Waatea News Update

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Pahauwera ink treaty settlement for Mohaka area

More than 1000 people gathered at Waipapa-a-iwi Marae south of Wairoa today to witness the signing of Ngati Pahauwere's treaty settlement.

The deal includes $20 million cash, two farms, 1000 ha of conservation land, money to restore the health of the Mohaka and Taharua rivers, and an apology.

The iwi is also buying the 15,000 ha Mohaka pine forest for $12 million.
Pahauwera descendant Willie te Aho says negotiator Toro Waaka and his team did a great job.

Treaty negotiations minister Chris Finlayson also signed a settlement today which will return Young Nick's Head or Te Kuri a Paoa to Ngai Tamanuhiri, the first of three Turanga or Gisborne groups to initial deeds.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples sympathetic to a select committee recommendation that the Maori wardens be set up as a standalone body independent of the New Zealand Maori Council.

In its review of the Maori Community Development Act, the Maori Affairs Select Committee said any changes must focus urgently on improvements for the wardens, volunteers who now receive some police training.

Dr Sharples says they're an important part of Maori life.

“They've arisen again, they’re doing a great job, it’s wonderful, wherever I go, there’s wardens there at hui and it’s such a delight to see young and old in their uniforms doing their mahi, immense pride,” Dr Sharples says.

More work needs to go into the type of organisational and legislative support the wardens will need.


Maori Christians are preparing to host their brethren next month at the World Christian Gathering of Indigenous people at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia.

Organiser Watson Ohia says the first such gathering was held by his parents Monty and Linda Ohia in Rotorua in 1996, and it has since been held biannually round the globe.

He says the indigenous peoples and missionaries has had a chequered history, and the non-denominational hui will celebrate both culture and christianity.

The gathering will be at Turangawaewae for four days from January 9, then move to Auckland to connect with the wider multicultural communities.


Maori Affairs and Associate Corrections minister Pita Sharples is counting on outsourcer Serco and its Maori partner to change the way prisons operate.

The British company, which runs a number of private prisons in Australia, has been picked to run the Auckland Central Remand Prison at Mount Eden.

Dr Sharples says the prison system's focus on punishment and incarceration has created structural baggage, and left room for innovation.

“The whole idea of rehabilitating these people to put them out as productive members of society is not yet captured, and that’s what I want to see, and I’m hoping that Serco and I believe it’s Tainui they’re involved will do a good job and introduce meaningful programmes into the prison. That would be really great,” he says.

Dr Sharples wants to see more drug rehabilitation, Maori focused units, and other targeted programmes for prisoners.


Women's Affairs minister Hekia Parata is welcoming an report showing marked improvement in Maori women's participation in education.

The report is filed with the United Nations every four years to measure this country's compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women.

Ms Parata says since the last report was filed, the participation and achievement level of Maori girls in the school system improved by 47 percent, even though too many girls are still leaving school without NCEA level 2.

She says Maori women now make up 22 percent of all enrollees at tertiary institutions.

“Maori women's higher rate of participation is primarily due to Maori women returning to education at a later stage of life. Younger Maori women are less likely than younger Pakeha women to enroll in tertiary education. So now what this report tells us is that we need to be concentrating on how we can get upping the participation rate among younger Maori women,” Ms Parata says.

Improvements need to start with getting more Maori mothers to enroll their children at pre-school.


Hauraki mussel farmer Harry Mikaere says Maori would be keen to get into finfish farming, but they'd be wary about its effect of existing mussel and oyster farms.

An Aquaculture Ministerial Advisory Panel chaired by former fisheries minister Sir Doug Kidd is considering a plan to allow a new 300-hectare marine farming zone in Coromandel.

Mr Mikaere says the plan to farm kingfish and hapuku will be watched closely, and iwi might follow.

Select Committee review lazy and off mark

A senior New Zealand Maori Council member says a review of the council was a lazy effort that showed a failure to understand its role.

The Maori Affairs select committee review recommended that the Maori wardens should be set up as a standalone body with its own legislation and funding.

It says many of the district Maori councils are inactive or meet irregularly, and many of the responsibilities given to the national council are outdated.

Maanu Paul from the Mataatua District Maori Council says the committee seems to be under the mistaken belief that the rise of iwi and hapu groups means there is no longer a need for a national Maori voice.

“The Council believes that the various runanga, incorporated bodies and trusts have total autonomy over their own assets and issues like that, but when it comes to pan-Maori issues, like the electoral reform bill, defence, all those sorts of things, taxation, the iwi authorities have not uttered one word,” Mr Paul says.

He says any review of the Maori council needs to be driven by the council itself.


The Maori Party is being challenged to back marijuana law reform.

Stephen McIntyre, the president of the National Organisation for the reform of Marijuana Laws, says while Maori use rates mirror the national average.

Maori are much more likely to be stopped stopped and searched, and more likely to be convicted for possessing the drug.

He says reform would affect the availability of other drugs, and political intervention by Maori would be welcomed.

