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Friday, October 03, 2008

MPs’ treaty role laid out

With the Maori Party opening its seven-seat campaign this weekend, a veteran Maori politician is questioning its aim to be a treaty partner of the next government, rather than a potential coalition partner.

Sandra Lee, the former leader of Mana Motuhake and former deputy leader of the Alliance, says all governance in this country stems from the agreements laid down in the Treaty of Waitangi.

She says as elected representatives, Maori Party MPs have a role to play within the Crown, not on the other side.

“Any Maori political movement needs to be very cautious to ensure that nobody’s let off the hook in Parliament, not political movement, no politician, no party, no committee, no organisation that goes to make up our Westminster style political system in terms of the duties that as a collective of the Crwown they have back to tangata whenua by virtue of the treaty,” Mrs Lee says.

The Maori Party kicks off its campaign and holds its election year conference in Hamilton tomorrow.


In Manukau, the 56th Maori Women's Welfare League conference has been opened by Helen Clark with a promise to increase funding from some of its social programmes.

The Prime Minister praised the league's record of working with vulnerable families, and said the Labour government's new full funding model for essential social services will include its Whanau Toko I Te Ora service.

Waatea News reporter Mania Clarke says there has been a big turn-out at the Telstra-Clear events centre including King Tuheitia and his wife Te Atawhai Paki, the league’s patron.


The Warriors may be out of the playoffs... but there will be six New Zealanders taking the field in the NRL Grand Final this weekend between the Melbourne Storm and the Manley Sea Eagles.

Tawera Nikau, a member of the Melbourne's 1999 premiership-winning team, will be at the game in Sydney on Sunday afternoon, and he'll be looking closely at the Storm's young Maori forwards.

Jeremy Smith returns from a one week suspension for his part in the chicken wing grapple tackle on Brisbane Bronco Sam Thaiday.

And Adam Blair from Northland scored a try last week... his first in 50 games.

“The good thing about Adam is he’s really taken that opportunity and ran with it. Last year he had a few injuries and wasn’t at his best and this year he’s come back bigger and better and stronger so he’s done very well. It’s just a part of the culture they have at the Melbourne Storm in creating and environment where the players all want to play for each other and that makes them very very tight,” Mr Nikau says.


Opposition by Napier Maori to the loss of their hospital has won Ahuriri a boost in health services.

Associate health minister Mita Ririnui and Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia were at Pukemokimoki Marae today to sign off settlement of the contemporary claim lodged in 1998 by Tom Hemopo, Takuta Emery and the late Hana Cotter.

Mr Ririnui says the claimants will receive two buildings which will form the basis of a $2.7 million health centre at Maraenui, a 30 year lease at a peppercorn rental on another building to be used for health purposes, and a number of primary health contracts with the District health Board and other government health agencies.

“One of the key components of the will be a rongoa Maori contract. There will be other contracts but the most important from the view of Ahururu was rongoa Maori contract through the local DHB. This is a new area, still under development in terms of defining what rongoa Maori services may look like and a very challenging area for them,” Mr Ririnui says.


An advocate of the treaty model in Anglican Church doubts it can work in Parliament.

The Maori Party says it wants to be the treaty partner of the next government, rather than being a potential coalition partner.

Hone Kaa says in the late 1980s the Anglican Church in New Zealand divided itself into Maori, Pakeha and Pasifika streams.

He says it doesn't work perfectly, but it has meant the three streams must keep talking until they reach consensus on issues.

“It's going to be difficult to translate that into secular political terms and I’m not sure how you do that. You may represent a fair number of Maori but you don’t represent all Maori and I think the call comes as to whether or not it is possible to be able to act as a treaty partner when not everyone votes for you or not everyone wants to vote for you,” Dr Kaa says.

The treaty model has allowed Maori Anglicans to get more benefit from the church's resources, which includes large tracts of land gifted by Maori.


The Tamaki brothers are adding a Polynesian flavour to their latest tourism attraction.

Tamaki Heritage Tours is building the attraction as part of a $60 million dollar development by the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust.

Director Mike Tamaki says it will be called The Arrival, drawing the links between Maori and the places they came from across Te Moananui a Kiwa.

Visitors will be encouraged to go on to the Rotorua site, which features traditional Maori culture, and the Christchurch venue, which brings in the responses to early European settlement.

“All of these attractions follow the story of the chronicles of Witara, this warrior family that were called to be warlords, they were gladiators of the South Pacific. They were born for one specific reason only – battle , and what we did was drew a bloodline out of there, a whakapapa,” Mr Tamaki says.

The Manukau show will include a glass tunnel under a huge waterfall, holograms, lighting and sound.

Average attack on income gap

National's leader John Key says Labour has fallen short in its delivery to Maori people.

Mr Key says National's Maori policy, which includes abolition of the Maori seats and acceleration of treaty settlements, were based on what the party thinks is the right direction to take New Zealand, rather than with an eye on post-election accommodations with the Maori Party.

He says the big issues for Maori are economic development, education, health and housing.

“If you look around the economic development, there’s a lot of work to be done. The average income of the Maori New Zealander used to be about 83 percent of the non-Maori New Zealander. Now under this Government it’s dropped to 73 percent. So you can see that realistically, despite all the promises from Labour they are going to do better, I think the argument falls pretty short,” Mr Key says.

A spokesperson for Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says while the Maori average weekly income has fallen as a proportion of the total, the Maori median income, which reflects more closely what most people take home in their pay packets, increased from 80 to 86 percent of the total population.


One of Manukau City Council's community boards is under fire for refusing to consult tangata whenua over the name of a new reserve.

