good will between the police and the Maori community in Otago.


A Horowhenua environmentalist has turned her studies of the links between ecology and community health into a series of artworks.

Huhana Smith completed the paintings in Ngä kai kai-taru while researching her PhD.

They attempt to show how her Raukawa hapu at Kuku Beach sees the ecosystem as part of a cultural landscape, and how that differs from the Pakeha approach.

“Iwi and hapu approaches are actually more complex and then there’s a whole lot of complexities that come about from other territorial authorities not taking as much consideration of those intricacies as perhaps iwi and hapu have to, so it becomes more difficult to get active protection or active change happening,” Dr Smith says.

Ngä kai kai-taru: The weedeaters is on show at the Mahara Gallery in Waikanae, where Dr Smith will present a seminar on September 27.


The chair of Ngati Manawa says his iwi's treaty settlement is generous ... to neighbouring iwi.

The iwi, whose rohe includes the Kaingaroa Plains and upper Rangitaiki River, signed an agreement in principle yesterday to settle historic claims stemming from the New Zealand wars of the 1860s, Crown land buying policies and land, river and forestry development in the region.

Negotiations had been suspended to allow the completion of June's multi-iwi Treelord forestry settlement.

Ngati Manawa gets just over 6 percent of that settlement, despite a large part of the Kaingaroa forest being on its traditional land.

Bill Bird says it had to look at the bigger picture.

“There are concerns, not only from neighbouring iwi but from within Ngati Manawa themselves. The key determinant is the land from which the wealth is generated. With that in mind, such is the generosity of Ngati Manawa that we understand that there are iwi in the CNI collective that only have minor land interests, but hey, we are willing to share with wealth with our neighbouring iwi,” Mr Bird says.


A political scientist says Winston Peters' battle with Parliament's privileges committee could revive Maori support for New Zealand First.

Mr Peters made a further appearance before the committee behind closed doors yesterday.

Raymond Miller, the head of Auckland University's political science department, says Mr Peters is capable of exploiting his current underdog status to appeal to voters who feel he is being hard done by.

“He shouldn't be written off and if we think in terms of Maori voters of course they gave all their electorate seats to the New Zealand First Party in 1996 and while New Zealand First has not appealed strongly since, nevertheless there is always the possibility that many Maori voters could consider giving their party vote to New Zealand First in the event they felt that New Zealand First still had a useful role to play in the New Zealand parliament,” he says.

Associate professor Miller says if the New Zealand First vote does collapse totally, one beneficiary could be the Maori Party, whose support is likely to be critical to whichever major party forms the next government.


Remote Maori communities on the East Coast are using technology to bridge the gaps between them and promote their Nati-tanga.

21 of the region's schools submitted more than 500 short films, adverts, DVDs and digital photos for the annual Nati awards.

Pani McLean, the tumuaki of Ngata College, says students are using technology to tell tribal stories, and learning skills which can lead to careers.

“There's going to be a number of students form the Tairawhiti region that are going to be swept up by different television and film schools,” Ms McLean says.

Ngata College took out the Supreme Award, which includes a trip for to two students to Wellington on Monday to the science fair at Parliament.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ngati Manawa claims recognised

Ngati Manawa trekked from the heart of the Kaingaroa forest to Parliament today to sign an agreement in principle to settle its outstanding historical Treaty claims of Ngati Manawa.

Chairperson Bill Bird says the settlement includes a cultural redress package and the outlines of the historic account of the iwi's conflicts with the Crown during the New Zealand wars of the 1860s and 70s, the operation of the Native Land Court and the impact of land, river and forestry development.

He says it dovetails with the commercial redress packaged signed in June, which gives Ngati Manawa 6.2 percent of the Central North Island Treelord forestry settlement.

“The most difficult part of the whole negotiation process is that the commercial redress is already signed and identified and agreed to but the sins of the Crown are still to be identified. We want to move forward and we want to get out of grievance mode and get into iwi dependency mode,” Mr Bird says.

Ngati Manawa is aiming to complete negotiation of its deed of settlement within a year.


As the chief judge of the Maori Land Court heads for the High Court bench, his job has been split in two.

Joe Williams will be sworn in at the Wellington High Court tomorrow afternoon after a ceremony at Victoria University's Te Herenga Waka Marae.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says Wilson Isaac has been confirmed as acting chief judge of the Maori Land Court.