He says the end result is too many Maori end up in prison.


The most comprehensive survey of the nation's dental health in 20 years has found disproportionately high rates of oral decay among Maori.

Robyn Haisman, the Health Ministry's chief dental officer, says almost 2000 Maori were interviewed.

She says they reported high levels of missing teeth and untreated decay, with many saying they put off visits to the dentist for cost reasons.

“Maori adults were almost twice as likely to have lost all of their natural teeth as non Maori. They had higher levels of partial tooth loss and untreated decay on both the crown and the root of the teeth,” Ms Haisman says.

She says too many Maori parents are failing to enrol their children in the school dental service.


Far North mayor Wayne Brown wants assurances the settlement of Muriwhenua Claims won't lead to cuts in his council's rates revenue.

Mr Brown met last week with the Crown's chief negotiator, Pat Snedden, to discuss progress.

He says the council has a long-standing problem with uneconomic Maori land being put into various trust structures to avoid rates, and he would be concerned if land going back in the settlement, including the Aupouri Forest and several former Lands and Survey farms, is given similar protection.

“It's significant not just for the income. It’s significant for the attitude. If you are going to become part of the economic activity you shoulder your responsibilities, so we expect them to do that,” Mr Brown says.

He's keen to see the settlements concluded.


Former Maori Party candidate Derek Fox says the party hasn't done as well as it should have.

The veteran broadcaster, who worked as a press secretary for co-leader Tariana Turia after he failed in his second bid for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, says some of its gains, such as getting a Maori flag flown on Waitangi Day, and getting New Zealand to conditionally accept the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, have been described as fluff by opponents.

But the former mayor of Wairoa says the party mishandled the fight for Maori seats on the Auckland super city council by ignoring the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Auckland governance.

“The Maori Party would have been wiser to have simply said ‘we support the findings of the royal commission.’ To talk about finding tangata whenua candidates and having them elected by an electoral college, all; too distant and gobbledegook for the general public to understand, so they let that one slip away,” Mr Fox says.

He says the Foreshore and Seabed Act reform is also a mixed bag, with the bar set too high for many iwi to win claims for customary rights to coastal areas.


Two pou on State Highway 36 between Tauranga and Rotorua which were chopped down in September have been re-erected.

Rotorua deputy mayor Trevor Maxwell says carvers from Ngati Rangiwewehi in Rotorua and Ngai Tamarawaho in Tauranga repaired the damage on the carvings, which mark the border of the two iwi the Mangorewa gorge.

He says it's a great Christmas present to have to pou up and blessed again.

The pou stand as protectors of travellers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Harawira unhappy with constitutional review

Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says the constitutional review isn't the one the he was looking for.

The review will be done by a committee of MPs headed by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, assisted by an expert advisory panel.

Mr Harawira says the Maori Party had something else in mind when it included the review as a condition of its support agreement with National.

“Somehow the officials got their grubby little hands on it and then instead if it being a Maori Party-National Party thing it’s morphed into an all parties constitutional review which is kind of disappointing from my point of view. I think in line with the treaty, you’ve got the Maori, you’ve got the Crown, and in line with the constitution you should have the Maori and the Crown and the Crown can take care of all the other political parties but that’s not quite how it’s turned out,” Mr Harawira says.

He can't see the working group coming up with anything positive when MPs like United Future's Peter Dunne and Progressive leader Jim Anderton are involved.


Artist Michael Parakowhai has revealed how he will represent New Zealand at next year's Venice Biennalle.

The Te Aitanga a Mahaaki sculptor will is casting two bronze bulls which, with an intricately-carved Steinway concert grand piano, a figure from his Kapa Haka series and a small bronze olive tree sapling, will form an installation at a palazzo on the grand Canal.

Jenny Harper, New Zealand's Venice Biennale commissioner, says it will make the country proud at what is the Olympics of the art world.

“The grand piano is very much a European achievement if you like, an achievement in the music field, it’s a Steinway piano. He’s carved it with intricate Maori patterns, kind of like a waka huia, beautifully carved. This piano will be taken back to Venice where it will sit not far from the Grand Canal and hopefully be heard being played,” Ms Harper says.

She says the Venice Biennale is the cornerstone of Creative New Zealand's international visual arts strategy.


A solo mum who gets out every morning to clean up the streets of Flaxmere is one of 12 local people featured in a calendar honouring the community's heroes.

Calendar organiser Pip West from Te Aranga Marae says the calendar is a way to show people another side of the Hawkes Bay town than crime and social problems.

She says her brother found out about Dorinda Williams by accident when he spotted her in the street one morning picking up rubbish out of a sense of pride in her community.


Broadcaster and former Maori Party candidate Derek Fox says the party is not doing enough to build up membership.

Derek Fox from Ngati Porou and Rongowhakaata says while the party has made some gains by being in Government, it isn't getting enough first time voters to opt for the Maori roll

He says the game plan has to be increasing the number of Maori seats ... and that means getting as many Maori as possible onto the right roll.