The Howick Community Board wants to call the reserve Fencible Walk, in honour of the settlers given land to protect the area from Maori incursion.

Moana Herewini, a council policy analyst, says the board should have talked to Maori.

“What they're not taking on bard is the commitment of the council to the Treaty of Waitangi which includes consulting tangata whenua. Some people on community boards aren’t aware of that and might look a little wider at their responsibilities and take on board the fact there were people before the Pakeha who settled in that area whose histories should be honoured,” Ms Herewini says.

The council has a Mana Whenua Forum which councillors and residents can consult over events and plans.


Parliament's first official kaumatua is being remembered as someone who brought friendship, support and wise counsel to Maori MPs.

Rangitihi Tahuparae died in his Wanganui home yesterday, and will lie at Putiki Marae until Tuesday.

Former Auckland Central MP Sandra Lee says Mr Tahuparae was a friend for more than 30 years, and gave critical support to Maori parliamentarians.

She says he was able to combine his political and Whanganui connections to help negotiate a smooth end to the 1995 occupation of Pakaitore Moutoa Gardens, preventing police from making wholesale arrests of the occupiers.

Mr Tahuparae and his wife Rose accompanied Mrs Lee to Niue when she was appointed High Commissioner, when some of his skills as a tohunga became evident.

“Being raised in a very traditional way in terms of our tikanga, it was interesting to observe the way he could he could hold a conversation and relate to very old traditional other Polynesian peoples in that unique way perhaps that people like Te Rangi Hiroa could also do,” Ms Lee says.


The first and only Maori political party leader to sit in Cabinet says the Maori Party is on shaky constitution ground with its post-election ambitions.

The Maori Party says it wants to be a treaty partner, rather than just a coalition partner.

But Sandra Lee from Mana Motuhake says the treaty is between the Crown and hapu.

She says by standing for Parliament, the Maori Party MPs crossed to the other side.

“Those who vote in elections, whoever they vote for as tangata whenua, have a right to expect that whatever political movement or party represented in Parliament has to be representative of the Crown’s relationship with the treaty and tangata whenua,” Mrs Lee says.

She says at this stage in the political cycle, a coalition partner is all that is being sought.

The Maori Party launches its campaign for all seven Maori seats in Hamilton tomorrow.


Maori in the Hawkes Bay are combining with community groups to build Little Elms, a 12-lodge support facility for children with terminal illness.

Ngahiwi Tomoana the chair of the Ngati Kahungunu Trust Board says the iwi will pay for two of the 12 lodges, which will be erected in a six day charity build starting this weekend.

He says the facility will help families, many who are Maori, to be close to their children while they undergo treatment.

“Who ever thought Ngati Kahungunu would link arms with the Masonic Lodge in doing anything together but here we are alongside all the trucking and the trades as well so we’re contributing to build two chalets for terminal kids. We’re proud to be part of it,” Mr Tomoana says.

The iwi will contribute over a $100,000 to the complex which is being built just down the road from the Trust Board offices.


Iwi through the lower North Island are mourning the passing of Rangitihi (John) Tahuparae, who died early yesterday morning in his home in Wanganui.

The former martial arts expert, Maori Affairs community officer, journalist, Waitangi Tribunal member and parliamentary kaumatua was in his 70s.

Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia says her relative was trained by elders of the Whanganui river to be a tohunga, a role he took seriously in handing down te reo me ona tikanga to younger members of the tribe.

“We have an annual tira hoe waka where our people reconnect to the awa and that’s been going on for more than 15 years and he was the one who began the tira hoe telling the old stories of the river as you come down in waka,” Mrs Turia says.

John Tahuparae's influence was felt across all areas of the community.
Mr Tahuparae is lying in state in Te Paku-o-te-rangi at Putiki Marae in Whanganui. His funeral will be on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Tohunga Rangitihi Tahuparae dies

Taranaki Whanui and Whanganui iwi are mourning tohunga Rangitihi (John) Tahuparae, who died early this morning in his home in Wanganui.

He was in his 70s.

Mr Tahuparae was Parliament's first official kaumatua, providing advice on tikanga and protocol and acting as spokesperson on official occasions.

He trained in martial arts in China, and on his return contributed to the revival of traditional Maori martial arts. He also worked as a reporter for Te Karere and served on the Waitangi Tribunal.

Former Te Puni Kokiri chief executive and Taranaki whanui claim negotiator Ngatata Love says Mr Tahuparae had been steeped in traditional knowledge from an early age, and made a unique contribution to the Taranaki Whanui and Whanganui claims.

“What he knew is all the traditional matters that governed the land, that governed what happened in the relationships between the peoples and it wasn’t from learning through a university, it was through direct discussions with those who were there so many years ago and he had that gift given for understanding the oral learning. We’re lucky he has handed that on,” Dr Love says.

Rangitihi Tahuparae is being taken to Te Paku-o-te-rangi Marae in Putiki. His funeral will be on Tuesday.


Hapu from Matapihi on the edge of Tauranga harbour say Tauranga City Council is reneging on a deal to add the peninsula to the city's water supply.

Neil Te Kani, the chair of Ngai Tukairangi, says an agreement had been reached with the former Mount Maunganui Borough Council which would have brought piped water to the Ngai Tukairangi and Ngati Tapu marae.

He says the council is now saying there is only an expectation of future work - which isn't how the hapu remembers it.

“A number of meetings had occurred on a regular basis, particularly with engineers. Council had accepted there was a problem with water reticulation in Matapihi. A lot of our korero was done on the marae. A lot of that history is in the head but well remembered by the community of Matapihi,” Mr Te Kani says.

