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Friday, November 27, 2009

Kotahitanga sought by fisheries chief

The new chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana wants to see more iwi working together to manage and grow their fisheries businesses.

Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngati Kahungunu replaces Sir Archie Taiaroa, who stepped down from the chair but remains a member of the trust.

Mr Tomoana says 95 percent of Maori fisheries settlement assets are now in the hands of iwi, so the challenge is to see they are used to their full potential.

“We've got to put a compelling case to all those iwi to whakakotahi nga raua, to collectivise efforts and energies First of al it save internal expenses but it could also add value at the other end so it’s about looking at unifying the collective package of iwi now,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says too many iwi still behave like fringe players rather than being part of a group which controls 40 percent of the industry.


More than a thousand bikers and car enthusiasts decended on Takahiwai marae south of Whangarei today for a powhiri to mark the start of the annual Bream Bay motorcycle and classic car rally.

The rally, which visits communities throughout the north, is part of the white ribbon campaign encouraging men to take action against violence against women and children.

Organiser Phil Paikea says last year's rally helped get the anti-violence message across, and helped generate a sense of anticipation at the marae.

The rally has no alcohol, no drugs and no gang patches.

The rally heads to Whangarei at first light, then on to Moerewa, Kaikohe, Opononi, Dargaville and back to Ruakaka.


Astronomy and sailing have been to the fore in Wellington this week as Maori navigators shared their experiences at the Mata Ora Living Knowledge festival.

Waka revivalist Hekenukumai Busby says he's heartened by the degree of interest in Maori and Polynesian knowledge of the heavens.

The builder of Te Aurere and other voyaging waka says the art of sailing by the stars was almost lost to Maori, but it had been preserved in remote parts of the Pacific.

“We had lost it and if it wasn’t for our Hawaiian whanungas and our teacher from Micronesia it would probably have been gone for good but let’s hope now we won’t lose it again,” Mr Busby says.

Mata Ora finishes tomorrow with a rocket building and launching event for kids throughout the morning at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.


A leading treaty lawyer says high legal aid bills for treaty claims is an inevitable response to the system, and spending can be expected to tail off on future years.

Charl Hirschfeld says he has seen no evidence of treaty claimants or lawyers were double-dipping or triple-dipping, as implied in a report on the legal aid system by Dame Margaret Bazley released today.

He says the rules for claiming legal aid are stringent, and while there has been public concern in recent years about the cost of litigating claims, there is a political will to drive the process of historical treaty claims to a conclusion.

“If you want hundreds and hundreds of claims resolved and settled within a certain time frame it needs to be done in such a fashion that these things won’t come back to haunt you and if that is so then the resourcing needs to be available in the first instance,” Mr Hirschfeld says.

He says overall the Bazley report is a fair summary of the legal aid situation and contains some useful recommendations.


One of the team who negotiated changes for Maori in the emissions trading scheme says individuals need to do their bit to address climate change.

Lawyer Willie Te Aho says the recession meant the ETS passed last year by Labour had become untenable.

He says including agriculture in the ETS from January the first would have harmed Maori farming interests, and the issue of iwi who had received pre-1990 forest land in their settlements also needed addressing.

Mr Te Aho says rather than criticise the Maori Party's deal on the bill people should ask what they can do.

“We need to change our cars. I’ve gone from a V6 to a 1.3 litre Suzuki. I’m doing my part in terms of my personal role and integrity or reducing the impact on our environment. I don’t need anyone else in the world to show me the way. I know the way and that’s reduce my energy intake. Those are the things I can do, that every iwi should be doing, and not just focusing on the polluters,” Mr Te Aho says.


The fate of a busy Hamilton West marae will be decided at a meeting of the Tainui's Te Kauhanganui parliament tomorrow.

Tainui Group Holdings wants to develop land used by Rangimarie Te Horanganui Marae Trust.

Marae trust member Tangaroa Whitiora says when the land came back to Tainui as part of its 1995 settlement, negotiator the late Sir Robert Mahuta said it was for a marae.

He says even though it was never given official marae status, the facility has a 37 percent usage rate, and other Tainui marae use it as a Hamilton base.

Tainui Group Holdings says if the parliament wants it to continue as an urban marae it will need to pay the company for the land, which is valued at $1.8 million

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ETS deal squalid politics - Moore

Former prime minister Mike Moore says the deal done to win the Maori Party's support for National's emissions trading scheme is squalid politics.

Five iwi whose treaty settlements included land with pre-1990 forests will be allowed to plant trees on Crown land to offset their carbon liabilities.

Mr Moore says treaty settlements can't be reopened every time future governments make changes which affect everybody.

He says good government means treating people even-handedly.

“Picking and choosing businesses because of politicians’ representations will end in tears. It creates what economists call a moral hazard. And the idea the government can decide this business will get this money despite its Maori competitors, despite its non-Maori competitors, I think takes us down a very dangerous road. I don’t think it’s right and I suspect New Zealanders don't think its right either,” Mr Moore says

He says the emissions trading scheme fails to give businesses the predictability they need to invest and grow.


But Maori Party whip Te Ururoa Flavell says the party's ETS deal was in line with the normal parliamentary process of negotiation and compromise.

He says the Maori Party is taking flak, but it won valuable concessions, including a Treaty of Waitangi clause which allows future review.
He says if the party hadn't stepped up, National would have looked elsewhere.