“No one would be able to govern without us and that’s surely the position that we should be trying to get but I’m not certain that our current crop of politicians are getting us there. I think we’re too narrow in our focus and I think we’re not attracting as many people across as we need to,” Mr Fox says.

He says Maori could fill up to 23 seats in the house if all Maori signed on to Maori roll, either as new voters or in the option that follows every five-yearly census.


Gisborne claimants are citing the judgment that let to the resignation of Supreme Court judge Bill Wilson as a reason a Waitangi Tribunal member should be taken off their claims.

Ngati Oneone from the Kaiti area on the east of the city say they either want their claims heard or they want a separate settlement.

Lawyer Charl Hirschfeld says Craig Coxhead has made a series of administrative rulings which put the tribunal process on hold while the Crown negotiated with te Runanga o Ngati Porou.

He says Judge Coxhead now fails the impartiality test established in Saxmere versus the Wool Board Disestablishment Company, that a fair minded lay observer might reasonably feel the judge might not bring an impartial mind to the question.

“It's inappropriate that he sit on this particular urgency application when he has deferred the hearing of all historical claims on the East Coast at least until January but probably further than that,” Mr Hirschfeld says.

He says Ngati Oneone claimants don't consider themselves to be Ngati Porou and don't want their claims washed up in the runanga's settlement.


Travellers will get a taste of Maori culture to see them off when they shop their way out of Auckland International Airport.

The centrepiece of the terminal's new retail area which opened today is the Pou Manawa, a 9-metre high structure holding a 577 metre canopy on which traditionally flavoured Maori designs by Kingi Gilbert will be projected.

Music by Rewi Spraggon and Riki Bennett provides the soundtrack.
Adrian Littlewood, the airport's general manager retail Adrian Littlewood, says it's something different for the 18 million people who pass through the terminal each year.

Pou Manana works on a 30-minute cycle.

Settlements on track for 2014

Prime Minister John Key says the government is on track to meet its target of having all historic treaty claim settlements completed by 2014.

Mr Key says Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson briefed both cabinet and caucus this week on progress.

“He is very goal focused. He wants to get to the point where he really does complete settlements by 2014. We all know hat’s a big challenge but he is putting his best foot forward. He’s got a lot of mandates signed up. There’s some big ones coming. Ngati Porou is a good example of that. Ngati Whatua as well looking in great shape. The far north, Sonny Tau wanting to get over the line,” Mr Key says.


Meanwhile, Gisborne claimants are fighting a rearguard action to stop their claims being washed into the Ngati Porou settlement.

Ngati Oneone claimants from the Kaiti area on the eastern side of the city have asked the Waitangi Tribunal for an urgent hearing on whether their claims should be heard.

Earlier this year the tribunal stopped hearing East Coast claims pending negotiation of a settlement by Te Runanga o Ngati Porou.

Lawyer Charl Hirschfeld says what the Crown and the Ngati Porou Runanga are doing to Ngati Oneone breaches the assimilation clause of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“They don't see themselves as Ngati Porou, they never have, and if this settlement goes ahead in an unqualified fashion which doesn’t take account of them as separate and independent, they say in effect that’s a form of forced assimilation which is something contrary to the declaration,” he says.

Mr Hirschfeld says Ngati Oneone have also asked the Waitangi Tribunal to take Craig Coxhead off the claim, as he was the judge who put all the other East Coast hearings on hold.


The chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana says political as well as economic and environmental pressures will affect the future value of the Maori fisheries settlement.

The settlement is moving into a new phase, with iwi starting to receive an income stream from pan-Maori company Aotearoa Fisheries as well as what they can make off their own quota holdings.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says there is no room for complacency.

“Probably once a week a new policy or a new clause is inserted into the Fisheries Act and other Acts like the Environment Act and the Tax Act, emissions trading, that affects the viability and the value and quantum of the settlement,” he says.

Mr Tomoana says there is more room for iwi to come together in joint fishing ventures, as well as for Aotearoa Fisheries to work more closely with other companies in the sector.


Wairoa has rejected a ban on gang patches.

District councillor Benita Cairns says the council decided not to follow the lead of Whanganui.

She says it's better to work with whanau than to label people and give the predominantly Maori town a bad image.

“Because of some individuals actions it was felt that everyone was going to be tarnished with the same brush but there are actually gang members in our community who live very productive lives. They have children who are thriving and showing leadership in this community, so it didn’t seem the right answer for us as Wairoa,” Ms Cairns says.

She says the answer to gang problems lies in working constructively with young people as soon as they come to the attention of police.


The apiha Maori for the National Distribution Union is challenging the National and Maori parties to come to Kawerau to see the downside of their economic policies.

Rawiri Daniels says the Government has done nothing to stimulate industries that employ high numbers of Maori workers.

He says 25 o0f the 26 workers laid off from Carter Holt Harvey's wood products sawmill in Kawerau this week are Maori.

He says it will be hard for them to find fulltime employment elsewhere.

