Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sharples defends statutory board concept

Maori Party leader Pita Sharples says a statutory Maori board is the best he could do for Maori representation on the Auckland super city, but Maori should still push for seats on the council.

The Tamaki Makaurau MP told a local government hui in Auckland today that Maori should continue pushing for representation as of right.

Auckland iwi have threatened to boycott the statutory board, which would include seven mana whenua representatives and two representing Maori from outside the rohe.

Dr Sharples says Local Government Minister Rodney Hide was adamantly opposed to any Maori presence at all, and the board was the best that could be done in the circumstances.

I just felt obliged in Cabinet to fight for that statutory body because one, Rodney was having a lot of power and he wanted nothing and so Cabinet moved in the middle and so were looking at an advisory group, so we moved above that and looked at a statutory body which is going to go through,” Dr Sharples says.

He says Auckland is a test case for the rest of the country.


A Maori lawyer says Maori are being shut out of the management of the country's fresh water resources.

A national hui next week will hear from iwi leaders who have been working with government officials on water policy.

Willie Te Aho, who has been involved in a similar exercise on climate change policy, says concerted action is needed before it's too late ... and it may already be too late.

“People have assumed like the foreshore and seabed that there is no ownership but the reality is that there are others who have played I guess a government rights game, consents or permits for water, effectively have ownership of water and it’s long overdue that this matter be addressed,” Mr Te Aho says.

He says few water permits are in the hands of Maori incorporations or iwi.


The Dutch father Christmas is getting a Maori welcome.

Sinterklaas will get a powhiri from Horowhenua hapu tomorrow to mark the launch of a $12 million project to build a Dutch arts and crafts museum in Foxton.

Hayley Bell from Ngati Raukawa says in the Netherlands Sinterklaas traditionally arrives on a steam boat, so the people of Foxton have come up with their own version, a waka.

Hayley Bell says the Dutch families who settled around Foxton fitted in well with Maori.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is urging Maori to work through their iwi leaders to get more representation in local government.

Dr Sharples told a hui in Auckland today organised by the Iwi Have Influence lobby group that the proposed Maori statutory board to advise the Auckland super city was the best he could manage against the determined opposition of Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

Hui participants said the board, which will include seven mana whenua members and two representing Maori from elsewhere, falls far short of what they are seeking.

But Dr Sharples says it's a start, and the issue is larger than Auckland.

“This is an opportunity for this group that is meeting today to call together iwi saying ‘look you’re doing well, you’ve got a front door to the Prime Minister and to government in negotiations, you’ve got the support of the Maori Party in most things you’re doing there, how about now you support this principle of mana whenua and rally around and put total iwi support from throughout New Zealand in behind this move,’” Dr Sharples says.

Maori should also push mayoral candidates to support Maori seats if they are elected.


Maori Television will broadcast the next three David Tua fights.

Chief executive Jim Mather fronted a media conference today with boxer David Tua and American promoter Cedric Kushner to announce the first fight will be on February 7 against former World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon in Seldon's home town of Atlantic City.

It will be followed by a bout in New Zealand in March and another in Hawaii in May against as yet unnamed opponents.

Mr Maher says Maori Television is branding it the Tua de Force, and it will attract the channel’s largest ever audiences.

David Tua told the press conference his relationship with Maori Television is more than just a business arrangement, and the channel's support for his fight against Shane Cameron was crucial for his bid to become world champion.


And Maori Television will this weekend celebrate a group of Maori who are already world champions.

It will carry delayed coverage of tomorrow night's Maori sports award at the Telstra Clear Events Centre in Manukau.

Eight of the world's best will be honoured, including woodchoppers Jason and Karmyn Wynyard, rower Storm Uru and cage fighter James Te Huna.

Commentator Ken Laban says Maori have made major contributions to New Zealand's sporting legacy, and the awards are a way to highlight that.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Hide defends Maori appointment plan

Local government minister Rodney Hide is defending the final plan for Maori representation at Auckland super city.

The ACT leader resisted calls for dedicated iwi seats on the council because representatives would not be appointed rather than elected.

Now Cabinet has now approved a Maori statutory board to advise the council, with mana whenua iwi Ngati Whatua and Tainui controlling the appointments.

“Well there is going to be a process by which the local Maori will choose who will represent them and so they will be going through a process. It won’t necessarily be a voting process but there will be a mechanism overseen by the Minister of Maori Affairs by which they will be chosen,” Mr Hide says.

He says members of the super city council have to represent all of Auckland, while those on the statutory board will represent specific interest groups.


Meanwhile, Maori hoping to increase their influence in local government are meeting in Auckland today.

The hui at Unitec's at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae is hosted by the IHI or Iwi Have Influence group, which was formed to protest the exclusion of Maori from Auckland's super city council.

Member Rau Hoskins says it hasn't given up on guaranteed Maori representation.

“Looking at the whole breadth of different opportunities to increase Maori participation in local government and of course one of those should be through guaranteed representation on the super city. That has not come to pass as yet but we would hope there would be some support for some legislation in future that would look to move in that direction,” Mr Hoskins says.