“And that might have been to ACT, and they’re pretty firm in their agenda that they don’t believe climate change is all around us or it would have gone to the Labour Party and what would they have got to gain, they already had their scheme in place so the would be staying where they were. Would they have gone to the Greens, no so if they had not been able to get agreement anywhere else they would have had to stop everything,” Mr Flavell says.

He says not doing anything would have created problems for the future.


Otakou Runanga is concerned the find of an extremely rare pre-European waka outrigger beside the Papanui inlet could put the site at risk from illegal fossickers.

Manager Hoani Langsbury says the outrigger, only the third found in this country, was uncovered in an official archaeological excavation.

But he says any remaining taonga Maori may now be at risk from unofficial fossicking.

“Within the last year we’ve had a site identified that had both cultural and European archaeological material in it and as soon as the media made the local community aware of the find the material disappeared in 24 hours. People just came through and stripped the site bare,” Mr Langsbury says.

Runanga representatives will patrol the area and won't hesitate to take action against scavengers who try to steal artifacts.


Ngati Kahungunu leader Ngahiwi Tomoana is the new chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana, after Sir Archie Taiaroa from Whanganui stepped down from the post.
Sonny Tau from Ngapuhi becomes the deputy chair of the trust.

Mr Tomoana says in his three years in the job Sir Archie had advanced the work of previous chairs Sir Tipene O'Regan and Shane Jones, with 95 percent of the Maori fisheries settlement assets now allocated to iwi.

He says the job ahead is to position Maori at the front of the industry and get iwi to work together.

“Iwi collectively own 35 to 40 percent of the assets but they don’t act like it. We all act like we’re one or two percenters and fringe players and it’s about uniting the efforts and energies, recognising the mana motuhake of every iwi as well,” Mr Tomoana says.

The allocation process should be complete by the middle of next year, with Cook Strait iwi Ngati Toa this week becoming the 50th iwi out of 57 to receive settlement assets.


The country's audiologists says cutbacks in ACC funding of hearing aids will have a particularly harsh effect on Maori.

A bill before parliament would remove ACC cover for people whose noise-induced hearing loss is judged to be less than six percent.

Lesley Hindmarsh, the president of the New Zealand Audiological Society, says Maori make up a high percentage of the workers in noisy industries such as forestry, construction and manufacturing.

She says they are already poorly served by the accident compensation system.

“They just find the process of applying to ACC too difficult. They just don’t have that help to help them find their way through the paperwork to get their claims initiated in the first instance,” Mrs Hindmarsh says.

Without hearing aids, sufferers won't be able to distinguish consonants like s,t, f and th which are critical for understanding, especially in noisy environments.


The force behind Auckland's Hineraukatauri Music Therapy centre is humbled by the generosity of two leading Maori entertainers who have rerecorded a Beatles track to raise funds for the centre.

Hinewehi Mohi says Che Fu and Boh Runga's cover of Come Together should be out early next week.

Ms Mohi says the centre, which is named after her teenage daughter who has cerebral palsy, touches the lives of dozens of disabled people who find relief and inspiration from working with musicians and sound.

She says Runga, a patron, has brought a lot of other musicians on board.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Poutama Trust celebrates business development

The Poutama Trust celebrates its 21st anniversary today.

The trust was one of the initiatives that came out of the 1984 Hui Taumata, acting as an initial source of advice and support for Maori seeking funding from the Maori Development Corporation.

Once the MDC folded it refocused itself on providing advice to small and medium size Maori businesses.

Chief executive Richard Jones from Ngati Maniapoto, Ngati Whakaue and Ngati Pikiao says it has has helped dozens of businesses get started.

He says Maori entrepreneurs are better prepared than when he started 15 years ago, and far more likely to have a professional business plan.

Tonight's celebration is at an innovative Auckland Maori business the trust has worked with, the Big Picture Wine Adventure.


Environment Minister Nick Smith is praising the Maori Party for helping National get changes to the emissions trading scheme through parliament.

Dr Smith says while every private discussion he had with Labour on the ETS appeared in the media the next day, the Maori Party MPs conducted themselves impeccably throughout their talks.

“The Maori MPs conducted themselves with total integrity. Yes they bargained hard, yes they had issues they felt strongly about but there was an integrity and a mana there that I think too many in the media in the broader community underestimate,” Dr Smith says.

Without Maori Party support, National would have had to do a deal with ACT and action on climate change would probably have been deferred for a year.


Meanwhile, Tairawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says the Maori Party has betrayed its supporters by voting for the bill.

The former Minister of Maori Affairs says it failed to tell the public where the money for the scheme will come from.

“When you put up $110 billion over a short time, it’s things like health, education, and you can already see tinges of that now, things being clawed back, and that's the issue,” Mr Horomia says.

In her newsletter to supporters yesterday, Maori Party MP Rahui Katene said the party still preferred a carbon tax, but accepted the reality that there would be an emissions trading scheme which the public would pay for through either higher taxes or higher prices.


A stalwart of the Maori Anglican church and pou of Ngati Kuri and Ngai Takoto from the far North has died.

Jane Marsden was the widow of the late Reverend Maori Marsden, and worked alongside him at Maori missions throughout the country.

MP Shane Jones says his aunt was a gutsy women who gave a lot of support to young people, especially those who got involved in land claims.

