Waatea News Update

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Ill-judged policy could close uni doors to Maori

Massey University's vice chancellor says the Government's policies could exclude Maori from universities.

The Prime Minister has signaled students with low marks or who take too long to get through their studies could be weeded out.

But Steve Maharey, a former Labour minister of education, says that could hit Maori students who typically enter university after a break in the workforce, rather than coming straight from school.

“If they don't pay attention to that and we are forced as universities to simply to take people say from schools on a grade average, then we are going to be in a position where we see very few Maori coming into universities. This is not where the country needs to go. It needs to open up opportunities for Maori to get into tertiary study,” Mr Maharey says.

The government needs to be working with iwi who want to invest in their people through tertiary education.


The chair of the Tuhourangi Trust Board says opponents to a walkway around Lake Tarawera should have raised their concerns earlier.

Some tribal members have companied Tuhourangi will gain little from the $4 million project, which is due to start construction next month.

But John Waaka says the land trusts that administer the whenua along the walkway have worked on the project for 4 years because they are convinced it will create economic opportunities.

“There was a buy in from the trusts that have the ability to build lodges on their own properties to accommodate some of these walkers. This is the whole thrust of it, to give the iwi some income and some purpose,” Mr Waaka says.


Rotorua's deputy mayor says a 10-metre waka maumahara will be an international window into te ao Maori.

Trevor Maxwell, who is a kaupapa Maori advisor for Tourism New Zealand, was at Te Puia Maori arts and crafts institute yesterday for the poroporoaki for the 3000-year-old log of Northland kauri, which is now on its way to the World Expo in Shanghai.

The carvers have until the Expo's New Zealand day on July 9 to turn it into a canoe-shaped gateway to the New Zealand Pavilion.

Up to 70 million visitors are expected through the expo between May and October.


The Problem Gambling Foundation wants technology to come to the aid of Maori who are addicted to gambling machines.

Chief executive Graeme Ramsey says tools are available which allow people to put a limit on the amount of money and time they intended to spend, and when the limit is reached, the pokie closes.

He says the government should make use of such software mandatory because of the damage gambling is doing to groups such as Maori, who are over-represented in problem gambling statistics.

Mr Ramsey says more than 80 percent of problem gambling in New Zealand comes from pokies.


The Maori king will be the special guest at tomorrow's Mataatua Regional Kapahaka competitions in the small Tainui enclave of Torere.

Organiser Kareen Hotereni says the eastern Bay of Plenty community, which has about 300 residents, expects about 6000 manuhiri.

Sixteen teams will vie to go through to next year's Te Matatini nationals, including reigning champions Opotiki Mai Tawhiti, Te Whanau A Apanui and Tauira mai Tawhiti.

Ms Hotereni says the visit by King Tuheitia will be a highlight, some 13 years after Ngai Tai hosted the late Maori queen.


Ngai Tahu holds its second culture festival this weekend on a tribally-owned property on one of the ancient pounamu trails to the West Coast.

Organiser Tracey Tawha says Southland's Te Koawa Turoa o Takitimu, also known as Blackmount Valley, was the way the tipuna got between Murihiku settlements like Riverton area to Piopiotahi, the Milford sound.

Being only 20 minutes from Manapouri and Te Anau, it seemed an ideal venue to bring the iwi together.

Tracey Tawha says the festival includes kapa haka, bands, sport, art and culinary displays.

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Systemic racism in whanau ora response

Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says John Key's insistence the new whanau ora service delivery model will be available for all is an example of the systemic racism that has blighted Maori development.

Mr Taonui, the head of Maori and ethnic studies at Canterbury University, says the Maori Party's flagship policy was supposed to give Maori families one Maori provider to deal with, rather than a multitude of Government agencies.

He says at a personal level the Prime Minister seems comfortable with Maori, but he's not about to give up control.

“We're seeing a real limitation in terms of his understanding of the real difficulties that exist for Maori when they deal with Pakeha run organisations. If his Whanau Ora is going to be for all New Zealanders, it runs the risk of watering down what it delivers, and that must be a real concern to us,” Mr Taonui says.

He says the Maori Party has compromised on a lot of its main issues, but it's likely to fight on Whanau Ora.


Treaty negotiator and former attorney general Sir Douglas Graham is advising Maori against putting too much weight on the 1835 Declaration of Independence.

The significance of the declaration, signed by British resident James Busby and a number of northern chiefs, will be considered by the Waitangi Tribunal this year as part of its investigation into Ngapuhi's historical claims.

Sir Douglas, who facilitated last week's framework agreement for a comprehensive settlement of Auckland claims, says while there has been increased focus on the declaration in recent years, it had little practical value at the time it was signed, apart from giving a flag to fly on ships.

He says it was overtaken by the Treaty of Waitangi five years later.


Singer-songwriter Tama Waipara says his Tahi Tour with Maisy Rika is chance to celebrate the whole range of Maori music.

The Opotiki-raised, New York-trained musician started writing songs after a head injury ended his studies in classical clarinet.