Eight Maori world champions will be acknowledged at the Maori Sports Awards in Manukau tomorrow night.

Organiser Dick Garrett says Maori athletes are competing in a huge range of sports.

As well as their historic strength in rugby, league and netball, Maori players are making contributions to football and cricket. as well as having success in individual sports.

Among those being honoured will be action pistol shooting champion Tiffany Piper from Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Tuwharetoa.... and cage fighter James Te Huna, also from Tuwharetoa.

Other Maori world champions include woodchoppers Jason and Karmyn Wynyard, karate-ka Shayne Taupo, powerlifter Tohora Harawira, rower Storm Uru and wheelchair racer Matthew Lack.


Local government minister Rodney Hide says he expected criticism by iwi of his plans for a statutory board to represent Maori on the Auckland super city.

Mana whenua groups are considering boycotting the board, which Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua says is toothless and powerless.

Mr Hide says the super city council will need to interact with local Maori, so the government has come up with a mechanism to allow this.

“Now ultimately yes it’s true the council will be making the decisions, but that is as it should be because they are the people the people of Auckland have elected. You can’t suddenly overturn that democratic ideal and say here’s a bunch of people will make decisions, have the power but not be subject ot the discipline of getting us to vote for them,” Mr Hide says.

He worked closely with Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples on the board proposal, and he hopes over time other Maori will see its merits.


The author of a new history of Tuhoe says autonomy for the Urewera region is not a far fetched idea.

Judith Binney's Encircled Lands covers the tribe from 1820 to 1921, including the period of the rohe potae when the iwi was supposed to have self government within Te Urewera.

She says it remains a core element in the way Ngai Tuhoe see themselves, and it's sure to be part of the current treaty settlement negotiations.

“There is very clear evidence tracking through of the way in which they have consistently held for this and held this for a long period of time and I think it is reasonable they could develop a form of self government in negotiation which would not threaten any of us,” Professor Binney says.

Countries like Spain have shown it is possible to include regional self-government within a democratic national structure.


Hitting his mid-thirties is not slowing down a Maori champion.

Jason Wynyard... from Nga Puhi and Ngati Maniapoto... has won eight world titles in his 13 years as a professional axeman.

He says, unlike rugby and league, which tends to take a toll on the body, woodchoppers can still compete into their forties and fifties.

Both Jason and his wife Kamryn will be recognised as world champions at tomorrow's Maori Sports Awards at the Pacific Events Centre in Manukau.

Auckland sub-council not enough for mana whenua

Mana whenua groups are considering boycotting Auckland super city's proposed Maori statutory board.

The board is will contain up to nine members, seven of them mandated representatives of recognised mana whenua groups within the Auckland Council boundaries and two taura here representatives appointed by those seven members.

It will be able to appoint persons to sit on Auckland Council committees that deal with the management and stewardship of natural and physical resources.

Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua o Orakei says it's no substitute for having Maori seats on the full council, as the Royal Commission on Auckland governance recommended.

“The best they could come up with was a toothless powerless advisory board which they’ve tried to beef up with some kind of status by calling it a statutory board but at the end of the day we haven’t moved out of the 1990s,” Mr Blair says.

He understands Tainui is considering boycotting the committee, and Ngati Whatua could follow suit.


Labour's Maori issues spokesperson says the way Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira has been allowed to keep his party status is an indictment of the Maori Party.

Mr Harawira yesterday apologised to any New Zealander who may have been offended by the language and sentiments used in an email to a party supporter, and he's been told to stay in his electorate until the New Year.

Parekura Horomia says the party's leaders have demonstrated they can't manage the maverick MP.

“The membership ignored the direction of the leadership. Hone’s outspoken mates have got their way. It’s a real Clayton’s fixture but it’s their choice and Hone seems to be settled with it but the public was expecting more. That’s a pretty soft option – don’t come back to Parliament until next year and don’t say anything more. That’s one think I know Hone won’t recognise because that's not his line,” Mr Horomia says.


A programme to keep kids reading during the summer holidays is winnning over Maori in south Auckland.

Manukau Libraries has adopted a Mission Possible theme to set challenges for five to eleven year-olds.

Jolene West, the learning and literacy co-ordinator, says the number of Maori and Pacific kids taking part is 50 percent up on last year, many of whom haven't been as regular library users as those in higher decile ares.

She hopes the programme will continue once Manukau is absorbed into the new Auckland super City.


A Victoria University demographer says the Australian media has misrepresented his work to paint Maori across the Tasman as bludgers.

James Newell's analysis of census data found Maori were migrating to Australia at a greater rate than Pakeha, and migrants also tended to be less skilled than those who headed further afield.

He says the fact Maori are more likely to be machine operators and labourers than accountants or lawyers doesn't mean they're not contributing.

“They're skilled. They work hard. They probably work harder than their Australian counterparts. They don’t put such a burden on their tax system and they have the benefit of the training they have had in New Zealand, so it would be good to get that message across in the Australian media at the moment,” Mr Newell says.

Maori have been targeted because they are so visible particularly, on Brisbane streets.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says management of the countrys fresh water could be as contentious issue Maori as the foreshore and seabed.