“Jane and her husband worked tirelessly to see the establishment of the Pihopatanga which is the Maori Anglican church with its own bishop. She was a tireless campaigner alongside Sir King Ihaka, Bishop Vercoe, Bishop Bennett, she goes right back to the days of Bishop Panapa. Embodied in her really was an entire history, starting from the missionaries in the far north, of Maori involvement or dare I say entanglement with the Anglican church,” Mr Jones says.

Jane Marsden is being taken back to Maemaru Marae at Awanui.

Haere atu ra e te whaea, ki taha o nga tupuna, ki reira oki oki ai.


Organisers of tonight's best practice workplace awards have refused to withdraw the nomination of tobacco giant British American Tobacco despite protests from Maori and other anti-smoking organisations.

Te Reo Marama says the company contributes to the deaths of 600 Maori a year.

John Robinson from organisers JRA says nominations come from staff within companies, and it would not be appropriate for JRA, a management consultancy, to exclude nominations for ethical reasons.

John Robinson says he's a non-smoker.


The kaitiakitanga of Papanui inlet on the Otago Pensinsula wants the area recognised as a site of national significance after the discovery of an extremely rare outrigger from a pre-European waka.

Hoani Langsbury, the manager of the Otakou runanga, says a series of archeological digs were undertaken says the discovery two years ago of Koiwi and other objects which were more than more than 200 years old.

This led to the unearthing of an eroding oval wooden structure which has now been confirmed as being made from both local totara and adzed timber from elsewhere.

“One of them is associated with a waka outrigger of which there has only ever been two other finds in New Zealand so indications are this site is of national significance,” Mr Langsbury says.

The runanga will meet Historic Places Trust and DOC representatives next month about the finds.

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Waitangi Tribunal to hear East Coast raruraru

East Coast iwi see an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing next month as a chance to put their histories on the public record.

Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ruawaipu and Ngati Uepohatu are challenging the settlement between the Crown and Te Runanga o Ngati Porou.

Tui Marino from Te Aitanga a Hauiti says because the Statistics Department lumped the other three iwi in with Ngati Porou when it started recording iwi affiliation in the 1992 census, the runanga has been able to capture the bulk of resources for itself.

He says iwi on the coast were historically self-sufficient and independent.

“You know we ran our own affairs. The bottom line of everything is one, our obligation to maintain the mana of our matua tupuna so that our tamariki and mokopuna can share in the benefits whether they are small or large, that they can have their place under the sun they can call their turangawaewae,” Mr Marino says.

Attempts to negotiate a better relationship between Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Te Runanga o Ngati Porou have been unsuccessful.


The chief executive of a trust set up to help small and medium Maori business says a new partnership with Kiwibank will help its clients get the funds they need to grow.

Poutama Trust celebrates its 21st anniversary today with a dinner for the clients it has worked over the years.

Richard Jones, from Ngati Maniapoto, Ngati Whakaue and Ngati Pikiao, says many Maori small businesses have been struggling over the recession, and would benefit from having a better relationship with their bankers, which Poutama can help them with.

He says the partnership may eventually change the trust's role.

“I'd like to see Poutama move into the area of providing venture finance, loans and that. It’s not an area we’ve been in yet but hopefully this relationship with Kiwibank will give us that experience to move into areas such as lending to businesses,” Mr Jones says.


Master waka builder Hekenukumai Busby is surprised at the level of interest in celestial navigation.

The Ngati Kahu kaumatua was a star attraction at Mata Ora, a Maori astronomy and navigation hui in Porirua, along with Hoturoa Kerr, Jack Thatcher and Frank Andrews.

He says it was a chance to share some of what they learned from Hawaiian and Micronesian navigators as they revived the art of finding a way across the Pacific by using the night sky.

Mata Ora ends on Saturday with a kids' astronomy day and rocket launching at Te Rauparaha Arena.


Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene says Education Minister Anne Tolley's decision to close Aorangi Primary School in Christchurch comes across as race based.

Mrs Tolley says she's closing the school once attended by Prime Minister John Key because of a falling roll and the need for major investment.

But Mrs Katene says a more likely reason for closing the 90-student school is that 40 percent of the roll is Maori and it has the only bilingual unit in the north east of Christchurch.

“The immediate community of course is very supportive but just outside of that area is another community entirely and you get the feeling they don’t quite approve of a school that looks the way Aorangi is, that has children and a community that’s not quite the same as them, it’s not just quite done,” Mrs Katene says.

No other community in the area has expressed interest in having either a kura kaupapa or bilingual unit.


A Maori anti-smoking organisation wants the nomination of one of the country's largest tobacco companies to be withdrawn from tonight's Best Workplace Awards.

British American Tobacco is up for a prize in the small to medium workplace category.

Te Reo Marama director Shane Bradbrook says the company is a key player in an industry that will kill 5000 New Zealanders this year, including 600 Maori.

“To be singled out and nominated for an award that reflects a good workplace, ethics and behaviour is just a complete anathema and contradiction,” Mr Bradbrook says.

He says the nomination is part of a sophisticated campaign by British American Tobacco to pretend it's a normal business.


A former ACT MP says a local bill setting up a Wanganui District Council-controlled port company shows mayor Michael Laws will pander to Maori when it suits his political objectives.

Lawyer Stephen Franks says the bill, which iwi are supporting in exchange for a couple of directorships and the return of some ancestral land, will confiscate the perpetual lease his client River City Port Limited holds over the facility.