Carrie Wainwright will be acting chair of the Waitangi Tribunal, which is assessing the 2000 claims that flooded in to meet the deadline for lodging historic claims.

Mr Horomia says Justice Williams, from Ngati Pukenga and Te Arawa, will be a great addition to the High Court.

“You know he's steeped in his tikanga and holds steadfast to his language and he’s steeped in the law and it’s a rarity when you take that all the way to the High Court,” Mr Horomia says.


Two ta moko artists are off to London for next week's International Tattoo Convention.

A Ta Moko artist says Maori Moko is currently in vogue.

Patrick Takoko and Richard Francis will represent Te Uhi a Mataora, a collective of Maori artists.

Mr Takoko says because of the skill of artists like Derek Lardelli and Mark Kopua, ta moko has enjoyed a revival from its low point of a generation ago.

“Moko sort of went into a lull because of the social climate at the time where people didn’t see it as being an acceptable art form. It’s just come out of the woodwork and it’s come in vogue all over the world,” Mr Takoko says.

He says Maori need to find some way to control the way their moko designs are used internationally.


A Ngati Kahu elder says the people managing his tribe's settlement will have to show a high level of business acumen to deliver benefits to iwi members.

Sir Graham Latimer's Ngati Kahu Trust Board was bypassed by the Office of Treaty Settlements, which chose to negotiate with Margaret Mutu's Te Runanga o Ngati Kahu.

An agreement in principle signed in the far north yesterday will give the iwi the 3700 hectare Rangiputa Station on the Karikari Peninsula, along with 1200 hectares of reserves.

Sir Graham says the success of the settlement will depend on the ability of the runanga to grow the assets and make the farm pay its way.

“It's always been hard farming in the north, but getting up there is harder still. If you run into the drought period, six months have gone just waiting on the grass to regrow,” Sir Graham says.

A $7.5 million dollar component in the settlement for marae redevelopment and housing will only go a small part of the way to addressing the social need in the tribe.


Meanwhile, a Labour list MP says claimants need certainty about when their issues will be heard.

Dover Samuels says when it assesses the 2000 claims that flooded in to meet this month's deadline on historic claims, the Waitangi Tribunal needs to protect the queue of pre-existing claimants.

He says some groups who have been waiting a long time.

“Well even up north there we’ve got claims that have been in the pipeline 10, 12, 15 years. We haven’t had any notification of when these claims are going to be heard. A lot of our people have passed on. I think this is not just relevant to Ngapuhi or to the hapu claims in Taitokerau but right around New Zealand,” Mr Samuels says.

He says the Waitangi Tribunal could save time by ignoring claims such as those lodged by Black Power and Mongrel mob members.


A predominantly Maori suburb in Whangarei is receiving special attention from the Police.

The Otangarei Community Safety team has been operating for two months, after research showed residents of the suburb were responsible for 10 percent of the crime in the city, despite making up less than three percent of the region's population.

Sergeant James McCullough says his team of four constables is getting positive feedback about the extra boots on the ground.

Housing New Zealand has offered the Otangarei Community Safety team a flat in the suburb to use as a base.

Ron gang claim off the Mark

New Zealand First's law and order spokesperson says Black Power's treaty claim is an insult to iwi.

The gang wants the Waitangi Tribunal to draw links between colonialism and the situation its members find themselves in.

Ron Marks says Black Power members make a conscious decision to commit crimes, so they shouldn't blame the government ... and they shouldn't try to piggyback on iwi.

“Any notion of Black Powers’ that they are a hapu and iwi entity is absolute garbage and would not be accepted by mainstream Maori. I mean are we going to have the Lions establish themselves as a hapu and iwi? Are you going to have White Power do the same, simply because they can find somewhere there is a whakapapa link back to some corner of Maoridom,” Mr Mark says

He says Black Power gang members belong to their own respective iwi through which they can place claims.


But Auckland University law school deputy dean David Williams, who has been advising claimants for more than 20 years, says Black Power members have a legal right to lodge a claim.

Professor Williams says the Treaty of Waitangi Act makes no mention of iwi or hapu.

“Waitangi Tribunal jurisdiction is not based on organisations, it’s based on if you are a Maori and you have an issue with the Crown, you can lodge a claim. So any Maori person may lodge a claim with the tribunal and they can do it as a collective group and they can nominate a collective group but the requirement is the claimants be Maori,” Professor Williams says.

The argument that the least educated, most marginalised urban Maori are victims of longstanding Crown politics has some substance, and echoes what many respected Maori leaders have said.


