Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shelley Bay going back to Taranaki Whanui

Taranaki Whanui claimants will tomorrow take delivery of the former Shelly Bay air force base on the Mirimar Peninsula, which they have bought back as part of their settlement of the Port Nicholson claims.

Chairperson Ngatata Love says the ceremony will involve representatives from the air force, army and navy, all of whom have used the base over the years since it was taken as a mine laying base during the Russian scare of the 1880s.

He says the trust is still weighing up how it will use the land, which is the largest undeveloped block on the Wellington harbour.

“First of all we want to ensure that to the civilian population it’s always accessible because in earlier times the gates were closed on each end of that area so you couldn’t get round. It’s got great potential for tourism, for commercial activities and for housing, so we’re not rushing into anything at this stage,” Dr Love says.

Filmmaker Peter Jackson has used the base as a location for some of his productions, and that relationship is likely to continue.


New Zealand is gearing up for its first conference since being ousted from Parliament, with the future of its leader Winston Peters in the spotlight.
Former MP Ron Mark says he's unhappy the media is barred from this weekend's hui in Auckland, given the interest from the party's supporters.
He is still considering his own options, after 12 years in politics.

“I'm pretty confident I can still make a contribution to New Zealand if I decide not to stay in politics. I’m confident the things I can do are appreciated by other people,” Mr Mark says.

New Zealand First needs to take steps to stop internal disputes spilling out into the public.


Chief's captain Mils Muliaina is looking forward to seeing what the franchise's three new Maori players can contribute to this year's Super 14.

The Waikato-based squad lines up against defending champions Crusaders in Christchurch tonight in the first round of the competition.

The All Black fullback says the young trio have shown leadership qualities off the field, and he expects that to be reflected in their play onfield.

“You know Hika Elliott and Joe Savage and also James McGoogan are really good guys, they’re working hard,” Muliaina says.


As their neighbours move towards deeds of settlement, Wellington treaty claimants will this weekend move in to one of the first properties to come back under their deal.

Ngatata Love from the Port Nicholson Claims Trust says tomorrow's formal handover by defence forces of the former Shelley Bay base on the Mirimar Peninsula returns a and important former settlement and canoe landing to Taranaki Whanui.

He says it's fitting the land is handed over at the end of the week in which other iwi in the Cook Strait area signed agreements in principle worth $300 million.

“We're the same people, no question about that, so we all whakapapa in there. The top of the South Island was included in our original claim, but we stepped back because this other group was doing it separately. We’re just pleased these things are coming to a level of conclusion,” Professor Love says.

Shelley Bay is the largest undeveloped area on Wellington harbour, and the claimants are still working out the best uses for it.


A former minister of youth affairs says there is no quick fix to Maori educational underachievement.

Nanaia Mahuta says the release of the Education Ministry's annual report on Maori education, Nga Haeata Matauranga, highlights continuing concern over literacy.

She says schools which don't provide a supportive environment for their pupils need to be identified, and interventions applied such at the professional development programme for teachers, Te Kotahitangi.

“This is not a quick fix issue. It wasn’t for us and it won’t be for this government. It is one we should get some cross party support on and one of the things the report highlights is the work our government, the Labour government started, should continue to grow, certainly in mainstream,” Ms Mahuta says.

She'd like to see more scholarships encouraging talented Maori to switch careers and train as teachers.


Maori and recreational fishers are waiting for the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal on the way kahawai quota levels are set.

Trish Rea from the Hokianga Accord, which brings the two groups together, sat through yesterday's hearing in Wellington.

She says the non-commercial groups see it as a last chance to save the fishery for future generations.

“People cannot catch enough fish to feed their babies when they go down to the seam so our people go home empty handed because out fisheries are being mismanaged, whether that’s pressure from commercial or the Ministry of Fisheries not managing our fisheries properly,” Ms Rea says.

It could be some months before the court issues its judgment.


Tainui holds elections this weekend for the executive team responsible for managing its $700 million dollars in settlement assets.

Thirty candidates have put their names in the ring for the 10 positions.

They include current chair Tukoroirangi Morgan, former chair Kingi Porima, and retired investment banker and basketball coach Jeff Green ... who in a former incarnation as Tainui special projects manager led the tribe into a number of questionable investments which failed or were disposed of at fire sale prices at the start of this decade.

Tainui picking new executive

Tainui's Parliament this weekend picks a new executive to take it forward over the next three years.

The last days of the old executive was marked by a split between the two bodies over a restructuring plan, leading not only to court action but to battles at marae level which effectively blocked some experienced hands from re-election to Te Ara Taura.

Executive chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says it's an important test for Tainui as it picks 10 members from the 30 candidates.

“The tribe should be concentrating their focus around ensuring there is continuity, there is institutional memory, that the members who are there now, that there should be some carryover.

“More importantly, there are a number of issues to be competed. The river issue is to be sorted completely and finally, and then there is the prospect of public private partnerships that we got an agreement with the government at Waitangi in terms of infrastructural projects, building more schools, courthouses, roads and the like in our own rohe,” Mr Morgan says.

If he's re-elected on to Te Ara Taura, he will again seek the chair.


A leading educational researcher says there is now little doubt that teachers hold the key to improving Maori educational achievement.