He says it's the same confiscation Whanganui Maori protested about in the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“I voted against that bill on principle because it was taking away people’s rights to go to court and have their property rights determined and to have property rights. At the same time that’s being unwound, you have iwi, possibly unknowingly, being drawn into a bill that does something even worse. It’s taking away an absolutely certain vested property right,” Mr Franks says.

River City Port took on the lease 20 years ago because the council did not want the burden of keeping the port operational.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Schools have role in fight against violence

A campaigner against domestic violence says schools can do more to fight abuse of women and children.

Hone Kaa, the chair of Te Kahui Mana Ririki trust, says many children aren't taught appropriate behaviour in the home.

He says anti-violence education should become a formal part of the curriculum.

“It's certainly what I would ask off the kohanga and the kura kaupapa because of the high incidence of abuse amidst our iwi Maori. It’s not just them of course. Across all sectors of primary and secondary education, because I do believe we can start this from primary school level,” Dr Kaa says.

He says anti-violence programmes in Maori communities are starting to work.

Te Kahui Mana Ririki held a breakfast in Auckland today to mark White Ribbon Day, which raises awareness of violence against women.


A Maori academic says the Maori Party has a big fix up job to do if rebel MP Hone Harawira returns to the fold.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and ethnic studies at Canturbury University, says the blow up between Mr Harawira and the party leadership was a dispute waiting to happen.

He says despite the lessons of history such as the failure of the New Zealand First-National coalition, the Maori Party didn't seem ready for the internal strains which come from being in an alliance.

“Hone Harawira's remarks aside, I think there’s really a reflection about some internal tensions within the party about the cost of working with National and they need to focus on that and get the waka back on track,” Mr Taonui says.

He says keeping Mr Harawira in the party is the right way forward.

Mr Harawira will meet party members in west Auckland tonight as part of his consultation over his future.


Iwi leaders have their eyes on 200,000 hectares of conservation land for afforestation to offset the effects of the emissions trading scheme on land with pre-1990 forests.

Willie Te Aho, an advisor to the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group, says the group has until February to come up with a mechanism under which forest landowners can plant carbon sink forests on DoC land.

He says the Department has been asked to identify suitable land with low conservation value, on top of the 35,000 hectares already earmarked for five iwi whose 10-year-old treaty settlements will be affected by the ETS.

“To really make it worthwhile, we’d be looking at 200,000 hectares and access to that 200,000 hectares but I understand that work is still being undertaken,” Mr Te Aho says.

Maori forest owners could use the New Zealand Unit carbon credits they receive from existing forests to fund the planting, which is estimated to cost between $1000 and $2000 a hectare.


The chair of an East Coast iwi is celebrating the Waitangi Tribunal's decision to look into the proposed settlement between the Crown and Te Runanga o Ngati Porou.

Tui Marino says the Crown and the runanga have been riding roughshod over his Te Aitanga a Hauiti people, as well as Ruawaipu and Ngati Uepohatu.

He says Ngati Porou's traditional rohe is around the Waiau River and Ruatioria, but it has used its favoured status to take the rights and interests of the other three tipuna groups.

“It's an out and rip off and we’ve got to do something about it, otherwise our young people, the generation to morrow, will be called Ngati Porou and we really don’t want that. That’s alright for Ngati Porou but we are Aitangi a Ahuiti and we need to and we wish to maintain that mana,” Mr Marino says.

The urgent hearing in Wellington the week of December 14 will give the other three iwi the chance to show how they have separate and distinct identities.


Former rugby league hardman Ruben Wiki says his experience allows him to be brutally honest when talking about the need for men to stop violence.

The Otara raised community worker is the ambassador for white ribbon day, which draws international attention to violence by men against women.

Mr Wiki, who gained a formidable reputation in the NRL and as New Zealand's most capped international player, says he's proud to stand up for women today.

“I've spread my story, growing up with violence, watching mum get beaten up by her partner, so it’s not acceptable. Women bring life into this world, our kids, and they shouldn’t be treated like that so just trying to get a message out and hopefully all the men can get behind and support the white ribbon campaign,” Mr Wiki says.


A Ngapuhi academic is overcoming personal loyalty to endorse the tino rangatiratanga flag as the official Maori flag.

Rawiri Taonui from Canturbury University says his preference was for the Confederation of United Tribes flag which came out of relations between northern Maori and Europeans in the lead up to the Treaty of Waitangi.

But the more modern tino rangatiratanga flag which Cabinet is expected to endorse on the recommendation of Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples may have wider appeal for today.

“It has Maori mythology embedded within it, it reflects that whole struggle of the 80s and 90s that led to the renaissance and it’s widely recognised, particularly by young people,” Mr Taonui says.

He's looking forward to seeing a Maori flag alongside the New Zealand ensign next Waitangi Day.

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Goff slams iwi forum as selfish

Labour is accusing the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Forum of buying into pork barrel politics with its support of the Government's emissions trading scheme.

Leader Phil Goff says the changes going through parliament this week with the support of the Maori Party will benefit a few large iwi corporates.

Forum chair Api Mahuika says the scheme is far better than the one passed by the Labour government.

But Mr Goff says at the deal is at the expense of taxpayers.

“If you are only looking at the narrow pork barrel politics of your own business and not the overall well being of the community, Maori and Pakeha, you’re not worried about the taxpayer who’s paying for it and you’re not worried about the legal opinions that are ignored to suit a dirty political deal, then you might say that,” Mr Goff says.

He says the scheme is not sustainable and a future Labour Government will repeal it.


