This paper provides a summary of key Māori interest news items from 21 December to 24 January 2014. Analytical assessments of policy matters will be provided in regular Pānui briefs.
Appointments, honours and nominations
* 2014 New Year’s Honours’ list recipients for Service to Māori were:
Knights Companion (KNZM);
o Dr Noble Thomson Curtis
Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM)
o Hekenukumai Busby
o Marjorie Joe
Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)
o Kathleen Jehly
o Amoroa Luke
Queens Service Medal (QSM)
o Kingiareta Biddle
o Reverend Judith Cooper1
* Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, (The Māori Language Commission / Te Taura Whiri) has established a new Māori Language Research Centre, He Puna Whakarauroa. The current Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri, Glenis Philip-Barbara, will become the establishment Chief Executive of the Centre. Pita Paraone has been appointed Acting Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri.
* Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and Dr Lance O’Sullivan have been nominated for the 2014 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award (amongst others). The winner will be announced on 26 February.
* On Tuesday the Prime Minister, John Key, confirmed that the National Party has an ongoing interest in maintaining a relationship agreement with the Māori Party (and others), after the 2014 election (should the National Party be returned to govern). Mr Key also delivered a ‘state of the nation’ speech on Thursday, although we note this did not discuss any issues specific to Māori. However he, and other leaders of the main political parties are arriving at Ratana Pā today to commemorate the birth of Tahupōtiki Rātana. We will be reviewing speech materials from these celebrations and will provide a summary assessment of any relevant policy matters in Pānui edition 2/2014.
* The Speaker of the House, David Carter, has requested a review of pōwhiri protocols at parliament, particularly in relation to establishing appropriate seating arrangements for female dignities. He has indicated a preference to modernise arrangements within parliament, to ensure acceptability to a diversified parliament, whilst appropriately upholding iwi protocols.
* In December, Norwegian company Statoil was granted an oil exploration permit for the Reinga-Northland Basin. Te Rarawa Iwi Chair, Haami Piripi, has indicated that although Te Rarawa does not support the exploration activities, he is formally requesting that the Government establish an iwi-led oil-exploration monitoring programme. This request will be made at upcoming iwi leaders-to-Crown Waitangi meetings.
* On 24 December the Waitangi Tribunal ruled on the application for an urgent hearing for WAI 2417. This claim, filed by the New Zealand Māori Council, relates to processes adopted by the Crown for the reform of the Māori Community Development Act 1962. (This is the establishment Act for the Māori Council and the Māori Wardens.) The Tribunal ruled in favour of the claimants (the New Zealand Māori Council), and has indicated that an urgency hearing should be held in March this year. Pānui 36/2013 outlines the three initial aspects of the claim (two of which were determined to meet the threshold for urgency).2 The Tribunal ruling from Judge Fox is 18-pages but is summarised in the following paragraph:
“We consider that there are grounds for urgency as this is an exceptional case because of the unique nature of this claim, the history of the legislation and its recognition of the right of Māori to self-government, the unique nature of the Council system and the inextricable link and development of the Māori Wardens under the agency of Māori communities and the District Councils.”
* In late December Mana Ahuriri (a collective of hapū in Napier) signed an Agreement in Principle with the Crown. The agreement includes financial and commercial redress of $19.5 million.3
* On 23 December, the Waitangi Tribunal released a Mangatū Remedies Report.4 The Tribunal agreed all applicants had well-founded claims, but declined to make binding recommendations to return forestry lands; as any such rulings could not be assured to be fair and equitable between claimant groups, and/or proportionate to the nature of the Treaty breaches.