Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Settlement workload pressure on TPK

The new Minister for Maori Affairs has been told natural resource claims, completing historical settlements and raising Maori achievement levels are among the challenges ahead.

In briefing papers released by the minister, Pita Sharples, Te Puni Kokiri is warning that its work on settlements is putting pressure on the ministry's baseline resources.

The ministry has been called upon to provide what are called "out of settlement" mechanisms, sweeteners which can prove the difference between an iwi accepting or rejecting a settlement offer.

The papers says property rights to natural resources are emerging as an increasing challeng to the relationship between Crown and Maori, and some clear and consistent frameworks will need to be developed.

Te Puni Kokiri is recommending several bills which were not passed by the last parliament be put back on the order paper, including one to separate out the Maori Trust Office from the ministry ... but not one to use the Maori trusee's accumulated profits to form a new Maori business development agency, which was opposed by the Maori party.


Meanwhile, a former minister of Maori affairs is calling for a more limited role for Te Puni Kokiri.

In a paper written for the business Roundtable, John Luxton says significant progress has been made in the past 25 years in Maori development and in the relationship between government agencies and Maori.

He says instead of everything Maori being pushed over to a department of Maori affairs, mainstream agencies are now required to focus on Maori issues.

“I think the role of the ministry will change as it has over the last 20 years and I think it’s largely driven by Maoridom and particularly those in Maoridom wanting iwi organisations, urban organisations to provide any of those services which traditionally were the sole provision by the government department,” Mr Luxton says.

What's needed is a small ministry to provide a conduit between the Maori in the regions and Wellington, and to promote policies that encourage economic growth.


Thousands of 19th century Maori language letters have been put online.
The correspondence was sent to Donald McLean in his roles as Protector of Aborigines, Land Purchase Commissioner and eventually Minister of Native Affairs.

David Kukutai Jones... a Maori specialist at the Alexander Turnbull Library... says a lot of the material relates to land sales.

The letters also offer insights into tribal politics and cover an important and dynamic period of New Zealand history.

“There's also content relating to the New Zealand wars up there in the Taitokerau and within the Waikato, Whanganui and in the Bay of Plenty up to Gisborne with the pursuit of Te Kooti at that time. The Kingitanga makes an appearance so the rise of the Kingitanga and all of the successive kings,” he says.

The letter can be found on the web at mp.natlib.govt.nz


Delegates have returned from the World Indigenous People's Conference on Education convinced that effective indigenous education requires a multi-pronged approach.

Graham Smith from Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi spoke to the Melbourne hui on how education strategies must encompass everything from pre-school to postgraduate level, including second-chance learning.

He says it's about putting self-determination and tino rangatiratanga into practice.

“There's still a lot of, if not economic dependency then certainly a lot of policy dependency across the indigenous world. People are still the recipients of other people’s aspirations rather than giving some credence to their own ideas and their own thoughts for the future,” Professor Smith says.

There was considerable interest from many of the 3000 delegates in the way New Zealand's three wananga have each developed different approaches to indigenous education.


The chair of Ngati Whatua ki Orakei says wananga are more effective than meetings to resolve conflicts with neighbouring iwi.

Grant Hawke says there has been little progress in the two and a half years since the hapu signed an Agreement in Principle for its claims to central Auckland.

Challenges by Hauraki and Tainui that their historic interests in the area were ignored forced a rethink by the previous government.

Mr Hawke says he met briefly with the new minister of treaty settlements, but it will require a proper iwi wananga in the new year to resolve differences.

“Somewhere where we can come to a common agreement, common ground and I don’t think you can do it at an airport meeting because a minister has to get to a meeting somewhere else. Time is of the essence, quality time,” Mr Hawke says.


The chair of a far north iwi says a new community centre in Kaitaia will set new standards.

Haami Paripi says plans for Te Ahu are being drawn up after two years of consultation with Maori and other community stakeholders.

He says it has the support of both Te Rawara and Ngati Kahu, and will be a focal point for tanga whenua to welcome vistors to the area.

Maori make up 43 percent of people living in Kaitaia, but Mr Piripi says it may be the first time Maori input was sought before the wider community was invited to have a say.

“The community is mature enough to understand the value of Maori culture in design, in architecture, in landscaping, and there’s lot of Maori culture that has been incorporated into the design of the Te Ahu Centre,” Mr Piripi says.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Party in trap of own making

Labour leader Phil Goff says it's too late for the Maori Party to grumble about actions taken by the National government which have a negative impact on Maori.