Rawiri Daniels says the high New Zealand dollar making it hard for the timber industry to compete globally.


Flaxmere is often in the news for all the wrong reasons, but the predominantly Maori community is trying to turn around perceptions.

Te Aranga marae chair Pip West says that's the idea behind a local heroes calendar launched this week.

The 12 people featured include basketball coach Wini Smiler, Flaxmere college head girl Brittney Kershaw, kapa haka composer Tommy Taurima, and Dorinda Williams, who is seen every morning picking up the rubbish from the Hawkes Bay township.

Volunteers will distribute the calendar to every Flaxmere household on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reoffending test of prison privatisation

The Prime Minister says the success of private prisons will be measured on whether they reduce recidivism.

British company Serco has been selected to run Auckland Central Remand Prison, and the government is considering bids to build and run a new men's prison in south Auckland as a public private partnership.

John Key says he agrees with urban Maori spokesperson John Tamihere that the existing system isn't working for Maori.

“Despite the stereotype that a lot of people would like to put up there that it’s every second Maori that goes to prison, all this sort of carry on, that’s just not true. One in two people in prison might be of Maori ethnicity but they’re a cohort of people that go in and out of prison all the time so success from our point of view is stopping that, stopping them going to piano in the first place and when they do go, making sure they don’t come back,” he says.

John Key says privately-run prisons will definitely save the government money.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says Pakeha as well as Maori need to feel safe to put their views forward during the constitutional review.

Ms Turei says the ministers running the process need to be careful that discussions about the Maori seats and the place of the Treaty of Waitangi don't create the same sort of anger that the current foreshore and seabed debate is generating.

“If we have decent constitutional discussion where Pakeha have the chance to talk about the issues for them in a safe way and a non-combative way, it could be really advantageous. Or it could just be a big political whitewash where the National Party is trying to park issues like the Maori seats for the election period so they don’t have to deal with it,” she says.

Ms Turei says New Zealand still has to deal with the painful legacy of its colonial past.


The national organisation for the reform of marijuana laws ... Norml ... says a new police policy to let first time offenders off with a warning is likely to cause problems down the track for young Maori males.

Norml's president, Stephen McIntyre, says if they're picked up a second time, the first offence will be treated as a compounding factor.

He says the statistics make it clear that young Maori males are far more likely to be stopped and searched for cannabis by the police.

“Maori tend to come to the attention of the police a lot more and I think in this case they are more likely to feel the impact of this policy,” Mr McIntyre says.

He says the policy will be welcomed by groups which aren't subject to random police searches.


Labour leader Phil Goff says putting Auckland Central Remand Prison into private management won't deliver the results Maori are hoping for.

Urban and iwi groups have held talks with the chosen provider, British firm Serco, with urban Maori spokesperson John Tamihere saying there could be a chance to offer rehabilitation services.

Mr Goff says that's likely to be well down the company's list now it has won the contract.

“When you've got a private international company running the prison service, they’ll want a big profit out of it and that profit will come at the expense of the staff the prison ratios, the employment and conditions of the prison staff and the sort of money they are putting into the sort of programmes JT was talking about,” he says.


A group of Porirua women married to Mongrel Mob members say their new Monday morning "muzzy's group" is having a positive effect on the menfolk.

Spokesperson Maria Burgess says a get-togethers, which were developed as part of a four-year project funded by Internal Affairs, having included things like taking the kids on an outing to Te Papa museum.

She says their menfolk are supporting it, and taking action themselves such as cleaning up their clubrooms.

Maria Burgess says the Mob families have made domestic violence a no no.


Waikato Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta says the late John Haunui will be remembered for his willingness to share experience and knowledge with younger members of Waikato iwi.

Mr Haunui, one of the senior orators for the Kingitanga, died yesterday at the age of 71.

Ms Mahuta says as well as being an authority on Tainui history, he had close relationships with King Koroki, Te Atairangikaahu, and King Tuheitia.

She says he made a huge contribution to Waahi Pa and had been sharing a lot of his stories at youth wananga at the marae.

John Haunui is lying in state at Waahi Marae

Court refuses injunction on chair’s sacking

The chair of Tainui's Te Ara Taura executive, Tukoroirangi Morgan, says the High Court's refusal to grant an injunction to the chair of the tribal parliament was the outcome he was looking for.

Tania Martin wanted the judge to rule against the decision by King Tuheitia to sack her from Te Kauhanganui.

Mr Morgan says instead she was told to take part in the dispute resolution process the tribe invoked a fortnight ago.

“It is a waste of time running to the Pakeha courts to sort this issue out. The unnecessary pain and action Mrs Martin has inflicted on this tribe has caused the king to lose confidence in Mrs Martin’s ability to fill the role of chair of Te Kauhanganui and he maintains that withdrawal of support for her to remain in that position,” Mr Morgan says.

Mrs Martin's future will be a matter for the parliament.


The co-chair of the group developing an iwi response to the Government's constitutional review says it's looking closely at Bolivia as a future model for New Zealand.

