Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Water policy ignores untested ownership right

An expert in indigenous land and water rights believes the government could be picking a fight with Maori on freshwater management.

Jacinta Ruru, a senior law lecturer at Otago University, says the water national policy statement released yesterday sticks with the official line that no one can own the water.

She says that conflicts with common law understandings of indigenous rights.

“We have a doctrine, part of our legal system, that is recognising indigenous peoples’ prior ownership of lands and management prior to the change in sovereignty, and although that hasn’t been applied too much in New Zealand, it is the potential under the doctrine of native title whether that doctrine is going to recognized Maori ownership of water,” Ms Ruru says.

The Maori Party has welcomed the water reform as acknowledging the significant relationship between iwi and fresh water.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says his party won't be wasting taxpayers money by contesting a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau.

He says the by-election is a political stunt, as the right time for MP Hone Harawira to seek a mandate would have been when he split from the Maori Party in February.

“He can't say ‘well I’m seeking a mandate with my new arrangements’ because the answer is ‘well, you didn’t seek the consent in February, March, April, May, and you still won’t get the consent until July it looks like, if you go soon.’ And no, we won’t be wasting the taxpayers’ money by entering it,” Mr Peters says.

Labour today announced list MP Kelvin Davis will contest the by-election, making it a three way race with the Maori Party if it goes ahead.


Parihaka residents have joined forces with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra to tell the story of their Taranaki settlement.

Composer Steven Matthews has adapted a poem by Robert Sullivan of Ngapuhi on the 1881 invasion of Parihaka into a work for orchestra and a chorus of kotiro and kaumatua.

Chorus member Maata Wharehoka says the Pakeha composer went about it the right way, using a young woman from Parihaka to introduce himself to the community and get people involved.

Witnessing Parihaka will be performed at Auckland's Aotea centre tomorrow, and the composer will be talking about the piece at Auckland University tonight.


Hauraki - Waitako MP Nanaia Mahuta says the courage of a Ngaruawahia woman is leading to zero tolerance for violence against children in the town.

The woman, known as Cheree, has faced retaliation for speaking out after the alleged killing of six month old Serenity Jay Scott-Dinnington in her neighbourhood.

Ms Mahuta, a fellow Ngaruawhia resident, says Cheree has her full support.

She says the community hui called by Cheree resulted in a determination to work together against family violence and support those who stand up against it.


A Maori Party supporter says a hui at Waitangi on the weekend to rebuild the party's infrastructure in te Tai Tokerau wasn't as bad as is being made out.

Those at the hui were subjected to four hours of interjections and abuse by members of MP Hone Harawira's family.

But Tihi Puanaki of Nga Puhi says there were issues that needed to be put forward, which is what happens on marae.

“It actually was a lovely hui, i te mutunga, and for those of us whop had been in those sort of arenas, kei te pai te raru, kei te pai te tau tuhituhi. Debate and that is ok, it’s just working strategies to get through and not hate each other in the end,” she says.


A south Wairarapa hapu says finding a large lump of valuable ambergris is like a gift from the gods.

Haami Te Whaiti from Ngati Hinewaka says a group from Kohunui Marae had gathered at a beach near Mangatoetoe last August to bless and bury the remains of an 18 metre beached bull sperm whale.

He says the 40 kg lump of the waxy substance, which is used in the perfume industry, literally fell from the whale before their eyes.

The price a French perfumier paid for the ambergris is confidential, but it was a major contribution to the cost of rebuilding of Kohunui marae, which will feature on Maori Television's Marae DIY programme next month.


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