Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stream-lining the Waitangi Claims process: the System giving itself a lube job?

Movement on the movement front...this from the Guvnor:

1. More use of informal mediation between parties before going to the Waitangi Tribunal and the Maori Land Court. It would work similarly to the process for resolving employment disputes.

2. Support iwi preparedness for negotiations - the Crown would provide information and possibly funding for early planning and preparation.

3. Continue to recognise iwi coming together for joint or parallel negotiations - iwi would be encouraged to form groups with similar aims to negotiate together.

4. Increased Crown transparency on who it intends to negotiate with and quantum - the Crown would have a list of groups it intended to negotiate with and early on in negotiations would give the potential value of redress. Currently, the Crown decides if a group is large enough to deal with on a case by case basis.

5. More systematic use of Crown-funded facilitators and more senior Crown chief negotiators - this would be similar to current practice but with more people used.

6. Reduce the role of the Crown in allocation of redress where requested - iwi and Crown would agree to a high level settlement and iwi would determine the allocation of redress among themselves.

7. Streamlining the legislative process - using draft legislation, drafting the deed of settlement and settlement bill at the same time and passing settlement legislation for iwi at the same time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Castlecliff Beach

Dropped in to my old stomping ground of Castlecliff Beach, the place being deserted (as it was last time i called in), during the school holidays no less! Driftwood piled up at the hightide line, a piece of which I brought home (being taken into secure storage by the very understanding Air New Zealand staff).

Found a wiki entry for this place, learning more about its history 30 years after I left than I ever heard while actually living there Such is life...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Updates on the Geographic Controversy over the Bowman Expeditions / México Indígena

These are some links collated by Zoltan Grossman on the issues surrounding the México Indígena project at the University of Kansas and its connections to the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In Zoltan's wordsa: "It is important to understand the larger context of military targeting of Indigenous dissent in the hemisphere, a background which has generated the concerns about the project. The México Indígena project was jointly funded by the FMSO and the American Geographical Society (AGS). It was coordinated by Kansas geography professors Peter Herlihy and Jerome Dobson, workingwith the FMSO's Geoffrey Demarest and Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi (UASLP) Professor Miguel Aguilar Robledo."

Soldiers struggle to put a Bosnian protester outside of a gate at Eagle Base in Tuzla. Local farmers were upset at road construction across their land.

Concerns were sparked in July 2005 when the U.S. Army initiated a $20 million counterinsurgency program called the Human Terrain System (HTS). The program consists of five-person "human terrain teams" featuring anthropologists and other social scientists embedded with combat brigades. One team was deployed to Afghanistan in February 2007 and five more to Iraq in summer 2007. Some of the social scientists wear combat fatigues and carry weapons. If this all sounds a bit like a social scientists 'Boys Own' make believe, think again. Do we assume that the study of social science somehow innoculates us against complicity in moral dubious fieldwork?! I recall a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury who desparately wanted to go to Yugoslavia during its violent disintergration, to study the associated geopolitics (he put in his budget for a camoflage flak jacket and helmet...). There's something appealing about war, to boys.

I digress. Roberto Gonzales reports accounts that have emerged about "difficulties plaguing HTS, including missed recruitment goals, ineffective training, and paralyzing organizational issues. Former human terrain team member Zenia Helbig has publicly criticized the program, claiming that during four months of training there were no ethical discussions about the potential harm that might befall Iraqis or Afghans or the importance of voluntary informed consent. Furthermore, Helbig claims that, "HTS's greatest problem is its own desperation. The program is desperate to hire anyone or anything that remotely falls into the category of ‘academic,' ‘social science,' ‘regional expert,' or ‘PhD'," which has led to incompetence." (Of three anthropology PhDs assigned to the teams, none has appropriate regional expertise and none speak Arabic.)."

All in all an interesting debate for geographers who, afterall, have mortgages to cover, children to feed, spouses to clothe... On a lighter note, Zoltan's own webpages provide some nice insights and tangents. It's not all about 'hopping the bags' (this is a new Aussie term I've learnt, from WW1 and yet another metaphor for going over the top).

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Whakairo te Whenua: Sculpting the land

What is a good place? Just as the philosophers of old mused on the good life, the good person, the good act (just as we all did, of course), I also prefer to wonder what a good place is. What does it look like, how does it sound, and smell. In other words, how does it feel

Lecturing MAST 319 at Lincoln University, 2003, 2004, 2006, I use to pass a particular hedge just the citiside of Prebbleton. I was so struck by its feel, while retaining an obvious function, that I took a phot. Canterbury nor-westers are a notorious wind, but then privacy is reason enough.. Once I caught the old fella (it had to be an old fella), trimming it. Trimming it just so.

The hedge is gone, victim to whim or perhaps the new subdivision nextdoor, Prebbleton Central. (Prebbleton Central. Be better if it did have a train station...). As is the apple orchard that was on the Lincoln side of Prebbers. We all know a good place when we live in one. How do we make new places? How do we make anew the places that have run to ruin?! If we as Maori can't articulate visions of better places, then what's it all for.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Potatoes galore

With the World Potato Congress just passed, held in my town of Christchurch, March 22-25, and autumn nights closing in, thoughts turn to warming, nutritious dishes like ... potatoes. Boiled, mashed, roasted, chipped, there's no denying the culinary versatility. We also know well the botanical diversity, although as this article in The Guardian tells, that diversity went through the bottleneck of European introduction with the resulting varieties still capable of impressing in their range of form, colour and taste.

The local Lincoln Fieldays was its usual riotous collection of farm machinery and farmers. New varieties of potato were on display such as the Purple heart above, and below in close up...
Simon Lambert

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