The most qualified wahine in the field of mau rakau or taiaha is welcoming the interest of other women in the traditional martial art.

Tania Stanley is a level 8 or pou waru practioner at Te Whare Taua O Aotearoa, the school of Maori weaponry set up by Pita Sharples.

She says two other women are now going for senior pou, which should help rekindle the use of taiaha by wahine.

“Every iwi had women fighters but it was the way they fought, whether it was with weapons, without weapons. There were wahine toa in every iwi. I think for us now, it’s about maintaining the matauranga so it won't get lost,” Ms Stanley says.

Te Whare Taua O Aotearoa is considering seeking New Zealand Qualifications Authority certification for its taiaha gradings.


A leading treaty lawyer says a Black Power treaty claim should be given serious consideration.

Treaty negotiations Minister Michael Cullen says there is no legal basis for Black Power to lodge its claim, because the treaty was between the Crown and iwi hapu.

But David Williams, the deputy dean of Auckland University's law faculty, says the Treaty of Waitangi Act allows any Maori to bring a claim.

He says what Black Power is saying about the links between gangs and colonialism echoes what respected Maori leaders have been saying for years.

“The argument that the least educated, most marginalised urban Maori are victims of policies that go back a very long way in our history of marginalizing Maori and Maori communities pretty obviously has some substance and may indeed be worth looking at in an appropriate time and place. It certainly should not be dismissed out of hand,” Professor Williams says.

Gang members will need to prove a causal connection between specific Crown policies and the situation they find themselves in.


A former Labour MP says the election race in the Waikato-Tainui electorate will be a test for the Maori Party brand.

In a rematch of 2005, Labour's Nanaia Mahuta is trying to defend her seat against Waikato university lecturer Angeline Greensill.

Ms Greensill, the daughter of the late Eva Rickard of Raglan Golf Course occupation fame, came up 1860 votes short last election.

That was a much closer margin than when she'd contested the seat for the Mana Maori Party.

John Tamihere says it's not a personality competition.

“So rather than Angeline winning the seat, I think the power of the Maori brand has a lot to do with it. She might have a personal following, but it’s never got her across the winner’s line since she’s been running for about the last four or five elections,” Mr Tamihere says.


The creator of Maui: One Man Against the Gods is talking with German producers about staging the ambitious stage show there.

Tanemahuta Grey has been pitching the 30-person show to arts festivals worldwide, but the cost of staging it means buyers want to see the full production before committing themselves.

He says there is the prospect of a short season in 2010 in Germany, where there is keen interest in Maori culture.

“If you can break into the European market and dip your feet in, as the Germans want us to do, dip our toes in, and if the four weeks go really well they will look to bring us back for a 16 to 20 week season and then keep building it from there and that gives us a much bigger chance to do longer tours all around the European continent, Britain and then hopefully one day into London’s West End and then Broadway New York.” Mr Grey says.

While he's waiting for his directing career to resume, he's putting his acting hat back on and auditioning for the New Zealand production of Starlight Express.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ngati Kahu agreement signed

Ngati Kahu's negotiator says her far north iwi has beaten the odds in winning back contol of its ancestral lands.

An agreement in principle was signed at Kareponia Marae near Kaitaia today.

It includes the return of the 3700 hectare Rangiputa Station, which was occupied last year to stop Landcorp selling off coastal sections, and 1200 hectares of reserves.

There will also be a statutory board to give Ngati Kahu a say in managing Conservation land in the region.

Margaret Mutu says while some iwi members are upset Ngati Kahu isn't getting all its land back, it's doing better than most other iwi who have settled.

“Throughout the country the average amount of land that gets returned in a settlement is 0.06 percent and my research over the years has shown that. Ngati Kahu is getting back 20 percent of our lands. We’re getting back control of 20 percent of our lands either in fee simple title or other mechanisms that make sure we control our lands,” Professor Margaret Mutu.

She says says Crown negotiator Pat Snedden was so shocked at the poverty in the region, he convinced the Government to add an extra $7.5 million for marae redevelopment and housing support.


A Maori candidate in Mangere believes he could be in with a chance in the Labour stronghold because of a potential split in the Pacific island vote.

Mita Harris is standing for National in a seat where traditionally his party hasn't had a look in.

He says there are three strong candidates with Pacific island roots ... incumbent MP Philip Field, Labour list MP William Sio and Jerry Filipaina from the Family Party.