The marae on the peninsula need a secure water supply for events such as tangi.

A Tauranga City Council spokesperson says reticulation on the peninsula depends on how much new development goes in.


A Maori Television presenter putting his body on the line to raise funds for children with heart disease has found it's a cause that's close to home.

Julian Wilcox will be one of eight celebrities taking part in the Les Mills Boot Camp to raise funds for various charities.

His charity, Heart Children, supports families with children who have congenital heart disease.

He says many of children with the condition are Maori.

“There are 600 children a year in New Zealand who are born with a heart defect. When I went up to the ward at Starship, what blew me away was 80 percent of the children there were Maori, half of them were Ngapuhi, they were relations,” says Mr Wilcox, who has already raised $3000 dollars for Heart Children.


Women are gathering in Manukau this evening for the Maori Women's Welfare League's annual conference, with the health of whanau again the focus.

Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says she's encouraged by the number of younger women in evidence at the Telstra-Clear Events centre.

She says the league still relevant, more than a half century after its foundation.
“I think the health and welfare of whanau is at the core of what the league is all about, and beyond that, growing leadership among Maori women, greater advocacy in terms of Maori development, community development becomes core because as we know in a lot of our health and social organisations, Maori women are right there,” Ms Mahuta says.

The Maori Women's Welfare League is encouraging more Maori women into business through the loans from the Maori Women's Development Incorporation.


The Howick community board is squaring off against tangata whenua in the naming of an east Auckland reserve.

It is recommending the new reserve be called Fencible Walk - a reference to the military settlers who were given land in the district to defend the southeastern edge of Auckland from Maori.

Board member Jami-Lee Matenga Ross says that's the name Howick residents want, so there's no need to consult with tangata whenua who oppose the choice.

He says as the elected body, the board has the right to set the name.

He says all residents were asked to make submissions on the park development plan a year ago, and no alternative suggestions were received from Maori with links to the area.


Communities on the East Coast are mourning for Ahipene Rangi Hemi Paenga.

The Ngati Konohi kaumatua died earlier this week aged 82.

Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says Mr Paenga was president of the New Zealand Meatworkers Union when the industry was undergoing major changes in the 1980s.

Rangi Paenga will lie at Whangara Marae until his funeral service at 10am on Saturday.

MMP vital to keeping Maori representation up

The Green's sole Maori MP says without a combination of MMP and the Maori seats, there could be no Maori representatives in Parliament.

National is promising to abolish the separate Maori seats if it becomes Government, and cites the number of MPs of Maori origin as one of the reasons they are no longer necessary.

But Metiria Turei says that's because the mixed member proportional voting system means every vote counts, so parties have to reach out to Maori.

“Parties just didn't bother trying to put up Maori MPs before MMP. They just stuck their candidates in the Maori seats, the seats were captured by just one party for a very long time and so we were trapped in this single political representation with a set number determined by people other than ourselves, whereas MMP provides for this alternative way of getting more of us in there,” Ms Turei says.

She says MMP is under attack from both National and Labour, so the Maori seats are needed as a backstop.


A south Auckland Maori police officer says raising the self esteem of young Maori is critical in addressing crime and other social problems.

Glen Compain says his own life turned around after he was given a second chance by his school principal, All Black coach to be Graham Henry.
He says too many young Maori go off the rails because their elders don't look out for them.

“I say to the kids you’re great. Sure you’re with that gang but I can see you being this, I can see you being great, but you need to make the choice, so choices have to come through values so we have to teach our kids what values are, what principles, give them the principles our grandfathers were raised with, honour, respect, loyalty,” Mr Compain says.

He says when young people can't get support from their family, other social groups such as sports clubs can give them a sense of identity.


Meanwhile, the revitalised Maori wardens are attacting new recruits.
Government infusions of cash for training, equipment and administration is giving the 50 year old organisation a greater presence on the streets, especially in places like South Auckland.

Thomas Henry from the Mangere wardens says a drive last weekend brought in 15 new recruits and another half dozen people who said they would be available for day patrols.

He says the recruiting drive was so successful, the Mangere Maori Wardens is repeating the exercise this weekend.

The deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana says Maori and Pacific Island fishing operations could benefit from the creation of a regional Hawaiiki brand.

Ngahiwi Tomoana floated the idea last week at a tuna forum in the Cook Islands.

He says it's something Maori could do to share the benefits of their fisheries settlement with others.

“Might even be the Sealord brand with Hawaiiki underneath it so it’s particularly known from the Pacific. There is currently everything is going into the cannery. People are getting $2 a kilo whereas they could be getting 20, $30 a kilo if it was marketed through Sealord-type arrangements,” Mr Tomoana says.

The Hawaiiki brand is part of his wider aim of reviving the Hawaiiki nation across the South Pacific.


Pita Sharples says a highlight of his first term has been letting Maori know what parliament is really about.

The Maori Party co-leader says the party's routine of reporting back to constituents three times a year has built a much greater appreciation for what the MPs are up against.

He says a re-enactment of the debating chamber was particularly effective.

“We spoke one on one with the locals, you know divide the marae up into Labour and National and have them debate a bill so they can understand how the debating in Parliament works, and more importantly how party politics works, and how you’re stuck with what your party has decided,” Dr Sharples says.

One of his objectives during the coming election campaign is to shed the extra nine kilos he's put on since becoming an MP.


A founder member of Kiwi reggae band Herbs says simplicity was the key to the success of one of its biggest hits.

Slice of Heaven, a collaboration between Herbs and Dave Dobbyn, went to number 1... 22 years ago today.

