THE N.Z. MAORI COUNCIL
N.Z. Maori Council
Since ‘Te Ao Hou’ was last issued the New Zealand Maori Council has taken an important forward step by starting its regular monthly NEWSLETTER, a small paper designed to keep people ‘in the know’ about the Council. A free issue is sent to all Maori Committees, and anyone else can subscribe for 7s. 6d. a year. Subscriptions should be sent to the Secretary, P.O. Box 5195, Wellington.
It is intended to print news of what District Councils and Committees are doing, and also to publish in the NEWSLETTER the views and comments of anyone who cares to write and give his opinion of the Council or of Maori matters in general.
A Vote by Maori Committees
Another new step taken by the Council is something of an experiment. It is hoping to find the best way of getting the opinions of the people on important issues so that it may truly reflect the views of Maoris as a whole.
The best way that this can be done is to go direct to the Maori Committees throughout the country. They have each been sent a paper on which they are to enter their vote either for or against two proposals that have recently been put to us by the Department of Maori Affairs. Their vote then goes to the Secretary of their Executive, and the Executive's majority decision goes to the District Council and so to the New Zealand Council.
Questions at Issue
The proposals on which the Committees are voting refer to succession to small interests in land. Under the ‘£10 rule’ interests that are valued at less than £10 may be given to only one of the successors. This could mean that some people could be cut out of their parents' land altogether. One of the Department's pro-
posals is to increase the value of these uneconomic interests to £25, which would mean that there would be less fragmentation of land titles, but more people would be cut out without receiving any compensation.
As the law stands at present it is necessary for the Judge of the Maori Land Court to apply the £10 rule if he has any doubts about a particular case. The Department's second suggestion is to make it mandatory for the Judge to apply the rule whatever his doubts.
Maori Committees throughout the country are being asked to say whether they are for or against these two proposals.
A Change in Secretary
For many years Norman (Mana) Perry has worked for the well-being of the Maori people and he has always been a strong supporter of the Tribal Committees and Executives. With Major Vercoe and others in the Wai-Ariki District he was instrumental in having District Councils re-formed and in getting the Government to agree to the establishment of the New Zealand Maori Council.
With a great many other activities connected with his church work and his business keeping him busy, Mr Perry found it necessary to let go of part of his burden and he has therefore given up the Secretaryship of the Council. Fortunately he will always be available as a consultant and adviser.
The position of Secretary has been taken over by the writer who, before this, had been Associate Secretary of the Council.
Changes in the Maori Welfare Act
The Maori Welfare Act, under which the New Zealand Maori Council has been set up, was passed last year with some sections changed from what the Council had approved. As the Minister had stated in Parliament that the Act had the support of the Council he has agreed to make the alterations that will bring it into line with the Council's wishes.
The most important changes are that Maori Committees will be given authority over the work of Wardens, that the number of members on a Committee may be increased to more than seven, and that a person may be elected to a Committee in the place where his home marae is, even if he lives some distance away.
New Committees to be Elected
The Maori Welfare Act lays it down that all Maori Committees (those that used to be called Tribal Committees) will be re-elected on the same day, the last Saturday in February in every third year. The first such election will be held next year on February 29th.
During March each Maori Committee must choose its delegates to its Executive Committee. In April the Executive chooses delegates to the District Council, and in May each District Council selects its three representatives to sit on the New Zealand Council.
The Council is hoping that next February will see a lot of interest in the work of the Maori Committees, and that plenty of good men and women will be elected to the Committees and sent on to represent their people on the Executives, the District Councils, and on the New Zealand Council.
Te Awamutu Courier Photo
Miss Kiri Te Kanawa, a talented Auckland soprano, has recently been having a great many successes in competition events. She took nine first places in the recent Te Awamutu competitions, and in the two classes she entered in Auckland she took one first prize and one ‘highly commended’. She is also joint winner of the Cambridge Scholarship, and took second place (winning a prize of £100) in this year's Mobil Song Quest.
Kiri, who is 19 years old, is a full-time music student at St. Mary's College. Her spare-time studies include drama and Maori.