He says audiences are being treated to the Tui Teka-inspired pop and 70s souls sounds of his third album, as well as Rika's earthy bilingual sounds.

He says being on the road with Rika is inspiring.

The Tahi Tour is in Whangarei tonight and Auckland tomorrow.


Former Alliance president Matt McCarten is congratulating the Maori Party for spitting the dummy the government's ACC reforms.

The party supported the bill to a select committee, but now says it's an unfair law that will raise fees, reduce entitlements and deny many injured Maori workers the chance of rehabilitation.

Mr McCarten, who's now secretary of the Unite Union, says the Maori Party realises that compromising to National costs it support among Maori.

“In the end politics is about delivering to your own constituency and this is a careful dance but the Maori Party must remember always it’s not National that puts them there, it is Maori in the Maori seats who put the there, and they must keep that in mind when they make their decisions, and clearly they have,” Mr McCarten says.

The Maori Party now needs to toughen up on stopping its Whanau ora policy be watered down.


Auckland Maori rugby captain Brad Tauwhare has proven that cyclists can get around Auckland faster than motorists.

He's won the annual Urgent Couriers competition to see the fastest way to get from New Lynn to the city centre.

Race organiser Steve Bonnici says Mr Tauwhare was racing former All Black Bryan Williams in a car through rush hour traffic.

Brad Tauwhare took just 32 minutes to cover the distance.


Four Maori artists will show their work alongside art world heavyweights like Louise Bourgoise, Paul McCarthy and Jake and Dinos Chapman at this year's Sydney Biennale.

The Museum of Contemporary Art will show two of large sculptures by Brett Graham of Tainui, the carved stealth bomber Te Hokioi and a new work Te Kaha, which is a near full scale Russian scout car covered in traditional Maori designs.

Also at the MCA will be recent work from Shane Cotton of Ngapuhi and Ngai Tahu artist Fiona Pardington's new project Ahua: A Beautiful Hesitation, mural sized photos of life-casts of Maori and Pacific people collected during Dumont d'Urville's voyage to the Pacific in the 1830s.

Reuben Patterson from Ngati Rangihi has been given a former guard's house on Cockatoo Island to make a site-specific work, and he intends to celebrate its domestic origins.

Reuben Paterson currently has an eight metre square work in the Asia Pacific Triennale in Brisbane, and a show opening at Gow Langsford Gallery in Auckland next week.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Harawira paranioa misplaced says Whatua

The chair of the Ngati Whatua Runanga, Naida Glavish, is defending the right of the Iwi Leaders Forum to talk with the Government about alternatives to the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira attacked the forum in a speech to Parliament this week, saying many of the leaders were absent from the 2004 foreshore and seabed hikoi to Parliament.

Ms Glavish says the Tai Tokerau MP is seeing conspiracies where there aren't any.

“We're not there with the Prime Minister or the Attorney General negotiating on behalf of our people. What we are actually doing is entering into discussion and then there had to be going back to the people,” she says.


Meanwhile, Waikato-Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta says National and the Maori Party are finding it hard to come up with anything better than Labour's foreshore and seabed legislation.

Ms Mahuta, who extracted significant changes to the Act before it was passed, says it allows iwi and hapu to negotiate with the Crown about foreshore and seabed issues in their area.

She says it protects treaty settlements and provides a mechanism for the courts to recognise customary rights.

“National and the Maori Party have realised that actually it’s a lot harder to try and deliver a result that’s better than is already there, and at the end of the day people all want to go to the beach and they currently can,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says it’s clear the government intends to ignore the recommendations of the review panel on the Foreshore and seabed Act.


The former Navy diver who survived three days in the waters off Kapiti Island has a new job.

Since his ordeal, Rob Hewitt has led water safety campaigns and coached league.

Now he's training crews from around the Pacific for the seven double hulled fibre glass waka which will sail to Hawaii in April to rekindle knowledge of the original waka voyages which brought Maori to Aotearoa.

The waka are being built in Greenhithe on the upper Waitemata.


The patron of the latest wing of police college graduates says it's important they don't unfairly target young Maori because they don't understand their cultural behaviour.

All but one of the 38 graduates are bound for Counties Manukau as part of the government's commitment to put 300 extra cops into the area this year.

Sir Wira Gardiner says it's an area with a high Maori and Pacific presence, so it's important the increased level of policing does not lead to a disproportionate number of rangitahi being arrested.

“I suspect that a lot of young Maori get arrested because they act in a particular manner and I think that;’s why it;’s important for uyoung constables to be trained in a way they recognize the signs, that they are not a threat sign, the are a behavioural sign, soi they are better able to accommodate a response,” Sir Wira says.

He would have liked there to be more than six Maori in the group which also includes officers from South Africa, India, Portugal and Great Britain.


A Maori academic is calling for a boycott of Coca Cola until the soft drink giant fixes up an ad featuring a pseudo haka.

Rawiri Taonui from Canterbury University's school of Maori and indigenous studies the chant used to sell a variety of no sugar cola in Japan is gibberish.

He says it's made worse by the fact the company originally approached Ngati Toa about using its haka Ka mate, and then withdrew from discussions.