Created as the theme song of the Footrot Flats movie, it has become an anthem for New Zealand music lovers.

Dilworth Karaka says while Herbs enjoyed success in its own right with hits like Simple for a Smile, Nuclear Waste and Dragons and Demons, the band's backing vocals also helped other artists like Dobby, Tim Finn and Annie Crummer to commercial success.

Those harmonies were honed by years of singing together at parties, and the catchy line in Slice of Heaven was inspired by an unusual source.

“A sheep. It’s something that developed from having that session with Dave Dobbyn in the studio when myself, Charlie Tumahai and going through a few things and the baa baa baa thing turned into da da da. A simple like that, a slight change and there you are, three months it’s a hit single,” Karaka says.

Slice of Heaven won song of the year in 1986 at the New Zealand Music Awards.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pita Apiata from Ngapuhi Taumata dies

Ngapuhi is mourning the death of one of its most senior kaumatua.

Pita Apiata from Te Tii Marae was one of the founders of Te Taumata Kaumatua o Ngapuhi, which has played a prominent role in Waitangi Day commemorations in recent years.

He was a grand uncle to Corporal Willy Apiata VC and was instrumental is organising the Victoria Cross winner's return visit to the north earlier this year.

Taumata Kaumatua member Kingi Taurua says Mr Apiata, who was 81, will be sorely missed.

“It will be a big job to fill his shoes, especially with Waitangi Day coming up and the October 28 commemoration of the signing of the 1835 Declaration if Independence, Pita has played a big part in that.
Mr Taurua says.

Pita Apiata is lying at Oromahoe Marae. He will be buried on Friday.


A Manukau City councilor says a decision to reject separate Maori wards was an insult both to Maori and the wider public.

Anne Candy, who represents the Manurewa ward, says the council's Tiriti o Waitangi committee had given a lot of consideration to its recommendation for the wards, which was voted down 11 to 5 by the full council.

She says the council should have allowed the public to have its say.

“It was really just asking for public consultation. Whether it ended up being Maori wards or not we will never know but it allowed a process to start to consider that, and it may have happened,” Ms Candy says.

If promoters of the Maori wards want to force a referendum on the issue, they would need to collect 10,000 signatures.


The Green's Maori affairs spokesperson says the growing Maori middle class shouldn't forget where it came from.

Metiria Turei says polls showing younger Maori voters are more conservative is disappointing.

She says as more Maori get a tertiary education and start seeking career and economic security, they should give a thought to those who may not have the same advantages.

“Most of our people still have poor low-paying jobs, live in revolting housing, don’t get access to decent education, so it’s all well and good for it to be okay for some of us, but for the majority of us it’s still really really bad and so I’d hate to see the growing Maori middle classes turn away from those people they've come from,” Ms Turei says.


A Ngati Kahungunu fisheries negotiator says Maori ways of settling problems can help other groups in the fishing sector.

Ngahiwi Tomoana, who is also the deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana, spoke at a recreational fishing conference last week at which concern was expressed at the influence of Maori commercial interests.

Mr Tomoana says a kanohi ki te kanohi or face to face approach was what finally resolved the Maori fisheries allocation debate, after legal action as far as the Privy Council.

“We chased each other round the world twice, until we got home and sat around the table and discovered we weren’t that far apart at all, but we’d let ourselves believe we were. I related that story to them because they were having a bit of a duke up amongst each other too and they saw the commercials as villains and Maori creeping into their domain, but after that sort of korero they were more available to listen, they were more open to suggestion,” Mr Tomoana says.

All groups with a stake in fisheries need to work together on strategies, rather then react to solutions imposed by the Fisheries Ministry.


Maori are being urged to prepare for the implications of an aging population.

Today is the United Nations day of the older person.

Wendy Margaret Bremner, the executive officer for Age Concern Counties Manukau, says since 2001 the number of over 65s in south Auckland has jumped by 16 percent.

She says Maori are still more likely than Pakeha to have older relatives living with them, so they need to lobby for resources to ensure kuia and koroua get what they deserve.

“There's implications for public health services, public transport, extra demands for everybody across the generational population, and it’s a new dynamic that hasn’t been experienced in the world before, so it’s something everyone needs to get their head around,” Ms Bremner says.


Otaki-based Te Wananga-o-Raukawa is offering a new post-graduate course to improve teachers' knowledge of tikanga Maori.

Tutor Awanuiarangi Black says the one-year Te Heke Whakaakoranga programme is aimed at people with at least five years teaching experience in either kura kaupapa and mainstream schools.

He says it aims to strengthen and refresh the teaching workforce.

“One of the main aims of this programme of course is to assist teachers to teach our kids to see through Maori eyes. The minority may go into kura but the majority of our Maori kids are in the mainstream,” Mr Black says.

Te Heke Whakaakoranga is designed for working teachers, with four contact days at the Otaki wananga a month.

Gang moko ban sets unhealthy precedent

What is really unwelcome in Wanganui... the gang tattoo or the colour of the skin underneath it... that's the question troubling a leading ta moko artist following the introduction to Parliament of legislation to ban gang insignia in the city.

Mark Kopua who belongs to Te Uhi a Mataora ... the national collective of ta moko artists... says specific anti-social behaviour not tattoo design should determine who is excluded from Wanganui.

Mark Kopua from Ngati Ira, Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Ngati Porou who has used ta moko to cover old gang tattoos as people move into new phases of their lives says unlike clothing tattoos are hard to remove... so human rights issues need to be considered carefully.