Iwi leaders have called a national hui in Wellington next week to update people on work they have been doing with government officials about freshwater policy.

Ms Turei says pastoralists, agriculuralists and recreational users are competing for the nation's streams and rivers, but economic interests can swamp Maori cultural expectations.

“Iwi have to be able to express their mana over freshwater sources in their area and if Maori aren’t right central in the middle of it along with environmentalists who are trying to keep these areas clean for future generations too, we can see some real damage being done to our freshwater sources,” Ms Turei says.


A hui in Auckland tomorrow is likely to come down hard on the government for its treatment of Maori in the Auckland super city

Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board says the local government hui at Unitec's Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae is well timed, with Minister Rodney hide today revealing how Maori will be represented in the city.

A nine-member statutory board, including seven mana whenua representatives, will promote social, economic, environmental, and cultural issues of significance for Maori.

Mr Blair says the structure leaves Maori toothless and powerless.

“I think all the tribes will be looking at Auckland now and wondering where it leaves them in Wellington and Christchurch and on the East Coast and so on. If anything, Maori in local government is a strong issue now,” Mr Blair says.

Ngati Whatua is considering boycotting the super city Maori board.

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Maori Party slated for delay in settling with Harawira

Maori activist Titehai Harawira is angry at the Maori Party's treatment of her son.

She says the party leadership went public about its problems with Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira without first talking to him.

Mr Harawira yesterday apologised for an expletive-filled email to a party supporter, and he's been told to stay away from parliament until the New Year.

Mrs Harawira says the issue would have been resolved much earlier if the party leadership had met her son kanohi ki te kanohi.

“I'm really disappointed in the leadership, that it took them five weeks to sit down and talk to the man and yet they’ve been out there with the media and out there doing other things rather than sit down and talk to the man, so I’m really disappointed with the so called leadership of the Maori Party,” Mrs Harawira says.

She says one positive to come from the saga is that the Maori Party have been forced to put policies in place to deal with similar situations in the future.


Researchers from Te Wananga o Raukawa are backing calls for a moratorium on the commercial harvesting of longfin eels.

Caleb Royal of Ngati Raukawa, who has been studying eels and their habitat for eight years, says the species is in a perilous state.

He says a new goup, Manaaki Tuna, is bringing together Maori and environmental groups to push for the protection measures.

He says while commercial eeling isn’t solely responsible for the depletion, a moratorium is a feasible first step.

Caleb Royal says a moratorium would need to be accompanied by efforts to clean up streams and rivers, or the traditional Maori food will vanish completely.


The Rotorua Maori trust which was the successful bidder in a charity auction for a house says there are winners all round.

The two-bedroom Lockwood house was built in 32 hours to raise funds for the Life Education Trust's drug prevention programmes.

The house, valued at $130,000, went under the hammer for $108,000, with the deal also including $40,000 of landscaping, carpets and drapes, solar water heating, decking and other fixtures.

Mamuku Trust chair Tom Walters says it will go on the trust's 145 hectare farm behind Rotorua as housing for its workers.

Mr Walters got a personal thrill from the auction because as an architecture student in the 1960s he worked on plans for the first Lockwood aluminium home.


A Maori member of the new National Health Board denies it's an unnecessary layer of bureacracy.

The board, announced yesterday by Health Minister Tony Ryall, will sit above district health boards.

Hayden Wano, a former Taranaki board chair, says it will improve the way the country's 21 DHB's spend $10 billion a year on hospitals and primary health care.

“I would personally like to think it’s an opportunity to provide a sharper focus for the sector around spending at a national level,” Mr Wano says.

The National Health Board also includes Ngati Hine Hauora chief executive Rob Cooper, a member of the Auckland DHB.


Green Party co-leader Meteria Turei says the government's plans to open up conservation land is an insult to maori claimants.

Ms Turei says up to 20 percent of the 350,000 hectare Mt Aspiring National Park is about to be opened up for prospecting, and Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee is reviewing the status of other conservation land.

She says this comes after years of Maori being told such lands if off limits for settlements.

“There's strong Maori opposition to it, particularly those iwi whose major areas were taken are now in conservation land or iwi who live in areas where the only available public land is conservation land so that hasn’t been resolved at all. ‘Why should the miners get it but not the iwi?’ is a legit question,” Ms Turei says.


But former National leader Don Brash says mining conservation land is a way New Zealand can catch up with Australia.

The idea was canvassed in Dr Brash's 2025 Taskforce report released this week.

He says while ownership issues including Maori treaty rights would need to be addressed, it doesn't make sense not to investigate the potential.

“A lot of modern mining techniques are so unobtrusive you can barely see them. Someone said to me if you hover in a helicopter 100 metres above the latest Pike River coalmine you can barely see it. I think there are very sensitive ways you an mine and there may be some areas New Zealanders decide we never want to mine at all but it’s hard to believe that applies to about 40 percent of the country,” Dr Brash says.


A series of children's books featuring a Maori boy and his pet moa are going international.

James Waerea has signed a contract with American virtual animation company, Fire Hydrant Creative Studios, which wants to publish his Pukunui series and create spin-off games, merchandise and animations.