But an adviser to the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Forum says it's a great opportunity to offset the liabilities which would have owners of pre-1990 forestry land.

Willie te Aho says the five iwi covered in the deal going through this week we facing the prospect of their treaty settlements forests plummeting in value without the change.

He says the forum is continuing to work on a system to allow other pre-1990 forest owners to plant forests on conservation land.

This will take account of the fact the Kyoto regime requires landowners to pay if they don't replant the same blocks.

“It's basically saying that we will grow carbon on Crown land without the cost of leasing the land and we will use that profit to offset the cost of deforesting lands on other pre-1990 (forests) so it’s about creating a fund that can offset the costs of deforesting pre-1990 forest lands,” Willie te Aho says.

Maori own about 70 percent of pre-1990 production forests.


If you see white ribbons around today, that's a call for men to end violence against women.

Child advocacy group Te Kahui Mana Ririki is hosting a men's breakfast at St Johns Theological College in Auckland to highlight the challenge in Maori communities.

Spokesperson Anton Blank says campaigns like It's Not Okay are changing attitudes, but there is a long way to go, with rates of violence again Maori women still far too high.

“Maori women are seven times as likely to be hospitalised as a result of being battered than other groups of women but what’s good to see is we have an emerging group of men who are taking responsibility for this issue and figuring out how to work with other men to achieve those changes,” Mr Blank says.

Speakers at this morning's breakfast include It's Not Okay frontman Alfred Ngaro and Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand.


Iwi leaders have thrown an olive branch to other forestry owners left out of the Government's emissions trading scheme.

The deal struck between National and the Maori Party this week will allow five iwi whose settlements included pre-1990 forests to plant trees on DOC land and collect the carbon credits.

Willie Te Aho from the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group says the next step is to provide a framework for other Maori landowners with pre-1990 forests to also plant on DoC land.

He says that could be extended to other forest owners.

“I've been approaching other pre-1990 exotic forest landowning groups to see how we can work together. Ultimately by the time this gets to Cabinet in February we want to see a wider approach if possible but the discussions are just beginning,” Mr Te Aho says.

He met yesterday with the Forest Owners Association, which had branded the iwi deal as unjust, and he'll be meeting its chairman again later in the week.


A National list MP has hit out at one of the country's most senior department heads for investigating him for breaching parliament's rules.

Ministry of Social Development chief executive Peter Hughes Is investigating a complaint from Labour MP Grant Robertson that Paul Quinn was using Work and Income to promote National Party policies.

Mr Quinn from Ngati Awa says he invited business leaders and community groups in the Hutt South electorate to a workshop to address the needs of young Maori unemployed.

He says by issuing public statements, Mr Hughes is giving legs to false accusations.

“What I find concerning is that Grant Robinson (sic) has been given a lot of wasted airtime because very senior public servants have given him some credence in his allegations,” Mr Quinn says.

He says the workshop was the sort of thing MPs should be supporting.


A top young Maori sailor from Te Teko leaves for Australia today for two months of competition.

Sixteen year old Rawiri Geddes from Ngati Awa and Ngaitai won last year's national winter champs in the laser radial class, and last Labour weekend took top honours in the open laser division in the Bay of Islands regatta.

He is set to race in the Australia Down under series in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and the Laser Open in Adelaide in before returning for the New Zealand Nationals off Timaru.

He says many rangatahi are put off by because they think it's an expensive sport, but it doesn't have to be.

He started sailing in club boats and borrowed boats, and only got his own boat last year.

Rawiri Geddes says his ambition is to race for New Zealand in an America's Cup.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

EMS won’t last change of government

Phil Goff is promising a future Labour government will repeal National's emissions trading scheme.

The Labour leader says the changes, which are expected to be pushed through this week, will be bad for Maori and Pakeha alike.

Despite expressing grave concerns about the overall scheme in its minority select committee report, the Maori Party will vote for the bill because of concessions including a top-up of five treaty settlements done by National in the 1990s.

Mr Goff says history shows rushed legislation leads to higher costs for the country.

“This legislation is not sustainable. This legislation will be changed with the change of government. And that’s a real pity because it would have been preferable to have had certainty, to have sought a fair degree of consensus. Labour offered that, and the National Party broke off negotiations in bad faith to reach a deal that gives it a majority of only two in the House. That's not sustainable,” Mr Goff says.

He says the five iwi who stand to benefit from the deal will do so at the expense of ordinary Maori.


Meanwhile, Green co-leader Metiria Turei says Maori are being used as a wedge to open up publicly-owned conservation land to overseas companies.

Under the deal the Maori Party struck with National in exchange for supporting changes to the emissions trading scheme, five iwi will be able to plant trees on conservation land to offset forests cleared from land they received in their treaty settlements.

Ms Turei says those iwi will inevitably enter into partnerships with foreign companies that will be the real winners.

“The deal that the government is doing to allow other private interests to do this planting and to reap the benefits is another way of sucking money out of the public because this could be a public investment, jobs for New Zealanders and the public purse gaining the advantage of the carbon credits which could then be used to help pay for some of the social services that especially the poorest communities so desperately need,” Ms Turei says.

In the past the Crown has refused to include conservation land in treaty settlements.


A Muriwhenua kaumatua says the Government is making an historical error in its choice of a Maori flag.

The prime minister has indicated he's about to take the Maori Party's recommendation to Cabinet, and the flag will be flow next Waitangi Day on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, at Waitangi and on other government buildings.