Stuart McNaughton, the director of Auckland University's Woolf Fisher Research Centre, says the success of a pilot conducted in south Auckland showed how reading levels could be boosted.

Teachers were taught how to use assessment to modify the way they approached individual students.

He says the research points the way to large scale programmes.

“Maori students we know respond to teachers who believe in them, who are capable of teaching them well, who give very good feedback and in the programme in the schools, this pint about coming to know the students well but also designing instruction that was really effective for them,” Professor McNaughton says.

Reading age improved by a year on average during the study.


A new initiative could pick up signs of mental illness among Maori earlier.

The District Health Board Research Fund is putting $1 million into a research project which will use general practitioners as the front line of mental health care.

Spokesperson David Codyre says the GPs will be given a set of simple procedures to detect mental health problems and offer besic treatment or referral.

He says what may be thought of as normal problems can quickly become abnormal if not properly diagnosed and treated.

“The epidemiology studies have shown that Maori are slightly more likely to get depression, anxiety – drug alcohol issues evolve at times of stress in their life, but more particularly when they get a condition, they are likely to have it to a more severe degree,” Dr Codyre says intervention at a primary health care level is far cheaper than delaying until it is so serious it needs to be covered by the specialist mental health services.


Tainui chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says tribes need to look at building up the leadership skills of their young people.

Tainui's Parliament, Te Kauhanganui, will this weekend elect a new executive to run the tribe's affairs over the next three years.

Thirty candidates are vying for 10 positions.

Mr Morgan says Tainui is now a $700 million business, and that creates challenges Maori organisations have not encountered before.
“As I look at the skill base of those who put their hands up, I have to say that the pool of leadership is very thin. The skills that are required to deal other iwi in terms of our economic joint ventures, all of those with government agencies, to deal with those things, those young ones coming through are very scarce,” Mr Morgan says.

The new executive will need to tackle a major restructure of the organisation, the completion of the Waikato river settlement, and the prospect of Tainui entering into partnership with the Crown on infrastructure projects in its region.


Meanwhile, Ngai Tahu's kaiwhakahere is sounding a note of caution on the contribution iwi can make to job creation.

The size of the Maori economy is being talked up in advance of this month's jobs summit, particularly because Maori have historically had higher rates of unemployment and tend to be concentrated in areas of the economy which are vulnerable in economic downturns.

Mark Solomon says as a company Ngai Tahu has a duty to preserve its assets for future generations.

“Ngai Tahu currently employs about 500 people. There is no way Ngai Tahu or any other tribe in the country is gong to be able to solve the unemployment issues of its people. We just do not have the resources and I think we need to take cognizance of that. The settlements just can’t cover that,” Mr Solomon says.


Past and present members of an innovative mental health scholarship programe are today holding a symposium to assess its contribution to the sector.

Te Rau Puawai is celebrating its tenth anniversary of increasing the skills of Maori in the mental health workforce.

Massey University professor Mason Durie, who created the initiative, says it came out of concern there weren't enough people in the mental health workforce who could give culturally relevant care to Maori.

He says it brought a different kind of student into the university's extramural programmes.

“Most of the students who got these scholarships have been working full; time in mental health facilities, are older students, and have probably had no previous experience in tertiary education. So from that point of view you would think there chances of success weren’t high. In fact we have had consistently pass rates of over 80 percent,” Professor Durie says

Te Rau Puawai offers a high level of support to the students it invests in and more than half of the 200 graduates have come back for masters and even doctoral level study.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Council backs down on Kaikohe shift

The Ngapuhi Runanga is celebrating a change of heart by the Far North District Council on plans to shift more of its operations out of Kaikohe.

After meeting Maori and other interested parties who had marched through the town this morning, councillors agreed to reconsider a plan to move 40 staff to Kerikeri.

Runanga spokesperson Taiha Molyneux says kaumatua reminded councilors of the promises made when the council was set up in the mid-1970s.

“In terms of te pu o te wheke, that Kaikohe is basically the heart of Northland, and the removal of council services would do a lot of damage to Kaikohe itself as well, and they were saying a promise was made a long time ago to kaumatua and kuia that council services would remain in Kaikohe, and for now the assurances are that it is going to stay in Kaikohe,” she says.

Ms Molyneux says the Ngapuhi runanga is concerned at the continual bleeding of businesses and services away from Kaikohe.


Green MP Sue Kedgley wants the Maori Party to take the lead in opposing the government's plan to drop the ban on junk food in school tuck shops.

New Education Minister Anne Tolly is dropping the regulations brought in by the previous government, because she says individual boards of trustees should decide what's sold in their schools.

Ms Kedgley says diabetes and obesity are an increasing problem, especially among Maori and Pacific people, and it's ludicrous to shelve a successful programme that encouraged better eating habits.


Increased interest in tattooing among women is creating a demand for women ta moko artists.

A UMR survey has found one in five adults in New Zealand have a tattoo, and almost one in two Maori.

Taranaki tattooist Julie Kipa says the cultural revival means many wahine Maori want to mark their cultural identity on their skin.

She says many come looking for women artists, which challenges what has traditionally be thought of as a male preserve.


Massey University is celebrating a decade of a programme which has brought more than 200 Maori into the mental health workforce.

Professor Mason Durie says Te Rau Puawai is one of the most successful programmes run by the university, with a pass rate of more than 80 percent.