“In the bill
 it needs to clearly define areas around the wearing off tattoo because some of them are very cultural and part of your heritage as opposed to just popped up in the last 30 or so years. You don’t want to start shifting across and saying just because you’re wearing a turban, now we can’t have you in the streets of Wanganui or just because you’ve got a red dot on your forehead, we can’t have you on the streets of Wanganui
,” Mr Kopua says.

Parliament's law and order select committee has reported the Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Bill back to the House with the recommendation that it be passed. The decision to include tattoos was made by Labour and NZ First while National did not agree.


Ngati Pahauwera negotiators have worked furiously over the past four months to be ready to sign an Agreement in Principle yesterday for their Treaty of Waitangi claim.

The Mohaka-based iwi yesterday marked an important milestone towards treaty settlement for both historical claims and seabed and foreshore interests.

The settlement package includes co-management of the Mohaka, Waikari and Waihua Rivers and vesting of 12 conservation sites including Te Heru o Tureia conservation area currently managed by the Department of Conservation.

Negotiator Tom Gemmell says Ngati Pahauwera have been busy not only working with the Crown but their own people.

"From May through to now we’ve been working very well and very quickly with the Crown representatives, working for three days ever second week and during the interim period we’re meeting with our people wherever they might be. We’ve not long concluded a trip around the motu reporting back to our people over the acceptability of a wise settlement,"Mr Gemmell says.

The hard work followed a Waitangi Tribunal report which deemed the iwi 'landless'.


Ngai Tahu Maori are being urged to find out their Maori land entitlements with an open day today to encourage them to do so.

The Ngai Tahu Maori Law Centre opened in 1993 and has dealt with over 150 inquiries a year from Maori wanting to know if their whakapapa corresponds with the Maori land bank but manager Joy Smith says many who may have land entitlement haven't visited.

“We have a very large geographical area that we cover. We can check if they have any Maori land or if they have any ancestors and they are entitled to succeed to that Maori land. They may not be able to come along because they live in Christchurch or out of Dunedin but they can definitely contact us,” Ms Smith says.

The free service based in Dunedin has outreach clinics in Invercargill and Christchurch servicing almost the entire South Island.


The bill to ban gang insignia from Wanganui is a step closer and now includes gang tattoos but excludes ta moko.

Parliament's law and order select committee has reported the Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Bill back to the House with the recommendation that it be passed.

The decision to include tattoos was made by Labour and NZ First but National opposed it.

However Ngati Ira, Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Ngati Porou carver and ta moko artist Mark Kopua says with ta moko is based on the whakapapa of the wearer and the koru form often dominant it could be hard for the uninitiated to tell ta moko and modern gang tattoos apart.

“I think initially it's going to be difficult to distinguish them and I think the only thing that may actually help you distinguish is the behaviour of the wearer,” Mr Kopua says.

The bill's future is in the hands of the next Parliament, but with support from both major parties, it is likely to progress in some form.


A putea built up over 70 years is allowing the Waitangi National Trust to wipe entry fees to the Treaty grounds for New Zealand residents.

Michael Hooper, a spokesperson for the Trust, says it’s hoping to boost the number of New Zealanders who visit the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was drafted, debated and first signed.

He says the removal of entry fee for New Zealand residents is just one step in a broader programme.

“For example we're now opening an hour earlier in the morning, closing an hour later at night, getting more people through, providing more shows, particularly contemporary Maori theatre and drama and song and I think that Waitangi will become a real centre for the revival and the continuation of oral tradition,” Mr Hooper says.

New Zealand residents will need to produce some form of id, like a drivers licence, to gain free entry to the grounds.


The move to make access to the treaty grounds free is being welcomed by one Northlander.

Shane Jones says getting rid of the entry fee for New Zealand residents will encourage Kiwis to visit the significant historic site.

However the Labour list MP is concerned the National Trust is also sticking with its plans for a $14 million visitors centre.

He says the new structure will not sit well on the Waitangi site.

“That space at Waitangi remains hallowed ground. If kiwis can go an visit there for free to enjoy the ambience and the heritage of where the treaty was signed, that’s very positive, but that space must not be blighted by an unnecessarily intrusive and carbuncle-like glass structure,” Mr Jones says.

Michael Hooper from the Waitangi National Trust says the new visitors centre is still at the consenting stage... and is receiving a lot of support.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Landless iwi Pahauwera inks deal

Once deemed a 'landless' iwi by the Waitangi Tribunal, Ngati Pahauwera today signed the first document of settlement negotiations.

The northern Hawkes Bay iwi centred on the Mohaka River today made history by signing an Agreement in Principle dealing with historical Treaty and foreshore and seabed claims.

Ngati Pahauwera negotiator Tom Gemmell says an important part of the AIP is securing a section Te Heru o Tureia Conservation area, a culturally significant block of land.

Mr Gemmell says it was the Waitangi Tribunal's description of Ngati Pahauwera that made land the key negotiation point.

“ Initially there was something like 150,000 hectares of land that was subject to a sale in the 1800s. At that time there was only something like 6000 left in the hands of Pahauwera. Hence the Waitangi Tribunal finding that Pahauwera was a landless iwi. It was on that basis we negotiated with the intent of getting back as much land as we could,” Mr Gemmell says.

Ngati Pahauwera has been working well and quickly with the Crown and hope to continue on with that speed.


A Maori who has been closely involved in the treaty settlements process sees the big issues of race relations and treaty settlements being eclipsed by poverty issues facing young people in areas like South Auckland.

Labour MP Shane Jones says fare to many young Pacific islanders and Maori are falling prey to drugs as a result of social dislocation.

