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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 04, 2006

Field problems not comparable with tikanga

Labour Mp Shane Jones says Hone Harawira shouldn't be using then term koha in reference to the problems confronting Taito Phillip Field.

The Mangere MP has been stood down on full pay, while an investigation continues into allegations including that he received undeclared monies from constituents.

Shane Jones says even though Mr Harawira may support Mr Field, it was inappropriate for him to suggest koha is part of the problem.

“The tension between parliamentary democracy and Samoan gift giving is something for Samoan culture to come to terms with. The bottom line is if you’re an MP, you do not, should not, cannot, must not take financial donations for personal profit,” Jones said.


We shouldn't forget the 28th Maori Battalion are still strong and a strong part of our nation’s history.

The 28th Maori Battalion Reunion in Easter earlier this year at Omapere in the Hokianga was an opportunity for veterans to gather and share stories, for some the long trip to the Northland was too much.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia offered to host a series of Dinners for the various companies around the country to get together for a few hours in their own regions with fellow veterans and whanau.

Mr Horomia says that although we should be pragmatic about the fact that a lot of the veterans are now 80 years old plus, we shouldn't forget their contribution to our country.

“They made a lot of our whanau an ultimate commitment, and I just want to celebrate that time with them and give them to opportunity so they can get together, share stories, and recognize that the 28 Maori Battalion is still strong and will be forged in our history as one of the great contributions,” Horomia said.

Parekura Horomia will host five 28th Maori Battalion dinners around the country between now and Christmas.


Tikanga and family are seen as the key for Maori struggling with addiction.

Ngati Hine health advocate Moe Milne says that was confirmed for her at the recent Healing our Spirits Worldwide conference in Canada, which looked at drug and alcohol addiction among indigenous communities.

Ms Milne says a common story form addicts seemed to be a lack of cultural identity.

She says many Maori lack cultural self confidence.

“This hui started out of the need for indigenous peoples to start talking about the histories, the traumas, but also to talk about the solutions. And throughout the world with indigenous peoples, it kept coming back to knowing yourself, your identity, where you belong, to iwi, to whanau, me o tikanga,” Milne said.

Moe Milne will be speaking at Cutting Edge, the national conference on addiction in Wellington later this week.


Maori party co leader Pita Sharples says most New Zealanders don't understand the concept of koha.

He says he agrees with comments by Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira, that it is common for politicians to give and receive koha.

Mr Harawira was offering a Maori perspective to the situation facing Mangere MP Taito Phillip Field who is accused of receiving cash gifts from constituents.

“Hone is correct in that most New Zealanders do not really understand that a koha is not something that you give just because you feel like it, there is a whole expectation and obligation that goes with koha. Koha should not be receipted, they are given from the heart and they are received the same way,” Sharples said.


A word of advice to Hone Harawira from one who has been there before.

Former Labour MP and member for Tamaki Makaurau John Tamihere, says the Maori Party MP was unwise to rush to the defense of embattled Mangere MP, Taito Phillip Field in the latest controversy over receiving gifts from constituents.

Mr Tamihere says while Maori have a similar position of koha, it does not translate simply into the kinds of cash grants it is alleged that Mr Field was given.

He says Mr Harawira’s show of support for Mr Field is hard to understand.

“I think he sees someone down, and when you see someone down, you try and support them. But I don’t think it’s his fight. If he was a member of the Labour Party I could understand him, but it’s a Pacific Island issue, it’s not a Maori issue. And the reason why I say that is that at no time on any of our issues have they ever entered the fray on our behalf,” Tamihere said.

Mr Tamihere says that in Maori society the practice of giving large demonstrative cash koha is now relatively uncommon.


Greens Maori affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei says the controversy over Auckland Grammar's attempt to purge out of zone students from its roll shows the need for some appeal authority.

The Greens have a School Review Authority Bill awaiting its chance in the parliamentary ballot.

Ms Turei says while the parents Grammar pupils were able to apply pressure to stay, many other families find it hard to fight the system.

“We originally designed the bill because, particularly Maori and Pacific Island children were being excluded and expelled from school and they didn’t have any forum to go to is that exclusion was unlawful, they would just have to suffer the consequences and find another school, so we devised the Schools Review Authority to meet that need,” Turei said.


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