Maori Party MPs have told Waatea News they would have voted against the government's tax changes and the increased fines for parents of truants, and the party did vote against the bill allowing small businesses to fire employees at will in their first three months.

Mr Goff says Maori there was a good reason why the majority of Maori voters gave their party votes to Labour.

“They know what the National Party has always done in office. They know the National Party doesn’t stand for the social and economic needs to the majority of the Maori electorate. They know that Labour has. They know that Labour has delivered. But the Maori Party ignored all of that, said they wd take the cars and the jobs and the salaries even though they must have known the National Party would be true to form in government and do this sort of thing that really hurts Maori people on bread and butter issues,” Mr Goff says.

He says the Maori Party is stuck with its confidence and supply agreement for the next three years.


A lawyer specialising in Maori rights issues says Maori have been under surveillance by the state since 1840.

The police Special Investigation Group has been outed for hiring a Christchurch activist to spy on a range of peace, environment and animal rights groups.

Moana Jackson says police informants infiltrated Maori protest movements when they emerged in the 1970s, and such groups expect to be monitored.

He says the police seem to have extended the practice to other activist communities.

“The real danger that I think has arisen in the last year or so is that it seems that any group that may wish to critique, criticise or protest against policies of the Crown is now almost automatically put under surveillance,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the flaws in the police policy are shown up by last year's so called Tuhoe terrorist arrests, which involved thousands of hours of surveillance.


Maori are being urged to keep pushing for opportunities for their players to perform at the highest level.

Sports commentator Ken Laban says the weekend's Maori sports awards were a chance to shine the light on many players who get overlooked in the media.

He says an increasing push in national sporting bodies for representative Maori teams to be given first class opposition is paying dividends.

“If New Zealand Maori hadn’t campaigned as heavily as they did to replace New Zealand A in the Pacific Nations (championship), do you think Piri Weepu and Scott Waldron and Jose Gear and Foss Filipo and Jason Eaton, all of whom appeared at various stages during the New Zealand Maori campaign this year, would have been on the All Black tour. The answer to that is probably no,” Mr Laban says.

The Maori rugby team has as yet no games scheduled for next year.


The Minister of Treaty Negotiations has been warned that the next 12 months are critical in maintaining the momentum of treaty settlements.
Briefing papers released today by the Minister, Chris Finlayson, show that the total spent on settlements will soon exceed the billion dollar mark.

The briefing says the workload in the Office of Treaty Settlements was almost 40 percent up on 2004, and the volume of settlements in negotiation in the past six months is 61 percent up on the previous full year.

That is putting a huge workload on everyone in the sector, particularly in the preparation of deeds of settlement, which is the most resource intensive phase of settlement.

The likely total to be spent on settlements in the next couple of years was withheld to protect the Crown’s commercial position in negotiations.

However, it did say the relatively mechanisms in the Ngai Tahu and Tainui settlements, which guarantee those iwi 17 percent each of the total spent on historic treaty settlements, is likely to kick in in 2011 or 2012.


Meanwhile, one of the negotiators for claims to central Auckland is hoping for movement over the next year.

Grant Hawke from Ngati Whatua Ki Orakei says its been over two years since an agreement in principle was signed by the Crown and the late Sir Hugh Kawharu.

Challenges by overlapping Hauraki and Tainui claimants and a critical Waitangi Tribunal report meant talks stopped while a process was developed to engage with the other claimants.

Mr Hawke has already met with the new Minister of Treaty Negotiations, and is confident a resolution is not far off.

“We're quite comfortable with that, that we can get on with any of the ministers in the cabinet about this, and I hope that our whanaunga in Hauraki and Waikato, that we can get together and work this out from a taha Maori point off view. It’s very important for us to move that and work towards a result,” Mr Hawke says.


The coach of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic netball team is chuffed at being recognised as the country's top Maori coach.

Noelene Taurua says recognition at the annual Maori sports awards was some consolation for missing out to the Sydney Swifts in the final of the inaugural ANZ championships, and the team needs to prove itself better next year.

She says it wasn't an award she aimed for.

Noelene Taurua says the job of a coach is to make sure a team gels, whatever the level of individual players.

Precedent for PM’s role in treaty deals

A minister in the last National Government says the Prime Minister's indication he wants to play a role in treaty negotiations has solid precedent.

