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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 26, 2010

Spectrum claimants ponder slow progress

Maori spectrum claimants meet in Wellington today to find out why the process to settle the long-running claim have stalled outside the Cabinet door.

Piripi Walker, the secretary of Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo, says the claimants agreed a year ago to put a third full Waitangi Tribunal hearing of the claim on hold while they worked with officials to prepare a joint cabinet paper on options for how the Maori interest should be recognised in the current reorganisation of broadcast frequencies.

He says that paper was supposed to got to Cabinet in September, but it has been discussed by the ministers most closely involved.

“Any assumption of property rights by the Crown, any sale of a scarce resource, by that, any assumption like that of its proprietership the tribunal has found through major findings and full hearings over the last two decades that iwi do have this prior interest in the radio spectrum. The Crown needs to find a way to give effect to that essential set of principles,” Mr Walker says.

The claimants have the option to go back to the Waitangi tribunal if the government fails to act.


The manager Maori at Counties Manukau district health board says training processes may need to be rethought if more Maori are to come into the health workforce.

Bernard Te Paa says only 3 percent of health workers in south Auckland are Maori, despite the high Maori population, and even fewer are in management positions.

He says apart from a lack of suitable role models, family circumstances keep many Maori from pursuing careers in health.

“Because of the length of time you’d be out of the workforce studying, that also becomes prohibitive too because our people have to provide for their whanau, so those are the things you also have to find solutions for if you want to get Maori engaged in health,” Mr Te Paa says.


Kura kaupapa kids in Auckland get a chance today to mix with Maori sports idols.

Organiser Dick Garret from Te Tohu Taakaro O Aotearoa Trust says Tamariki Ora day has been going since 1996, and it's attracting increasing numbers of tauira from kura kaupapa and bi-lingual units in mainstream schools.

He says it's a way to get the kids involved in the National Maori Sports Awards, which will be held next week.

Next year each school involved will adopt and study a national team playing in the Rugby World Cup.


A member of the Alternative Welfare Working Group says the official group is failing to come to grips with the implications of almost a third of beneficiaries being Maori.

The Government's review group this week released an options paper which suggested some Work and Income services be contracted out to private companies and iwi.

Mamari Stephens says the paper is notable for what's not said, with no mention of previous reviews of the welfare system, such as Puao Te Ata Tu, and only passing mention of Whanau Ora, which is supposed to change the way services are delivered to Maori.

“This is an options paper so you can’t expect too much detail, it’s really throwing up ideas, to get public feedback on them but the lack of history, the lack of context, the lack of direction and the lack of consideration of broader notions of Maori citizenship and what it means to be a Maori benefit recipient concerns me,” Ms Stephens says.

The Alternative Welfare Working Group's paper on the same issues should be ready for the printers within the next couple of weeks.


The chair of a trust set up to combat violence towards children says Maori men need to front up and address their over-representation in cases of violence against women.

Hone Kaa from Te Mana Ririki says Maori need to reclaim the of violence-free whanau evident when the first European settlers arrived here, rather than the current situation where Maori women are seven times more likely than other women to be hospitalised as the result of an assault.

He says yesterday's White Ribbon day was a valuable boost to the cause.

“It helps focus on the sort of things that ordinary citizens can do in here own lives. There is a tendency to become a talk fest but then the talk actually strikes home with some people, because we in turn become ambassadors for the cause, and that’s really what the task is,” Dr Kaa says.


Te Kawerau a Maki is excited at the prospect of kokako once more repopulating its home territory, Te Waonui O Tiriwa or the Waitakere Ranges.

Spokesperson Eru Thompson is welcoming the discovery of a breeding nest this week, established by a pair of the endangered wattlebirds which were moved up from Pureora forest in the King Country earlier this year.

He says the iwi have been involved every step of the way in the re-introduction of the manu into the Ark in the Park, an area of the bush that has been cleared of predators.

The kokako eggs are expected to hatch in about two weeks.


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