He says it was developed at a time when approaches to mental health treatment were changing, and the under-representation of Maori was being recognised as a problem.

“A good outcome in mental health depends not only on knowledge of mental health but also a knowledge of the people, their culture, their social networks and the environment, and so quite a lot of the curriculum that we’ve been promoting here really has to do with matching up a person’s cultural background and their environment with the mental health problem they might have,” Professor Durie says.

Current and past Te Rau Puawai scholarship holders are coming together at Massey tomorrow for a special symposium.


The Maori Party is warning there are too many loose ends in a planned law changing allowing compulsory DNA samples.

Research, science and technology spokesperon Te Ururoa Flavell says young Maori men are much more likely to be stopped and searched than non-Maori.

He says without additional safeguards, the Criminal Investigation Bodily Samples Amendment Bill is likely to mean large stores of Maori DNA being held by police.

“The police have the Discretion to do with the sample being taken, in other words how long they keep it for, where they keep it, who has access and concerns about whether it is in fact going to be taken right down to the sampling of children and their rights, and while in a general overview it’s not a bad idea in terms of assisting the police to do their work, we believe there are number of items that need to be tightened up on because they are too loose, and that’s why we vote against it,” Mr Flavell says.


A not so young Maori inside back will stake a claim for higher honours in the Warriors' pre-season match against the Melbourne Storm in Hamilton.

Aaron Heremaia is getting a run tonight, to see if he can step up to the demands of first grade rugby league.

Don Mann, the franchise's football manager, says the 26 year old has played for the Leigh Centurions in northern England and for the national Maori squad, but has yet to secure a spot in the Australasian competition regarded as the toughest in the world.

Mr Mann says Warriors' coaches Ivan Cleary and Jon Ackland were impressed by Heramaia's attitude with the Vulcans last year, but his grandmother has reservations about her mokopuna's new lean look, which involves losing about 5kg for the team.

The Warriors kick off their match against the Melbourne Storm at 7-30, preceded by a minutes silence in recognition of Warriors player Sonny Fai, who is presumed drowned after failing to surface while swimming at Bethells Beach, west of Auckland five weeks ago.

Kurahaupo charts own path in deal

Three top of the South Island iwi have decided against going into the forestry business as part of their treaty settlement.

Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust, which represents Ngati Apa, Rangitake and Ngati Kuia, yesterday signed an agreement in principle to settle grievances dating back to the Crown's acquisition of land in their rohe in 1856.

Ngati Toa Rangatira and the four iwi of Tainui Taranaki ki Te Tonga also signed agreements in principle for settlements totalling about $300 million.

Almost half of that represents the value of Crown forest license land in Te Tau Ihu, along with accumulated rents and carbon credits.

Negotiator Richard Bradley says Kurahaupo chose to let the other iwi split the forests, and took an extra $37 million in cash instead.

“The advice we got was that there were likely to be a number of difficulties arising from investment forestry and if there was an opportunity to cash that up, we should take it. We passed that offer up and we are looking at other significant Crown properties that might have more relevance to our people,” he says.

Mr Bradley says the arrangement means the Kurahaupo iwi won't be forced into trying to manage ongoing business relationships with its their former conquerors.


The Green's Maori spokesperson says the Government's Gang and Organised Crime Bill won't make communities safer.

Only the Greens and the Maori Party voted against the introduction of the bill, which makes gang membership an aggravating factor in sentencing, doubles the maximum penalty for participating in an organised criminal group and makes it easier for police to intercept gang communications and storm gang headquarters.

Metiria Turei says the bill fails to address underlying issues like education and poverty which contribute to Maori joining gangs.

"It sounds good because it sounds like you’re locking them away, but actually it’s not doing that at all. It’s just creating more space outside of jail and better criminal inside of jail. If we thought the bill would do something useful, we would have supported it but it is not because it is not dealing with those underlying causes,” Ms Turei says.

She says longer prison sentences do nothing to address reoffending


Rare Maori material is being made more available as part of the National Library's new National Digital Heritage Archive.

Chief executive Penny Carnaby says the $24 million project is world leading, and will ensure material will still be available in the decades and centuries to come.

She says Maori are showing considerable interest in the digitised version of the Maori Affairs department's Te Ao Hau magazine and the 100,000 pages of letters and documents held by the Alexander Turnbull Library from the collection of 19th century Native Affairs minister Donald McLean.

“And we've digitised them along with 60,000 images. Maori are searching this website and finding all sorts of things about land ownership, and sales as well as social history of Maori communities and inter-hapu politics so it is a complete treasure trove,” Ms Carnaby says.

The system can limit access to information which iwi or hapu want to keep private.


The negotiator for Ngati Toa says his tribe's $120 million settlement sets a new benchmark for claims.

The deal is part of a $300 million dollar wrap up of claims from the Top of the South Island and lower North Island involving eight iwi.

It relates to the divide and rule tactics used by the Crown in the 1850s to neutralise powerful Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha and buy up land in the region.

Matiu Rei says it has taken years to negotiate the agreements in principle signed at Parliament yesterday.

He says the tribes were looking for a fair outcome.