Mr Waerea, from Ngati Kahungunu and Te Arawa, wrote the first draft of Pukunui in 1962 when he was working as a primary school teacher, but took years to find a publisher because of concerns about its use of Maori words.

“I was very frustrated we were teaching kids a value system that belonged to a country 12,000 miles away and there were no actual books about New Zealand – well, very very few. So I thought why don’t I write a book,” he says.

Mr Waerea says the five Pukunui books have sold over 50,000 copies since the first one was published 30 years ago.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

MP hopes apology will end internal exile

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says the apology delivered this morning was his own initiative and not demanded by the party.

Mr Harawira says the comments he made in an email to former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere were senseless and undermined the credibility and goodwill the Maori Party has built up a good deal its first four years in Parliament.

He also apologised to young Maori for the bad example he set and to any others, particularly women, who were offended.

The MP, who has spent the past two weeks holding meetings in his Taitokerau electorate, says the apology followed a session with the Maori Party caucus.

“Actually I haven’t been rapped over the knuckles at all. The apology was something I offered to do because I felt the pain they’d gone through. Never really felt it until we met last night to talk about it, but I’m comfortable with the statement I made at Parliament this morning,” Mr Harawira says.

He will remain with the party but he won't return to Parliamentary duties until the new year.


And if you hear a lot more reo from Hone Harawira, it may be because he's heeding the advice of his kaumatua.

Radio Waatea host Kingi Taurua interviewed the MP in Maori today on his three weeks in the political wilderness.

He says the abusive language contained in the email exchange with Maori party member Buddy Mikaere turned out to be a bigger source of concern that Mr Harawira's unauthorised trip to Paris.

“What the old people were saying to him is he’s got to watch his language from now on, especially the swearing. If he wants to swear, then don’t swear in English but swear in Maori because there’s only one swear word in Maori an that’s pokokohua and if he gets angry use that word, if he gets angry, ever never swear in English but try to use the Maori language,” Mr Taurua says,

The Ngapuhi kaumatua says many of Mr Harawira's supporters in the north are still angry at him and will pressure him to behave in future.


Researchers from Te Wananga o Raukawa are warning Maori could soon lose longfin eels as a traditional source of kai.

Caleb Royal says an urgent moratorium on commercial eeling is needed if the iconic species is to survive, and in the longer terms streams and rivers need to be cleaned up.

He says before commercial eeling began in the 1960, eels were a plentiful source of food, but what's caught now are mostly juvenile, skinny and diseased.

“For Ngati Raukawa, our iwi were known for the tuna we would put on the table It was a reflection of mana. It’s more than just kai for Maori katoa. It’s huge, the importance of tuna,” Mr Royal says.

Manaaki Tuna, which also includes environmental groups like Forest and Bird and Greenpeace, has an online petition calling for an immediate stop to commercial eeling.


Maori Party whip Te Ururoa Flavell says the party's caucus is still tight despite an enforced stand down for Hone Harawira.

The Taitokerau MP apologised this morning to the party, young Maori and all New Zealanders who may have been offended by the language and sentiments contained in an email sent to former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere.

Mr Flavell says the party has accepted the apology, and it will work on ways to manage the renegade MP.

“We've had renegades in our whakapapa ever since Maui Tikitiki so that’s not a problem. What we do have to do is have some internal disciplines. We’ll be working amongst ourselves and with our council to have those place, We don’t envisage this sort of thing happening again, and if it does you can be sure we will be a lot wiser and a lot clearer about what needs to be done to address it,” Mr Flavell says.


Former National Party leader Don Brash is blaming the abolition of youth wages for high Maori youth unemployment.

Dr Brash's 2025 Taskforce report released yesterday called for youth wages to be reinstated as part of a wide-ranging plan to catch up with Australia.

He says the number of unemployed 15 to 19 year olds has jumped because employers have to pay an inexperienced worker the same as an adult.

“We're getting a lot of anecdotes that 15, 16, 17 year olds simply cannot get jobs and it’s especially true if they are not very well educated. I suspect there are a lot of Maori kids in their late teens who simply cannot get jobs right now. Why would an employer choose someone with no work experience if he can get an adult for the same wage. He won't,” Dr Brash says.

The Taskforce believes it is important for young people coming out of school or polytech get work rather than spend two or three years on the dole.


A Maori representative on the new National Health Board will be pushing a whanau ora approach.

The board, announced today by health minister Tony Ryall, is supposed to provide clinical leadership and supervise the $10 billion in public health funding which goes to district health boards.

Maori members include Hauora Taranaki PHO chief executive Hayden Wano and Ngati Hine Health Trust chief executive Rob Cooper.

Mr Wano says he's been part of the move by iwi into healthcare, and he supports moves by associate health minister Tariana Turia to encourage cooperation between health and social services.

“I support that broader approach to health and if that drives a different way of delivering care then I’m very much support of it,” Mr Wano says.

He will personally look at issues around Maori access to health and the level of care they get.