John Key told a hui of iwi leaders at Pukawa on Sunday he was considering moving the Office of Treaty Settlements into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

It's currently part of the Ministry of Justice.

Courts and associate Maori Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu, who was associate minister for treaty negotiations in 1998 and nine, says then-minister Doug Graham made effective use of senior colleagues during talks with Ngai Tahu and other claimants.

“He always had the availability of the Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, and also Bill Birch and sometimes in a set of negotiations, the two parties often get to sticking points, and often times you just need that klittle lever from outside that little circle to come along and give it a push along,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

Iwi leaders are keen to maintain the momentum of the treaty settlement process.


The producer of the programme that took out the sports media section of the Maori sports awards is crediting its focus on personalities for the win.

Te Kauhoe Wano from Toa TV says it's a lot of work to keep a primetime sports series fresh.

He says a lot depends on the reputations of the panelists and the contacts they are able to draw in.

“It really is the faces and that’s what the show is all about; Tawera Nikau, Jenny-May Coffin, Matua Parkinson and Oz, the Brofessionals, Wairangi Koopu and of course our exciting new sign up for next year, Reuben Wiki. When you’ve got names like that and people with profile in Maoridom like that and in fact New Zealand as a whole, you’re on to a pretty good thing,” Mr Wano says.


Meanwhile, the next generation of potential Maori sports stars is being invited to have their say about how the sector should be run.

Sport and Recreation New Zealand is holding a hui at the Matariki Community Centre in Manurewa to discuss what should be included in its strategy.

Karla Matua from Counties Manukau Sport says Maori make up a big proportion of the sports people in the region, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

She's cast a wide net to get input from as many groups as possible.


The police are being accused of driving a wedge between Maori and groups trying to bring about social and political change.

Metiria Turei, the Greens' Maori affairs spokesperson, says revelations that the police Special Investigation Group paid an informant to spy on a range of peace, environment and animal rights organisations indicates a gross abuse of democratic rights.

The Special Investigation Group was set up after 9-11 to focus on people smuggling, identity fraud, money laundering and other activities likely to be connected with international terrorism.

Ms Turei says the fact the police used it as a licence to monitor domestic dissent will discourage many young Maori from getting involved in social causes and political discussion, where their input is needed.

“The difficulty is for Maori activists, environmental activists, those working on social change, those who are dissenters and who are political in their views, will be led to really question the people around them and I think this is part of the point. The police are driving a wedge between those protest communities, those environmental communities and Maori communities right at the time we need to be most united,” Ms Turei says.

Ms Turei says reports of police surveillance will create a bad attitude towards police.


Former Labour Cabinet minister John Tamihere says iwi leaders may struggle to get widespead Maori support for their campaign for water rights.

Prime Minister John Key told the leaders at Pukawa on Saturday that Maori would be very important stakeholders in discussions on water which will be part of next year's review of the Resource Management Act.

Mr Tamihere, who lost his Tamaki Makaurau seat in part because of anger over Labour's passing of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, says water is unlikely to generate as much heat as the beaches.

“Every Maori and every non-Maori of New Zealand descent believed they had a stake in it somehow somewhere up and down the country. Water, while it’s got the same proprietary interest rights at stake, not everybody believes they have a personal entitlement. Foreshore and seabed, every New Zealander believes they have an entitlement,” Mr Tamihere says

He says if particular Maori groups can establish customary interests to specific water sources, National is likely to be more accepting of private property rights than a Labour Government.


Champion Maori axeman Jason Wynard sees taking the top Maori sports award as a victory for his sport.

The Murupara-raised 35-year old-with connections to Ngati Maniapoto and Ngapuhi took out the Alby Prior Memorial award at the annual awards in Rotorua.

He was one of 16 Maori who took to the stage as world champions in sports including waka ama, boogie boarding, shearing and wool handling.

He says wood chopping is a sport few people understand.

“People wonder whether it really is a sport, sort of like shearing falls into that bracket. It’s a sport that has come from work but it is a sport and there’s all; those intricacies of the top sports in wood chopping and it’s moments like this when you get recognition like with the Maori sport awards make you proud to be involved with the sport,” he says.

Wynyard has held more than 100 world titles, including seven this season in multiple categories.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Party told it must fight for crumbs

A Maori Party MP says National has made it clear support for poorer New Zealanders isn't on its agenda.

Hone Harawira says the Government's tax cuts do nothing for 80 percent of Maori in his electorate.