“Quite frankly I think prior to us, with the exception of Tainui and Ngai Tahu, the redress has been rather poor, and I think our one has rather lifted the lid a little bit and will be a benefit I think to subsequent tribes,” Mr Rei says.

Ngati Toa is also happy the settlement includes acknowledgement of its cultural interest in the haka Ka Mate, which was composed by Te Rauparaha.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says while there was a premium included to get a regional deal, the settlements should not upset relativities with other iwi.


The Council of Trade Unions runanga says the minimal increase in the minimum wage offer little hope for Maori workers.

CTU Maori vice president Sharon Clair says while every penny counts at that level, the slight lift to $12,50 an hour will do stop New Zealand being a low wage country.

She says Maori are over-represented at the lower levels of the economy, which has long term consequences.

“Low pay results in lower lifetime earnings and reduced economic security so the continuation of obstacles and barriers to buying homes rather than renting and all the other opportunities to participate well in society are limited for Maori worker on the minimum wage,” Ms Clair says.

Te Runanga o Nga Kaimahi Maori wants to see the minumum wage set at 66 percent of the average wage, or around $15 an hour.


Drug and alcohol treatment researchers say more specialised treatment is needed for young people.

The study of young people by Otago University's Christchurch National Addiction Centre found more than half of the young addicts interviewed had mental health problems and almost half had been in state care.

Lead investigator Ria Shroder says more than a third of the group were Maori.

She says the good news was the help many were getting from kaupapa Maori based services.

“Those services run on a shoestring and I think they do a sterling job. However to makes us realise we need to resource those services better so we can do more integrating iwi, hapu, whanau together so they can be support for young people,” Dr Shroder says.

She says treatment does not end after a course, and more resources are needed to support young people once they have left.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Te Tau Ihu price high but relative

The treaty negotiations minister says the high price tag on today's Te Tau Ihu settlement is justified by achieving a region-wide settlement.

Chris Finlayson this morning signed agreements in principle with three groups representing eight iwi at the top of the South Island and lower North Island.

Ngati Toa Rangatira, which has about 5000 members, is to get $75 million in cash and land, as well as half the Crown forest license land at the top of the South island worth $45 million.

The four iwi in the Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga group, which includes 6000 people, is to get $53 million in cash and land and the other half of the forest, while the 4000-strong Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust, which includes Ngati Apa, Ngati Kuia and Rangitane, gets $42 million from the Crown and another $37 million for giving up its interest in the forest.

Labour leader Phil Goff has warned the new Government not to let relativity between settlements get out of line, or iwi who settled early could feel aggrieved.

But Mr Finlayson says it's not a worry.

“I don't believe that we need get hung up on relatives. I think that admittedly there was a regional premium in here. It may be seen on one level to be well; above the lone but the importance of bringing the iwi together could not be overstated,” he says.

Mr Finlayson says the work done by former treaty minister Michael Cullen helped bring the claims to a rapid conclusion.


A negotiator for Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga says there is still a lot of work to be done before the final settlement deeds are signed.

Roma Hippolyte says there are many whanau claimants whose individual issues still need resolving.

He says the pace is hectic but a deal is achievable.

“This minister wants to do the deed of settlement by the end of June and that’s a very quick timeframe and we want tio make sure we don’t lose anything in that time. The biggest concern is we make sure we cover all out bases. Now if that takes six months, we are fine with that time, in fact the earlier the better,” Mr Hippolyte says.


There's a sell-out crowd for this week's premiere of Wiremu Grace's short film Kehua at the Berlin Film Festival.

Mr Grace says the story, about a boy who returns to Aotearoa from Australia and discovers his gift for seeing spirits, has piqued the interest of the German audience.

“There is an interest over here in indigenous people’s stories because it’s coming from completely different kaupapa, a completely different angle than what they're used to,” Mr Grace says.

The Berlin festival also features two other New Zealand short films, Betty Banned Sweets and Aphrodite's Farm.


Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has come out fighting against media coverage suggesting the settlement with Toa Rangatira could lead to the iwi charging people who do the haka Ka Mate.

This morning's New Zealand Herald story on today's agreement in principle with the eight Top of the South Island tribes included a cartoon suggesting it would allow Ngati Toa to profit from the haka, written by its ancestor te Rauparaha.

Mr Finlayson says the settlement will acknowledge the significance of the haka to the Ngati Toa.

But it won't result in royalty payments or give the iwi a veto on the performance of Ka Mate.

“Before people put cartoons like ‘Kamate kamate dollar dollar’ in the paper and write articles about Maori taking over East Coast beaches they ought to check their facts, because they don’t serve the public when they write that sort of crap,” Mr Finlayson says.

He says Ngati Toa's haka at this morning's signing ceremony for the $171 million settlement made the All Blacks look like wusses.


Auckland University's Te Kupenga Hauora Maori has won a grant to improve the pass rates of Maori students.

Project leader Elana Curtis says the $125,000 from Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, will allow the schools to give greater support to students.

Dr Curtis says the new Tatou Tatou/Success for all protects investments already made in training, and helps the overall goal of increasing the Maori health workforce.

“We need more nurses. We need more pharmacists. We need more people in health management, health scientists, health researchers. It’s not just doctors. So now our programme has extended out to all those programmes, our faculty covers all those health professionals,” Dr Curtis says.


