Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Maori Party hanging tough on marine bill

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says Labour's withdrawal of support for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Maona) Bill is electioneering.

Labour says the Government's bill won't resolve the conflict, so it's talking with the Greens and Act on what could replace its Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Dr Sharples says the Government still has the numbers to pass the bill.

“We're just hanging tough. We’ve been around the iwi. We’ve found tremendous support for us as a party and holding our line even though iwi stand up and say ‘we can’t vote for this because in terms of our situation this is it, we really wanted more,’ and we understand that and other iwi are saying ‘we support the bill’ so it’s about half and half to us,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the existing bill offers Maori the best chance they will get to go to court to test their customary title to coastal areas.


Waikato - Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta says the Kingitanga will suffer long term damage Tainui's current governance crisis goes to court.

King Tuheitia this week sacked the chair of the tribal parliament, Tania Martin, after she refused to apologise for producing a factually inaccurate analysis of what the tribe's executive board was spending.

Ms Mahuta says Tainui has seen what happened in past years when disputes between Te Kauhanganui or parliament and the executive, Te Ara Taura, was taken out of the tribal domain.

“If this matter ends up in court, nobody wins, least of all the king or the tribe. Our governance challenges are something that have to be resolved within the existing dispute mechanism that the tribe has but if not and it ends up in court, it will take a long time to recover from that sort of reputational damage and what is or isn’t happening in Tainui,” Ms Mahuta says.


A new tourist attraction opened its doors in Timaru today.

The $2.7 million Rock Art Centre fulfils a longstanding dream of Ngai Tahu to both protect the 500 rock art sites in Canterbury and Otago and bring back many of the examples removed early last century and placed in museums.

Curator Amanda Symon says the centre includes world-leading interactive technolgy to display the taonga and tell the tribe's story.

The centre expects more than 36,000 visitors a year to make their way to Timaru to see the taonga.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the place of the Treaty of Waitangi is the main question Maori want answered by the upcoming constitutional review.

Dr Sharples will chair the review alongside Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.

He says while it will consider issues like the length of the parliamentary terms and the number of MPs, Maori have been waiting a long time for the treaty to deliver what they expect.

“For Maori the reality isit is (about) where does the treaty fit in our constitution because we had tino rangatiratanga in this country prior to colonisation. When colonisation began we drew up a Treaty of Waitangi and that was supposed to protect and develop the Maori tikanga and culture. However it has done the opposite. It has allowed confiscation and those sort of things,” Dr Sharples says.

The review will take 2 or 3 years to allow for the strong debate it is likely to generate.


Waikato-Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta says it's possible to get a more durable solution to foreshore and seabed issues then what's currently on the table.

Labour withdrew its backing for the Government's Marine and Coastal Area Bill because it says neither Maori nor Pakeha support it, and it's talking with the Greens and Act about what needs to be in any replacement.

Ms Mahuta says after more than six years of debate there is a lot of agreement.

“People want certainty. They want to know they can go to the beach. They want to ensure that customary rights are protected and it’s just the type of solution and getting the balance of those interests right that will seal the deal,” Ms Mahuta says.

The Government with the backing of four Maori Party MPs and United Future's Peter Dunne still has the votes to get its bill passed.


The head of the country's largest Maori tertiary institution says 25 years of teaching adults means Te Wananga o Aotearoa is ready to make a difference to the education of rangatahi.

In collaboration with Tu Toa Charitable Trust, the wananga has been given the green light to run what it's calling tai wananga in Hamilton and Palmerston North for year 9 to 13 students.

Bentham Ohia says the curriculum will include employment-based qualifications as well as NCEA subjects within a Maori environment.

He says it fits the organisation's kaupapa of lifelong learning, and it also teaches about 250 pre-schoolers.

Bentham Ohia says the Palmerston North tai wananga will start next term with capacity for 50 students, and Hamilton will start later with 80 students.


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