Common stand sought on freshwater management

Iwi leaders will gather in Wellington next week to thrash out a common position on development of the government's freshwater management policy.

Toby Curtis from Te Arawa says a small group of leaders have been talking with the Crown about the policy, and they now want to report back to the rest of Maori.

He says the current government seems willing to talk about ownership of water, but there are language difficulties.

“The trouble is when you’re dealing with it in the English language, Pakeha people have the ability to make it mean what they want, so I go back to how our people spoke about the water and how it was part of us and we were part of the water and we use te reo as the basis for what we mean by ownership, you have a totally different outcome,” Mr Curtis says.

Maori would reject the recommendation in the Brash taskforce report that a system of tradable water rights should be introduced to help this country catch up with Australia.


A whanau weight loss challenge which saw south Auckland Maori lost more than 1300 kilos is likely to be repeated next year.

Organiser Tahuna Minhinnick says 50 teams of 10 took part, with the overall individual winner shedding 32 kilos and the winning team 135 kilos lighter at the final weigh in.

He says everyone who took part felt like a winner, and there is strong demand for second helpings, so people who try again have 12 weeks of experience they can apply to the next challenge.

Mr Minhinnick says the contest will have significant health benefits for whanau who took part.


The decendants Foxton's Dutch settlers are uniting with Maori in an ambitious project to reflect the township's cultural heritage.

Hayley Bell from Ngati Raukawa says the nine mana whenua hapu are joining with a national Dutch collective to build a $12 million arts and crafts museum and library.

It's near a windmill that is already a major attraction in the Horowhenua town.

“We're having korero, we’re trying to talk to people and I think it’s been great not only for our Dutch community but also for the other members of our community to learn about our tangata whenua groups because it’s enabled a lot of the history of the mana whenua to be brought out into the open,” Ms Bell says.

Stage one of the project should be open to the public by 2011.


A lawyer who works in South Auckland is blaming poor police work rather than poor defence for delays in the court system.

Catriona MacLennan says Dame Margaret Bazley's review of the legal aid system which slams lawyers working out of the Manukau Court ignores the difficult conditions many of their Maori and Pacific Islands clients face.

She says clients would be better served if the courts were more efficient, and there is little defence lawyers can do about that.

“There has been a problem in recent years in that quite a large number of inexperienced police offices have come into the force and of course they’re not experienced to know what would be the appropriate charges to lay and that can result in quite a waste of time,” Ms MacLennan says.

There aren't enough judges to hear the number of cases, and the system is also clogged by sticking with a paper rather than an electronic records system.


A Rotorua Maori suicide prevention group says the problem of self harm is shifting from rangatahi to middle aged Maori men who feel they have lost their mana.

Kia Piki Te Ora project leader Michael Naera says more Maori men over 35 are taking their own lives.

He says family break-ups and a change in economic circumstances are factors, along with alcohol and drugs.

“Our people were quite reliant on the men as the kai gatherers, the person who sustained the household with income, that’s changing now where the men’s role isn’t as prevalent,” Mr Naera says.

He says men's behaviour can also lead to incidents of self harm among women.

Kia Piki Te Ora, which is backed by Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao, has won funding from Lakeland Health to address the issue at community level.


Don Brash's call for fishing quota to be made available for sale to foreign investors has rung alarm bells with Maori fishing interests.

The recommendation to include quota in what Dr Brash calls the most liberal feasible foreign investment regime is included in the 2025 Taskforce report on how New Zealand can catch up with Australia.

Morrie Love from Te Atiawa says Maori didn't fight for a stake in the industry only to see the prime assets pass into foreign hands.

He says the current regime hasn't stopped foreign investment on terms favourable to New Zealand participants.

“There always have been foreign vessels involved. In fact they developed the deepwater industry. But the important thing is ownership says indigenous and we are able to have some significant say in the large foreign markets where we have to sell,” Mr Love says.

He says the New Zealand fishing industry needs to move to move towards a single desk seller model - which Dr Brash is totally opposed to.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Brash report wants hurry up on water rights

The head of the Rotorua Lakes Trust says the Government can expect rough sailing is it adopts a recommendation from former National Party leader Don Brash to create a system of tradable water rights.

The recommendation is part of Don Brash's 2025 Taskforce prescription for closing the income gap with Australia.

Toby Curtis says iwi have been talking to successive Governments about ownership and allocation of water, and the issue is too important to get diverted into another political agenda.

“Well hopefully we can get some protocols so we don’t get everybody like Don Brash and others thinking the water is there for the pickings and in terms of the water being an asset and a treasure, we want to make sure that’s what it is and it doesn’t just become another commodity for sale,” Mr Curtis says

The issue of tradeable rights is sure to be a topic of spirited debate at next week's iwi Maori national summit on freshwater management in Wellington.


Maori concerned at their exclusion from local government will meet in Auckland this to plan their next move.

Friday's hui is being organised by the action group Ihi ... or Iwi Have Influence... which organised the super city hikoi down Queen Street.

Rau Hoskins from Nga Puhi, Ngati Wai and Ngati Hau says Maori need strong representation in local government.