“You've got three I guess very significant Polynesian community leaders running here in Mangere. It will be kind of hard I guess for the Pacific Island community to go with one. I have a feeling they are going to follow in threes with those three, and that could make the dynamics really interesting,” Mr Harris says.

The odds are against him, as last election National's candidate Clem Simich only picked up 3600 votes, 16,000 behind Mr Field.


Manukau truancy officers say they deserve more pay because of the challenges they face.

The officers last week picketed their Otara headquarters to demand an increase in salary from $33,000 to 40,000 a year.

Union delegate Pat Kake says that's a modest demand, with truant officers in other regions getting up to $60,000.

He says most of 1200 truants referred by south Auckland schools each term are Maori, and the officers go beyond the call to duty to do their best for them.

“We do have a job description but I think expectations go way beyond it because they’re our people, we want the best for them. We just go way outside the job description. The normal truancy officer in other areas would probably pick them up, take them back to school, end of story. But we try and intervene and try and make changes,” Mr Kake says.


One of the people behind the Black Power treaty claim believes a successful outcome could spell the end of the gang in its current form.

Dennis O'Reilly says the gang wants to tell its story, and to draw the links between colonialism and Maori disadvantage.

He says it's an example of the community action advocated by influential Brazilian educator Paolo Friere.

“It's based on the philosophy of Paolo Friere who says you take the issues that focus around people’s lives, you help to conscietise them about those things and as people get conscious they start to separate out their own actions, their omissions and faults, from the systemic things that impact upon them,” Mr O'Reilly says.

Je says attorney general Michael Cullen is mistaken in saying Black Power has no right to take the claim, and he should be applauding the fact the gang is using legal channels to pursue its members' interests.


Meanwhile another non-iwi group has filed a claim challenging the impact of colonialism on its members.

Four prominent unionists have asked the Waitangi Tribunal to look at the historic shift of Maori off the land and into low skill and low wage occupations.

Syd Keepa from the National Distribution Union, who convenes the CTU runanga, says that had an impact of the whole society.

“A lot of our kaumatua in those days were actually leaders in the Maori community but their day jobs were very low skill. And of course all the reforms over the years that have thrown a lot of our people onto the scrapheap and fundamentally, that’s what the claim's about,” Syd Keepa says.

The claimants, who also include CTU Maori vice-president Sharon Clair, Matt McCarten from Unite and Tangi Tipene from the Association of Salaries Tertiary Educators, will be holding hui to get wider support for the claim from Maori workers.


Exponents of traditional Maori martial arts are considering pushing for mainstream qualifications.

Tania Stanley from Taranaki, the most highly qualified wahine at the Te Whare Tu Taua, says those who gain proficiency in mau rakau or taiaha deserve acknowledgement in both the Maori and Pakeha worlds.

She says other Maori performing arts earn New Zealand Qualifications Authority credits, and there are talks about the Maori school of weaponry seeking certification.

“Our mau rakau is ebing taught in whare kura, even our mainstream schools and we are now looking at how to alight it with NZQA unit standards that are out there already so our tauira who love our mau rakau are also getting recognised through the credits, so tea or Pakeha and te ao Maori,” Ms Stanley says.

Tauranga iwi oppose sewage pipe

Maori tribal opposition to piping human waste under Tauranga Harbour has emerged as one of the main reasons why the city council wants to pipe sewerage over an existing bridge at Matapihi.

However Ngaiterangi kaumatua Hauata Palmer says the $106 million pipeline project will still need to be carefully considered.

“The other issue which is more important is the fact that it goes to the treatment ponds which are at Te Manga, and from there is the real issue, whether the outfall is in the harbour or whether it is out to sea,” Mr Palmer says.

A discharge into the harbour might affect the upper reaches.


A kaumatua for the Manukau City Council is hoping the introduction of separate Maori wards will increase the advocacy for Maori issues around the council table.

The Manukau City Council is considering introducing Maori wards for upcoming local body elections.

Haare Williams says dedicated Maori councilors would be able to advocate strongly on Maori issues without having to temper their views for a general electorate.

He says as well as representing their wards they'd contribute to the debates on issues such as waahi tapu and the future health and use of the harbour.

Mr Williams also believes Maori councilors could lay out the argument for council funding of Maori initiatives that contribute to the community... such as marae... especially when plans for marae redevelopments have to go through council.

