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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Maori land law changes mooted

The co-author of a new report on the aspirations of Maori landowners says law changes are needed.

Whaimutu Dewes from Ngati Porou also helped write Te Turei Whenua Maori Act, which was passed in 1993 ... almost 20 years after the New Zealand Maori Council first called for an overhaul of Maori land law.

He says Maori society has changed, and while many Maori land trusts are working well, others struggle because the law does not meet current needs.

“Decision making processes were designed with a particular framework in mind and that is owners engaged, appointing their trustees or incorporation committees who then made decisions on their behalf. That was valid in the 1970s and even through the 80s. By the time we get to 2011 the one size fits all certainly needs examination now,” Mr Dewes says.

The report, which was done for Te Puni Kokiri, was released at the same time as a Ministry of Agriculture report which estimated more than 1 million hectares of Maori land is under-used or under-performing.


Auckland Mayor Len Brown wants the super city to replace Rotorua as the place where foreign visitors get introduced to Maoritanga.

The mayor is planning a round of hui to discuss how Maori see their role in the city's development over the next 30 years.

He says tourism is a part of that, and he doesn't want to see tourists arriving at Auckland International airport heading straight off to Rotorua.

“If they want to see tangata whenua, their first experience should be in Auckland and that might be at Orakei or Hoani Waitiiti. The sense of Auckland and its tourism products being first represented by the mana whenua, tangata whenua of our city is critical,” Mr Brown says.

He says the city also needs to plan for the resources coming back to mana whenua iwi through the claims process.


Labour Maori Affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says Petrobras should not under-estimate the cultural strength of Te Whanau a Apanui people.

An iwi-led is protest against the Brazilian oil giant's prospecting in the Raukumara basin drew 600 people and a flotilla of boats to Whangaparaoa Bay on the weekend.

Mr Horomia, whose Ikaroa Rawhiti electorate adjoins the iwi's rohe, says living out near East Cape makes people resilient.

“It takes a long time to get to Whananu a Apanui. They’re right out and that’s a real strength at Cape Runaway where they have preserved life as they know it and nobody should put it asunder. Those people are strong and steeped in their culture and they live it,” Mr Horomia says.


A leading member of the New Zealand Maori Council member wants Hone Harawira to call his new party the Treaty of Waitangi Party.

Maanu Paul says if the former Maori Party MP wants to contest the party vote in this year's election, he will need to appeal to voters beyond the Tai Tokerau seat he now holds.

He says a parliamentary party with the kaupapa of upholding the treaty should get widespread support.

“There is a huge groundswell of support by people other than Maori. A lot of Pakeha, a lot of new migrants, are supportive of the Treaty of Waitangi, are supportive of Maori getting a fair deal,” Mr Paul says.

He suggested to Mr Harawira he should join forces with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, but accepted the MP's view that there would not be room for the two leaders in one party.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples wants the Maori Affairs select committee to conduct an inquiry into the price of milk.

The Commerce Commission is considering an inquiry into whether the price of milk should be regulated.

Dr Sharples says after its success in taking the tobacco industry to task, the select committee would be an ideal body to find out why there is a big difference between what farmers get for their raw milk and what customers pay over the counter

“I just think special allowances for our home products; milk, meat, timber, all the things we produce plenty of and specialize in, there should be some allowance some way so that we don’t have to pay overseas prices or such high prices,” he says.

Dr Sharples says many Maori among those most affected by price increases.


The co-author of a new book on Maori oral health says bad teeth can mean bad job prospects.

Bridget Robson from the Eru Pomare research centre says because dental services are largely privately funded, many Maori miss out on preventive, restorative, or rehabilitative dental care.

She says this has long term social and economic effects, because of the stigma attached to having missing teeth.

Ms Robson says a WINZ-funded programme in Hamilton for people to get their teeth fixed, which led to people getting work.

Oranga Waha aims to promote more research into Maori Oral Health


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