Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Otaraua hapu strikes protest camp

A Taranaki hapu is claiming success from a two-month occupation of an oil exploration site near Waitara.

David Doorbar from Otaraua says the hapu is striking its tents after Greymouth Petroleum chief executive Mark Dunphy promised the company won't run a pipeline across the site of Tikorangi Pa.

Mr Doorbar says the company had to overcome suspicion from hapu members.

“Because we’d had the word from so many different people over the years it didn’t really stick to us so well, but once he’d given his word to the council and the council came to us and said they were happy with his word, we were a little bit more confident we wouldn’t have our waahi tapu disturbed,” he says.

The New Plymouth District Council has called for an independent review of Tikorangi Pa, with the intention of declaring the site a protected waahi tapu if it meets the criteria.


The Minister of Corrections says a growing population of Maori in Australian prisons could provide opportunities for Maori businesses.

Judith Collins visited one state-managed and three private prisons in Victoria and Queensland last week.

She says Australian prison managers were interested in the effectiveness of the Maori focused units in New Zealand prisons, and saw the value in iwi providers connecting Maori inmates with tikanga principles.

“There was certainly no disagreement this was something that could be looked at in future by Australia and I thought it was an opportunity for Maori providers to consider whether or not there would be an option for them to provide any rehabilitation services, but I think it’s something we could be looking at,” Ms Collins


Long term under-development of Maori land could prove an asset for whanau who want to go into organic farming.

Wade Wereta-Osborn from Te Waka Kai Ora says the national Maori organic growers' group is building a database of Maori plantings on ancestral lands, which should help with networking and market development.

He says many Maori growers have a natural advantage as their lands are chemical free.

“There's a big opportunity there for Maori to interact in a sustainable way as there becomes a higher demand for organic food. We’ve got to be spray free these days, and Maori are a step ahead with their ancestral lands because a lot of them are untouched,” Mr Wereta-Osborn says.

The recession is forcing many Maori to make more use of their mahinga kai or traditional food collecting areas.


Water Safety New Zealand says cuts in school funding are leading to more Maori children drowning.

General manager Matt Claridge says Maori are over-represented in annual statistics because they are missing out on the basic swimming and water safety skills that used to be taught in every school.

But changes to the school curriculum, reduced funding and higher maintenance costs for ageing school pools means many traditional school-based learn to swim programmes are no longer available.

Maori are also less likely to send their children to private swimming lessons, most of which have long waiting lists.

“There is a very small percentage of Maori children involved in private swim schools. It just brings us back to what we believe is the most important delivery mechanism for children learning to swim, and that is through the school based education system where it is equitable,” Mr Claridge says.

Water is such a major part of the New Zealand lifestyle, it's important all children have the swimming skills to get themselves out of trouble.


Waikato Tainui has joined its marae around the northern Manukau harbour in voicing opposition to Watercare's plans to dump treated sewage on Puketutu Island.

Chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the island, also known as Motu Ohiaroa, is the largest in the harbour and of particular significance to Waikato-Tainui.

He says Watercare is acting as if it was only option for Auckland's waste, rather than working on alternate proposals.

“Watercare's intention is a breach of our mana, is a degradation of our tupuna, not onley te Motu Ohiaroa but the wide expanse of the Manukau Harbour. We reminded the commissioners yesterday that Ohiaroa and the rest of the Manukau Harbour is subject of a claim by Waikato-Tainui,” Mr Morgan says.

He says Tainui strongly rejects the advice of Watercare consultant Wira Gardiner, a former Te Puni Kokiri chief executive, that the island is no longer tapu because of it past uses.


Maori men are being challenged to take more responsibility for their overall well being.

Joe Puketapu, the chair of next month's National Maori Men's Health Conference in Blenheim, says Maori men often neglect their health.

He says by doing so, tane put the health of their whole whanau at risk.

“It's about time Maori men took some responsibility for looking at and improving and making changes in their own health issues and their own social issues and I think for far too long we’ve either not done anything about it or we’ve had an expectation our Maori women would deal with those things for us,” Mr Puketapu says.

The conference, which starts on June 17, may be time to start looking at a national Maori men's health advocacy organisation, building on the work done by the Maori Women's Welfare League.


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