The Maori Party's election policies included a call for the first $25,000 of income to be untaxed, and it subsequently called for a Christmas bonus for the poor to be part of an economic stimulus package.

Mr Harawira says his party didn't see National's package coming.

“There'd been some good korero during the discussions about the possibility of some of the things that we wanted to do being included but Bill English came up to me and said ‘Look, if those are the sorts of things you really want you buggers are going to have to fight for them and fight hard,’ and I said ‘Fair enough, expect us to be coming right back at you in the new year,’” Mr Harawira says.

He says the Maori party would have opposed the tax cuts if it wasn't bound by its confidence and supply deal.


The Green's Maori spokesperson says water rights are likely to become the next major treaty battle.

Iwi leaders expressed their concern over water rights and the proposed review of the Resource Management Act when they met with Prime Minister John Key yesterday at Pukawa.

Meteria Turiei says it's an issue that indigenous peoples around the world have had to fight, and Maori may learn from their example.

But it's likely to boil down to what can be wrung out of the nation's founding document.

“We have the Treaty of Waitangi here. We have a strong legal, political and moral basis for making the argument that our tikanga over water should take precedence, and I think not withstanding other international or indigenous examples, we’ll have to fight this on our own grounds as well,” Ms Turei says.


Sport and Recreation New Zealand is asking Maori to contribute to its strategy development.

Karla Matua, the kaiwhakahaere for Counties Manukau Sport, says SPARC's hui tomorrow in Manurewa is a chance for community groups and Maori working in the sporting sector to push for a fair share of resources.

She says there are barriers to Maori participation in many sports which need to come down.

“They are looking to develop a five to 10 year national strategy and part of that was factoring in the needs not only of our Maori sports but our athletes, coaches, supporters, to ensure that flavour is in there and our needs are being catered for.” Ms Matua says.

The hui starts at 12.30 at the Matariki Community centre in Clendon.


The Maori Party's education spokesperson says he was powerless to stop a law doubling the fines on the parents of truants.

Te Ururoa Flavell says the Education (National Standards) Amendment Bill fails to address the causes of truancy, an activity where Maori are disproportionately represented in statistics.

The Maori Party voted for the bill when it was passed under urgency on Saturday, after failing to split out the truancy section.

He says parents could be charged even if they were unaware their child has been wagging.

“It may well be that they get hit with some fines because of the actions of their children rather than themselves so a few difficulties there. Splitting the bill off to one side meant that we could have debated that as a separate issue but it didn’t pass so that was the end of it,” Mr Flavell says.

He says many of those in line for increased fines will already be doing it tough.


There's a call for a new court to rule on Treaty of Waitangi disputes.

It comes in a book on The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand's Law and Constitution by Matthew Palmer.

The former dean of Victoria University's law school says over the past 30 years the courts and the Waitangi Tribunal have done a good job of interpreting the treaty in a modern context, even though its legal status is in many cases incoherent.

He says what has been learned is the primary responsibility for interpreting or applying the treaty, lies with the treaty partners, Maori and the Crown, but disputes will arise.

“Experience shows that it can be useful for both parties to have if you like a safety net, an independent institution which is able to rule with authority where the parties to a particular dispute are getting off track when they’re perhaps not acting so consistently with the treaty,” Professor Palmer says

He says a two-member court drawn from the Waitangi Tribunal and the High Court would have the experience and mana needed to to the job.


Jason Wynard is top of the Maori sporting tree.

The Ngati Manu axeman took top honours at the national Maori sports awards in Rotorua over the weekend.

Organiser Dick Garret says it was another successful year for Maori athletes, with 16 world champions acknowledged alongside umpires, administrators and emerging talent.

He says Wynard is one of the quiet achievers on the international sports stage.

“Yeah he's a humble man but what an athlete. Over 100 titles and world records, a lot of those world records still standing, and I think thoroughly deserved. He’s truly a role model throughout the world,” Mr Garrett says.

Lisa Tamati from Te Atiawa won the senior women's section for her run through Death Valley.

Former Kiwi captain Reuben Wiki won the senior men's category, which his former Warriors club mate, fullback Kevin Locke from Tainui, was named junior sportsman of the year, and rower Paparangi Hipango from Whanganui was top junior sportswoman

Treaty status too untidy

The author of a new book on the Treaty of Waitangi says the status of the treaty in New Zealand's law and constitution needs tidying up.

Matthew Palmer, a former dean of Law at Victoria University, is advocating a new court, drawn from members of the High Court and the Waitangi Tribunal, which can rule definitively on the meaning of the treaty in specific cases.

