Waatea News Update

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lord Cooke, champion of rule of law, dies

Robin Cooke will be remembered as a distingushed New Zealander who made an enormous contribution to the way Maori and Pakeha work together.

That is the tribute paid by Ngai Tahu leader Sir Tipene O'Regan to Lord Cooke of Thorndon, who has died aged 80.

Ngai Tahu was a party to some of the major cases treaty cases heard by Lord Cooke, including the 1987 Maori Council State Owned Enterprise case and a later case which stopped the sale of state forest land.

Sir Tipene says Lord Cooke was a great upholder of the rule of law.

“He put the brakes on the state and prevented it from doing certain things unless there had been some involvement with or consideration of the Maori interest, so in that sense he was a restraining hand on the unlimited assertions of the state, and that was probably one of his great distinctions,” he said.

Sir Tipene O'Regan says Lord Cooke helped to define the place of the Treatry of Waitangi in New Zealand's constitution.


Iwi along the Manawatu River have united to protest a lack of action by Regional and District Councils to clean up pollution in the River.

Under the banner of Te Roopu Huirapa, Ngati Kahungunu, Rangitane, Muaupoko and Ngati Raukawa held a public Hui in Palmerston North yesterday to discuss the health of the awa.

Hui organiser Malcolm Mulholland says the councils have bent over backwards to assist businesses, to the detriment of the river.

“All of those 190 permits that have been granted for businesses to pump crap into the river revoked and begin the clean up operation on the Manawatu River and eventually return it to a state whereby people can go down and have a swim, have a drink collect kai, and not fear being ill from doing so,” Mulholland said.

Malcolm Mulholland milk company Fonterra pumps the equivalent of 250 milk tankers of effluent into the river every day for six months of the year.


A Ngati Raukawa man who heads a study team researching diabetes in Maori communities, says there is no magic pill to solve the problem.

Chris Cunningham, the director of Massey University's Te Pumanawa Hauora research centre for Maori health and development, says the centre is joining with the University of Sydney to see if there are common links between Maori and Aboriginal men in the way they produce insulin.

Professor Cunningham says the research aims to identifying ways to delay the onset of diabetes.

“Most Maori people at the ages of 20 or 30 are fit, well people, and the challenge is to try to extend that fit, well part of your life, and that’s what we are understanding, how you do that. Not much use just describing the problem, you don’t learn a great deal about that, we want to know as Maori what we can do to maintain the wellness that we have,” Cunningham said.

Chris Cunningham are Maori and Aboriginal men are five times more likely to get diabetes than non-Maori.


Call him King Tuheitia.

That's the word from Tainui elders at the first Kingitanga poukai attended by the new Maori king.

Waatea News reporter Mania Clark says the hui at Whataapaka Marae on the sourthern shore of the Manukau Harbour was one the largest poukai ever recorded, with several thousand people from Tainui and other tribes in attendence.

Since his coronation last week King Tuheita has been referred to as Te Arikinui or Tuheitia Paki.

Elders say the use of the surname is inappropriate, and the term king or kingi is the one which has been adopted by all his male predecessors.

Ms Clark says King Tuheita was flanked on the mahau or verandah of the meeting house by Te Ariki Morehu from Ngati Pikiao, Pou Temara from Tuhoe and Erima Henare from Ngati Hine, symbolising the support he is receiving from other iwi.

It took several sittings to feed the large crown, with the main element of the hakari being the speciality of the marae, fresh patiki or flounder.


The Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation says National MP Tony Ryall is misrepresenting a programme which gives gym membership to Maori men at risk of heart disease.

Chief executive Roger Taylor says the PHO identified Maori men as having the highest risk of dying early from cardio-vascular disease.

It is offering free risk assessment checks to up to 900 Maori men aged between 35 and 45, and offering advice on nutrition and exercise.

Mr Taylor says the programme will be extended to other groups, according to their risk of heat disease.

“Tony Ryall in the last fortnight has this explained to him in detail and has had it explained to himm that this is a need-based approach, and that other at risk populations will, in due course, be got to, and yet he still went into the House yesterday and pretended he didn’t have that conversation, or didn’t know what he knew, and that’s why we are quite peeved, to put it bluntly,” Taylor said.

Roger Taylor says 80 men have been tested so far, with only two or three opting for gym memberships and others choosing other exercise options such as joining hapu based programmes or waka ama.


Maori language commission chief executive Haami Piripi says generational changes in pronunciation of te reo Maori are no cause for alarm.

Researchers from Waikato and Canterbury universities this week reported to the commission that young second language learners have a different approach to the language than older native speakers.

University of Waikato linguist Ray Harlow says many young people don't understand vowel length, so their words could be misunderstood.

Piripi says it is a problem which can be overcome.

It’s just really a question now of focusing now and encouraging learners of Maori not to stop at the point they think they have discovered their language but to proceed further and to delve and listen to their elders. We’ve got a lot of people starting at the thin end of the wedge. We’ve got to push a few more down the proficiency scale to the thick end of the wedge.” Piripi said.


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