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Friday, March 02, 2007

Arawa hearing extended after doc dump

A Waitangi Tribunal hearing in Rotorua into the Government's settlement of land claims in the Rotorua region has been extended into next week.

Lawyer Annette Sykes says the Crown last night dumped 500 pages of documents on the tribunal relating to the mandate the Office of Treaty Settlements granted to Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa to negotiate the claims.

Ms Sykes says the claimant hapu fear they are being written out of the tribe and their assets handed over to others.

“And that's causing major upset among a number of the tribal groups here, many of whom we would argue are the right heartbeats of Te Arawa themselves, so our very identity is at risk by a settlement that’s being pushed, we argue, to meet Crown settlement targets rather than to honour the treaty principles,” Annette Sykes says.

The Waitangi Tribunal will sit in Wellington next Friday to hear arguments about the mandate documents tabled at this week's hearing.

FUNDS TO STEM DISRUPTION

The Education Ministry's operational policy manager says a new fund to tackle disruptive behaviour should help schools bring a cultural dimension to their interventions.

Jim Matheson says schools can apply to the Interim Response Fund when a student's behaviour reaches crisis point.

Mr Matheson says while the fund is not targeted to Maori students who feature disproportionately in suspensions and expulsions, it could help principals do something different.

“Principals are quite used to thinking, ‘Well, this is a young Maori person, the response I make needs to recognise what’s going to work for this young one, so it might be there’s a relative who can help, there might be some extra services needed,’ but the driver is still the behaviour rather than anything else,” Mr Matheson says.

The fund has already approved five applications.

NGAPUHI FEST CHANCE TO COME HOME

The organiser of tomorrow's Ngaphui Festival in Auckland says it's a call for the people of the north to come home.

The Telstra Clear Events Centre in Manukau City will ring to the sound of traditional and modern waiata, with stalls, wananga on Ngapuhi history and culture, sessions on the role of women in the tribe and a gala ball.

Karleen Everitt says by moving the festival from Kaikohe to Tamaki Makaurau, the tribe is going to where most of its people live - and saying it hasn't forgotten them.

“Having the event here in Tamaki allows us to share that amazing richness of our Ngapuhitanga, celebrating our Ngapuhitanga, and now we get the opportunity to strike the flint of those torches on the way home so they can see yes, they can walk on home into the heartland of Ngapuhi,” Ms Everitt says.

TAU BLASTS FISHERIES ADVICE

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the Fisheries Ministry has given the Government incorrect advice that its proposed shared fisheries policy won't affect the Maori fisheries settlement.

The Ministry wants to cut commercial quota in species like snapper, kahawai and paua so recreational fishers can catch more.

Mr Tau says documents released under the Official Information Act show Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton was advised the plan was positive for Maori and consistent with the Fisheries Deed of Settlement, signed by Maori and the Crown in 1992.

He says iwi oppose the shared fisheries policy because it reduces the commercial value of their settlement.

Mr Tau says a meeting of Maori, commercial and recreational fishing organisations in Auckland yesterday was united in opposition and called on the government to start again.

He says the three sectors can come up with a better fisheries management plan, if the government will let them.

MAORI PARTY CLAIMS BRAGGING RIGHTS

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is standing by a call for iwi to occupy disputed land.

The party is in a battle with Labour's Maori caucus for bragging rights over the Government's decision to stop the sale of two Landcorp properties currently occupied by Waitangi claimants.

Senior ministers say the Maori Party's opposition had nothing to do with the decision, and they have condemned its call for more occupations.

But Dr Sharples says Labour's Maori MPs are jealous at the Maori Party's success in showing up the flaws in Landcorp's land sales process.

“Parekura and Maori MPs of Labour are angry because we have pointed this out and the people have reacted and Government has had to do a back step and do an about turn. Quite frankly most Maori MPs in Government actually support what we’re doing and they just wish they'd done it,” Dr Sharples says.

MAORI TOUCH ADDED TO SKELETON STORY

An Eskimo love story with a Maori flavour will be a feature of this weekend's Wellington Fringe festival.

Actress Helen Moran will perform Skeleton Woman, an interpretation of an Inuit myth of a warrior who hooks a terrifying entity that pursues him.

Moran says writer Kathleen Gallagher has created a work which resonates with New Zealand audiences.

“She really brought the Maori element in so the warrior has a Maori speech which is also set in English so there’s this motif that goes through where she’s used the idea of whakarongo, listening, listening with all the senses,” Ms Moran says.

She has performed Skeleton Woman last year at the Storytelling as a Healing Art conference in Melbourne and the 2006 Dunedin Fringe Festival.

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