Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 25, 2011

Flotilla gathers for Petrobras protest

Te Whanau a Apanui has put out the call for a water-borne protest against Brazilian oil giant Petrobras's plans to prospect in the Raukumara basin.

Spokesperson Dayle Takitimu says vessels with links to the Nuclear Free Flotilla, Greenpeace, Forest and Bird, and Coromandel Watchdog are expected to be part of a flotilla leaving Auckland for Cape Runaway on Sunday in the hope of encountering Petrobras survey boats.

She says unlike some other iwi, Te Whanau a Apanui isn't interested in deals with miners.

“It's not about the money or greater ability to invest or joint venture with these companies. Whanau a Apanui just don’t want this activity occurring on our back doorstep when there is so much risk involved,” Ms Takitimu says.

She says all New Zealand is under-threat if there is an oil spill from the drilling.


An experimental project to farm sea cucumbers has taken a step forward with Maori partners travelling to China to find out what the customers want.

Business support agency Poutama Trust, the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board and Wakatu Incorporation have been in talks with Oriental Oceans about faming the delicacy in Bay of Plenty and Nelson waters.

Poutama chief executive Richard Jones says the Chinese are happy with the progress.

He says a Wakatu scientist was in the group and stayed on to study how the Chinese manages their sea cucumber farms.

The sea cucumbers will be grown under mussel farms.


Northland iwi Ngai Wai is backing a plan by the Department of Conservation to eradicate kiore or native rats from Taranaga - the Hen in the Hen and Chicken islands.

Resource unit head Clive Stone says the kiore is a taonga, because it travelled with Maori from the Pacific islands.

But he says the iwi approved the poison drop because it also has a kaitiaki responsibility for species like native lizards, bellbirds, kukupa and kaka.

It also hopes seabird life will recover so it can resume cultural harvests of mutton bird.

Mr Stone says Taranga is culturally significant to the iwi and has national ecological value.


The Minister of Courts, Georgina Te Heuheu, says the government is crossing its fingers that the Marine and Coastal Area - Takutai Moana - Act won't clog up the legal system.

The law passed yesterday with the votes of the Maori Party, National and United Future.

Mrs Te Heuheu says that means Maori once again can test their rights to customary ownership in court.

“The government’s hopeful, like all governments I think, that court proceedings tend to clog things up for years to come. Ion the other hand the main purpose of the bill that we’ve negotiated with the Maori Party is to restore the right of Maori to go back to court which is, if we recall the hikoi of some years ago, that was their main take,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.


A national hui on homelessness has called for an parliamentary inquiry into the problem.

Iris Pahau from the Coalition to End Homelessness says Maori make up at more than 80 percent of the homeless.

She says there is no government agency which takes the lead responsibility for dealing with it.

“We as a coalition have called for a parliamentary inquiry into homelessness because we don’t know how wide or how deep the problem is for New Zealanders but we know it is a growing industry and we want to be able to stop it. Our country is small enough to stop this from getting
any bigger,” Mrs Pahau says.

She says the answer to homeless is not just more emergency and affordable housing but also getting homeless Maori connected back to the whanau and hapu they have often lost touch with.


Porirua's Pataka Museum says it's time to introduce visitors to the region's mana whenua.

As part of its exhibition on Ngati Toa's almost two-century occupation of the Porirua area, it's conducting a tour this Sunday of historic pa, including Taupo at Plimmerton, Parematta Pa on the Ngati Toa Domain and Bridge Pa on the coast south of Titahi Bay.

Curator Bob Maysmor says the arrival of Te Rauparaha and his people in the 1820s and 30s was crucial period in New Zealand history.

The exhibition looks at all the major pa as well as the smaller kainga scattered around the harbour and offshore islands.

Mr Maysmor says each pa has its own story which the exhibition tries to bring out.


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