The choice is widely expected to be the tino rangatiratanga flag designed for competition run in 1990 by Hone Harawira's Kawariki protest group.

‘But Rima Edwards says the flag chosen in the 1830s by the Confederation of United Tribes is the right symbol.

“1835 is important because it’s a declaration to the world that the mana motuhake of this land belongs to the rangatira of the hapu, that’s the significance of that flag,” Mr Edwards says.


National's changes to the emissions trading scheme are being described as a return to Muldoonism.

Labour MP Shane Jones says the controversy over concessions given for Maori Party support for the bill is overshadowing the economic backwardness of the approach.

He says rather than using economic signals to encourage New Zealand firms to invest in technology and innovation which would reduce their carbon footprint, National is dipping into the playbook of the late Sir Robert Muldoon.

“Muldoon used to have a system where you could grow as much milk and wool as you liked, he would guarantee you a set of payments and in many respects the taxpayer is now guaranteeing payments to industry to create in the same way they have always been doing which whilst it is good for wealth creation for that sector it’s bad if the taxpayers have to subsidise it all,” Mr Jones says.

He says the main beneficiaries of National's changes will be farmer and other big carbon emitters, rather than Maori.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the flying of a Maori flag is unimportant alongside the real issues facing the country.

Prime Minister John Key has promised the will be flown widely from government buildings around the country next Waitangi Day.

A recommendation from Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples on the preferred flag is ready to go to Cabinet for ratification.

Mr Goff says it seems inevitable the tino rangatiratanga flag will be chosen, but it's an empty gesture for many Maori.

“Flying a flag isn’t compensation for the fact you’ve lost your job, that your real income has gone down, that Maori unemployment has doubled, that families are struggling to make ends meet,” Mr Goff says.

Any excitement over the flag will be short lived.


A student leader says dropping student representatives on polytech councils is a threat to Maori education.

An amendment to the Education Act now before Parliament will trim the number of council members and get rid of guaranteed seats for students, staff and unions.

Rawa Karetai, the president of the Albany Massey Students Association, says the bill gives the education minister direct political control of tertiary institutions.

He says Maori students don't receive the support they need now, and the bill will make things worse.

“Maori students comprise a large number of students in the polytechnic sector and without student representation their voices would be lost in the decision-making processes,” Mr Karetai says.


One of the country's most famous hotels is switching from haurangai to hauora.

Te Korowai Hauora, the health arm of the Hauraki Maori Trust Board, is turning the Brian Boru in Thames into a health centre.

General manger Whiu Kininmonth says the 1868 building will be a useful addition for the organisation, which has more than 5000 clients registered and clinics right around the Coromandel peninsula.

As well as health services, the Brian Boru will house an arts centre and a wananga.

Climate change deal leaves out major stakeholders

The Federation of Maori Authorities is feeling shortchanged by the Maori Party's deal on the Government's emissions trading scheme.

The Party will vote for the scheme to go through this week in exchange for concessions including more money spent on home insulation, the issuing of carbon credits to fishing quota holders rather than fishers, and allowing five iwi the opportunity to plant trees on Conservation Department land and harvest the carbon credits.

FOMA chief executive Rino Tirikatene says this still leaves most Maori forest owners out in the cold.

“Maori are disproportionately represented as pre-1990 forest owners, plus we believe it’s a treaty breach issue in terms of locking a huge amount of Maori land into forestry use and being unable to apply those lands to a higher and better use,” Mr Tirikatane says.

He says this could end up costing Maori $6 billion over time.


The Maori Party is waiting on feedback from rebel MP Hone Harawira's Taitokerau electrorate before deciding on his political future.

A hui was held in Otaki over the weekend to plot a way forward following the controversial MP's unsanctioned trip to Paris and expletive laden email sent to a Maori Party supporter.

That prompted calls from president Whatarangi Winiata for Mr Harawira to consider a future as an independent MP.

Mr Flavell says the hui agreed to leave the ball in the electorate's court.


Ngati Whatua is hailing its first combined iwi festival a success despite losing the major sporting fixture to Ngapuhi.

Uri from 34 Ngati Whatua marae gathered at North Harbour this weekend for kapa haka, kai, crafts, a kaumatua ball, inter-takiwa touch... and a rugby league match against their northern neighbours.

Organising committee member Ngaroimata Le Gros says it was a great chance to focus on Ngati Whatua-tanga, and led to a determination to revive specifically Ngatu Whatua waiata.

Feedback from festival goers is that they'd like a gathering every year, but they'll have to wait and see what the runanga and the funders have to say.


Labour Party Maori MP Shane Jones is predicting doing a deal with National over the ETS will be fatal for the Maori Party.

Mr Jones, who headed a number of large Maori businesses before entering parliament as a list MP, says Maori taxpayers will see little benefit from the deal with their cost of living going up and the Maori Party will be called to answer.

He says Maori business won’t benefit either as the deal mainly benefits South Island iwi Ngai Tahu iwi at the expense of other Maori.

“The Maori Party has sold Maori families, Maori taxpayers out to enrich an narrow privileged range of corporate interests. This isn’t pork barrel. This is pork bone politics, a concession that has been made available to Ngai Tahu may be good for Ngai Tahu but it will be fatal for the Maori Party and it’s certainly not good for Maoridom,” Mr Jones says.

He says rebel Maori Party MP Hone Harawira must be looking at the deal out in disgust from his Te Tai Tokorau electorate because he would never have agreed to support such a deal.


Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says Hawea Vercoe was poised to have significant political influence in the region.

The 36 year old died after an altercation outside a nightclub in Whakatane in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Mr Flavell says the kura kaupapa principal was in the early stages of his political career, having stood as a candidate for Destiny Church in the 2005 general election, and was a sitting Environment Bay of Plenty member and a former member of Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa standing committee.

He assumed Mr Vercoe would one day challenge him for the Maori Party candidacy in the Waiariki electorate.


Hauraki has taken ownership of one of the country's most historic pubs... the Brian Boru hotel in Thames.

It’s been brought by the Hauraki Maori Trust Board’s health arm Te Korowai Hauora to use for health services, a Maori arts centre, and a venue for Hauraki wananga.

General manager Whiu Kinimonth says the hauora has limited scope to modify the building, but it can change the name from honouring an Irish king who lived 700 years ago.

“It is an historic building so we’re limited to what we can actually change but certainly the kaumatua are putting their thinking caps on now about a Hauraki name for it,” he says.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stan Walker wins Australian idol in front of whanau

The live feed of whanau watching Stan Walker win Australian Idol made the small Tauranga marae of Tamapahore seem even more sparsely populated than usual.

Most of the whanau had hopped on a plane and headed to the live final at the Sydney Opera House.

Speaking from Australia, Molly McLeod says Stan is very close to his Nga Potiki and Ngaiterangi whanau, and many McLeods, Walkers and Ohia were in the audience.

Stan Walker won a Sony recording contract, $200,000 to develop his skills and a brand new car.


Maori business is emerging as an area of study in its own right as distinct from mainstream business studies.

The associate dean of Maori and Pacific development at Auckland university's business school, Manuka Henare, says the new discipline is undergoing major growth.

“There is a thing called maori business and over the last 20 years we’ve all been focused on that, giving it an identity trying to describe its characteristics and then develop courses and programmes that prepare people for a Maori commercial world,” Dr Henare says.

He says the university’s plan to have at least 10 PhD graduates in the next couple of decades will be helped by a new scholarship kicked off by businessman Owen Glenn. Undergraduates studying Maori business can get help from a $1 million fund donated by Paul Kelly.


Rugby commentator Ken Laban predicts that a rugby super star of the future has emerged during the All Blacks tour.

He says Ngati Kahungunu winger Zac showed skill and composure in the All Blacks 19-6 win over England at Twickenham on Sunday morning, belying his 20 years.

The Hawkes Bay flyer was picked ahead of Hosea Gear because he can cover both wing and fullback and is confident under the high ball.

If as expected Guildford gets the nod for the final test against France it will show the selectors see him as front runner for World Cup left winger.


The Government's Emissions trading scheme has exposed divisions across Maoridom.

The Maori party's support for the deal to push the ETS through parliament this week under urgency will see an addition $24 million to insulate 8000 more low income family homes... many of them Maori.

In exchange for its support the Maori party says it has won a halving of power and petrol price rises in comparison with previous estimates.

Other Maori specific initiatives in the deal include a Treaty of Waitangi clause in the legislation, the government paying for iwi representatives to travel to Copenhagen for world climate change talks next month, and a bigger allocation of carbon credits for the fishing industry and agreement that they will be paid to quota holders which includes many iwi instead of fishing vessel owners.

Minister of Maori Affairs and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples hails it as a win for all New Zealanders saying it will allow the creation of large-scale permanent forests.

Under the deal announced this afternoon by Prime minister John Key around 35,000 hectares of Conservation land will be set aside for some iwi - notably big South Island tribe Ngai Tahu - to plant for carbon credits under the deal, while other iwi will also work with the government to facilitate indigenous planting.

However the Greens and Labour have questioned this saying despite the concessions ordinary Maori families will not only pay through across the board price increases but by funding not being available for health and welfare where Maori are in need of help.

The say Maori foresters are getting special treatment and big business polluters are being sheltered sending the wrong signals in the stated aim of cutting greenhouse gas.

Five iwi which signed treaty agreements prior to 1990 which are getting access to plant on DOC estate as part of the deal.


The iwi leadership forum has given the thumbs up to the Government’s scheme.

Speaking from Gisborne today chairman Apirana Mahuika says the forum supports the inclusion of treaty clauses, and is satisfied the relationship between the government and Maori interests paves the way forward to address climate change and economic implications for Maori.

He says the forum supports the five iwi who settled early, and the iwi Crown forest partnership

“Our discussions with Nick Smith have been very constructive and positive, I’d say far more than with the previous administration, and we are absolutely confident that in our discussions with him we can actually move forward and benefit not only Maori but the nation as a whole,” Mr Mahuika says.


However the Federation of Maori Authorities is concerned about the Maori landowners who are not covered by the deal announced today.

Rino Tirikatene, FoMA's chief executive, says Maori will be the biggest owners of land with forests planted before 1990 once all treaty settlements are complete.

Government figures indicate that close to 300,000 hectares of that land is suitable for a higher and better use, but Mr Tirikatene says the cost of changing from forestry to farming or market gardening will be prohibitive.

“We support the arrangements and the deal that have been done with the five iwi. They were specific contractual issue they had around their treaty settlements with the Crown and it’s good they’ve managed to find a resolution to those issues. However our concerns were more general and broader than that in that they relate to the many other private Maori land interests who own pre-1990 forest lands and they haven’t got anything out to the bill before the House,” Mr Tirikatene says.