“This hui will be the beginning of what we hope is national concerted action of increasing Maori participation in local government. By that I mean meaningful participation rather than the usual Maori liaison officer and occasional mana whenua committees that are sometime consulted and some times are ignored,” Mr Hosking says.

The all day hui will be at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae at Unitec


More than 1300 collective kilos have been shed during the 12-week whanau weight loss challenge in South Auckland.

Organiser Tahuna Minhinnick from public health group Mana Whenua ki Tamaki Makaurau organiser says three quarters of the 500 Maori who took part in teams of ten were weighed in at the weekend and the rest will be put on the scales over the next three or four days.

The biggest weight loss was 32kg. The winning team lost 135 kg.

Tahuna Minhinnick says everyone who took part and lost weight felt they were a winner, even it they didn't get the top prize of $21,000.


A lawyer who works the south Auckland courts says Maori clients could be disadvantaged if the government over-reacts to Dame Margaret Bazley's criticism of the circuit.

In her report on the legal aid system, Dame Margaret claimed 80 percent of lawyers working the Manukau court were gaming the system, and she slammed so-called "car boot" lawyers ... who often only see their clients on the steps of the courthouse

Catriona MacLennan says if the former Social Welfare head has evidence lawyers were corrupt or incompetent, she should give it to the police or the law society.

She says Dame Margaret didn't talk to lawyers working in the court and failed to appreciate the people they act for don't have organised lives.

“We deal with a lot of people who have drug and alcohol addictions, mental health problems personality disorders. It would make life so much easier if we could make an appointment for someone to come and see us in an office and they would turn up at that time but it’s just not going to happen. Eighty percent of our clients don't have cars,” Ms MacLennan says.

Appointing more judges and switching to electronic files would greatly speed up the delivery of justice in South Auckland.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the Brash 2025 Taskforce recommendations would have a devastating effect on Maori.

He says the former National Party leader's recipe for New Zealand incomes to catch up with Australia is to take money out of the pockets of the poor and give it to the rich.

He says it will push the Maori families who benefited from Labour's Living for Families package back under the poverty line.

“Low income workers have had their pay frozen for five years according to Bill English and worse still what if the National Party actually does act on this Brash report, that is going to have a huge impact, a devastating impact on Maoridom,” Mr Goff says.

He says it looks like the Key government commissioned the Brash report so its own measures don't look so extreme.


A Rotorua iwi health organisation says drugs and alcohol abuse is a major factor in suicide and self-harm among Maori.

Kia Piki Te Ora, a suicide prevention group set up by Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao, has just won funding from Lakeland Health to tackle the problem.

Project leader Michael Naera says Maori are often reluctant to ask for help, so the group will work at community level to break down the stigma.

He says Maori suicide rates are 50 percent higher than non-Maori, and the percentage is even higher in the greater Rotorua area.

“Drugs and alcohol leads to things like family violence which in terms affects the children, wanting to take their life. There are issues with our wahine, because of family violence, wanting to take their life,” Mr Naera says.

Problem gambling and other mental health issues are also major factors in suicide.

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Ground broken for Tainui Airport hotel

Maori King Tuheitia has broken the ground for Tainui's new hotel at the entrance to Auckland Airport's international terminal.

Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio says yesterday's dawn blessing was a significant milestone for the project, with construction starting early in the new year and the 12-storey hotel due for completion in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Tainui will own 70 percent of the four star hotel, with the Auckland Airport Company owning 20 percent and multinational hotel operator Accor the remaining 10 percent.

Mr Pohio says it's an excellent time to be building, with construction companies providing keen pricing.

“We'd done a lot of work developing a budget and it’s fair to say we are marginally under budget so it’s a good time to be building, We see over the next 18 months as we start the opening it’s a good time to be on the uplift if you like of that economic bounce back,” Mr Pohio says.

The hotel is on a 100 year lease, and Tainui sees it as an excellent long term income stream for the tribe.


The new chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana says Maori need to focus on marketing their goods and services internationally.

Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngati Kahungunu says that could be done as part of a Hawaiiki brand, which also draws in their Pacific cousins.

The kaupapa will be a key feature of the fifth Maori Fisheries Conference early next year.

He says while Maori have put a huge amount of passion and energy in recent years fighting for the foreshore, the real prize is offshore.

“We need to be kotahi about going offshore and presenting Maori Pacific Hawaiki in the most positive light. That’s what we’re doing next year, we’re calling the Pacific in to our conference and we’re saying kotahitanga offshore for sure,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says New Zealand doesn't make enough of Maori in its branding, so Maori need to do it for themselves.


Maori landowners have picked up more than half this year's grants to plant trees on the East Coast.

The fund was set up after Cyclone Bola in 1992 to encourage erosion control measures in the catchment.

Randolph Hambling from the Ministry of Agriculture says more than 1000 hectares of Maori land will be planted over the next three years at a cost of $1.8 million.

“The successful grantee is given the right to go ahead and plant or to revert the land, put up fences and things like that to keep stock out. When they’ve done that work they will get the grant payment,” Mr Hambling says.