Evo Morales, the first Bolivian president with an indigenous whakapapa, enacted a new constitution last year which gave more power to the country's indigenous majority.

Margaret Mutu says it sought to roll back a half a millennium of Spanish colonisation.

“It is based on the responsibility to look after papatuanuku and that’s the basis of their constitution so it gets away from concentrating on just the human element of the world and considering the world in total and the relationship between us and paptuanuku and tangaroa and tawhirimatea and all the elements around us, that we are just one part of it,” Professor Mutu SAYS.

Bolivia's 17th constitution since 1826 also included an article protecting the cultivation of coca, which it said was not a narcotic in its natural state.


New research has pointed to early Maori being responsible for destroying huge tracts of New Zealand's forests.

A study by Landcare Research and Montana State University says the use of fire to clear land for planting may have resulted in up to 40 percent of the country's forest cover replaced by grass and scrub within the first 200 years of Polynesian settlement.

Landcare senior scientist Matt McGlone says the study disproves earlier theories the fires were caused by lightning ... and it's highlighted how efficiently the land was cleared.

“We think a large part was done within 200 years, possibly within 100 years and it was done by a relative handful of people. As far as we know, round about 200, 250 tops Maori arrive. To do all they did within a couple of hundred years means that very few people were doing a lot of work,” Dr McGlone says.

The study is being published in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences as a case study into how quickly a human population can have major impact on the land.


A leading Tainui elder says the death of senior orator Tione John Haunui is a major loss to the tribe.

Rahui Papa says Mr Haunui, who died yesterday aged 71, was steeped in Tainui oratory and karakia.

He says he was a source of stability within the tribe, and his passing marks the end of an era.

“He was one of the ones lucky enough to bne alongside the likes of Dr Henare Tuwhangai, Te Whati Tamati, Pumi Taituha, Waea Mauriohoho, just to name a few. Wonderful, wonderful kaumatua that not only performed the oratory on the marae, not only did the incantations to bless houses but they were also the kaumatua that debated issues for the people,” Mr Papa says.

John Haunui from Waikato and Ngati Maniapoto is lying in state at Waahi Marae in Huntly.


Meanwhile, the chair of the Tainui executive says his counterpart in the tribal parliament needs to bring her dispute back to the tribe.

Tania Martin yesterday failed to get an injunction preventing King Tuheitia sacking her as chair of Te Kauhanganui, with the judge suggesting she go through the internal disputes resolution process invoked by Tukoroirangi Morgan and his Te Ara Taura executive.

Mr Morgan says the courts aren't the right place to fight tribal matters.

“We're an iwi before we were an incorporated society. That’s what makes tribes unique. The raupatu or the settlement of raupatu came as a result of what happened to the tribe, not to an incorporated society, when we lost 1.2 million acres in 1864. We are still and iwi and this iwi has one boss. He is the paramount chief and ariki for Waikato-Tainui. That’s Kingi Tuheitia,” he says.

Mr Morgan says the king maintains his withdrawal of support for Mrs Martin to remain as chair of Te Kauhanganui, but it's up to the parliament to decide what happens next.


The head of the Public Health Association says low achievement by Maori and Pasifika students in schools is creating inter-generational health problems.

Gay Keating says the Children’s Social Health Monitor shows far too many Maori children ending up in hospital with preventable conditions.

She says often it comes down to the limited options their parents have if they come out of the school system without qualifications.

“They're less likely to have a good-paying job and when they become parents in their 20s and 30s Maori parents have less income and are more likely to be last on, first off and sadly we see this reflected in the children's health statistics,” Dr Keating says.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Police considering increase in firepower

Iwi leaders are in Wellington today consulting police about arming officers.

Wally Haumaha, the head of Maori and ethnic services, says the weekend machete attack on Taihape senior constable Bruce Mellor has increased calls for officers working alone in rural areas to be armed.

He says such a step needs to be considered carefully, and only taken after wide consultation.

“If we draw a line and we go to the position where people are calling for fully-armed police, well there’s no going back, and then of course you have different sectors of society saying would they want to see police walking into schools or talking to their children with Glocks strapped to their hips,” Superintendent Haumaha says.


The National Urban Maori Authority is welcoming the appointment of British company Serco to run Auckland Central Remand Prison at Mt Eden from next year.

Spokesperson John Tamihere says the authority has been talking to Serco about providing rehabilitation and education services.

He says it will give Maori a real opportunity to tackle recidivism.

“We've never been able to get a relationship with the present Corrections Department. They micromanage things. They make it very difficult. And the incentive is to get reoffending and the continuity of it. We want that breached, so we are only interested in programme delivery in the prisons that will allow us for the very first time to make a real run at dropping reoffending amongst our population,” Mr Tamihere says.

The extent to which NUMA is involved is yet to be fully determined.


A new marae at Te Hana, just north of Wellsford is expected to create up to 250 jobs.

Thomas de Thierry, the chair of Te Hana Te Ao Marama, says the marae will focus on education and tourism, with traditional activities like tangi staying at other Ngatu Whatua marae in the region.

