Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

King of Tonga mourned

Prime Minister Helen Clark says the late king of Tonga should be remembered as a man who sought peace and stability for his country, while also retaining its cultural heritage.

The Prime Minister visited the royal residence in Epsom today, along with Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Phil Goff and associate minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

Ms Clark says the King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV's decision earlier this year to replace one of his sons as Prime Minister with a commoner, Dr Fred Savele, ensures there should be an orderly transition in the island Kingdom.

"I think there is a lot of peaceful change going on in Tonga, to turn it into a constitutional monarchy with full democracy flourishing underneath as we know in our own country with the queen as head of state and a full democracy flourishing. So watch this space with Tonga," Clark said.

A Tainui group lef by King Tuheitia also visited the royal residence this afternoon and delivered a lengthy poroporoaki for the late king.

AB'S LOSS IS MAORI TEAM'S GAIN

The surprise omissions of two star Maori players from the All Black training squad for next year could benefit the Maori team.

Rico Gear and Luke McAllister were left out of the 22 man squad who will undergo a special conditioning programme in preparation for the World Cup.

Maori Coach Donny Stevenson says the his side will welcome both players with open arms if they are available for any games next year:

ITI SAYS ART FOR EVERYONE

Tuhoe patriot Tame Iti is adament his aartworks are for everyone.

The outspoken Tuhoe protester launches his latest art exhibition in Auckland this evening.

The collection is called Lest We Forget and is based on evidence presented by Tuhoe to the Waitangi Tribunal.

Iti says the 30 pieces on black building paper he produced for the exhibition are affordable by Maori.

"Many Maori in fact buy art. There's many fancy Maoris. Even some real fancy Maoris down south Auckland will buy a painting. Gone are the days when the perception that Pakehas are the only buyers of artwork, those days are gone. Even if you spend $10 on art piece, you can buy my little spit on it," Iti said.

Tame Iti says his art is part of his resistance to the Crown's assertion of control over Tuhoe lands.

SKILLS KEY TO MAORI JOB FUTURE

The president of the Council of Trade Unions says improving Maori skill levels is critical to increasing the number of Maori in work.

Ross Wilson says he agrees with criticism from Business Roundtable head Rob McLeod that politicians can't celebrate lower overall unemployment unless they do something more about Maori unemployment, which remains above 8 percent.

But he says Mr McLeod's prescription of ditching the minimum wage and putting new employees on probation is all wrong.

Mr Wilson says people need to be properly prepared for the workforce.

IN: It's skills that will actually secure jobs. It's approprriate skills that will get the higher paying jobs. So it's really important that we - New Zealand as a whole - makes that investment in ensuring that Maori workers and particularly young Maori workers, get the skills to get the jobs," Wilson said.

Ross Wilson says the Hui Taumata Taskforce, which both he and Mr McLeod are on, has identified a skilled Maori workforce as being critical to the success of Maori business and enterprise development.

STATE HOUSES NO ANSWER TO MAORI NEED

National MP Tau Henare says state houses are not the answer to the shortage of housing in Northland.

The former minister for Maori affairs says state houses lock many Maori families into a lifetime of renting.

He says whanau should be looking for ways to build their own homes.

Mr Henare says whanau who own their own homes are more likely to take better care of them than state house renters.

"The way to do it is to get people to take care of their houses, take pride in their houses. We can house ourselves on papakainga, on all the Maori land that we still own. If we rely too much on state hosuing, what we do is become beholden to the government." Henare said.

NGATI POROU EMBRACES DIGITAL AGE

Ngati Porou is encouraging its tamariki to embrace digital and electronic media.

The East Coast iwi is holding its third Ngati Festival showcasing the creations of high school students in the region.

At a gala evening in Ruatoria tomorrow night, Ngati Awards will be given for the best short fiction and documentry films, animated film, poster, website, and music video.

Te Runanga o Ngati Porou spokesperson Nori Parata says the iwi's youth need to be ready for whatever the future brings.

"We're trying to prepare learners for the 21st century, and we also want our children in Ngati Porou to take their Ngati Poroutanga into the 21st century so we're trying to combine both the learning outcomes under the one umbrella," Parata said.

Nori Parata says the Ngati Awards have become a highlight of the year on the coast.

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