Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Plymouth hapu occupies site to stop drilling

A north Taranaki hapu blockading the work of an oil and gas drilling company on their waahi tapu say they were left with no choice.

Around 50 members of Otaraua hapu and their supporters are protesting at Greymouth Petroleum's new well site at Tikorangi, as they apply to the Environment Court for an injunction to stop the drilling.

David Doorbar says the hapu was disappointed the company failed to consult before it started to drill on the sacred site.

He says the hapu felt backed against the wall.

“It’s certainly very hard on the spirit to have to resolve things this way. I guess that’s how it always works for us Maori. People come along and take us for granted. They have no real understanding of the cultural significance of these places to us or how far we are prepare to go to look after and defend these places,” Mr Doorbar says.

Tikorangi, an old pa site, was also a source of healing water for surrounding whanau.


An expert on prisoner rehabilitation says the way Bailey Kurariki has been treated since his release from prison last year highlights major problems with the parole system.

Kurariki became the youngest person in New Zealand's to face murder charges in connection with the 2001 slaying of pizza delivery worker Michael Choy.

He was eventually found guilty of manslaughter,

Last week Kurariki was back in court for breaching parole by drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.

The director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment, former prison service head Kim Workman, says the Community Probation Service has switched from helping parolees with work, accommodation and relationships to enforcing parole conditions.

“In the absence of any positive support what happens is the probationer develops a really negative attitude and for that reason often, and the research in the UK has shown, those sorts of controls actually encourage the probationer to become anti-social and defiant,” Mr Workman says.

He says Bailey Kurariki is a bright guy with the equivalent of a university entrance qualification, but the Probation Service’s stringent supervision is undermining all the good work done while he was in prison.


A renowned authority on Maori potatoes has decided not to go to a conference of potato farmers from around the world being held in Christchurch this week.

Nick Roskruge who heads Tahuri whenua, the Maori organic growers collective, has decided instead to sit on a board that distributes the Ministry of Agriculture’s sustainable farming fund.

He says it's important to maintain a Maori perspective on the board and he's pleased to see a number of Maori applying to the fund.

“The applications for funding are 10 times what the fund can offer but there’s a good number of Maori applications. It’s one of those funds where people have to represent a community of interest and that fits with kaupapa Maori quite well,” Mr Roskruge says.

His staff will attend the 7th International Potato Conference and host a field trip to Lincoln University to view a riwai Maori seed bank.


Ngati Kahungunu have put together a task force to investigate ways for taking back control of water in the Hawkes Bay - Wairarapa region.

Runanga chair Ngahiwi Tomoana says the region has the same problems as others with the over allocation of water rights and pollution and a hui at the weekend decided it was time to re-establish rangatiratanga over all rivers and lakes.

“There was unanimity that our future depended on water, wai ora, wai tuhi, that or future was written in the water, and unless we were good kaitiaki over it and exercised rangatiratanga we would stuff it up for everybody, here, now and in the future,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says Maori will be seeking ownership of all lakes and waterways, will be looking at High Court action to establish their mana where the Crown has failed to protect Maori interests, and will be developing customary rights through co-management.


The bones that prompted the North Canterbury Regional Council's to review its protocols for human remains have been relocated.

Pre-European koiwi tangata found last week at a sewage-treatment plant undergoing an upgrade near Amberley, a year after a skull was uncovered at the same site, led to an agreement to have a Maori cultural monitor onsite for future earthworks.

Te Marino Lenihan, Ngai Tuahuriri cultural advisor, says a sewage treatment plant was not an appropriate burial spot.

“The oxidation ponds, we don’t consider that’s an appropriate place to leave our people. Our preference is to leave our burials where we find them unless there is good reason to shift them and we believe there is good reason this time because of that location so the bones have been lifted and we are currently looking after them in preparation for reinterment,” Mr Lenihan says.

The mayor has committed to a series of meetings to negotiate the ongoing relationship between the Hurunui District Council and the Tuahuriri and Kaikoura runanga.


A stalwart of Maori health and the Methodist church, reverend Morehu Buddy Te Whare, was farewelled by friends and family at Kirikiriroa Marae today.

He died at home last Thursday after a long illness.

Kingi Turner, the pou herenga of the Maori unit at the Waikato District Health Board, worked with Reverend Te Whare when he was a kaumatua for Waikato Hospital and on the ethics committee of the DHB's diabetes prevention strategy for Maori.

Mr Turner says his friend had a profound effect on him.

“He was a person that could cross iwi and cultural boundaries with ease. He was quite and amazing cross cultural person. We’ve been close mates in friendship and ministry for over 46 years so I knew him fairly well,” Mr Turner says.

Rev Te Whare received the Te Amorangi award for 2005 in recognition for his community service, and was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1998.


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