He says the meaningless grunting in the ad denigrates the haka and is an offence to Maori culture.

“They could have done better. I reckon they should change it, and if they don’t change it, we should stop drinking Coca Cola until they do,” Mr Taonui says.


Whakatane-based Maori university Te Whare Waananga o Awanuiarangi's move into Tai Tokerau is paying off, with five candidates wanting to complete doctorates through the Whangarei campus.

Operations director Te Tuhi Robust says candidates must whakapapa to Te Tai Tokerau but don't have to be Maori.

He says Awanuiarangi is the only one of the three wananga which can provide PhDs, and it provides a real alternative for people who want to explore aspects of te ao Maori in depth.

“People used to have to go overseas, it was suggested they go overseas to study but now it has been accepted that what we have in New Zealand and now in the Tai Tokerau is equivalent if not better of course if it’s to do with Maori studies and indigenous studies than anywhere else in the world because it’s benchmarked against all of those universities from overseas,” Dr Robust says.

The doctoral candidates are studying everything from the role of Maori women in business leadership to church and family histories the cultural importance of William Shakespeare to Maori.

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Key takes softer line on Whanau Ora

The Prime Minister is reassuring Maori who fear his demand Whanau Ora be available for all could dilute the new welfare delivery model.

Details of the policy are under wraps while Cabinet considers the recommendations of the Whanau Ora Taskforce led by Sir Mason Durie, but John Key told Parliament last week it would be available to all families who are struggling.

But he now says it's designed around a Maori kaupapa, and like kohanga reo it is likely to be largely used by Maori.

“In the end it might suit some families in the way that kohanga reo and kuras are welcome to any individual. It’s largely Maori kids that go there but not exclusively,” Mr Key says.

He says whanau ora means the state will trust poor families to take greater responsibility for their own care.


The Maori Party wants to see more flexibility in the education system to help Maori children do better.

Education spokesperson Te Ururoa Flavell says he's backing the call from an Inter-Party education working group for the top five percent and bottom 20 percent of children to have the right to switch schools, because Maori make up a big percentage of the bottom 20 percent.

He says the needs of students in Mangere are different from those in Remuera or Ruatahuna... so the solutions needs to be flexible too.

“Some schools have had the choice of locking in to the resources of the Correspondence School and have been able to make advances for rangatahi Maori thorough their programme so there are advances that can be adjusted and moved,” Mr Flavell says.

The Inter-Party Working Group wants more work to be done by MPs or officials on the broad brush ideas in its report.


Former treaty negotiations minister Sir Douglas Graham says the Waitangi Tribunal needs to continue after historical treaty claims are settled.

The government has a target of 2014 to settle such claims.

Sir Douglas, who acted as facilitator on a comprehensive multi-iwi Auckland settlement, says the tribunal will still have a role considering new issues that arise.

“If Maori people feel that the Crown or the government is not acting properly, they ought to be able to go off to the Waitangi and say so. So I’m not one who thinks after the historical claims are settled, we ought to abolish the tribunal and forget about it. I think it ought to remain there as a safety valve and somewhere for Maori to go,” Sir Douglas says.

The country should be proud of itself on the way treaty settlements are progressing, and he's happy to continue to be involved if asked.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says there's a case for a targeted welfare delivery system for Maori, but it should not be turned into a one size fits all model.

The Whanau Ora policy being developed as part of the Maori Party's support agreement with National was supposed to use Maori providers to help Maori families in need deal more effectively with government agencies.

The Prime Minister, John Key, now says will be available to all families in need.

But Mr Peters, who was Maori affairs minister in the Bolger government in 1991, says a well-designed policy can make a real impact in Maori families ... but be meaningless to non-Maori.

“To do what they’re intending in a way is not to understand the Polynesian character and culture and the Maori character and culture. Maoridom, as the Maori, as the army has proven, thrives on direct intervention and leadership and certainty as to where they are going, and they do not like a vacuum,” Mr Peters says.

He says the controversy over the policy shows the Maori Party's political naivety.


The government has more work for former treaty negotiations minister Sir Douglas Graham.

Sir Douglas helped bring together Auckland tribes to develop the framework for settlements across the isthmus.

Prime Minister John Key says the government is considering where Sir Graham will be dispatched next.

He says the former National MP has a sharp legal mind and can see a way through complex situations.

“I think he is someone who is respected as someone who comes to iwi talking with the voice of the Crown. He’s not just some junior official we’re putting out there and I think that does help progress issues,” Mr Key says.


Atamira Dance Company has the world in its sights.

Executive director Moss Patterson says an infusion of Creative New Zealand funding has given the 10-year-old Maori troupe confidence about its future.

It will take two new works, Memoirs of Active and Taonga, to present to bookers at next month's Performing Arts Market in Wellington and at other such markets such as the Tokyo performing arts market.

Atamira will showcase its younger dancers and choreographers at special event at Corban Estate in West Auckland the first weekend of March.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whanau Ora sale bungled - Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the Maori Party has mishandled the development of its whanau ora policy, and it's now unlikely to win the support it needs from either Maori or government.