Ngati Whatua hopes a new partnership with Emirates Team New Zealand will lead to more Maori sailing, even to America's Cup level.

Chairperson Grant Hawke says he has long been concerned at the lack of Maori involved in yachting, despite the large number of rangatahi living around the Waitemata harbour.

It's an issue he discussed with the late Sir Peter Blake, and the challenge had now been taken up by team managing director Grant Dalton.

Mr Hawke says it's a great sport.

“You have friends for life and it goes across all barriers. I believe we can put a lot more into that relationship because of the way we interact with people and the way we powhiri and recognise other people as manuhiri, the respect we give them. We can add taha Maori to Emirates,” Mr Hawke says.

The programme could lead not just to sailing but to jobs in sailmaking and boatbuilding.

Forced sampling a treaty breach

A leading human rights lawyer says Maori lawyers throughout the country are seeing serious difficulties with the government's proposal to change the law so DNA samples can be taken from suspected criminals.

Moana Jackson says as well as the civil liberties issues involved with taking DNA from people before they have been charged with an offence, as would be allowed under legislation which the government is introducing to parliament this week, there are significant cultural issues.

“The whole issue of taking DNA impinges on the whole issue, the right to take body parts or various samples without proper concern for what the cultural implication might be, the question of tapu and so on, and just because they have been charged with a crime doesn’t mean they lose those rights or lost that inherent mana that each of our people are born with,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the cultural and civil rights issues should be looked at together.


Labour leader Phil Goff is expressing deep concern about the rising unemployment rate among maori and calling for government assistance to Maori businesses to help fight a situation he predicts will get worse.

Phil Goff says latest figures show that nearly one in ten Maori are unemployed with 9.6 percent unemployed compared to mainstream unemployment of 4.6 percent.

“I think it’s important hat all of the major Maori business organisations work together collectively get the assistance they need from other sectors of business and work collectively to put their views to government so their voice is heard. The Maori unemployment situation is as we have seen from the latest figures starting to get progressively worse. That is of real concern,” Mr Goff says.


A lawyer working in the Manukau community law centre Nga Ture Kaitiaki is warning that Maori, and particularly Maori children will suffered hugely if proposed cuts to community law centre funding goes ahead.

Emma Afa of Ngati Porou says the proposed 44 percent cut in funding of the 27 law centres around the country from July has come about because of the downturn in the property market with the centres financed through the interest on house settlement money in lawyers' trust accounts.

“A lot of my Child Youth and Family cases are Maori and this means if we are not available to give advice, to give assistance, to give information, they certainly can’t afford private sectors lawyers and they could probably go without advice, which means in the worst case scenario the children will never be returned back to the whanau,” Ms Afa says.

It is hoped the government will come to the rescue when Justice Minister Simon Power attends a hui of law centres next week.


A leading Maori lawyer is warning that not only would the proposal to take DNA samples from suspected criminals before they have been charged contravene civil liberties but it would break the Treaty of Waitangi.

Moana Jackson says the proposed law change, introduced to Parliament this week, has major cultural implications and just because a person is charged with a crime they should not lose their mana which is inherent in the taking of tapu body parts including DNA.

“Even if the police were able to satisfy our people there were safeguards in the actual way it was being administered, that doesn’t remove the fundamental issue which is really taking samples form people who have not been found guilty of any crime, and if that’s not a breach of our civil liberties, it certainly seems to me it’s a breach of our rights under the Treaty of Waitangi,” Mr Jackson says.


A lawyer working in South Auckland says if the government doesn't come to the rescue and planned slashing of community law centre funding goes ahead Maori will be terribly affected.

Emma Afa who works at Nga Ture Kaitiaki Community Law Centre in Manukau says it would be disastrous if there is a 44 percent cut in law centre funding because finance from lawyers’ trust accounts has dried up due to the down turn in the housing market.

She says law centre representatives are meeting the Minister of Justice Simon Power next week seeking funding.

“We’ve got to go straight to the top over this. It affects us all nationwide. It affects all our lover socioeconomic people in our communities and for Maori that is going to be a big impact because we are represented in our criminal law, our CYFS matters, These places exist particularly for tangata whenua,” Ms Afa says.


A Nelson duo who are about to take up a fellowship from Victoria University to write a fourth volume in their series on Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka, the history of the Nerlson Malborough area, say their work is edged in sadness.

John Mitchell and his wife Hilary says the books began with regular meetings with kaumatua wanting to record a generic history to underpin Waitangi Tribunal claims in the late 80's.

“Of the 70 odd people whop attended and the 45-odd who attended regularly, only Auntie Kath Hemi of Ngati Apa, Blenheim is still alive. It’s tinged with sadness that off those folks who were so supportive, there is only one alive today to see the end of what they were requesting,” Dr Mitchell says.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New chief for Te Matatini

The National Kapa Haka festival, Te Matatini, has appointed a new executive director, Darren Apanui.

Of Ngati Porou descent, Darren Apanui is an experienced company director with an extensive background in business both here and in Australia.

He hopes this year's kapa Haka festival in Tauranga at the end of the month will be a launching pad for greater things, with the festival being seen in future as a platform for Maori groups to promote their products.

More than 30,000 people are expected to take part in this month’s Te Matatini.


Labour leader Phil Goff has given the new National government advice on settling treaty claims.

