Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ngapuhi Runanga seeks settlement shortcut

The head of the Ngapuhi Runanga is confident he can win support from enough of the tribe to cut short the Waitangi Tribunal process and move to direct negotiation of a settlement for Northland claims.

Sonny Tau says Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson have endorsed the runanga's plan for a special body, Te Roopu o Tuhoronuku, to seek a mandate to negotiate a comprehensive settlement.

The plan is drawing fire from many claimants, but Mr Tau says the Tuhoronuku strategy is starting to win support from across the 123,000-strong iwi.

“We are always open to sitting down and having a korero with whoever it is, whenever it is they desire to have a talk and hopefully by the end of that we’ve found that we have talked to a few disaffected people and hapu and they’ve come and signed up with Tuhoronuku on them saying they did not understand that this was on offer,” he says.

Te Roopu o Tuhoronuku will hold mandating hui in March and April.


Former Labour MP John Tamihere says criticism of Maori appointees getting votes on Auckland council committees shows why Maori can't trust Labour.

Mr Tamihere represents urban Maori on the super city's statutory Maori advisory board.

Labour's Auckland spokesperson Phil Twyford has criticised what he calls sloppy law drafting which has allowed the board to appoint two representatives with full voting rights to each of the council's committees.

Mr Tamihere says he's bemused by that response.

“So what it starts to show you is you really can’t trust Labour if you’re Maori. Because believe it or no Christine Fletcher who happened to be a National MP for Epsom, she actually supports it,” he says.

Mr Tamihere says Mr Twyford did not raise any objection to the statutory board's procedures while the bill was going through Parliament.


The organiser of a community day aimed at reducing the weight of Maori in South Auckland says leaders cannot sit by and let weight problems balloon.

Tania Rangiheuea from the Manukau Urban Maori Authority brought people to Nga Whare Waatea Marae over the weekend for free health checks as well as demonstrations of tai chi, drumming, boxing and other healthy activities.

She says up to one in two adult Maori now tip the scales into obesity, but by taking small steps people can improve the health and future of their whanau.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says all political parties should go on to Ratana Pa together.

The Te Tai Hauauru MP, who is a morehu or church member, went onto the marae yesterday afternoon with Prime Minister John Key and other National Party ministers.

A Labour group led by Phil Goff had been welcomed on in the morning.
Mrs Turia says the annual hui should not be a political occasion.

“It's an occasion that is about the celebration of the life of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana. My view is and always has been that if the political parties are gong to come there should be one powhiri because that’s about giving respect and consideration to those old people who sit on that paepae all day,” Mrs Turia says.

She says ultimately it's up to church leaders to decide how guests are called onto the marae.


But a Labour list MP says Labour's annual hikoi to Ratana gives it a chance to reaffirm its relationship with an important group of supporters.

Kelvin Davis says Labour was pleased at the warm welcome it got yesterday, compared with the flak it copped last year from one speaker.

He says leader Phil Goff's speech focused on things that matter to Maori, such as employment and being able to look after people.

“People are starting to realise that the government really doesn’t have the answers, that the wage gap between the rich and the poor is getting larger, that people are heading to Australia to look for work because it isn’t good here. People are really struggling to pay the bills and so we’re looking good to reclaim a lot of the support that left us because of the whole foreshore and seabed issue,” Mr Davis says.

He says while many Ratana members shifted their allegiance to the Maori Party, some are now coming back.


The co-ordinator of a Rotorua-based bi-cultural journalism diploma says many Maori leaders could do with some communications help.

Craig Tiriana says Waiariki Institute of Technology has overhauled the 20-year-old course, and this year is offering 10 iwi scholarships in a bid to lure more culturally aware students to the course.

He says while tribal leaders have focused on economic development, many have been slow to recognise the need for good communicators.

“We've spent a lot of time concentrating on professional people, more doctors, lawyers, accountants, Maori with those skills to do jobs for Maori but we’ve never really looked at communications as such but as the world moves on communications is getting more and more important. A lot of our Maori people are in different parts of the world, in different parts of the country, and how we get our stories out to them will be more important in the future,” Mr Tiriana says.


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