Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Greens want customary land fixed forever

The Greens are proposing an amendment to Te Ture Whenua Maori land Act to prevent the sale of customary foreshore and seabed land.

A draft bill was presented as part of the party's submission to the final Foreshore and Seabed Panel hearing at Omaka Marae near Picton yesterday.

Maori spokesperson Metiria Turei says the bill would clear away a significant hurdle to the repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, the fear Maori would sell off parts of the coast.

“That was false and it was driven up by National and Labour in a racist campaign but nonetheless it’s out there in the public as an idea. One way to fix that and prevent it from happening is to ease those concerns is to prevent the conversion of foreshore and seabed customary land into freehold title so it can't be sold,” Ms Turei says.


Maori Party back-bencher Te Ururoa Flavell is unhappy with the messages his party is getting from its political partner.

The Waiariki MP says by ignoring the Royal Commission's recommendation to include three Maori representatives on an Auckland super city council, National is acting at odds with the inclusive politics John Key talks about.

He says political inclusiveness must start at local government level.

“On one hand the Prime Minister talks about the value the Maori Party has had in terms of the relationship, guidance given by the Maori Party to some of his Maori policy, and says we’ve done a great job, and on the opposite side says we think Maori interests are best served by people elected at large and we can contribute by advisory committees. That’s the ultimate contradiction,” Mr Flavell says.


Meanwhile, Police are making final preparations for next week's protest hikoi on Auckland governance.

Glen Mackay, who leads the police Maori responsiveness strategy in the region, says they expect the event will run as smoothly as the foreshore and seabed hikoi to Parliament five years ago.

He says safety is the number one priority.


A Maori academic with a 20 year record of participating in United Nations indigenous and environmental forums says the ope to New York in support of Helen Clark struck a wrong note with other indigenous peoples.

A Tainui group including King Tuheitia took part in the welcome for Ms Clark in her new job as head of the UN development programme.

Aroha Mead from Victoria University says many of the people gathered for the UN permanent forum on indigenous issues were highly critical because of the Clark Government's vote against the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, and its Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“Many indigenous peoples are there wanting to fight with Maori at our side about this oppressive Act and then they see this high powered delegation going over giving Helen Clark this honour, almost saying she had done a good job here,” Ms Mead says.

She says the Tainui group also made no attempt to contact the tangata whenua of New York, the Onondaga.


With jobs drying up on land, young Maori are being told there are still opportunities at sea.

Peter Maich from the Westport Deep Sea Fishing School is on a recruitment drive to encourage rangatahi to train up for life on board.

He says 70 percent of the people who've been through the course are Maori, who are often looking for a way to turn their lives around.

He says many have an association with the sea already through the collection of kaimoana, and the course can help them make a career of it.

Peter Maich says the residential course blends discipline, literacy, numeracy and life skills with a foundation of fishing industry knowledge.


A new book has tracked the work of the great colonial era carver Tene Waitere from Rotorua all over the world.

Rauru is a collaboration between Cambridge University anthropology professor Nicholas Thomas and New Zealand photographer Mark Adams.

An exhibition of photos from the book opens tonight at Two Rooms gallery in Auckland.

Professor Thomas says Waitere was the first Ngati Tarawhai artist to produce major works for European clients which led to a scattering of his legacy, which includes complete houses in England and Germany.

“Much of his work went far from his home and has ended up in remote parts of the world and in a sense the book aims to bring it all together to celebrate him as a carver but also the enable people to understand these travels, these trajectories the carvings undertook,” he says.

Professor Thomas is giving a free public lecture on Tene Waitere at 3pm at the University of Auckland conference centre in Symonds St.


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