His research, done while he was New Zealand law Foundation's 2005 international research fellow, left him with the conclusion the treaty's constitutional status is one of uncertainty.

“The Treaty of Waitangi's status and force in law in New Zealand is incoherent in the sense that it is in the law for some purposes and it’s not in the law for other purposes and it could be in the law depending on whether the courts want it to be in individual instances so I really came to the view that some tidying up might be helpful,” Professor Palmer says.

His book, The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand's Law and Constitution, is intended to be both academically robust and interesting to the ordinary reader.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the Government's new testing regime for schools will improve Maori education.

The Education (National Standards) Amendment Bill gives the Education Minister the power to set national literacy and numeracy standards.

Opposition MPs say such testing regimes had been disastrous in the United States and Britain.

But Dr Sharples says it will put pressure on teachers to raise their game.

“Teachers generally aim too low for Maori. They have low expectations of them, and they excuse them and don’t even try to interact with them and inspire them, Now if we have these standards up, there’s the benchmark, the teachers have to make that benchmark instead of treating us like a pack of dummies,” Dr Sharples says.

He will be extending Te Kotahitanga, a professional development programme which shows teachers how to interact with Maori students.


Step by patient step, a Maori academic is recreating the pathways of the ancestors.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, has just completed a solo hike through the middle of the South Island.

The trek followed the route of Rakaihautu, who is said to have created the lakes and mountains of Te Waipounamu on his journey round the island.

Mr Taonui's work schedule doesn't allow him to walk to Bluff and back to Banks Peninsula as Rakaihautu did, but he did get from St Arnaud to Arthurs Pass in 12 days.

“It's a really good way to connect with yourself and learn lessons about patience and planning and respect for the environment.

“In a Maori context, our ancestors did a lot of this sort of traveling around the greenstone trails and different pathways all over the North Island and it’s a really good way of reconnecting, becoming closer to how they may have seen things,” Mr Taonui says.


Maori Television is putting its hand up to cover any fight between boxers David Tua and Shane Cameron.

The management for Cameron, who has just been ranked number No 6 on the World Boxing Organisation heavyweight list, is talking of a match with either former Manly rugby league player John Hopoate or former world title contender Tua.

The big money is likely to come from foreign television rights, but Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather says his channel has already had discussions with the boxers about New Zealand coverage.

“For some time now we’ve had David Tua and Shane Cameron signed to Maori Television so hopefully we’ll be able to bring their super fight free to air to our viewers should it come off,” Mr Mather says.

Maori Television has benefited greatly from signing up the Breakers' basketball team just before it embarked on a winning spree, and its relationship with New Zealand Rugby league is also bringing in new viewers.


Ngai Tahu is moving to take greater control of one of the tribe's most important sources of kaimoana.

The Otakou Runanga is seeking to turn almost all of Otago harbour into a mataitai or Maori controlled reserve.

Runanga chair Tahu Potiki says it has been encouraged to do so by other harbour users, and it will invite recreational fishers onto the management committee.

He says the harbour has a special place in tribal affairs.

“The big taonga kai for our people down here are cockles, the tuaki. There’s quite a tradition. We probably have the reputation for the biggest juiciest cockles within the Ngai Tahu food network. Just as people look to Awarua for their oysters and Murihiku Rakiura Maori for their muttonbirds, they look to Otakou for our cockles,” Mr Potiki says.

The cockle beds near the head of the harbour are believed to be among the biggest in the southern hemisphere.


The chair of Hawkes Bay iwi Ngati Kahungunu wants to see a fleet of Polynesian waka circle the globe.

Ngahiwi Tomoana is pushing for the creation of a Hawaiiki brand, bringing together people from the Pacific in ventures involving fish, fruit and cultural exchange.

He says it's a way for Polynesians to celebrate their common ancestry and improve the prospects of those who come after ... but it's going to require some inspiration.

“In order to astonish ourself about this Hawaiikiness and to create inspiration there’s a move to create a fleet of double hulled waka that will sail the Pacific and I think that’s great. I’m more ambitious than that. I think we should sail this fleet around the world, finish the job, as I put it to our people. We’ve come all this way, to Aotearoa, to the southernmost part of the world, let’s finish the job and sail right around the world,” Mr Tomoana says.

There are also plans for a wananga on the Hawaiiki kaupapa to be established in Rarotonga.