Phil Goff says it is important that the impetus built up by the last government is not lost if the Government's deadline of settling all historical claims by 2014 is to be achieved.

“My advice to the new Government is move as quickly as you can but allow proper time to get a settlement both sides can sign up to. If you compel it on somebody you still have a sense of sense of grievance. Also, look closely to maintain your relativities so every group to the extent possible is being treated fairly compared to other groups,” Mr Goff says.


Four motorbike riding Maori brothers from the Far North who are cruising the country on a hikoi against violence say they haven't be badly affected by bad weather today.

Super Maori Fullas Roger, Jack, Mathew and Mervyn Paki left Cape Reinga on Waitangi Day on their their Harley Davidsons to travel to Bluff and back in support of the Its Not Ok Campaign against family violence.

Jack Paki says they were prepared for rain they met today in the Wairarapa.

Providing a home away from home for Maori in the UK has earned Ngati Ranana founding member Esther Jessop the honour of being chosen New Zealander of the Year in Britain.

The award recognises people who present a positive image of New Zealand abroad.

It was given at the New Zealand Society's annual Waitangi Day dinner in London last week.

Ngati Ranana member Kateia Burrows says it was a feather in the cap of a woman who knew decades ago, how important it was to foster Maori culture abroad.

“So many Maori have come here over the past 50 years and it’s quite a lonely place to be if you don’t know anyone, and Ngati Ranana is just one of those inviting places you just walk in and all of a sudden there are lot of Maori people socialising and being a whanau for e inviting places where you taking care of one another like we would if we were in Aotearoa,” she says.

Previous recipients of the New Zealander of the Year award include Olympic gold medalist Mark Todd, celebrity chef Peter Gordon and golfer Michael Campbell.


One of the key people behind the national day activities at Waitangi has heaped praise on Prime Minister John Key for his handling of a couple of activists who attacked him and his attitude when he met with iwi leaders.

Ngapuhi chairman Sonny Tau says the Prime Minister was straight up when he addressed difficult issues behind closed doors with Iwi leaders.

“I like the guy. I like his genuineness and I like his boldness to talk about issues and tell you exactly how he’s feeling and it puts you in no doubt as to where he wants to go with the issues and so far the waka is going in the same direction as we want it to go,” Mr Tau says.

He says the Prime Minister gave the hui assurance that the treaty settlement process would not slow and that iwi would be fully consulted over the difficult issues of water rights and changes to the Resource Management Act.


Maori Actor Rawiri Paratene is on a crusade to save the whales of the pacific and beyond.

Following the success of his role in the film Whale Rider, Rawiri Paratene says he's always been interested in marine life and wanted to create awareness to what's happening beneath the ocean.

Rawiri Paratene is currently filming a documentary series where he will travel the world investigating underwater noise pollution and how it is connected to whales stranding.

“Standings that are happening around the time SONAR is being used are pretty horrific. There are whales that seem to suffering from the bends. They’ve been forced to suffer far too fust. Their ears are bleeding. Their brains have haemoraged. There’s bleeding from the eyes,” Mr Paratene says.

He will join renowned bio-acoustic scientist Chris Clark this evening at the maritime museum in Auckland to discuss underwater pollution and possible solutions.

Maori firefighters to cross Tasman

The thoughts of the Maori community will be traveling across the Tasman if Prime Minister John Key's offer to provide Australia with New Zealand fire fighters to battle the fires in Victoria is taken up.

Piki Thomas who is National Maori Advisor with the New Zealand Fire Service says that those sent will be coming from rural fire services, including Maori staff.

Piki Thomas says Australia and New Zealand now have co-ordinated systems of fire fighting so the New Zealanders willfit into the Australian situation easily.


Maori party MP and activist Hone Harawira says unlike Green party MP's Keith Locke and Jeanette Fitzsimmons he will not be seeking a copy of his Secret Security Service files.

Hone Harawira says it has been common knowledge within the Maori political movement since the 70's that the SIS has kept files on them.

“It’s a sick and sad indictment on this society that people who advocate for social change are going to get investigated, particularly with this threat of terrorism and how low the standards are to bring someone up on terrorism charges, so it’s kind of scary for mainstream New Zealand but not a particular fuss for people like myself,” Mr Harawira says.

He says during a Waitangi protest some years ago, he and others who had chained themselves to a scaffold were able to shift the structure and got to see information held about them by the SIS.


While there has been controversy about the flying of a maori flag at various places around the country on Waitangi Day including on the Auckland Harbour Bridge and at the Treaty grounds no such debate surfaced in Dunedin where the rangatiratanga flag flow without objection on the civic building.

Reitu Cassidy, who helped organised Waitangi celebrations in the city, says the flag flying was supported by Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin.

“One of the whanau works there and we just put the call in as we did last year and he was happy to put the flag up. There was no debate, no discussion really and it was really cool for us to have it flying,” Ms Cassidy says.

Reitu Cassidy says it is a good indication of the council's openness to listen to Maori.

Prime Minister John Key has said he is relaxed about a Maori flag flying on public buildings next year and he has asked Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples to determine which Maori flag should fly.


Maori community organiser John Tamihere says attending Barack Obama's presidential breakfast prayer meeting in the United States has been a real eye opener and he is predicting there will be benefits for the poor of New Zealand from his trip.