Labour party intends to strongly oppose any special deal for Ngai Tahu to compensate the South Island iwi for the impact the emissions trading scheme may have.

Environment spokesperson Shane Jones says Labour does not agree with Ngai Tahu's claim that the scheme as currently proposed could cost them $70 to $120 million by changing the terms of the terms of the iwi's treaty settlement negotiated by former National treaty negotiations minister Sir Douglas Graham.

“The government seems to be convinced by the special pleading strategy from Ngai Tahu that their settlement will be eroded if ETS goes ahead. That’s not a view that Labour has. We had a QC look into the matter. There’s no ways Doug Graham who negotiated the settlement with Sir Tipene O’Regan misled or lied to Ngai Tahu and we don’t agree with the scheme at all as proposed by Nick Smith and we certainly won’t be agreeing with any special deal for Ngai Tahu,” Mr Jones says.

He says the Maori Party has sold Maori short in supporting National to push emissions trading scheme legislation through Parliament under urgency this week.

Hawea Vercoe killed in Whakatane street

Bay of Plenty Maori are devastated with the death of Hawea Vercoe who was killed in a scuffle in Whakatane on Saturday night.

Te Arawa trust board chairman Toby Curtis says even though only 36 years old, the Rotoiti Kura Kaupapa principal had already established himself as a leader of his people as an Environment Bay of Plenty councilor and a member of Rotorua District Council's Te Arawa standing committee.

“Hawea was at the very forefront in terms of some of the educational initiatives that were sorely needed in Te Arawa. What he has achieved to date has surely benefited the whole of New Zealand. We’re going to miss him intensely because he’s one of the people who the whole of Te Arawa was starting to nurture, foster, in order that he would advance the great works of the past by our previous leaders and take us well into the future,” Mr Curtis says.

He says Mr Vercoe was just getting over a difficult period including the break up of his marriage, a court case over an altercation his former wife's new partner, and a shoplifting charge which was thrown out of court.


Labour's tertiary education spokesperson says Education Minister Anne Tolley's overhaul of the way polytechnics are governed could be the next big test of the Maori party's allegiance to National.

Maryan Street says a bill now before parliament gets rid of Maori representation on polytech councils.

That's despite the fact polytechs are the major provider of training for industries which employ large numbers of Maori, such a forestry, fishing and agriculture.

“For all that they talk about their relationship with the Maori Party and how well that’s going, they cannot make any distinctive provision or even appropriate provisions for Maori in education where it counts,” Ms Street says.

Maori should put pressure on the Maori Party to stand up for their interests.


Ngapuhi is looking forward to an overhaul of social service delivery which will give a greater role to iwi.

Runanga chair Sonny Tau says uncertainty in the sector, including government agencies cutting contracts after the election, means Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services had a $400,000 shortfall last financial year.

He says the whanau ora policy being developed by associate health and social development minister Tariana Turia should spell an end to the current situation where several government agencies can deal with the same whanau with no coordination between them.

“Tariana's approach is that combined iwi organisations will be used as a banking service and the service providers will be chopped back because there will be no duplication of administration. A lot of the money that is being duplicated on organisational structures will be chopped out. It’s not about the provider any more. It’s about the whanau,” Mr Tau says.

While Ngapuhi is waiting for the new policy to come through, it is watching costs and cutting back on activities so it can manage its way through the tough economic environment.


The government is giving polytechnics the super city treatment.

Guaranteed Maori representation on polytech councils has been cut in the version of a reform bill reported back to parliament last week by the Education and Science select committee.

Maryan Street, Labour's tertiary education spokesperson, says Maori need a place at the top table when important strategic decisions are made.

“Cutting iwi representation out of polytech councils, taking away this guaranteed position, is a slap in the face for iwi and a slap in the face for all those Maori who are trying hard to better themselves to overcome disadvantages they had first time round in education and having another crack,” Ms Street says.

Maori representatives have helped steer polytechs to provide training in many of the sectors which are big employers of Maori, such as farming and forestry.


The kura kaupapa where Maori leader Hawea Vercoe was principal will be open today to look after the children who simply loved their tumuaki.

Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Rotoiti board member Justin Roberts says the kura considered closing for the day following the tragic death of Mr Vercoe during an altercation in the streets of Whakatane night.

He says those among the schools 90 students who have heard about his death are absolutely devastated as are the elders faced with consoling them.

“With the tragedy that has taken place the difficulty of informing many of our whanau because they’re spread over such a wide area, we want to make sure everyone is informed and to sit with the children and support them through the grieving process,” Mr Roberts says.

The tangi for Mr Vercoe, who was of Te Arawa and Ngati Awa descent, is being held in Te Teko.


Doctors who have attacked National's proposed emissions trading scheme say they're getting massive support from colleagues and the public.

The climate and health group Ora Taiao told politicians last week the changes would be disastrous to Maori health.

Coordinator Rhys Jones says the only criticism of their lobbying has come from climate change skeptics, and health professionals are queuing up to join the group.

"Some of the price shifts and some of the costs re going to adversely impact on Maori whanau and some of our more vulnerable communities, mostly because the extra funding our government and taxpayers are going to have to put into the emissions trading scheme means that there is going to be much less for some of the critical health and social services,” Dr Jones says.

A responsible emissions trading scene would penalise polluters rather than put the cost of tackling climate change on ordinary people.