Associate social development minister Tariana Turia last week received a report from the Whanau Ora Taskforce led by Sir Mason Durie on streamlining delivery of services to struggling Maori families.

But she won't make the report public until Cabinet has considered its recommendations, and Prime Minister John Key is now saying whanau ora must be for all families.

Mr Peters says when he wanted to make major changes in the Maori affairs portfolio in the early 1990s, he didn't give his Cabinet colleagues a chance to rewrite his Ka Awatea policy.

“I went to the Maori people and said here are the details, tell me what you think, it’s been written in consultation widely with you, if you are in and signed up let’s go, if not, let’s not waste anyone else’s time. Then I went to Cabinet. But now, with Whanau Ora, no one in Maoridom knows what's going on,” Mr Peters says.

He says there are arguments for creating Maori-specific service delivery systems, but not for Mr Key's one size fits all approach.


Meanwhile, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says the confusion around whanau ora doesn't bode well for what could be a very good programme.

She says the Greens will support programmes by Maori for Maori and anything that reduces inequality and poverty.

But all it's hearing is confusion about how the policy will be funded or delivered.

“This could mean existing services not getting access to funding, those with a track record losing access to their funding, that their won’t be any new money put into it,” Ms Turei says.

There are concerns that public money for whanau ora could go to private for profit service providers rather than the community sector that has a history of supporting whanua.


Maori Dance company Atamira is kicking off the year with a showcase of works by its younger dancers and choreographers.

The performance is on the first weekend of March at the Corban Estate in Henderson.

Executive director Moss Patterson says Hou will introduce dance audiences to newcomers like Gaby Thomas and Nancy Wijohn, who use contemporary dance to explore their whakapapa and identity in urban Auckland.

“So really exciting ideas about hw modern dance, contemporary dance and theatre can be used to tell stories of the past and really that’s what Atamira Dance Company is about. It’s about drawing the stories of our tupuna, letting them come through our bodies, letting our bodies be the conduit for those stories and putting them out on to the stage,” Mr Patterson says.

New funding from Creative New Zealand means Atamira can run a full programme of performances this year.


The Prime Minister says the Whanau Ora programme is about trusting Maori and other families to take greater care of themselves.

Details of the new service delivery model are yet to emerge, but John Key last week told Parliament the Maori Party initiative will apply to all New Zealanders in need.

He says much of the $20 million spent every day on social welfare is ineffective because government departments don't co-ordinate their activities.

Mr Key says Whanau Ora will move money into the community where families will be expected to take greater responsibility for themselves.

“They have to have their own plan. They have to be ambitious themselves. They have to take some responsibility for themselves and it’s a higher trust model from the state,” Mr Key says.

In some cases that could mean reconnecting Maori families with their iwi.


The Maori Party says it wants to see choice in education for Maori parents and children.

Education spokesperson Te Ururoa Flavell was part of an Inter-Party Working Group that recommended the top five percent and bottom 20 percent of pupils should be able to switch schools.

He says the group, which was set up as part of ACT's confidence and supply agreement with the National Party, visited a wide range of schools, kura and teacher training colleges in compiling its report for Education Minister Anne Tolley.

“The whole kaupapa was about choice. Some people might equate that with vouchers. I didn’t necessarily by itself but the whole notion about choice is something that I believe needs to be given some consideration in particular around the under-achievement of a certain percentage of our children in the education system so we need to look at all options,” Mr Flavell says.

It's not acceptable that Maori students are more likely than non-Maori to leave school without qualifications.


Arts body Toi Maori is looking forward to a smoother funding relationship with the restructuring of Creative New Zealand.

Arts and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson intends to scrap the separate Maori funding board, Te Waka Toi, and instead have four people with knowledge of Maori arts on a new 13-member arts council.

Garry Nicholas, the chief executive of Toi Maori, says the artists' organisation often found itself competing with Te Waka Toi.

“The Maori staff are still in place which is one of the concerns we had with the proposed changes and we would hope that strengthens so the officers do work directly with organisations like Tai Maori and we can assist them much mire cleanly than the previous structure offered us,” Mr Nicholas says.

The new arts council needs to align its funding more with where artists see their arts going.

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Whanau ora suits Waipareira model

The chief executive of Waiparaera Trust is endorsing moves to make the new whanau ora health and welfare programmes available to all New Zealanders.

John Tamihere says the three quarters of the 47,000 west Aucklanders on the books of the trust's health care subsidiary are non-Maori, and it has put a proposal to government to extend whanau ora services to 130,000 families.

He says whanau ora should allow the Trust to align education, skills training and welfare programmes with health services.

“That alignment works better for us and it doesn’t matter who gets the service. What matters is that for the first time in New Zealand history, we are actually seen as no longer and anchor or burden to the community but are provising significant solutions,” Mr Tamahere says.

Whanau ora will work differently in other areas of the country where there higher percentages of Maori in the community.


Catholic and Anglican bishops in the Waikato have combined to voice their concern about the axing of government funding for Hamilton's Te Hurihanga offender rehabilitation centre.

