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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 04, 2011

Gates welded shut at Maungatautari

A Waikato iwi has made good on its threat to ask the Maori Land Court to preserve public access to the Maungatautari ecological reserve.

Ngati Koroki spokesperson Willie Te Aho says the iwi sought an injunction last week when Maungatautari 4G4 Trust welded shut gates leading to the mountain.

He says while some landowners may be frustrated at the pace of negotiations over compensation for land in the reserve, the trust went too far.

“The act that was taken against Maungatautari was aggressive and trapped two people within the maunga and that’s why we’ve got our people in 24-7 guarding that entrance not only to protect the mana of our word to the public and to the Crown but more importantly from a health and safety issue to ensure no one suffers any personal injury,” Mr Te Aho says.

There are 20 separate blocks within the fenced reserve.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is shrugging off a poll which shows him losing ground to Labour’s Shane Jones in his Tamaki Makaurau electorate.

With campaigning yet to start in earnest, Horizon Poll indicated Dr Sharples majority of 7540 would drop to just over 1000.

He believes the Maori Party still has strong backing.

“I stand on my track record and if I’m not elected, that’s fine. If people don’t want you, you don’t want to be there so I’ll just stand and if they think I’m still ok, I'll get in,” Dr Sharples says.


The new head of the Asthma Foundation wants to increase its focus on preventing asthma in children.

Angela Francis is a former deputy chief executive officer at the Eastern Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation.

She says Maori are two and a half times more likely to have asthma and respiratory problems than non-Maori, so it's important to work with organisations like the Smokefree Coalition.

She says smoking is a principal cause of asthma.

The Asthma Foundation might also look to closer links to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, because helping people to keep their homes warm and dry is a way to prevent asthma.


Labour MP Shane Jones says iwi aren’t doing enough to ensure fair working conditions on foreign fishing boats that catch their quota for them.

A Sunday newspaper investigation revealed government awareness of low pay, sweatshop conditions and violence against workers on the boats.

Mr Jones, a former chair of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, says some iwi are working through shady agents.

“I don’t think anyone, when we conceived and executed the Sealord fisheries settlement, ever imagined that Maori quota would be swooped upon and used by unscrupulous agents as a basis for enriching themselves but treating Ukranians and Asians as a form of slave labour and unless the iwi quota owners can hop on top of their days of flicking the quota on for a quick buck may be very well coming to an end,” he says.

Mr Jones says it’s better for the industry and New Zealand’s reputation is iwi lease their quota to Sealord, which they own shares in.


Associate Corrections Minister Pita Sharples says a contract should be signed soon with Hawkes Bay iwi to help run the Whare Oranga Ake unit attached to Wakaria Prison.

The 32-bed Hastings unit and one at Spring Hill Prison south of Auckland will use a combination of work experience, tikanga-based counseling and whanau support to get Maori inmates back into the community faster.

Dr Sharples says his aim is to get the inmates out of the system once and for all.

“And hopefully recidivism, returning to prison, will be at a minimum if not nil for these (units), and imagine that, 64 less each six months, it’s going to be really amazing to the figures because we’re terribly overpopulated, Maori in the jails,” Dr Sharples says.


Bay of Plenty iwi Ngati Makino signed its $11.9 million settlement with the Crown at the weekend.

The iwi, whose rohe stretches from Maketu to Matata and inland to lakes Rotoiti and Rotoma, split from umbrella group Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa to seek a separate resolution to its historical claims.

Negotiator Annette Sykes says the process brought the iwi together and there was a sense of unity as a separate group within te Arawa, one not prepared to compromise like Te Pumautanga, and one proud to stand up as descendants of those called rebels for the fight their tipuna made.

She was gratified to see the large number of young people who turned out to the signing at Otamarakau marae near Maketu.


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