The grants will be particularly useful for Maori land owners wanting to gain carbon credits as part of the emissions trading scheme, as most of the planting to be radiata pine, douglas fir and eucalptus.


The Maori Party says iwi groups lining up to help run private prisons.

Justice spokesperson Rahui Katene says while she can't name the groups because of commercial confidentiality, the Maori Party supported a low change allowing private management because of the likelihood of Maori participation.

“If there is money to be made, why shouldn’t Maori be making money and the other thing is that once you get a Maori prison, a Maori unit, you get Maori running it then you are gong to be bail to get those programmes in place so you can reduce reoffending,” Mrs Katene says.

She says the Corrections budget has swelled to more than $1.5 billion a year, and the time is overdue for complete review of the justice system through a royal commission.


Tainui's commercial arm is enjoying a bounce back in residential property sales.

Tainui Group holdings chief executive Mike Pohio says only 16 sections were sold last financial year at its Huntington subdivision at the northern edge of Hamilton, but twice that many have gone this year.

He says while prices have come back from the highs of the property boom, the tribe is not offering the deep discounts some other developers have been forced to make.

It's also dusting off some plans that stalled as the slump hit.

“There were two residential developments we did put on hold, one at Ruakiwi Rd, it was a townhouse development, and another in Queens Ave just by the train station. We’re starting to pull those plans off the shelf and dust off the resource consents and consider the marketing for the timing on those,” Mr Pohio says.

Tainui Group Holdings is concentrating on the next stage of development of the Base retail complex at Te Rapa and the Auckland Airport hotel, which is due to be completed in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.


Musician and television producer Hinewehi Mohi wants to give viewers a better appreciation of the poetic craft that keeps Maori oral traditions alive.

She's now putting the finishing touches on the seventh Moteatea series for Maori Televison.

Over the years the programmes have delved into the stories and composers behind old waiata.

She says the new series will get viewers even closer to the waiata she's uncovered in the Radio New Zealand archives.

“We have Apirana Ngata singing famous moteatea from the coast. To hear these old voices and their original way of performing waiata koroua has just been fantastic,” Mohi says.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Preserved heads welcomed back to Te Papa

Te Papa is working on finding where the latest repatriated koiwi and toi moko originally came from.

A powhiri is being held at the museum about now to welcome the remains of 30 ancestors from five museums in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Sweden.

Acting chief executive Michelle Hippolite says the museum is now researching how the bones and four tattooed preserved heads ended up so far from home.

“We seek to understand more about the people that received or collected or gifted the skeletal remains and the toi moko to the museums we’re repatriating them from. That can often tell us the place they were uplifted from It doesn’t always tell us they were from this iwi or that hapu but at least it gives us a sense of the area they were uplifted from,” Ms Hippolite says.

If the remains can't be identified and returned to their iwi, Te Papa has a special storage area for them.


The Maori Party is calling for a royal commission of inquiry into the criminal justice system.

Justice spokesperson Rahui Katene says both National and Labour take a "lock them up" approach to offending.

She says a commission, as was first suggested by Ombudsman Mel Smith two years ago, will allow fresh ideas to come into the debate.

“We need to have a new justice strategy, a kaupapa Maori justice strategy where we look at doing things from a Maori value base. We want to look at restoring and transforming, not imprisoning and forgetting,” Mrs Katene says.

She says because of a looming crisis in prisons the Maori Party has reluctantly supported legislation to allow the holding of prisoners in police cells.


Tuhoe kaumatua Wharehuia Milroy is hailing a new history of the iwi as a significant contribution to the tribe's future.

Encircled Lands by Judith Binney covers Te Urewera for 1820 to 1921, detailing how the Crown stripped Tuhoe people of their land and and autonomy.

Professor Milroy says it's the culmination of years of intense research and will be of great benefit for Tuhoe now and in the future.

“They will be much clearer as to their own history and relationships to the Crown and the way forward for them is to understand those relationships and how they begin to deal with the Crown and everyone else within this country," Professor Milroy says.

Much of the material Professor Binney prepared for Tuhoe's Waitangi Tribunal hearings is included in the book.

Encircled Lands was launched today at Waikerekere marae in Ruatoki, and it's available in bookshops now.


The new chair of the Maori fisheries trust says official attitudes are some of the biggest impediments to creating a Maori brand.

Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngati Kahungunu wants to see iwi work together to market their seafood to the world.

He says creating Maori branding around exports and tourism would help sell New Zealand as a whole, but the government's position can be seen from the way it is handling the current major opportunity to showcase the country, the Rugby World Cup.

“There's a 40 to 50 page commentary from the Minister for Rugby, Murray McCully There’s not one single mention of the word Maori in it. That’s what we’re up against when we’re looking at a Maori brand. Maori, Pakehja, Hainamana, when they eave here they love dropping into a haka when they’re in Europe or America but when it comes to take the Maori with them, then they don't want to know,” Mr Tomoana says.


The manager of a programme aimed at lifting Maori and Pacifica students’ achievement through parental involvement says what's taught at school needs to be complemented by what's learned in the home.

Ariana Williams says the ASB Trust has promised to fund the Mutukaroa pilot at Auckland’s Sylvia Park Primary School for five years.