The goverment claims the live in programme, which deals mainly with young Maori men, was too expensive.

But Denis Browne, who co-signed a letter to the Waikato times with Anglican David Moxon, says the programme wasn't given a chance.

“The success rate so far has been really uplifting, As far as we know there haven’t been any breakdowns at all in the formation that is given to these young peole and it’s disappointing a project so young is nipped in the bud before it gets a chance to prove itself,” Bishop Browne says.

He says the government seems to be turning its back on rehabilitation for offenders, particularly young Maori offenders.


Ngati Whatua says Auckland's City Council's commitment to protect the city's volcanic cones doesn't go beyond the words on planning documents.
The council has set aside just $457,000 this year to maintain all of the city’s 23 volcanic features.

Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board says that means the continued degradation of the ancient sites.

That's a concern for the 12 mana whenua iwi and hapu who signed a framework agreement last week with the Crown promising them ownership and co-management of at least 11 cones.

Mr Blair says the budget doesn't match the council's claim the maunga make Auckland what it is.

“They're empty words on planning documents so if there is no real commitment from protecting these sites from erosion, form over-use of tourism and so on, it’s a travesty,” Mr Blair says.


A former head of Te Waka Toi and Creative New Zealand says the arts council needed an overhaul, but it's important to maintain a strong Maori presence.

The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Christopher Finlayson, is scrapping separate Maori and Pacific arts boards in favour of a single 13-member board, which would include four members with knowledge of Maori arts.

Cliff Whiting says Creative New Zealand had become top heavy and bureaucratic.

“That's a natural process in the way things grow and develop. I think it’s reached a point now where change needs to take place but I do hope and I’m pretty sure the minister and others who are involved will make sure it is a fair split all the way round with ethnic groups and not only treaty partners but also with the different art forms,” he says.

Cliff Whiting was among the group of Maori artists and writers who lobbied for a separate Maori arts council back in the 1970s.


Labour's education spokesperson says Maori are unlikely to benefit from education vouchers.

A working group of National, ACT and Maori Party MPs yesterday released a paper proposing that parents can shift their kids to another school if they are in the top 5 percent or bottom 20 percent of students.

Kelvin Davis, who was an intermediate school principal before entering parliament, says it's nonsense for Maori children are in rural areas, because there are no alternative schools.

“There's going to be more inconsistencies for Maori kids with this whatever this report says and whatever these vouchers are meant to allow kids to be able to do. I don’t think Maori are going to benefit from this whatsoever,” Mr Davis says.

He says the scheme is likely to mean the diversion of funds from low decile schools which are already struggling to teach large numbers of Maori children.


An ancient waka dug out of Muriwai Beach last year has revealed some surprises.

Robert Brassey, the Auckland Regional Council's heritage specialist, says restorers have spotted a socket or step for a mast, making it a rare example of a sailing canoe.

The seven metre kauri canoe was moved yesterday from a temporary tank at the Muriwai Parks Depot into a more permanent container, and Mr Brassey says preservation could take two years.

“The only thing that's stopping the waka deteriorating is that the cell structure of the timber so if it were to dry out it would shrink and collapse and turn to dust so in the longer term that water needs to come out and be replaced with something more permanent which is Polyethelyne glycol,” Mr Brassey says.

Once preservation is complete the waka can be put on display, after consultation with iwi.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Volcanic stinginess irks Auckland iwi

Auckland hapu Ngati Whatua is noting an imbalance between Auckland City Council's promises of partnership and what it's willing to spend.

Last week 12 mana whenua iwi and hapu signed a framework agreement with the Crown that would give them ownership and co-management of many of the city's volcanic cones.

At the same time, the Auckland Council's Citizens and Ratepayers' majority pushed through a budget that allocates only $457,000 to maintain all of the city’s 23 volcanic features.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei trustee Ngarimu Blair says there's a pattern of cost cutting around the cones.

“The whole reason we have brought abut this treaty settlement along with Marutuahu and Waikato is to bring greater leadership around these taonga to ensure that through our involvement in co-managing with council that more resources are put to them. It is extremely worrying we may be left with very little budget to do much else than what happens now which is watching cows eat grass while the mountain tumbles down around their ankles,” Mr Blair says.

He says the remains of pa on the maunga are as important as Inca ruins or Stonehenge.


A Kaitaia-based trust says the Kainga Whenua loan scheme for developing houses on ancestral land needs to be paired with a wider economic development strategy.

Ricky Houghton from He Korowai Trust says people moving back to their rural hau kainga could struggle to find work.

He says one answer is to use Maori land that is currently unproductive.

“We're trying to develop land-based activities there so we can use the underutilised or under-developed Maori land up here to generate an income so when the whanau do come home they generate an income off their land and that pays their mortgage,” Mr Houghton says.

Kainga Whenua could give future generations the opportunity to live on their own tribal lands.


Musician and academic Aroha Yates-Smith wants to bring the ancient art of Maori puppetry back to life..

The wooden karetao were believed to have been used to pass on tribal stories histories and even to imitate haka.

