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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, December 06, 2010

King sacks head of Tainui parliament

King Tuheitia has sacked the chair of the Tainui parliament and installed his Kahui Ariki representative, Greg Miller, as the acting chair of Te Kauhanganui.

Mr Miller says Tania Martin had admitted that a report she wrote attacking the financial performance of the tribal executive, Te Ara Taura, was factually inaccurate, but she had failed to issue an apology.

He says the king has lost confidence in Mrs Martin's ability to chair the parliament.

“He doesn't believe that she has the confidence to take the tribe forward and she had made commitments to him prior to him taking that role on taking the tribe forward and ensuring Te Kauhanganui’s role was seen in tandem and consultation with the chair of Te Ara Taura. That didn’t happen. She did exactly the opposite to that. So it’s a confidence issue that he’s asked me to step in and chair the next meeting,” Mr Miller says.

King Tuheitia has asked retired maori Land Court judge Heta Hingston and professional director Craig Ellison to conduct an independent review of Tainui's constitution and governance processes and an audit of the financial performance of both the executive and the parliament.


Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson is rejecting calls that he break off talks with Ngati Kahu because of its negotiator's support for the occupation of land at Taipa.

The Ngati Kahu Runanga chair, Margaret Mutu, says the younger generation has a right to fight for what she could not get in the agreement on principle which is currently on the table.

Far north mayor Wayne Brown says that's intolerable, and making the end of the occupation a condition of continuing negotiations is a way forward.

But Mr Finlayson says it won't happen.

“We're talking about a relatively small element who are just doing immense harm to the iwi and I just really want to get a good settlement up there for all the Te Hiku iwi because I think an injection of funds up there, and their getting the ability to have a say in the running of the conservation estate and so on, it is going to be so good,” he says.


An Auckland University law professor is warning that the Trans-Pacific Partnership being negotiated this week in Auckland is a threat to Maori rights under the Treaty of Waitangi.

The United States, Australia and three other countries are trying to join New Zealand, Brunei, Chile and Singapore in the multi-lateral trade agreement.

Jane Kelsey says the sorts of conditions that US business interests want included is a threat to New Zealand's sovereignty and the tino rangatiratanga of Maori.

“In this context we end up with an international treaty that’s basically a bill of rights for foreign investors that would trump Te Tiriti o Waitangi and any other rights that Maori have been struggling for for 160 years,” Professor Kelsey says.


Attorney general Chris Finlayson is rejecting a call by former ACT MP Muriel Newman that he step aside from the Foreshore and Seabed Act reform because he described her Coastal Coalition lobby group as "clowns".

In online articles, Mrs Newman has argued that Maori don't have customary rights because other people including Celtic, Chinese, Greek, French, Portuguese, Spanish and others were here first.

Mr Finlayson says there is argument in reputable forums that specific Maori groups retain traditional rights in some parts of the coast, and his task is to find a mechanism to recognise them properly.

“Customary title was there. It’s a question of determining where it is and who should be entitled to it. So, for all the noise and for all the ad hominem attacks by people like Muriel Newman I’m trying to stay focused on the big issues of principle,” Mr Finlayson says.

He is planning public meetings to counter Mrs Newman's claims.

Muriel Newman told the Maori affairs select committee in Whangarei today that the Marine and Coastal Area Bill would confiscate coastal land from public ownership so it can be transferred to iwi.


The negotiator for a top of the South Island iwi says the size of the settlement acknowledges the tough economic times.

Rangitane signed off on its $25 million package at Omaka Marae near Blenheim on Saturday.

Richard Bradley says that's a fraction of what the iwi lost in pre-1865 land transactions, when the Crown ignored its customary rights in favour of other tribes, but it was a tough time to negotiate.

“Somehow there is an expectation on behalf of middle New Zealand that we would take less than we were entitled to for the good of all New Zealanders. That sort of choked me because South Canterbury Finance didn’t have any problem finding the taxpayer support to bail them out for substantially more than Rangitane was seeking,” he says.

Mr Bradley says Rangitane sees the settlement as a platform for its future development.


The Maori Sportswomen of the Year, squash player Joelle King, is heading to Canada to work with another former winner.

Glen Wilson, who won the teams title with Leilani Rorani in the 2000 awards, is now head coach at a Montreal club.

Ms King, from Ngati porou, says she's hoping he can help her improve her work ranking from the current number 17 into the top ten.

Joelle King won her title for her gold and silver Commonwealth Games performance, but she was unable to repeat that form at this weekend's Women's World Championships in Palmerston North, where New Zealand was beaten into fourth by Malaysia.


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