“More and more people I talk to, that’s the thick end of what race relations policy means on the ground. Treaty settlements are an important chapter that we’re going through as a country but the outstanding business really lies in the area of law and order, when you’re looking at our young people and young Pacific Islanders,” Mr Jones says.

He says political parties are moving closer together in cobbling together a strategy on race relations, paving the way for the issues facing young people to be focused on more.


A Maori surfer is supportive of plans to protect six of the country's top surf breaks by giving them national park status.

Under the Department of Conservation's proposed coastal policy, the six surf breaks of national significance ... including Shipwrecks in Ahipara, Raglan, and Stent Road in Taranaki .. would become protected surfing reserves.

Te Kauhoe Wano, who's toured the country's surfing spots as co-host of Maori Television's surf show Te Hikoi Mahanga, believes leaving the breaks under the control of local councils leaves them vulnerable.

“That's what's happened with Whangamata. The council, they’re wanting a marina because it’s going to bring money into the area. It’s going to be a rich man’s playground and that’s a concern for Whangamata as it’s going to destroy one of the premier left hand breaks in New Zealand, the Whangamata bar, so the protection will be a major benefit for those six beaches,” Mr Wano says.

He says iwi in each area need to be consulted, before any deal is done.


Maori Labour MP Shane Jones sees National's move away from the policies of former National leader Dr Don Brash as a good thing for Maoridom.

However the list MP says Maori should not be fooled by what he calls the trail of bread crumbs National is laying down to attract whanau and the Maori party to join forces with them.

“None of us
 stood to profit from Don Brash’s toxic approach and at one level it’s good we move closer together in respect of cobbling together a strategy to deal with race relations issues,” Mr Jones says.

He says National's Maori policy released this week borrows on the work of Minister of Treaty Settlements Dr Michael Cullen but the key thing is that National has not abandoned the idea of abolishing the Maori seats


Vincent Ward's new movie "Rain of the Children" is getting the thumbs up from locals who remember the key events and characters depicted clearly.

It follows the life of Puhi... chosen by Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana to marry his son.

She survived the 1916 police invasion of Maungapohatu and went on to have 14 children, most of who died before she did.

Ray Bell... who is now in his eighties... lived in the Urewera where his Scots-Irish whanau ran the local store.

“My dad used to trade with Rua. Rua would bring his entourage down from Maungapohatu and come and trade at his store. The regular order would be half a ton of flour and half a ton of sugar, plus all the bits and pieces that went with it and they would have to take it up the valley in trucks until eventually they packed it through the middle of the Urewera to Maungapohatu, all on packhorses, so they were hard times if you can imagine
,” Mr Bell says.

He says Vincent Ward captured the period extremely well.

"Rain of the Children" opened in cinema around the country last week.


A new Rotorua firm is trying to make a business out of two different forms of Maori knowledge.

Rakai Limited incorporates Maori art, including piupiu making, raranga and contemporary pieces alongside Maori language services.

Directors Ruihapounamu Ruwhiu and Karl Leonard are part time tutors at Te Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki, and juggle their business and teaching commitments with raising four children under the age of 6.

Ms Ruwhiu says combining their talents into one company wasn't hard due to the cultural link.

“His was mahi-toi weaving and mine is te reo, Maori language services and things like eciting, running te reo courses. We come under the one name, one is language and the other is art, but they are both connected by the matauranga Maori aspect,” Ms Ruwhiu says.

She says they hope to be working full time for Rakai within three years.

Hard numbers behind soft policy

A Maori political commentator says National's conciliatory tone in their just released policy on Maori is there for one reason - they can count.

Matt McCarten says National realises that it may need the Maori party, which is the only party yet to align itself with one of the major players to govern.

“What they are trying to do is neutralise the history they have where we’ve normally been Maori bashers, now we’re into the Maori cuddling. They can count. They’ve got no other options. So what you have is tentative steps towards trying to build a relationship. How sincere it is, well a leopard doesn’t change its spots in a day but if you look at the policy, it’s still pretty modest,” Mr McCarten says.

He says National's policy that claims a sharper focus on Maori economic development differs greatly from the 'we are all New Zealanders' tone which saw past leader Don Brash's approval ratings soar among Pakeha.


Meanwhile political commentator Chris Trotter says like many people he was most surprised not to see the Maori party supporting New Zealand First leader Winston Peters at last week's privileges committee meeting.

At the meeting Maori party MP Te Ururoa Flavel voted for Winston Peters to be censured over a political donation from businessman Owen Glen.

Chris Trotter says it is often perception that brings people down in politics.

“My perception and I think a great many Maoris’ perception was ‘leave him alone.’ This guy has carved out a career not in the Maori seats but in the Pakeha seats, in the Pakeha world against enormous odds and our gut feeling is there are powerful interests out to get this guy so don’t you join them. That was the impression I got and the impression the Maori Party conveyed, wittingly or unwittingly, was ‘Don’t worry, we’re not going to let them,’” Mr Trotter says.

He says the Maori party then turned around and abandoned Winston Peters.

Te Ururoa Flavel says Winston had met the criteria for contempt against the House by not declaring the donation and that is why he voted the way he did at the Privileges committee.


Research into the aquaculture industry will have a matauranga Maori element to it.

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology are funding a $15 million dollars research over 6 years to add value to the $256 million dollar New Zealand aquaculture industry.

Strategy manager Maori, Pereri Hathaway says Kaitiakitanga and Matauranga Maori are crucial to aquaculture with Maori having a 50 per cent interest in the sector through indirect and private ownership.

