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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Ngata advice cited on treaty role

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the Maori party should take the advice of a superior Maori politician and stop trying to include the Treaty of Waitangi in a written constitution.

A constitutional review announced yesterday, which is to be chaired by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and deputy prime minister Bill English will include looking at the Maori seats and at the place of the treaty in New Zealand's constitutional arrangements.

Mr Peters says Sir Apirana Ngata, the dminant Maori politician of the first half of the 20th century, always advised against writing the treaty into law.

“Once you do that you can have an amendment and a change and there goes your so called flagship or bastion of your cultural interest. Now Ngata could see that a long time ago and I don’t think his views should be ignored, even in a modern context,” he says.

Mr Winston Peters is urging the public to boycott what he calls an undemocratic review.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says a free trade deal being negotiated in Auckland this week is likely to harm Maori interests.

The Prime Minister, John Key, says the free trade agreement with China has benefited Maori involved in dairy and forestry, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership will allow similar benefits in the United States and other markets around the Pacific.

But Ms Turei says the TPP isn't about trade and swapping goods from one country to another.

“It's actually about constraining policy so things like the US wants to interfere in our GE labeling rules, that’s going to have a huge impact on Maori particularly when you are talking about WAI 262, bioprospecting, all of the issues around the control by Maori of Maori indigenous knowledge,” Ms Turei says.

She says respect for the Treaty of Waitangi and indigenous interests is a low priority in such trade deals.


A navy lieutenant says he's keen to see whether an indigenous youth programme in British Columbia might provide lessons for young Maori.

Mason Tolerton has been granted a $5000 Winston Churchill Scholarship to study the Canadian Navy's Raven Aboriginal Youth Employment programme.

The trained anthropologist says he'll compare it with the youth development life change courses he runs a Burnham Military Camp for 18 to 25 year olds.

The first week of the six-week Raven course is devoted to culture.


Maori lawyer Moana Jackson is welcoming Labour's decision to drop its support for the Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

But he says the alternative suggested by leader Phil Goff amounts to no real change.

Mr Goff has suggested going back to the position that prevailed before the Foreshore and Seabed Act, as long as any land that goes under customary title can't be sold and there is guaranteed public access.

Mr Jackson says that's the basic discriminatory aspect of the 2004 Act.

“Representations were made about the discriminatory nature of only demanding Maori provide access. The United Nations said that was a blatant discrimination under the human rights convention on the elimination of racial discrimination and if he Is prepared to maintain that, then really nothing has changed,” Mr Jackson says.


Save the Children is looking to put more of its resources into Aotearoa.

Chief executive Liz Gibbs says it conducted a study on the issues confronting New Zealand children and found gangs, family violence and bullying are big problems, with poverty the underlying cause.

She says the charity's board is considering specific programmes to target Maori and Pacific tamariki.

“There's some really serious issues like child abuse in New Zealand which means that life is not satisfactory for our young people here. As a rights based organisation that puts children at the centre, we have an obligation to get involved in raising those issues and hopefully adding to the dialogue, adding to the awareness but also hopefully doing something to contribute to finding some of the solutions,” Ms Gibbs says.

Save the Children's research indicates child abuse costs $2 billion a year for social services, policing, imprisonment and law enforcement.


Waikato Tainuis' endowed college at Hopuhopu is to finally be used as intended for post-graduate study.

The $30 million college was the brainchild of the late Sir Robert Mahuta, but the tribe's financial problems and disputes over how best it could be used means it has served more as an administrative centre and venue for short term wananga.

Sarah Jane Tiakiwai, the academic director for the Waikato Tainui College of Research and Development, says from next year it will host a Masters of Business Administration course.

She says that fits with the tribe's long term Whakatupuranga 2050 strategy and will allow them to invest in the people who will lead tribes in future.

The two year MBA course will be run jointly with the Center for Corporate and Executive Education of Waikato University's management school.


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