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Māori News Stories for the Week Ending 5 December 2014 (edition 43)

Māori News Stories for the Week Ending 5 December 2014 (edition 43)

  • Dr Wharehuia Milroy, Charisma Rangipunga, Dr Ruakere Hond, Dr Rawinia Higgins and Charlie Te Pana have been appointed as members of the Māori Language Advisory Group.  This group will provide advice to the Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell, on the Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill.  Minister Flavell has indicated that he considers the bill requires refinements.  (The bill is current being considered by the Māori Affairs Select Committee.  Public submissions closed today.)
  • Jacqui Caine (Ngāi Tahu) has been appointed as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Chile.
  • This week media outlets are reporting that Sealord has confirmed that 70 factory jobs, 11 office-based jobs and 30 contract roles will be disestablished at its Nelson wetfish factory.  (Sealord is 50% owned by Aotearoa Fisheries via a holding company, Kura, and in turn Aotearoa Fisheries is owned by iwi quota holders.)[1]
  • The New Zealand Māori Council has released its briefing to the incoming Government on its website.  In addition the Council has also released a Water Policy Statement.  We are reviewing these documents and will advise further in edition 44/2014.Note we will undertake these reviews in conjunction with a review of the Waitangi Tribunal findings relating to the Council’s claims concerning potential amendments to the Māori Community Development Act, which is the establishment legislation for the Council.  [By way of background, the Government consulted on options for amending this legislation in mid-2013, which resulted in the Council filing this Treaty claim, (WAI 2417), which was heard in March this year.  In sum, the Council’s view is that this legislation creates a form of Crown/Māori partnership, but the consultation process on amending the Act did not take that into account.  Pānui editions 36/2013, 44/2013 and 45/2013 provide further details on the consultation and proposals, and details on the Council’s response and claim.  This Tribunal’s report is expected to be available for public comment from next Monday.
  • In January the In-Zone Education Foundation will open a new residence for fifteen Māori and Pacific Island students wanting to attend Epsom Girls Grammar.  (By way of background, the In-Zone Education Foundation residence for Auckland Boys Grammar students was opened in 2011.)  All students living at the In-Zone residences are Māori or Pacific students from out-of-zone low income families, who would otherwise not be eligible to attend these schools.  Families of the students attending grant shared guardianship to the In-Zone Director, Terrance Wallace, which allows for the school enrolments to occur.
  • Maraeroa C Incorporation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Beijing based company (name withheld). The joint venture will assist expanding Maraeroa C Incorporation ginseng plantation and provides an entry into the China market.
  • On Wednesday Ngāti Kauwhata and members of the Fielding community staged a peaceful protest to raise their concerns regarding the health of the Ōroua River.
  • The Waitangi Tribunal urgent hearing into the Ngāpuhi claims settlement process commenced this week.  In essence this claim challenges the right of the Crown to settle Treaty breaches with Tūhoronuku, in that it alleges the mandating process used by the Crown was of itself a Treaty of Waitangi breach (Pānui 41/2014 refers).
  • The Education Review Office has released a November report on Hato Petera College.  As quality concerns exist, the Office is reviewing this College at least every two years.  The key conclusion of this report is that:“Since 2012 the principal and staff have worked hard to improve student learning and welfare. Significant progress has resulted in a curriculum that raises student achievement.  Unfortunately, a lack of agreement with the Catholic Diocese about property and personnel matters, are impacting negatively on the board’s ability to continue improvements” (page 8).We consider that the conclusion is unhelpfully coy, and distorts the issues that have presented for this College in recent years.  I.e. do improvements bring the College up to an acceptable educational standard or not?  Further the issue around property, and the relationship between the Church, the School Trust Board, and Ministry of Education appears to be very significant (including a Treaty of Waitangi claim), but the Review Office report does not satisfactory explore ramifications.  The extract below provides a lens onto the type of issues presenting.

    “There is no clear agreement between the Catholic Diocese, Te Whānau o Hato Petera Trust, and the Ministry of Education as to who has the responsibility for the hostel buildings, and the land on which the buildings are situated.

    There is also uncertainty around the future tenure of the lease agreement on the school and the hostel facilities. The Catholic Diocese has offered a short-term lease extension, which leaves college and hostel boards with no clear commitment for future sustainability.” (Page 5.)

[1]There is no public media statement from Sealord to confirm this.

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