John Tamihere says one of the things he intends to look into when he returns to New Zealand is systems of micro financing which draw on the wealth of those at the bottom end of the heap.

“There are alternatives to banks. There are credit unions. There are other financial organizational capacity where the bottom end of town has to group together to protect itself and when the top end of town become dirty filthy slimy crooks as they have become and the bottom end of town will rescue them, as usual, because the bottom end of town is having to guarantee their lifestyles,” Mr Tamihere says.


Prime Minister John Key says the Resource Management Reforms leaving Treaty provisions in are an example of the way his government intends to work to get balanced legislation.

John Keys says the Government does not live in fantasy land with there being fiscal restraints so not everyone will be able to be pleased by what the government does or doesn't do.

However he is confident about the government's approach.

“What I do think we will get form the variety of relationships we have got, whether it is from the Maori Party or United or Act or potentially the Greens, we will hopefully get legislation and rules and regulations which are balanced and in the best interests of New Zealanders and I think you got that in the RMA reforms. We listened to the Maori Party, we listened to our own Maori caucus and we listened to the technical advisory group. In the end we didn’t alter section 8 in relation to the treaty because we believed to leave it intact was the right thing to do,” Mr Key says.


The cream of the crop of young Maori environmentalists began a journey today that could end in working for their iwi according to the department of conservation.

Tauira Kaitiaki Taiao, a 21 month conservation management course was launched at Waitetoko Marae near Lake Taupo today, involving 15 rangatahi nominated by iwi with, or soon to have responsibility for large areas of conservation lands.

Paul Green, the conservator of the Tongariro Taupo Conservancy, says the pilot cadetship was a positive move for the future of iwi around the country.

“Once they’ve graduated one or two might stay in DOC but more likely they’ll move on to managing their own lands or DOC will have joint collaborative agreements managing different bits of land, or they will for Nga Whenua Rahui, lots of opportunities,” Mr Green says.

The cadetship was a good way to promote tikanga Maori, as well as building relationships between iwi and conservation agencies.

The programme is a partnership between Nga Whenua Rahui, Te Puni Kokiri and the Department of Conservation with training provided by Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Quarterly iwi-cabinet meetings planned

Details of commitments given by the Government to Maori behind closed doors at the Iwi Leaders hui last week at Waitangi are starting to emerge.

Ngapuhi chairman Sonny Tau says iwi leaders were given an assurance the momentum of treaty settlements would not drop off.

"The National Party and the Maori party don’t see any letting up in the momentum that was created by Labour. They would like to accelerate that. There is a senior cabinet team chaired by the Prime Minister who will sit with Maori on a quarterly basis and deal with any issues arising so that is a significant commitment by the Government to this accord going forward,” Mr Tau says.

He says the Prime Minister's commitment to deal with iwi rather than having bureaucracy in the middle was welcomed.


And in the aftermath of Waitangi Day the Prime Minister John Key has likened the Treaty document to a marriage licence which doesn't guarantee a loving, faithful, good marriage but it is a commitment to try to have a good relationship.

John Key says legal argument supports the view that the Maori language version of the treaty and not the English is the one which should be used, but he says we should move on from debating the wording.

“So to me, the absolute words of the treaty, we could have an endless debate about that, but we’re now at a point where I want everyone to succeed. I think we can easily acknowledge where the issues are. Some of them can be resolved more quickly than others. Things like the historical treaty claims, there’s a process for dealing with those. But the fundamental issue is how can we deliver a world class education to every young New Zealander, particularly those of Maori and Pacific Island ethnicity where we know the achievement rates aren’t as high yet,” Mr Key says.

By 2050 half of the children in New Zealand will be Maori and for the future of the country they need to succeed.

Its considered one of the best one day walks in the world, and as of this month, you can hear the tales of Mount Tongariro's Maori history on a guided tour.

Pureora Walks has been granted a Department of Conservation concession to run tours for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Ngahuia Tahau, the director of Pureora Walks does the crossing at least three times a week as a tour guide, which she says keeps her fit and healthy.

“We tell the old Maori stories and the local stories when we walk over the crossing and we tell the geothermal stories as well. People love it. They like to be guided because then they know they are safe,” Ms Tahau says.

Her unique take on the tales of the maunga are courtesy of her Tuwharetoa tupuna.


The Government has been told not to let the economic crisis and a shortage of funds slow the treaty settlement process.

Ngapuhi chairman Sonny Tau says he gave this message directly to Prime Minister John Key and deputy Bill English at the Iwi Leaders hui at Waitangi.

“This is the best time to settle. Best time is when they got no money. I said to Bill English when he said we’ve got no money to settle, I’ve said that’s fine brother, we’ll take it on tick. Don’t ever let that be an impediment to the level of settlement that is rightfully iwi. They’ve been open to those discussions,” Mr Tau says.

He says the Prime Minister gave a commitment to Maori that the Treaty Settlement process will not slow under his government.


And Prime Minister John Key says he has received an outpouring of support following the attack on him by a couple of renegade protestors at Waitangi.

John Key says he has been overwhelmed by the support which was highly evident when he attended Waitangi Day celebrations back in Auckland.

