Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tame Iti arms conviction dismissed on appeal

Tuhoe activist Tame Iti says a Court of Appeal decision overturning his firearms convictions is just one more step in a lifelong battle for indigenous rights.

Mr Iti had been found guilty of two counts of possessing a firearm in a public place after he fired a shotgun during welcomes for the Waitangi Tribunal at Ruatoki in January 2005.

The court said the prosecution failed to prove any criminal harm from Iti's action.

Mr Iti says the case was brought because of the grandstanding of former ACT MP Stephen Franks, and he has no grudge against the police for taking it.

“Tuhoe tikanga or any other iwi hapu tikanga always will be in conflict. As long as the judicial system continues to marginalise indigenous people of this country, we always will be in in conflict with it,” Mr Iti says.

He says over the past 15 years he has discharged shotguns on Tuhoe marae in front of a prime minister, a governor general and a police commissioner with no complaints.

FISH FIGHTING TALK FROM JACKSON

Maori lawyer Moana Jackson says recreational fishers must understand taking fish is a privilege and not a right.

Mr Jackson, who specialises in international indigenous rights, told this week's Maori fisheries hui in Napier that pressure from the recreational sector for increased catches would be at the expense of Maori customary and commercial interests.

Mr Jackson says the recreational sector is unwilling to accept that Maori customary rights should have priority.

“So any right to fish recreationally must be subject to a similar right of Maori to exercise their preceding rights over a particular fish bed or whatever, and it’s in that context that recreational fishing in my view is a privilege subject to the pre-existing rights of Maori,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the Government's proposed shared fisheries policy will reinforce recreational privilege rather than uphold treaty and customary rights.

NGA RAURU HIT BY WAVERLEY SCHOOL CLOSURE

A Waverley High School board spokesperson says closure of the South Taranaki school will be a blow to the area's tangata whenua, Nga Rauru.

Mike Niho says up to 40 percent of students whakapapa to the iwi, and will now have to travel through to Wanganui or Paatea to finish their secondary schooling.

Mr Niho says the local Maori community fought for the school to remain open.

“For Nga Rauru as a whole, we’re disappointed in the closure, given that we now only have the Waverley Primary School, the Waitotara Primary School are the only educational facilities in Nga Rauru,” Mr Niho says.

EDUCATOR VERN PENFOLD DIES AGED 82

E te koro, moe mai moe mai takoto mai ra...

Te Aitanga Hauiti hapu of Ngati Porou today buried long time educationalist and race relations advocate Vern Penfold, who died this week aged 82 after a long illness.

Mr Penfold did much of his early teaching at Ratana Pa, before become a lecturer in Maori studies at Auckland teachers training college during the 1960s.

He moved into the inspectorate, and at the end of his career was working for the Race Relations Conciliator developing education programmes.

Fellow educator and friend Turoa Royal says Mr Penfold was an inspiration to generations of teachers.

“He from my point of view was a really professional tutor who cared passionately for his students. He would have matched any professional in terms of his dedication, his understanding of children, and a special place for Maori, because of the difficulties they were having and still are having, with the education system at the present time,” Mr Royal says.

Mr Penford was buried by the sea at Tologa Bay.

ACC SIGNS UP NGATI HINE FOR INFORMATION ROLE

Ngati Hine Health Trust today signed an agreement with the Accident Compensation Commission to improve the way Northland Maori access its services.

It's the second of six such partnerships the commission plans to announce over the next few months.

Hemi Toia, the ACC's director of Maori and community relations, says Maori lag behind non-Maori in using rehabilitation services.


“The key reason is simply a lack of knowledge on the part of Maori communities abut the entitlements under the ACC umbrella. Our entitlement take-up rates would suggest that Maori are uncomfortable with accessing the resources of this agency, as opposed to non Maori,” Mr Toia says.

ACC will help Ngati Hine train kaiawhina to raise awareness of services.

SHARED FISHERIES PLAN DOMINATES IWI HUI

The Government's plan to cut commercial quota to make more fish available for the recreational sector dominated discussions at the second Annual Maori Fisheries Conference this week in Napier.

Matiu Rei, the chief executive of Ngati Toa Rangatira, says the hui was a valuable chance for some the main players in the industry to look at the environment ahead.

Mr Rei says the fisheries ministry hasn't been clear enough about its plans, but from what they have seen, Maori are worried.

“It was an opportunity for us to consider the shared fisheries proposal which was coming, which actually hasn’t been too widely defined by the government but it’s certainly raising concern in Maori circles,” Mr Rei says.

The hui was also an opportunity for iwi to strengthen their economic links.

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