He says more than 600 people turned out at dawn on Saturday to help the Ngati Te Hana hapu of Te Uri o Hau open the meeting house, dining hall and waharoa or gateway.

The complex should be fully open for business next May, once work is completed on a cafe, museum, information pavilion and whare whakairo or carving sheds.

He says the closure of the Irwin Izard blade factory in Wellsford had cost the area hundreds of jobs, so the marae was a beacon of hope.


Waikato-Tainui and Ngati Maniapoto are in mourning for Tione John Haunui, the senior spokesperson for the kingitanga, who dies today at the age of 71.

Mr Haunui, a descendent of Taawhiao, the second Maori King, served three generations of the Maori monarchy.

Former Maori Affairs minister Koro Wetere says it's a huge loss for the Kingitanga.

He asked for Tainui people to put aside the divisions of recent days as a sign of respect to a man who gave his entire life to the King movement.

Mr Haunui is being taken to Waahi Marae in Huntly.


The head of the Howard League for Prison Reform, Peter Williams QC, says people who hope a private manager will improve prospects for Maori prisoners are likely to be disappointed.

Urban Maori authorities have welcomed the selection of British firm Serco to run Auckland Central Remand Prison at Mt Eden, as they hope to get contracts to assist in rehabilitation.

Mr Williams says while it's unlikely Serco could not do much worse than the Department of Corrections, there's little reason to believe it will do much better.

“Private enterprise of course is mainly concerned with making profits for its shareholders and it’s really wrong in principle that our prisons should be owned by private investors but on the other hand if they can do a better job, the end product really is the test,” Mr Williams says.

He says considering the disproportionately high percentage of Maori on the prison musters, Serco may be wise it invest in Maori cultural training for prisoners and staff alike.


Students for a new Maori-focused Masters of Business Admininstration will visit North America to see first hand how indigenous communities develop tribal plans.

Bentham Ohia, the deputy chair of the Waikato Tainiui College for Research and Development, says when he completed his masters at Waikato a decade ago, the students visited China as an example of an emerging market.

He says the tauira studying at the Tainui Endowed College in Hopuhopu are likely to learn a lot from the Chippawa in Michigan, the Seminole in Florida and the Choctaw tribes of Mississippi.

“They've been able to look at the challenges of balancing corporate objectives and cultural objectives, and to be able to go and look and feel and touch it will be a huge advantage for our people,” Mr Ohia says.

The MBA course is being delivered in partnership between the Tainui college and Waikato University's Management School.

Treaty foundation for constitution planning

The convenor of a Maori constitutional planning group says the Treaty of Waitangi will be the foundation for whatever it put up.

The group of lawyers and academics met in Auckland on the weekend to start developing a collective response on behalf of 50 iwi to the Government's review led by Pita Sharples and Bill English.

Moana Jackson says many Maori have little understanding of what a constitution is, but most have a good understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“I said to the meeting on Saturday if you ask Maori to set their top ten priorities, the constitution wouldn’t be in the top 10 so we are aware of that and part of the reason for the working group is to nut out hw we can best do that, how we can stimulate discussion, because after all it is a treaty-based discussion,” Mr Jackson says.

The constitutional review includes the place of the treaty of Waitangi, as well as issues such as the term of parliament, the number of MPs and the future of the Maori seats.


Maori Party co-leader and Ngati Apa member Tariana Turia says her iwi's settlement with the Crown shows the value of using young negotiators instead of lawyers.

The iwi accepted has secured a $28 million package including a cash, cultural redress and housing assistance, forest land and the right to buy Ohakea air base and other Crown properties if they are made surplus.

Mrs Turia says while if falls well short of what Ngati Apa lost through aggressive Crown land purchasing in the 1800s, a younger of generation of leaders was determined to get on with building a future for the tribe.

“Quite often those of us who are older find it really difficult to give up that role but I do think and I can only judge it by our case that it was a really sensible thing to do. They had the energy for it and I think the really great thing was that we didn’t have lawyers acting between us and the Crown. We weren’t like other iwi who have paid out significant amounts of money in legal costs,” Mrs Turia says.


Former waterpolo international and tv weatherman Brendan Horan says he's standing for New Zealand First in Tauranga because he can't sit by and watch the country go down the economic gurgler.

The Ngati Maniapoto man now runs a gold buying business employing 16 people.

He says the party has the formula to save New Zealand's jobs and prosperity.

“You know the only reason I want to be there is I believe we can make a real difference to New Zealand and get us away from this economic disaster,” Mr Horan says.

He says Tauranga has gone backwards since the electorate threw out New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says New Zealand is browning up and the time is right to honour the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Government has finally set the scope for the constitutional review agreed to in the support agreement with the Maori Party.

Mrs Turia says it gives Maori a chance to push for a constitution underpinned by the Treaty.