“Marae now should be considered as an institution in our country. It’s not quite there yet. Alongside the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the New Zealand Ballet, libraries and gymnasiums and sports stadiums and things like that,” Mr Williams says.

The Manukau City Council will discuss the issue of separate Maori wards at a meeting on September 25.


Ngapuhi was held a hui in Auckland last night to gain support from iwi members living in the city for their treaty claim.

The hui was held in advance of a judicial conference later this month at which a decision will be made to assess if an early start should be made to the Ngapuhi claim.

“The main issue is there was a strategy initiated by the Crown of the time not long after the signing of the treaty to take Ngapuhi out, to deprive it of its economic and political power it had at the time, and essentially, that’s what the claim is about,” says tribal member Julian Wilcox.


Tauranga Maori say council plans to pipe sewerage across an existing harbour bridge rather than under the harbour may not end their opposition to the project.

The council is seeking planning permission to use the Matapihi bridge at a cost of $106 million dollars after Maori objected to having human waste piped under the harbour.

However Ngai Te Rangi Kaumatua Hauata Palmer says the more important issue is where the sewage will end up.

“The discharge into the harbour itself might be a problem and it might start to affect the upper reaches of the harbour," Mr Palmer says.

It would be far more preferable to see the treated sewerage discharged out to sea.


A kaumatua on the Manukau City Council is optimistic one of the country's largest local bodies will adopt separate Maori wards for upcoming elections.

Haare Williams says he detects a favourable disposition among the councillors to the idea of Maori wards after its Te Tiriti o Waitangi committee recommended the council support the introduction of separate Maori seats.

“The Manukau City Council has been so proactive in so many other things working with mana whenua and taura here that I see this as probably the best place to allow this to gestate and grow and that idea to be born, so I’m optimistic but we need more than optimism to turn it into a reality,” Mr Williams says.

If the wards are established the next step will be to mobilise the Maori voters.

The council will consider the matter of separate Maori wards at a meeting on September the 25th.


Marae around the Manukau harbour are keeping a close eye on plans to clear mangroves behind Manurewa Marae on the Puhinui inlet after the Auckland Regional Council supported wider clearing than initially applied for.

Tunuiarangi McLean, from Manurewa Marae, says they wanted to clear the mangroves from Puhinui inlet on its back door and build a jetty... but after speaking with the Auckland Regional Council they've set their sights a bit further.

“Our original submission was just to cut a pathway through to the channel so that our young people could participate in the waka ama activities, the kayaking and all that. What the ARC supported us in was that they would support the removal of a large majority of the mangroves along the foreshore behind Manurewa marae,” Mr McLean says.

The mangroves have taken over Puhinui inlet and in some areas cover half of the whole channel, which concerns many marae around the harbour.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Keep police unarmed

One of the country's top Maori officers supports police not being armed.

Assistant commissioner Viv Rickard, who is responsible for police operations throughout the country, says it’s extremely positive that the police can operate without guns.

“We have firearms available to us if required but our community policing approach means we want to get connected with our community. With that comes some risks, but I think at this stage it’s a real positive for New Zealand we have a model of policing which endears itself to the community and we are not armed,” he says.

Mr Rickard says in the future this may change but at present New Zealand's approach to the police not being armed is something the country can be proud of.


A call by Northland Marae for volunteers to help fill traditional roles has recieved a good response.

Bella Tari, the manager of Te Hauora o Kaikohe volunteer centre, says about 200 people turned up to today’s opening eager to help.

“We really need to start streamlining our marae by doing courses for cooking, for chefs. Where I come from there’s no kaumatua, we’ve lost all our kaumatua. We’ve got to get external people, even though they’re interrelated. We’ve got to get them traveling from another area into our area to carry the hui, those kaumatua and kuia who come to do the karanga and powhiri for the maraes,” Ms Tari says.

As well as helping on the marae volunteers will work with inmates in the Northern Correctional Facility in Ngawha.


A study of Rotorua geothermal areas is looking at whether traditional kai is being contaminated by accumulated toxins.

National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research scientist Ngaire Phillips says a year has already been spent seeing if heavy metals such as Mercury and Arsenic are affecting fresh-water koura, tuna and watercress.

“Anyone who's been to Rotorua can tell you there’s lots of areas that have geothermal influences. You just have to go to Rotorua itself and if you stand in the lake you can feel the sand getting warmer in some areas, in areas where people have traditionally collected from in the past and don’t now or where they collect from now, so the whole programme is targeted at getting information which is directly relevant to iwi,” Dr Phillips says.