“The component of matauranga Maori there, given that a lot of the operators are Maori, knowledge from Maori that would be incorporated into the research so it’s really important that we utilize the clean resources that we have as kaitiaki. Also it’s important that Maori have responsibility for sustainability and making sure that our resources are maintained and sustained in New Zealand,” Mr Hathaway says.

The research is in line with the Aquaculture New Zealand strategy of creating a $1 billion dollar industry by 2025.


A political analyst says the Maori party is playing the right cards in playing the two major parties off against each other.

Matt McCarten says National's recently released Maori policy, with an increased focus on economic development leaves the door open for a post election relationship with the Maori party if this is necessary to govern.

“The serenades, I mean they’ve got to keep an eye on where Maori are at, and so I think they’re playing it right, I think the Maori Party in particular are saying ‘what’s in it for us’ in terms of the relationship, and so I think they get very pragmatic about it, and it does them no harm to play them off against each other,” Mr McCarten says.

This leaves the Maori party in a strong position.


A marae at Northcote on Auckland's North Shore is teaming up with the Auckland University of Technology in the first partnership of its kind.

Awataha Marae spokesman Anthony Wilson says the marae already has a carving school and offers a Maori language course.

He says the relationship with AUT will allow young Maori on these courses further educational opportunities.

“Not only is it a good idea that they come and get in contact with their wairua Maori but they also then have those credited against NZQA framework. When the tauira come here and get that self esteem, they build that self esteem and mana, they can consider that education as a pathway again, and if AUT are here providing a pathway, some of the tauira can then go on to that course,” Mr Wilson says.

The move will reiterate the traditional role of the marae as being the hub of the community.

He says the carving school has attracted around 20 students, many of whom are young men who have fallen through the cracks of the education system.


A strategy released by Aquaculture New Zealand sees Maori playing a huge part in turning aquaculture into a $1 billion dollar industry by 2025.

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Maori strategy manager Pereri Hathaway says as part of the strategy the Foundation is investing around $15 million dollars over the next six years to research shellfish aquaculture.

“The vision of that strategy is to reach $1 billion in sales by 2025 so this research goes a long way towards supporting that strategy. Maori have an estimated 50 percent interest in aquaculture through a mix of indirect and direct ownership through Sealord for example as well as private ownership through iwi and hapu-owned operations,” Mr Hathaway says.

The research will be a mixture of laboratory and ocean testing as well as hatchery trials and aquaculture operator interviews.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Different sort of coalition sought

A political commentator believes neither National or Labour understand that the Maori Party will be wanting far more than a traditional coalition agreement if they hold the balance of power after the next election.

Chris Trotter says Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata has spelt out that the party wants a treaty partner arrangement based on a model used in the Anglican church which would give them a power of veto over decisions but this has not been understood.

“What the Maori Party is looking for is much more autonomy within the parliamentary framework that anybody has ever been given before and I strongly suspect that neither National nor Labour really understands what a treaty partner agreement with the Maori Party would involve, and neither does the rest of New Zealand
Mr Trotter says.

The Maori Party needs to be more explicit about what it wants or there could be a very sharp reaction if it only emerges after the votes have been cast.


Fancy a feed of steak eggs and taewa chips.

An expert on taewa or Maori potatoes says a hui of Maori growers held over the weekend identified the need to add value from their crops.

Dr Nick Roskruge from Massey University who chairs Tahuri Whenua, a collective of Maori vegetable growers, says efforts are being made to increase and improve stocks including growing at altitude to ensure pest free stocks.

“The ultimate would be to be able to create some added value products, chips or things, like that, where you get the advantage to have them out to the consumers all year and create a return with some added value besides just the fresh product so that’s one of the things we were looking at on the weekend,” Dr Roskruge says.

A shortage of seed stocks is hampering the industry's growth.


Dover Samuels is calling for a review of the kawa and culture of parliament.

The retiring Labour list MP believes the current set up is too rigid... and too partisan.

He's criticising what he sees as the hypocrisy of the privileges committee investigating Winston Peters as if it were an independent body, rather than one made up of politicians with political agendas.

“Probably 90 percent of anything that comes before the House, I think should be voted on your conscience rather than party lines, but that’s the rules you see but these are the kawa, these are the way that things have happened and handled here in the Parliament over year and people think because they’ve been doing it for 25 or 30 years we should carry on doing the same things, and I think it’s about time it needs a total overhaul,” Mr Samuels says.

He is also critical of the current trend to bring MPs whanau and particularly their tamariki into what are essentially arguments between MPs.


A former MP for Tamaki Makauraua says northern Maori owe a debt of gratitude to retiring Labour list MP Dover Samuels.

Mr Tamihere, one of few to publicly support the then-Taitokerau MP when demoted from the Maori affairs portfolio, says as associate minister of tourism Mr Samuels has left his mark.

“Dover won budget bids and set up Maori regional engagements and Maori national forums in tourism. It’s a huge industry for us. I think the settlement and cleaning up of, I think we’ve got three quarters of a million dollars just for Lake Omapere up north there, and it’s Ngapuhi nui tonu taonga, so he’s got his fingerprints on a number of reasonable things
Mr Tamihere says.

He was in Wellington last week for Mr Samuels’ valedictory speech and says over the years the colourful MP from Matauri Bay has made solid gains for Maori both in his home region and at a national level.


The chairman of Tahuri Whenua, a collective of Maori vegetable growers says there's huge potential to grow crops on currently unproductive Maori land, but that must coincide with smart marketing strategies.

Dr Nick Roskruge who was at Parewahawaha Marae in Bulls over the weekend for the growers annual conference says more use could be made of Maori land.