“Generally our people are ready for this conversation and I think the rest of New Zealand is ready. We are always going to have people of the ilk of the Coastal Coalition and the ACT Party and others who still believe in white rule. The fact is we are browning up as a country, really important that we move forward together in trusting relationships with one another to act in the best interests of all of us who are part this land,” she says.

Mrs Turia says the Crown got the governance it wanted under the treaty, but Maori didn't get the rangatiratanga they were after.


Greenpeace's political advisor is encouraging Maori to turn out for a protest in Wellington today against Chile's crack-down on indigenous protest on Rapanui-Easter Island.

Mike Smith from Ngapuhi has taken on the role after several years of trying to raise awareness in Maori communities of climate change.

He says environmental and indigenous struggles are closely linked, which is why there's a march this morning from the Wellington Railway Station to the Chilean Embassy in Bolton St.

“Their military and police force are shooting unarmed civilians in Rapanui at the moment and of course those are our cousins. We can’t just stand by and let them be attacked militarily like they are. They’re not an armed insurrection and they’re being shot up,” Mr Smith says.

He's had an interest in environmental politics since joining the Values Party in the 1970s ... even before he got into treaty activism.


A Christchurch biologist says the discovery of matai and totara logs in an estuary near McCormack's Bay harks back to pre-European settlement of the Canterbury plains.

Bryan Molloy, a former department of agriculture scientist, says it's hard to determine the age of the logs because the plains are like a huge club sandwich with layer upon layer of forest sediment and river gravel.

But he says they may have come from the period when Captain Cook sailed past and observed from a distance the activity on the land.

"He talks about smokes and smooks in his journal, of the large number of fires he saw, so burning was not unusual, it’s a practice that was relatively common place,” Dr Molloy says.

All that remains of the forests that once cloaked the area is Riccarton Bush or Putaringamotu.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tree chopper turns tree hugger

The country's most notorious tree-chopper has turned tree-hugger.

Mike Smith, whose chainsaw protest hastened the demise of the lone pine on Maungakeikei-One Tree Hill, has joined Greenpeace as political strategist.

He follows Grant Hawke and Ella Henry in bringing a Maori voice to the global environmental organisation.

The 53 year old from Ngapuhi says he's looking forward to hold government and business to account for any environmental degradation they cause.

“You know one thing I’ll say about Greenpeace as an organization, it takes no money from the government and it takes no money from big business. It does that on purpose so that it’s free to critique and indeed when circumstances call for it, to challenge through direct action any government or any business activity that threatens the well being of our environment,” Mr Smith says.

He says Maori need to be aware of the threat the insatiable global appetite for resources poses to the New Zealand environment


Labour's candidate for Manurewa says the selection of a Maori to contest the seat is positive for the party.

Louisa Wall from Ngati Tuwharetoa and Waikato and Ngati Kuri came through after 10 hours of deliberations as local members, unionists and head office representatives considered the merits of a multicultural collection of candidates including another Maori, a Pakeha, a Tongan, a Samoan, and two Indians.

She says with the electorate's high Maori and Pacific Island population, says building relations with Maori from different iwi and different political affiliations the electorate will be important.

“I just want to focus on building really solid relationships in Manurewa and there’s lots of Ngapuhi in Manurewa, there’s a few Waikato and Ngati Tuwharetoa but I know after yesterday I’ve got to push my Ngati Kuri whakapapa through my koro Robin Abraham so I’ll be trying to connect with as many Ngapuhi whanau as possible,” Ms Wall says.

She replaces retiring MP George Hawkins in the seat, which is considered safe for Labour.


Maori medium schools will be given help to adjust to their new national standards.

Pita Sharples, the associate Minister of Education, says the standards should help improve literacy and numeracy among students in Maori language immersion classes.

He says they were designed in consultation with the schools, and they need to be aligned closely with the curriculum.

“There's 74 schools under kura kaupapa Maori and their runanga is currently, and we’re going to help them do this, finalizing their curriculum un terms of Te Aho Matua and then they can face Te Aho Matua curriculum towards Te Whanaketanga, the standards, and see how they relate to each other,” Dr Sharples says.

He says assessment tools need to be developed for Nga Whanaketanga Rumaki Maori, and teachers will need professional development to get the most out of the new standards.


Ngati Apa chair Adrian Rurawhe says the apology from the Crown as part of the iwi's settlement was important, but not to everyone.

After five years of negotiations, the iwi accepted a $28 package including a $16 million cash payout, the ability to buy Crown forest land and the right to buy assets such as the Ohakea airforce base if they are made surplus.

Mr Rurawhe says the apology acknowledges the way aggressive Crown land purchasing in its rohe from the Rangitikei to the Whangaehu Rivers left the tribe landless by 1900, creating great hardship for the people.

He says the apology was important for some tribal members, but others were more cynical, or saw it as a chance to develop a better relationship with the Crown.

Adrian Rurawhe says the settlement includes funds for cultural redevelopment and arts promotion of the arts, as part of the tribal rebuilding.


A Ngai Tahu midwife says attending an international midwifery conference in South Africa will help her better serve her predominantly rural clientele.