Professor Yates-Smith says wananga at Waikato University next week will look at what is known about the marionettes and how they might develop.

“This is an opportunity for some of our elders and practitioners in Maori performing arts word to come together, just a small group initially, to come together and talk about the karetao and discuss its past and its future,” she says.

There's growing interest in karetao from young Maori carvers and artists.


Race Relations commissioner Joris de Bres wants the Government to make reducing inequalities between Maori and Pakeha a top priority.

In his last annual report Mr de Bres linked the recession with race relations.

He says his predictions were borne out, and this year's document, due out soon, will record how progress in key areas like employment and standard of living had stalled or gone backwards.

Mr de Bres says the government can't stand back when one in three Maori between the ages of 15 and 24 is jobless.

“This is a big social issue and as such it does need government attention and it does need community initiatives,” Mr de Bres says.

He says the relatively young age of the Maori population means youth unemployment has significant costs for the whole Maori community.


Taranaki police are working with Maori groups to increase the number of offenders who benefit from diversion.

Senior Sergeant Malcolm Greig says in the past Maori haven't benefited as much as other groups from diversion, which gives first-time offenders the opportunity to avoid conviction.

He says raising awareness among non-Maori diversion officers of cultural factors like body language can help.

“Sometimes like feelings of shame are expressed with the head down and non-communication. Sometimes that can be interpreted as non-engagement with the diversion process,” Senior Sergeant Greig says.

Police are getting help from family violence and other Maori groups.


Northland's troubled Matauri X Incorporation has fended off an attempt to wind it up, but it needs an upturn in the market for holiday homes if it is to pay off its main lender.

Kevin Gillespie, the incorporation's court-appointed administrator, yesterday struck a time payment deal with United Civil over a $150,000 debt, which was the balance owed for engineering work on the 81-section beachfront development.

But the Maori Land Court refused to double the term of the 52 year leases, which have proved unsalable in the current market.

Mr Gillespie is now trying to stabilise the situation with Strategic Finance, which refinanced the incorporation after the collapse of a water-bottling business entered into by its previous management committee.

“It cost us $6.2 million to get out from Bridgecorp and Instant Funding. It cost us another $10.5 million for construction of the subdivision. So the balance is interest and fees. They have not been charging penalty interest and we’re talking with them about putting a cap on the debt at some point so we know what we’ve got to repay,” Mr Gillespie says.

Only 25 sections have sold, but 15 are in dispute as buyers try to back out of their deals.

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Milk plant planned on Tuaropaki land

Two Maori land trusts are teaming up to build a $100 million milk processing plant at Mokai northwest of Lake Taupo.

Tuaropaki and Wairarapa Moana run about 10,000 cows, which could supply about a fifth of the plant's capacity.

Kingi Smiler, the chair of Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, says once they get resource consents from Environment Waikato they will seek to involve other Maori trusts within the region, both as suppliers and investors.

He says it's an advance on supplying milk to Fonterra.

“In terms of our particular trusts and Maori in particular we are generational farmers and we think there is a lot of demand out there for milk products and we think this is the next logical move on behalf of our shareholders which will be a more attractive proposition for our shareholders over time,” Mr Smiler says.

Initially Miraka will make whole milk powder.


Phil Goff says New Zealand could learn lessons Australia on how to beat Maori unemployment.

The Labour leader says with the number of Maori out of work now running at over 15 percent, the highest it's been since the early 1990s, all the Government can think of is more tax cuts for the well off.

He says in contrast to National's do-nothing approach, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd responded to the spike in unemployment with well targeted stimulus and training packages.

“The result is that they have brought their unemployment rate down, and our unemployment rate is now 30 percent higher than that of Australia. For most of our history, New Zealand has had a much lower rate of unemployment that Australia. They’re beating us at that now even though John Key said he wanted to close the gap. Well, he’s going in the wrong direction,” Mr Goff says.

Skill and apprenticeship training programmes targeted at young Maori are desperately needed.


An education researcher says the National Certificate of Education Achievement is working for Maori students.

That's in spite of a Salvation Army report showing only half Maori school leavers have NCEA level two compared to three quarters of Pakeha.

Dr Rose Hipkins, the chief researcher for the Council for Education Research, says while there is a gap between Maori and Pakeha achievement, that gap narrowed by 4 percent between 2004 and 2008, and the trend is continuing.

“They're definitely doing better because there is a wider range of subjects they can do their learning in and get credits for their NCEA for. It’s not like the old system where you had to be good at the academic subjects or you were likely to be a failure. The whole premise on which it is based is different,” Dr Hipkins says.

She says the work schools are doing to improve the performance of their Maori students will show results over time.


A seminar in Wellington today will hear that Maori want their claims for ownership of water to be considered in any reform of water allocation and management.

Morrie Love from Te Atiawa says he'll seek to show attendees at the New Zealand Freshwater Management Forum that Maori, in common with many other indigenous groups, see control of water as being even more important than control of land.

He says that jars with English law which takes as its starting point ownership of land.