The study may show that all kai in the area is safe to eat but until it is complete this will not be known.


One of the country's largest councils is considering establishing separate Maori wards.

Manukau City Council will discuss the idea later this month after its Te Tiriti o Waitangi committee recommended the council support the introduction of Maori seats.

Haare Williams, a kaumatua for the council, says Maori votes are diluted by the current system and is welcoming the move.

He believes introducing the separate wards will allow greater advocacy on Maori issues.

“In terms of quality, in terms of representation, I think the ideal of Maori wards would be much more favourable than what it is at present,” Mr Williams says.

If successful the move would see two new members within the existing number of 17 seats.

The only other local authority with separate Maori wards is Environment Bay of Plenty which has had two Maori wards since 2001.


The officer in charge operations throughout the country says police mistakes should be seen against the amount of crime handled.

Assistant police commissioner Viv Rickard, one of the top Maori police in the country, says understanding cultural things is extremely important to avoid mistakes.

“Without talking about Tuhoe but just talking about that police-Maori relationship, there’s always opportunties for us to learn. When we reflect back, now we look at it, we would consider doing it differently,” Mr Rickard says.

Police deal with 400,000 incidents a year and the communications centre handles 1.7 million calls.


Former Labour MP and political commentator John Tamihere believes the gap in the polls between National and Labour will narrow by election date while the battle in the Maori electorates is wide open.

He says one thing which the Maori party has going for it is its brand name.

“The beauty about the Maori Party is the brand. It’s pretty tough to walk into a booth and vote against who you are and what you are and what you have always identified with. And you don’t go on the Maori roll unless you identify with being a Maori, so they’re halfway there already,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the brand will be as significant as personalities in the Maori seats.

Gang ban bad plan

A spokesman for one of the country’s largest gangs says New Zealand should follow an Australian lead but not by outlawing gangs.

Black Power member Dennis O’Reilly says calls for New Zealand to mirror South Australian bans on gang members associating with each other doesn't address the reasons many Maori are drawn into gang lifestyles.

“There are some things we could follow the Australians in, and one of them would be in the treatment of Maori, because in Australia Maori are actually quite a respected people, highly employed, and they reflect low in the crime statistics so if we want to follow the Australians in anything, let’s follow them in that,” Mr O’Reilly says.


A Victoria University Maori health researcher says a cancer study in both urban and rural communities found Maori being grossly unaware of the services available to them.

Tai Walker says the study in Otaki, Palmerston North, Gisborne and Tolaga Bay found Maori are risking their health because they don't understand processes.

“There's also a dire need for the whole Maori workforce, what we call a navigator to help them through the system, take them through all the different steps, them when they have to come back. One of the participants in the study assumed that because the specialist had not sent out an appointment, the cancer must be okay,” Mr Walker says.

There is an ongoing need for the teaching of cultural awareness at all levels throughout the health system with new people being employed all the time including doctors from overseas.


Maori Police lack the experience needed on the front lines according to a long-serving Senior Constable.

Paddy Whiu who celebrated 35 years of service to the Police Force at his marae in Kaikohe last week says while many things have improved within the Police but there is a lack of experience among some officers.

“I worked with some senior police officer. That put me in good stead and the experience I saw then, I don’t see now on our front line police officers sadly, because our young officers need that to nurture their way into our mahi nei,” Mr Whiu says.

He says Maori police officers are best to be dealing with Maori in both urban and rural communities.


The high incidence of sleep problems among Maori found in a recent nationwide study could have wide implications.

Dr Kara Mihaere one of the people behind the study says sleep disorders Maori suffer from including insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome could be a factor in other illnesses.

She says a lot of Maori show up to the clinics with quite severe apnoea.

“We’ve found a threefold difference. Lack of sleep affects us in a wide range of areas such as diabetes, stroke, hypertension. We have disparities in those areas, so therefore the sleep problems that are affecting Maori, perhaps that’s a factor in the disparities in the other health outcomes,” she says.

Dr Mihaere says the size and particularly large neck size of Maori is the main thing behind their being more likely to suffer sleep disorders than other people.


A spokesman for one of the largest gangs in the country says the call to follow an Australian lead and ban gangs is a dangerous cheap shot.

Black Power member Dennis O Reilly says banning gangs and stopping people from associating, as suggested by Labour MP Phil Goff, would be extremely hard to administer.