It includes development of a resource centre at the school so parents can track their child’s progress and learn how assessment works.

She says school report cards are a poor substitute for an ongoing relationship with parents.

Ariana Williams, who is originally from Taipa in the far north, has been working at Sylvia Park Primary for the past three years.


Plunket fundraising CD Merry Xmas Baby has gone platinum.

The collection, which includes contributions by House of Shem, Wirimako Black, Annie Crummer, Hollie Smith and other, was launched at the end of September and has already sold more than 15,000 copies through music stores, online and through Plunket's 550 branches.

National cultural advisor Danial Hauraki says the artists responded to the violent death of Rotorua toddler Nia Glassie and wanted to help the organisation to do more to help young Maori mothers.

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Emissions scheme trade-offs deliver little

Labour leader Phil Goff says the supposed concessions the Maori Party gained for its support of National’s emissions trading scheme are far outweighed by the long-term cost of the scheme to Maori families.

The Maori Party is trumpeting a cut in the amount fuel was supposed to rise and the potential involvement of iwi in afforestation schemes as proof of its effectiveness.

But Mr Goff says Treasury figures show changes voted through under urgency last week will cost $110 billion more than the Labour scheme it replaced.

“What the National Party is saying, we’ll put a slight discount on power prices and petrol prices for the next two an a half years. What they’re not saying is what everybody else recognises, that this puts a burden on us outs a burden on our kids, and we’re not talking about saving $4 a week in power prices. We’re talking about tens of billions of dollars that will be paid by the taxpayer when they should be paid by the polluter,” he says.

Mr Goff say the ETS will cost every New Zealand family $92,000 during the life of the scheme.


While the Government is relying on new national standards to lift achievement in schools, an Auckland primary school is investing in stronger relationships with its mainly Maori and Pacific Island parents.

Sylvia Park School is using a grant from the ASB trust to hire a full time manager to liaise with parents and develop strategies for both home and school to lift performance.

Principal Barbara Alaalatoa says the Mutukaroa programme, named after the maunga next to the school, aims to cut through the jargon of assessment criteria.

“All assessment is is telling us what they know and what they need to learn next. It’s about sharing that stuff out of traditional files and stuff in our rooms and our offices and with our parents. Because it’s not rocket science and we have already trialing some of this data with our parents and they get it,” Mrs Alaalatoa says.


The winners of a whanau weight loss challenge will be announced at a gala event in Manukau tonight.

Public health advocate Anton Blank says the challenge, created by Ngati Te Ata health promoter Tahuna Minhinnick, has been a huge success as families combined to cut the kilos.

He says while the $21 thousand in cash prizes was an incentive, whanau support was the driving force.

“Getting one person in a whanau ain’t going to work because they’re going back to their whanau whose diet isn’t good, who are not exercising so you need to change the behaviour of the whole family and what we’re hoping is that this will become a national programme early days yet. Tahuna though he would get 60 people, he got 500 and they’re going to run the competition again in south Auckland again from next April,” Mr Blank.


Phil Goff is denying he’s playing the race card in his criticism of Maori Party support for the government’s changes to the emissions trading scheme.

The Labour leader told a Grey Power meeting in Palmerston North last week the Maori Party had put the treaty settlement process at risk by making special treatment of Ngai Tahu’s corporate arm a condition of its support.

It then attacked him for criticising what he calls a shabby political deal.

“They've got to show the maturity. They’ve got to debate the issue on the issues and not the smokescreen of ‘this must be a play for the race car’. I reject that. I haven’t played it. I won’t play it. But I will not shut up and not criticise things I know to be wrong or believe to be wrong,” Mr Goff says.

He says National’s changes to the emissions trading scheme shifts the burden of tackling climate change from polluters to taxpayers at a costs of $92 thousand for every New Zealand household over the life of the scheme.


A Maori-organised charity rally around Northland will change its route next year after an accident in the Waipoua Kauri forest over the weekend.

The White Ribbon motorbike and classic car rally raised awareness and money to fight family violence.

Organiser Phil Paikea says about 300 cars and bikes took place, and it was going well until it headed into the forest.

“The road’s pretty narrow there and tourist van happened to cut the corner and there was nothing the rider could do but drop his bike and hope for the best, but the riders are okay and they’re keen to get their bikes fixed ready for the next run next year,” Mr Paikea says,

By shortening of the circuit, more time can spent in communities getting the message that violence against women and children is not on.


Organisers of next weekend's Maori Sports Awards feel they’ve already won big by getting Maoridom’s latest international winner to sing for them.

Dick Garratt, the executive director of Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa Charitable Trust, says the performance of Australian idol winner Stan Walker to perform will complement the world-class field of finalists and champions.

Stan Walker will join Maisey Rika, Homai Te Pakipaki winner Roland Williams and world champion hip hop dance crew ReQuest on the stage.

Competitions to watch include whether Stephen Kearney or Yvette McCausland-Durie will be judged top coach of the year netball, and whether lawn bowler Shannon McIlroy can edge out rugby player Issac Ross and league star Benji Marshall as top sportsman.

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