“The whole concept that water can’t be owned is in fact an English law construct. Maori see it in a different way. They might not use the term ownership but certainly, as the people of the Whanganui say, ‘I am the river and the river is me.’ That is a statement of ownership.
Mr Love says.

He says the government has indicated it wants to make a fresh start on water policy, and Maori want to be part of that.


A Maori lawyer says the behaviour of the Iwi Leaders Forum shows there's still a need for the New Zealand Maori Council.

The Maori Affairs select committee is holding an inquiry into the operation of the Maori Community Development Act, which provides the legal foundation for Maori councils and Maori wardens.

Annette Sykes from Ngati Pikiao says the council has been under attack for years from iwi leaders who say it's outdated and the Crown should deal directly with iwi.

But she says secretive negotiations between the Iwi Leaders Forum and Attorney general Chris Finlayson over replacing the Foreshore and Seabed Act show they can't be trusted.

Ms Sykes says the Maori Council has a proud record of fighting for treaty rights as well as advocating for poor, urban and disengaged Maori.


Maori look set to make way for bean counters as the government's reforms bit into the tertiary sector.

The government is trimming the size of polytechnic councils to eight members, and appointing half of those itself, including the chairs and deputy chairs.

Tom Ryan, the president of the Tertiary Education Union, says that means students, staff, union, regional employers and Maori will have to fight for the remaining four slots, and their ability to influence the programmes polytechs offer will be greatly reduced.

“It's basically community representation and all the different groups that represent the community, they’re benign done away with, and basically it’s the bran counters and accountants, the business people who are going to be put on these boards,” Dr Ryan says.

Iwi need to get in now and lobby the polytech boards to specify a position on the new boards for Maori.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Still chance for iwi on polytech councils

The head of the Tertiary Education Union is encouraging iwi to move quickly to maintain their influence on the country's polytechnics.

The Government is slashing the size of polytechnic councils from up to 16 members down to eight.

Four of these members, including the chair and deputy chair, will be Government appointees.

TEU president Tom Ryan says councils are now determining how the remaining four members will be selected, and if Maori want to maintain the influence they have built up in the sector in recent years, they need to move quickly.

“If iwi around the country get themselves quickly organised they can probably guarantee themselves one seat maybe on these boards, but of course there are going to be a lot of losers, students and staff and whatever,” Dr Ryan says.

He says community representatives who understand the unique regional needs of each polytechnic will be replaced by bean counters and business people.


Wellington iwi are training young Maori for work around next year's Rugby World Cup.

Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust chair Sir Ngatata Love says Wellington City Council's decision to use the iwi's proposed $11 million waterfront wharewaka or canoe house as the base for a rugby village during the tournament is a huge boost.

He says with one in four young Maori unemployed, full advantage needs to be taken of such opportunities.

“It's not just about the one off occasion. It’s saying here we can develop the people, we can develop the tourist groups here in Wellington. We can combine to make it a great occasion not only for our tourists but for our people here,” Sir Ngatata says.

The wharewaka will be able to cater for up to 1200 guests at any one time.


The first competitors for next year's Te Matatini nation kapa haka competions have been decided.

At the Tainui regional championships at Mystery Creek over the weekend, the top three teams in the last competition two years ago came through again.

Te Iti Kahurangi took out the top spot, followed by Te Pou o Mangatawhiri and Nga Pou o Roto, a young team formed after Taniwharau withdrew from competitions after its leading member Tuheitia became the Maori king.

Waatea reporter Mania Clark says Te Iti Kahurangi's winning performance drew on their experience backing the king on his trip to Rarotonga last year.

The next region to decide its Te Matatini line-up will be Mataatua in the Bay of Plenty next weekend.


The head of prison reform group Rethinking Crime and Punishment says a push to deny all prisoners the vote would discriminate against Maori.

Inmates serving sentences of three years and up can't vote.

Now National MP Paul Quinn from Ngati Awa has a private members bill which would strip the franchise from all other prisoners.

Kim Workman from Ngati Kahungunu says when the issue was last discussed in 1992, the government was advised denying the vote could breach the Bill of Rights.

Just last month the United States Court of Appeal ruled that denying prisoners a vote breaches that country's Voting Rights Act, because it discriminates disproportionately against those ethnic minorities who are overrepresented in the prison population.

“Now if you took that reasoning into New Zealand where 15 percent of the general population is Maori and 51 percent of the prison population is Maori, it would seem to breach the Bill of Rights on another account; the effect of it is to discriminate unfairly and disproportionately against an ethnic minority,” Mr Workman says.

Up to 90 percent of prisoners are out of prison within two years.


The government's proposed 20 percent hike in GST has the Maori Party scrambling to defend its base.

The party's co-leaders have acknowledged they are bound by their confidence and supply agreement to vote with the government on the increase.

But Pita Sharples wants more detail from Prime Minister John Key about how the effects on Maori families will be softened.

“The Maori Party has said to the Government, we are not happy with the GST so show us how the superannuation hike, how the working for families and how the benefit hike is gong to offset the increase in GST. Give us the figures before we can say yes we go along with the 100 percent,” Dr Sharples says.

The Maori Party will continue to push for food to be exempt from GST.


