Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 19, 2010

Taipa occupation a sideshow

Northland-based Labour list MP Kelvin Davis says the occupation of land at Taipa is a sideshow to the real problems affecting Maori whanau in the far north.

A Ngati Kahu group led by brothers John and Wi Popata is occupying a waterfront section to press a claim for the return of land acquired by the Crown in the 1840s and 50s.

Mr Davis says negotiations for Ngati Kahu's land claim settlement are almost complete, and members should be looking to the future.

“Even if that little parcel of land was to be returned tomorrow our people up there would still be getting pregnant in their teens, they would still be dropping out of school way too early, getting incarcerated way too early, dying way too early. Things that I believe are important to Maori are getting educated, achieving lofty goals and becoming people of influence not only in Taitokerau but throughout New Zealand,” he says.

Mr Davis says it's underhand of Ngati Kahu negotiators to say they are negotiating a settlement in good faith, while at the same time they are encouraging the occupation.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says a proposed detox unit in west Auckland is a great way to keep young people from getting into trouble with the law.

The Waipareira Trust plans to build the unit within the next year, using its own resources.

Dr Sharples says it's a way the community can take back control of how their young people grow up.

“We've gone all soft. In the old days families were close but they also were strict. We listened to our elders and our parents and we did things as families and communities. And I think we’ve got to take care of our people and if it’s out of control, then we do have to do some measures. I think the idea is brilliant and I wish him well with that,” Dr Sharples says.

He'd like to Maori leaders in other areas pick up on the idea.


A great leader of Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga A Mahaki has been acknowledged with a new biography.

Wiremu Pere, The Life and Times of a Maori Leader, was written by his great grandson Joseph Anaru Hetekia Te Kani Pere.

It's being launched tonight at Rongopai marae in Gisborne.

Alan Haronga, the chair of the Wi Pere Trust, says their tupuna fought for the preservation of Maori culture, customs and land during from when he was first elected MP for Eastern Maori in 1884 until his death in 1915.

“Thirty years in the making, the author did meticulous and comprehensive research, going through all the parliamentary records, the Maori land court records to distill what defined the man or the achievements he did over his lifetime,” Mr Haronga says.

The Wi Pere Trust, which manages the tribal assets protected by Wi Pere, now has 5000 beneficiaries and $80 million in assets.


Te Ohu Kaimoana says there are significant opportunities for growth in aquaculture, despite high exchange rates making mussel farming a marginal operation.

The aquaculture industry has been meeting in Nelson this week to discuss trends and technologies.

Laws Lawson, the Maori fisheries trust's policy and operations manager, says top of the agenda was the implications of the Aquaculture Amendment Bill introduced into Parliament this week.

He says the industry have lost a decade because the previous law introduced in 2000 failed to produce any new space for marine farming.

“This new legislation aims to normalize aquaculture so it will be treated like any other activity under Resource Management Act and that will then allow people to apply for space when it goes though next year. The number of people who apply will be cautioned by whether at the end of it they are likely to have a profitable enterprise,” Mr Lawson says.

Under the commercial aquaculture settlement Maori are entitled to 20 percent of any new space created, so they have a stake in seeing the industry as a whole prosper.


Comedian Mike King will be the butt of jokes tonight, rather than telling them all.

The Ngapuhi entertainer is venturing from his Waipa hideaway to Auckland to be roasted by fellow comedians including Brendhan Lovegrove, Michelle A’Court and Jeremy Elwood.

He says his well publicised battles with drugs, alcohol and depression will give his roasters plenty of ammunition, but after four years of sobriety he will be ready to throw his tormentors into the hangi of humour.

The Mike King Roast will be filmed for broadcast next month


A Tuwharetoa artist says her new exhibition draws on the many layers that make up a life.

Dawn Chorus by Vanessa Edwards, which opens tomorrow at Thermostat Gallery in Palmerston North, compares the songs of birds with the conversations that fill a day.

The new artist, teacher and mother says she fell in love with printmaking while studying at Whanganui Polytechnic.


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