“We’re on dangerous turf because does that mean you can’t mix with your nephew or niece or brother or sister or whatever at a family gathering or tribally or whatever, and just think of the implications of that under the treaty,” Mr O'Reilly says.

He says the idea of banning people from associating in gangs hasn't been thought through including its implication for the fundamental right of people to be held as innocent until proven guilty.


One of the major contributors to a reduction in street crime in the Wairarapa says Maori agricultural training schemes are also needed to take advantage of buoyant times on the land.

Former New Zealand First MP Edwin Perry, who heads the Wairarapa Maori wardens, says with both the dairy and sheep sectors performing well it's imperative Maori develop training opportunities for rangatahi keen to get involved.

“The Wool Board will say ‘we’ll run our own courses’ but you won’t get a Maori boy going to that school. He’s too whakama. But if we set up our own training with out successful shearing contractors, I’m sure we’ll take a lot of the stress off the streets,” Mr Perry says.

He says since extra resources have been channeled their way Maori Wardens are having an impact on the amount of street crime in the rohe but other measures are also needed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Government blamed for crime

The Government's hell-bent dechristianising of society is a key factor behind an increase in crime, according to the head of the Family Party.

Richard Lewis, a former south Auckland police sergeant, says the major parties must take some of the blame for the crime wave in the area.

“There’s absolutely no doubt, particularly under the last nine years under Labour, that we have seen a lot of laws passed that cut across traditional values as we have always known them and I don’t believe National is too much different although they have more of a conservative approach to some of the issues but I think 2008 provides an opportunity for a vehicle that will again stand on those kind of values,” Mr Lewis says.

He says since prostitution was made legal there has been an upsurge in crime around the Hunters Corner red light area of the city.


An expert in Maori Health says extra funding is needed to help overcome sleeping disorders among Maori.

Dr Kara Mihaere says a nationwide study on sleep found that because of their size and particularly larger necks Maori were more likely to suffer from sleeping disorders than others.

She says this in turn meant that Maori were more likely to have diabetes, stokes and hypertension.

“It’s one of those areas that’s underfunded, so the beds are available but not the money to put the patients through and so that’s something we hope to accomplish by putting the research out there showing there is a demand,” Dr Mihaere says.

Sleeping disorder should be understood in terms of wider socio-economic disparities among Maori rather than looking at individual risk factors.


Getting through to rangatahi this election isn't just about a 'little orange man' says the Maori Party's Tainui candidate.

The Maori Side Tour, aimed at getting rangatahi enrolled on the Maori roll, launched in Hamilton over the weekend.

Tainui candidate Angeline Greensill was invited to the event that featured House of Shem and Cornerstone Roots and got a short political message across.

She was helped in her performance by former Green MP Nandor Tanczos.


The fight for the Maori vote in the election is heating up with Labour and Maori party advocates vying for support.

The Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turiana is calling on supporters to give it both of their votes in the coming election.

“Our people need to know that if we are able to secure 8 percent of the vote we would have at the very minimum 10 people in Parliament which would put us into a very powerful position, and we shouldn’t think that we can't do eight percent,” Mrs Turia says.

However, former Labour cabinet minister John Tamihere says Maori should not forget all the things that Labour has done for them in health, welfare, education and justice.


A return to old fashioned Christian values is the way to address a crime wave in South Auckland according to a former Police Officer now heading the church based Family Party.

Richard Lewis who formally worked as a police sergeant in South Auckland says family breakdown is the major factor behind crime and other breakdown in such communities.

“We’ve got to come back to the basics and so much of what we’re seeing in our communities today seriously believe is because we have got young people who really are prime candidates for gangs when they‘re not getting intrinsic needs met in the home and so while I understand the shortcomings in families and I’ve had my part to play in that as well I do believe there is a place where we can say collectively as a community it’s time to take responsibility first for our families and then see what we can do to address these issues from a government perspective as well,” Mr Lewis says.

He says if families are strong there is less need for Government interference in peoples lives.


Tuning into radio to subliminally learn Te Reo Maori may be the next step in learning the language.

Te Ataraiti Waretini of George FM which was awarded the Radio award for Maori Language Week by Te Taurawhiri i Te Reo Maori says to win the alternative music station made soap operas and changed their website to Te Reo Maori.

“We also launched hypno te reo so listeners could tune in to George FM overnight and learn te reo Maori while they sleep,” Ms Waretini says.

She says this was very well received by listeners which led George to think it may be a way of learning in the future..