Two of Aotearoa's most distinctive Maori voices are touring the North Island this month.

Maisey Rika and Tama Waipara's Tahi Tour will feature the pair doing solo acoustic set of songs from their own albums as well as duets written especially for the tour.

Rika says the approach from Waipara for her and guitarist J.J Rika to team up felt right.

The Tahi Tour's remaining performances are in Kaitaia, Whangarei, Auckland, Mahia and Gisborne.

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Whanau ora dilution upsetting Maori Party

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is unhappy the Prime Minister wants to open up the party's flagship Whanau Ora programmes to all.

John Key told Parliament last week his Government will ensure Whanau Ora is available to all New Zealanders who are in need.

Dr Sharples, the Minister of Maori Affairs, says his aim is to shift service delivery from government agencies to the community.

He says it's about tackling specific and long-standing problems which lead to Maori over-representation in negative health, crime and unemployment statistics.

“I am waiting for a courageous government to say ‘gosh these Maori folk are missing out here there and there so we’re putting this programme in and it will be a bit of equity’ to the situation at the end of the day but there is this fear of votes I suppose and the general public seeing it as positive discrimination,” Dr Sharples says.

He says there is nothing privileged about 60 percent of Maori being on low wages or about living in over crowded conditions.


Auckland hapu Ngati Whatua o Orakei will go back to its members over the next few weeks to win support for the amended agreement in principle signed on Maungakiekie-One Tree Hill last Friday.

An earlier agreement was set aside so other Tamaki Makaurau iwi could participate in a collective settlement.

Spokesperson Ngarimu Blair says the Ngati Whatua trust board believes the Crown has made its best offer, and the tribe's 6000 members now need to weigh up the trade offs.

These include shared ownership of at least 11 Auckland volcanic cones, instead of three, and shared ownership of some commercial assets.

“There's a huge economic oportunity in there for us. Previously it was just a right of first refusal over central Auckland. Now that whole geographical area is widened from Miranda to Port Waikato to Muriwai to Long Bay, so for us who have a lot of experience in property acquisition and development, it’s pretty exciting for us,” Mr Blair says.

Ngati Whatua also gets $18 million in redress.


Lawyer Moana Jackson says government is picking a major fight with Maori if it opens up conservation land to mining.

Prime Minister John Key signaled the policy in last week's statement to Parliament.

Mr Jackson says the Crown only owns the minerals because it passed a law saying so.

“Maori have always believed if you are tangata whenua your authority extends not just to the top of the whenua but everything under the whenua. It’s not a question of Maori rights being recognised. It’s a question of a title to the resources being something that Maori have always recognized,” Mr Jackson says.

He says it's telling the Government will open up conservation land to mining companies, but exclude it from treaty settlements.


The Treaty Negotiations Minister wants this to be the year of the deed for Auckland iwi.

Chris Finlayson was in Tamaki Makaurau on Friday to sign a framework agreement with 12 iwi and hapu for joint ownership of volcanic cones and other regional assets, and agreements in principal to settle the remaining Ngati Whatua o Orakei and Kawerau a Maki claims.

He says the Crown needs to maintain the momentum built up over the past year by negotiator Michael Dreaver from the Office of Treaty Settlements and facilitator Sir Douglas Graham.

“I'd be very ambitious to complete deeds of settlement here in time for the new city. I mentioned that to some of the OTS staff and got rather glacial looks, but I’m keen to get deeds of settlement signed up as quickly as possible,” Mr Finlayson says.


Poneke iwi say their wharewaka or canoe house being built on Wellington's waterfront will be the ideal entertainment centre for the Rugby World Cup.

The $11 million building across the road from the Cake tin stadium will include cafes, exhibition and function areas capable of hosting up to 1200 people.

Sir Ngatata Love, the chair of the Wharewaka o Poneke Charitable Trust, says it will give tangata whenua the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from the cup.

“It's going to be great that we will have our artists there, historical matters will be shown to visitors and also we’re looking for our people to bring in crafts that not only our visitors but Wellington people can see and enjoy,” Sir Ngatata says.

The trust starts an employment training course next month aimed at not just at staffing the wharewaka but at other World Cup related positions.


Taki Rua is on the hunt for new talent for a season of school performances.

Marketing manager Keryn Jones says the Maori theatre company wants rangatahi over 17 with a commitment to te reo Maori.

The auditions, at the New Zealand Drama School Toi Whakaari in Wellington this Wednesday and Thursday nights and Auckland's Tatai Te Hono Marae on Sunday, are without a dedicated production in mind.

That's because it wants to encourage the actors to workshop and develop pieces to suit Taki Rua's audience.

“We'll get the actors we’ll get the directors together, they’ll have a workshop and work with two to three schools round Wellington. They’ll explore different ideas that are of interest to those schools, that come from a young person’s perspective. We’ve had a lot of great plays and it’s worked for us in the past but there’s always room for improvement,” Ms Jones says.

Through its schools programme Taki Rua has inspired many young Maori to take up acting, including Shortland Street's Kingi, or Te Kohi Tuhaka.

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