“I think for growing a range of crops but the taeawa is the one that has the visibility but there’s potential with a number of crops and even crops like puha and kamokamo, they haven’t been properly managed for marketing and such so there’s a bit of teaching required, and the more you get people wanting them, the more demand will come,” Dr Roskruge says.

A shortage of seed stock for Maori potatoes limits the volume produced each year but demand for the culinary delicacy suggests a bright future for the nearly 30 varieties of Maori potatoes called riwai in the north and taewa further south.


The Maori Party's Tai Tonga candidate says young Maori should be thinking about their iwi needs when they look at careers.

Rahui Katene says treaty settlements are changing the economic and social landscape for Maori and young people need to respond.

“If we decide that we want kaumatua flats on to the papakainga, why are we going to a Pakeha architect, to a Pakeha engineer when we should be looking at upskilling our own kids so that they are able to do that for us,” Mrs Katene says.

She says over the past couple of decade many young Maori studied law so they could help with the claim process - but now they need to think about what to do when the money comes in.

Sautet recipe puts individual before iwi

A report done for the Business Roundtable has challenged the notion that iwi and treaty settlements will play a major role in Maori economic development.

The report, by former Treasury analyst Frederic Sautet, says while iwi in the 19th century had economic as well as social and cultural roles, in the 21st century individual entrepreneurship will be the engine of Maori development.

Roger Kerr, the Roundtable's executive director, says its an antidote to claims by politicians that treaty settlements will provide a Maori economic base.

“I mean even settlements amounting to $1 billion all up is not a lot in terms of the general economy, nothing like the resources Maori bring through their human capital, their education, their potential in the workforce, their own savings and their involvement with business. That’s the big picture as far as economic welfare is concerned,” Mr Kerr says.

The report is part of a series on Maori economic issues commissioned by the Roundtable's chair, Rob McLeod from Ngati Porou.


A former television weather man has decided to find out which way the political wind is blowing.

Brendan Horan, who affiliates to Tauranga Moana, is standing in East Coast for New Zealand First.

He says the party still has strong support among senior citizens, and it's repaid that support by pushing initiatives like the Goldcard.

“This is a Maori mark of respect – you’ve done your service to New Zealand, you’ve paid your taxes, here’s your card, all I ask is that you share your knowledge with me. Because National, when they got into power, they said old people cost too much and they slashed superannuation overnight, impoverished many New Zealanders,” Mr Horan says.

He's hoping for a high place on the New Zealand First list.


A Maori language commissioner wants to find out why more people aren't speaking Maori in public.

Ruakere Hond is doing doctoral research on te reo Maori-speaking communities.

He says large numbers of people have learned Maori over the past couple of decades through groups such as Te Reo o Taranaki and Te Ataarangi, but that doesn't mean they're using their new skills.

There may be a need for reallocation of resources.

“A lot of the attention goes into language acquisition. A lot of the attention goes into language between parents and children. There’s not doubt that is a very important part, but I think the process by which we develop communities of speakers is largely misunderstood in New Zealand's context,” Mr Hond says.

His PhD will be written in English.


Retiring Labour MP Dover Samuels says Maori need to focus on education and economic development, rather than continue to blame colonialism for their woes.

The Northland-based MP says last Friday's Waitangi Tribunal judicial conference in the Bay of Islands, at which Ngapuhi asked for its hearings to start with an examination of the 1835 declaration of Independence and its relationship to the Maori language Te Tiriti o Waitangi, was an example of his iwi getting its priorities wrong.

He says it's the opposite of what he's spent his political career fighting for.

“I've always been confident we can stand beside anybody, and if you have a look and this is some of the academic humbug, the loony tunes humbug, the culturally correct claptrap I hear coming out of Maori academics, you know they think colonisation was responsible for us not performing as well as some of our Pakeha counterparts. That’s all humbug. At the end of the day if you educate your children, if you give them aspirations, you give them a vision to move forward and progress, we’re as good as anybody else,” Mr Samuels says.

He says dissatisfaction with treaty protests is the reason many Maori leave for Australia -- and that's where he'll be spending a lot of time once he's out of Parliament.


New Zealand Maori rugby is welcoming news Northland will stay in the sport's first division.

Paul Quinn, the Maori rep on the NZRFU, says dropping the Taniwha from the Air New Zealand Cup competition would have been detrimental to Maori player numbers and retention rates.

He says 14 of the 29 Northland players who have made the All Blacks had Maori whakapapa.

“You know there's obviously over 50 percent of registered players in Northland are Maori so from that point of view yes it’s an important decision for them. Now I guess it’s up to the leaders up there to take the opportunity to strengthen and rebuild even stronger,” Mr Quinn says.

He says the raruraru about its status should be a wake-up call for the Northland union to improve its governance.

And Northland-based labour list MP Shane Jones says now the province's place in the first division has been secured, iwi leaders should contribute to a fund to bring rugby convert Sonny Bill Williams back from France to play for the Taniwha.


A Maori documentary team is off to Jamaica to shoot footage on the impact of reggae on Maori music.

Te Kauhoe Wano from Toa TV says his crew includes musician Ruia Aperehama, who has recorded two albums of Bob Marley songs totally in te reo Maori.

He says reggae's messages about standing up for rights struck a chord when Maori first heard the songs in the 1970s, and the form has continued to be popular with musicians in Aotearoa.

“And I reckon Bob Marley would be really stoked with it. You listen to Katchafire songs, you listen to Kora songs, they’ve got that reggae feel but they’re talking about the stories to do with us as Maori. I reckon that’s exactly what I reckon he would have expected,” Mr Wano says.

His team will give the Bob Marley museum copies of Ruia's te reo Maori cds and other taonga Maori.