Maori votes could be decisive

A Maori political scientist believes the votes cast in Maori electorates could be critical to deciding the next government.

In the lead-up to the last election Labour leader Helen Clark called the Maori Party the last cab off the rank when it came to choosing a coalition partner.

Kaapua Smith says the situation has changed for the November the eighth election.

“Strategically the Maori vote would be very important, especially considering the Winston Peters debacle that has just gone on with the Owen Glenn donation and all of the drama that surrounded his party, it may damage the votes they get, in which case the Maori Party would be very well placed to side with either National or Labour,” Ms Smith says.

She is looking at Maori political participation in the 21st century for her doctoral research.


New Zealand's new High Commissioner to Kiribati wants to encourage more exchanges between Maori and Micronesia.

Robert Kaiwai from Ngati Porou has previously served in Taiwan, where he saw the interest in exchanges with that country's indigenous people.

He says Taiwan is believed to be the source of the great Austronesian migration into the Pacific, including east to Micronesia and south to Aotearoa.

“There was a lot of exchanges took place and there was a lot of knowledge exchanged, and I’m sure between the peoples of the islands of Kiribati and the people of New Zealand there’s something, and that’s something I’d like to get going, get some Maori up there and get some exchanges going and see what we can learn from each other,” Mr Kaiwai says.

From his base on Tarawa he will also be working on New Zealand's aid efforts and on issues of climate change and environmental destruction, which are critical to the inhabitants of the low-lying island nations.


A study of toheroa in the deep south has found a combination of Maori and western knowledge is most effective in protecting the shellfish.

Researcher Henrik Moller says the project, which is funded by the Ministry of Fisheries, has collected information on matauranga knowledge from Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai, a network of kaitiaki and kaumatua throughout Murihiku.

“We've found over and over in the past 15 years of working in partnership models between science and matauranga and tikanga is they fit together like hand in glove and they both have a huge contribution to make for making sure the kai is there for their mokopuna. I think it’s better to ask how partnerships can happen and how they can help each other than to have a contest about whose knowledge is better,” Dr Moller says.

Toheroa numbers in Southland have been affected by the damming of the Waiau River, and Maori are looking for ways to reverse 40 years of decline.


A Maori political scientist says the size of the Maori electorates makes winning more seats a challenge for the Maori Party.

Kaapua Smith is doing doctoral research on Maori political participation.

She says with only eight weeks to go before the November 8 election, challengers in the three Maori seats the Maori Party does not hold have their work cut out for them to reach voters.

“It is quite a short time frame and particularly because the Maori electorates are so huge, it’s quite a task for those people running in those seats to get around to all the electorate and spread their message about what they are about and what their party's about,” Ms Smith says.

She says while many Maori voters have switched to the general roll because they believe they will get better representation in a smaller electorate.


A far north iwi has moved a step closer to protecting one of its most important areas for kaimoana.

The Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has agreed in principle to a taiapure or local fishery in the waters surrounding Te Wakatehaua on Ninety Mile Beach, known as the Bluff.

The proposal now goes to a consultation process overseen by the Maori Land Court.

Raymond Subritsky, the chair of Te Aupouri Trust board, says the iwi applied for the reserve because of concern at the activities of commercial fishing activity, including the mechanical harvest of mussel spat.

“Our toheroa, our pipi beds are all in there and if the tractor had an accident in there, that’s the food source for Te Aupouri gone. It would take a long time to recover. We see around the Bluff area as the breeding ground for most of the fish around there,” Mr Subritsky says.

Te Aupouri has title to about a kilometre and a half of beach adjoining Te Wakatehaua, but it hasn't had all the tools it needs to exercise its kaitiaki role.


A marae by the Manukau harbour wants to encourage its young people to take up water sports.

Tunuiarangi McLean says Manurewa Marae wants to clear the mangroves from Puhinui inlet on its back door and build a jetty.

It has briefed local MPs and government departments on the proposal, and is now waiting on the Auckland Regional Council.

He says the aim is to introduce rangatahi to sports like kayaking and waka ama.

“And maybe one day the waka taua will be palled up the Puhinui again as history tells us the name of Puhinui Inlet was given to that piece of waterway through the waka taua from Ngapuhi coming down and rowing up to Matukutirea, Matukatururu in the old days,” Mr McLean says.

The long term hope is to restore and revitalise Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa... or Manukau Harbour, including clearing the mangroves from the shores.