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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuwharetoa hapu buy lake lands from Landcorp

Tuwharetoa hapu and land trusts from the northern side of Lake Taupo have signed a deal to buy nine Landcorp blocks for 103 million dollars.

Donna Hall, the lawyer for the Hikuwai Hapu Lands Trust, says Landcorp is rationalising its portfolio in the region because Taupo District Council's efforts to stop nitrate run-off into the lake means it must reduce fertiliser use and stocking rates on the farms.

Ms Hall says the Tuwharetoa owners will turn some of the land into a green belt around the lake, and they also plan to get into the energy business.

“Some of these lands are geothermally active lands. The tribe is keen to be involved in the development and generation of power, and they have a very nice vision for how this acquisition, added to the lands they already own, Tuwharetoa that is, the tribes of the confederation, they’ll be owners of 80 percent of the land around Lake Taupo,” Ms Hall says.

She says buying the farms won't affect the Hikuwai claims to the land, but it could help them in settlement negotiations.


A leading Taranaki elder says it's time for Maori to stop using traditional culture as an excuse for opposing organ donation.

A five year study in the 1990s foound that because of their high rate of liver and kidney failure Maori made up about 13 percent of transplant recipients but less than 2 percent of donors.

Huirangi Waikerepuru says many Maori don't consent to organ donation because it goes against the tapu around the human body.

But Mr Waikerepuru says times have changed, and Maori are happy to receive other benefits of modernisation.

“We are no longer isolated in the Maori environment. We are interacting at a global level, at an international level, at a scientific level, and our ideas are changing all the time,” Mr Waikerepuru says.

Parliament is considering a members bill from National's Jacqui Blue to create an organ donor register which is legally binding.


Sports commentator Ken Laban says bilingualism is emerging as a healthy trend emerging in New Zealand's national teams.

Mr Laban says players like All Black halfback Piri Weepu, Hose and Rico Gear and Wairangi Koopu are giving their codes a bilingual voice.

“Piri was in the first kohanga, Pukeatua, at Wainuiomata, went to the kura kaupapa at Te Aute. We’re now getting boys who are fluent in the reo that are now appearing in our national sides regularly, and of course they take their culture with them. It’s something that is definitely uniquely Maori and very special,” Mr Laban says.


The buyers of nine Landcorp farms near Lake Taupo want to create a green belt around the lake.

At Waipahihi Marae in Taupo yesterday, Tuwharetoa hapu under the banner of the Hikuwai Hapu Lands Trust signed an agreement to buy the blocks over the next three years for $103 million.

Lawyer Donna Hall says Landcorp is selling the farms because Taupo District Council's efforts to stop nitrate run-off into the lake means they can carry less stock.

Ms Hall says the Tuwharetoa buyers, who already own farms in the area, believe they can solve the problem by retiring up to 20 percent of the land from farming.

“It'll be fenced off. It’ll be planted with selective planting – rimu, totara, kauri, right around the lake and it’ll just be let go for 200 years. And at the end of 200 years when you stand at the base of Lake Taupo and look around, there will be a green belt,” Ms Hall says.

The Hikuwai Hapu Trust also intends to use the geothermal resources on the Landcorp farms to get into the energy business.


Maori tertiary students say the government is ignoring their concerns.
Te Mana Akonga spokesperson Victor Manawatu says the Maori tertiary students association presented Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen with detailed submissions as part of its Manaaki Tonu Te Tauira campaign, which included a march on Parliament.

It has now received a one page reply, telling it to take its concerns to Labour's Maori caucus.

Mr Manawatu says Maori students have unique problems which need to be addressed.

“Over two thirds of our students are over 25 and they have families. One third of that are over 40. And it’s those ones with the families that really need as much funding as they can to keep them in the institution. They’re making the step to try to change their lives for the betterment of society as a whole, and yet they’re being completely undermined by the government,” Mr Manawatu says.


Maori fighting for the return of land around Paraparaumu airport are pinning their hopes on legislative change.

The Paraparaumu Airport Coalition has called for the airport's owners to withdraw a rezoning application so the community can be properly consulted on what it wants.

Whanau a te Ngaarara spokesperson Peter Love says the council has already rejected one set of plans for an extensive commercial and retail development, and the developer is runing out of options.

Mr Love says if Parliament passes Darren Hughes' member's bill, those options will be even more limited because the developer will need to offer land surplus to airport use back to the crown.

“That's the way Maori will get back in the game because once the Crown has purchased it, then of course we can invoke the Public Works Act, which took it from us in the first place, and say Hey Crown, you got it back, you offer it back to us,” Mr Love says.


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