Biddy Sheehan from Ashburton is one of only about 185 specialist Maori midwives.

She says her colleagues in the Christchurch-based Maori Midwifery Roopu encouraged her to apply for a Cathay Pacific High Flyers Award to fund her to the conference in Durban next June.

“They wanted a rural midwife to go because practicing rurally is quite full on, they’re on call more 24-7 than urban midwives because there’s fewer of us to cover each other. It came down to me because I’m available. I’m also doing some post-grad papers towards masers, and I think that helped quite a lot as well,” Mrs Sheehan says.


Labour leader Phil Goff says Louisa Wall's selection as Labour's candidate for Manurewa is historic for the party.

He says the former Silver Fern, who served as a list MP in 2008 replacing Ann Hartley resigned, is the first Maori to be selected for a safe general seat.

The first Maori to win a general seat for Labour, Georgina Beyer, was in the marginal Wairarapa electorate.

Mr Goff says Ms Wall has the endorsement of outgoing MP George Hawkins and she’s up to the challenge.

Sharples keen on four year term

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he likes the idea of a four-year parliamentary term.

He and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English are co-chairing a constitutional review to consider issues like the term of parliament, the number of MPs, the future of the Maori seats and the place of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Prime Minister, John Key, has backed extending the term, and Dr Sharples says he’s finding it tough to cram everything into three years.

“The first year you are still getting used to your portfolios. The second year, which is this year, you work like hell, you really go for it. Next year you’ve only got a few months before you a preparing for an election again so maybe a four year term is good and you can sort of get some continuity in things,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the workload has been made worse with parliament in urgency trying to cram things in before the Christmas break.


A Hawkes Bay health and social services provider hopes giving wahine Maori more information will help pick up cancers early.

An Otago University study has found the rates of breast, lung, lymphatic, and blood-carried cancers are rising among Maori women.

Sharon Rye from Te Kupenga Hauora Ahuriri says a demystifying cancer expo at Pukemokimoki marae aimed to show women what services exist to find and treat cancer.

“It was a huge information day, sharing of information flowing from both sides from the community and the whanau back to the providers and from the providers to the whanau. It was a very worthwhile exercise,” Ms Rye says.

As a result of what it learned in the exercise, Te Kupenga Hauora Ahuriri aims to employ more cancer support staff.


The head of Te Wananga O Aotearoa says the tertiary provider is taking a cautious approach to its move into secondary education

The wananga has got the green light to establish vocationally-oriented secondary schools or tai wananga in Palmerston North and Hamilton.

Bentham Ohia says the schools will have a Maori kauapa but the language of instruction will be English.

He says they will be closely monitored.

“Our aim is to provide an excellence-based educational initiative within the secondary school environment. We will move as we look to hone down the model, as we look to ensure that the achievement levels of our students realise our aspiration. This will be a quite cautious approach as we sort of look to a greater timeline in our model,” Mr Ohia says.


Labour MP Shane Jones says the Maori Party has put the Treaty of Waitangi at risk through its constitutional review.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and deputy Prime Minister Bill English will be leading the review, which is expected to take up to three years.

Mr Jones says Maori Party wants to make the treaty part of a written constitution … but it needs to think through the consequences.

“Just go slow, be very careful, because once you start asking courts to ascertain what tikanga ought to prevail, is it the Maori Land Court, is it the High Court, and if you put the treaty into law then you are actually inviting the courts to define the treaty,” he says.

Mr Jones says the review is likely to turn into a three year talkfest, with any recommendations put into the too hard basket.


A lawyer with extensive experience working with rangatahi says a review of the treatment of children in police custody needs to take a close look at the role of welfare agencies.

The review by the Human Rights Commission, The Office of the Children's Commissioner and the Independent Police Conduct Authority aims to see whether New Zealand is meeting its obligations under the international Convention Against Torture.

Hyrum Parata from Ngati Toa says amendments to the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act which came into force in October have created more demand for places in secure youth facilities than there are beds.

He says some Child Youth and Family staff fail to put the needs of the child first.

“Someone would turn up to the police station that in a hurry, has other commitments, private commitments probably. The priority that should be given to the youth in custody seems to become a secondary matter and it is not good enough. There must be some way of drafting or compiling a checklist followed to the letter as opposed to having these arbitrary responses to any situation,” Mr Parata says.

He says the bulk of children spending time in police custody are Maori.


Maori research group Nga Pae o te Maramatanga wants to identify how the Maori language adds value to society.

Director Charles Royal says the study, Te Pae Tawhiti or the distant horizon, will look at issues like economic development, cultural identity and social cohesion.

He says New Zealand as a nation seems unconvinced about the value of te reo Maori.

“What we are attempting to do with this piece of research is try and understand the way the language enriches the lives of all New Zealanders and New Zealand society generally and the economy generally and what might be the potential contribution of the language in years to come,” Dr Royal says.

The study will also look at how more people can be encouraged to use te reo Maori.