“I went out to Manukau City on Waitangi Day after I came back from Waitangi and it was amazing how many people came up to me and said how sorry they were that it happened. They actually felt a bit guilty which is not appropriate because it’s not their fault. If you put that to one side, what will we remember Waitangi Day 2009. No arrests, no protests, no trouble at Waitangi and celebration right across the country,” Mr Key says.


The head of the New Zealand Maori Tourism Council says Maori tourism is not immune to the economic crisis.

John Barrett says while Maori operators have had a good summer so far, advanced bookings for the next season are down from last year.

However he says due to their unique offerings and cultural assets small Maori operators aren't doing as badly as some of the predictions.

“Some of those unique small tightly knit small and focused nature and culture experiences can’t be repeated anywhere else, so we think those offers are attractive whatever the economic climate’s like so we will always have a group of visitors prepared to spend the money and take the time to visit those operations, and many of them are Maori,” Mr Barrett says.

Literacy programme making early wins

A New Zealand programme to improve literacy levels among South Auckland and West Coast Maori and Pacific Island children is being hailed as a highly significant international breakthrough.

Dr Stuart McNaughton, the director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre which developed and tested the programme in 50 decile - 1 South Auckland and West Coast schools says Maori and Pacific children were found to be 2 years behind the national average in reading comprehension when the programme started three years ago but that they have now more than caught up.

He says the programme involves assessing individual children’s progress, adding the Centre's expertise in teaching methods then fine tuning teaching.

“This is a very important scientific breakthrough. We’ve just published the results in a very important scientific journal internationally, and that gives me the confidence to say we are very sure of what we found. That’s the first thing. The second thing is, we have further evidence that in fact schools can do better with Maori children than they are currently doing. That is hugely significant,” Dr McNaughton says.

Principals and staff in the participating schools have been highly supportive of the work and the Ministry of Education has embraced it with funding support.


A proposed Maori cemetery in Invercargill is being opposed by some residents who say it will devalue neighbouring properties.

Michael Skerritt, from Waihopai Runaka Holdings Ltd says the site was already set aside for a cemetery reserve and they received consent to develop the 2.26ha section last August.

He says rather than devaluing the surrounding properties, the urupa will enhance the area.

“Their section over the road is lower so they really won’t see anything. There will be flaxes and toitoi in the front row and then some things that grow about 3 metres high in the second row and then intermittently some taller ones in the back row so it will really enhance the area. It will be beautiful,” Mr Skerrit says.


A study into measuring obesity levels in adolescent girls from different ethnic groups has found Maori are the sportiest.

PHD student Elizabeth Duncan from AUT University in Auckland found Maori were among those ethnicities with the highest levels of body fat, however they were also the most active.

She says more in depth research would help figure out why.

“Without doing a longitudinal study, that is over a lifetime or number of years, you can’t really say what’s causing it. We’re suggesting the Maori girls are doing a lot of sport and physical activity, but perhaps it’s their diet that’s contributing to the overweight,” Dr Duncan says.

Her research also showed the Body Mass Index, or BMI, could be adjusted according to ethnicity for more accurate readings.


An internally significant New Zealand breakthrough in teaching methods means that poor literacy levels among Maori children could become a thing of the past.

Dr Stuart McNaughton, the director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre which has been working with 10,000 primary students across 50 schools, says the approach involves assessing individuals’ progress, identifying problems and then fine tuning teaching methods.

He says a study in 14 decile one schools in South Auckland, made up largely of Maori and Pacific children, found reading comprehension was about two years behind national averages but after three years using the method they had caught up to the national average.

Similar results were achieved on the West Coast of the South Island where 34 schools were involved in the programme.

“Its particularly significant for Maori children. It’s very important for the decile one schools in south Auckland in general and for the schools on the West Coast of the South Island but it’s particularly pertinent for those children that the schools have not found the best ways to teach and the schools in which Maori children have found there achievement levels are not as high as they should be,” Dr McNaughton says.

The research means that the option to use mainstream schooling for Maori could be realistic in guaranteeing Maori achievement levels.


The screening tool used to measure obesity levels in adolescent girls has come up short for Maori according to a PHD researcher at AUT.

In her study looking at girls with different ethnic backgrounds, Elizabeth Duncan found the Body Mass Index cutoffs currently used nationally would be more accurate if they were more flexible for Maori, Pacific Islanders and South Asians.

She says some groups like Maori, had greater muscle mass and heavier connective tissue which meant they could be overrepresented in obesity statistics.

“In order to represent the equivalent levels of body fat you would raise the cutoff slightly but in saying that we also don’t know enough about the health risk profile of that group so whether or not those levels of body fat might so until we know more about health risk we know we can’t say we should raise the cut off or lower the cut off,” Ms Duncan says.


Taranaki Maori health advocate Hayden Wano says he's keen to provide input to a ministerial health taskforce if it can improve frontline service to Maori.

The current CEO of PHO Hauora Taranaki, and former chair of the Taranaki District Health Board says the eight-member group has a wide cross section of talent from the health sector.

He says the taskforce is charged with providing advice to the health minister Tony Ryall on priorities in the sector.

“The committee itself has been asked to look at areas where money might best be spent and prioritise where resources can be shifted to people working at the front line and for Maori my sense is that could mean continued improvement in access, particularly to primary care services,” Mr Wano says.

The ministerial taskforce will work through to the end of July.