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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Maori Party seeks koha clarity

The Maori Party caucus will today discuss whether it needs to swet some rules on the receipt of koha or cash gifts.

The issue has blown up because of Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira's defence of embattled Labour MP Taito Philip Field, who is under fire for a range of actions including allegedly accepting cash from fellow Samoans for immigration help.

Mr Harawira and Pita Sharples say they have accepted koha, Tariana Turia says she has directed any gifts to party funds or to schools in her area, and Te Ururoa Flavell says no one has ever offered him anything.

Mr Harawira says he often is in situations where people insist on making a koha.

“I take the money. Like my co-leader Dr Pita Sharples says, I often never receipt it either. If I’m in a situation where I’m in a big crowd and somebody gives me money and one of m staff isn’t around to give a receipt, I don’t bother. I don’t make a big fuss about it because the giving on money, the giving of koha, is not in how much the money, it’s in the act of giving,” Harawira said.

Hone Harawira says he won't compromise on Maori cultural practices.

MINING PLAN ALARMS IWI

Maori in the top of the South Island say Crown Minerals is failing to properly consult with iwi before it issues prospecting licences.

Ngati Rarua, from Motueka, and Mana whenua ki Moohua , from Golden Bay, are considering legal action to stop mining in their rohe.

Ngati Rarua spokesperson Barney Thomas says Crown Minerals failed to properly inform the iwi of an application by Perth-based company Crosslands to prospect in a 745 square kilometre area, including parts of the Kahurangi and Tasman Bay national Parks.

He says the Crown Minerals is getting offside with not just iwi but with the wider community.

“Seldom do I see Fish and Game, the fisheries industry, iwi, the councils, community boards, and Forest and Bird all sitting saround the same table . The support from the community has been exceptional,” Thomas said.

Barney Thomas says iwi want significant maunga like Takaka Hill and Mount Arthur excluded from any prospecting licence.

YOUNGSTERS LURED INTO OUTDOOR LIFE

Children who like the outdoors could be the next big thing in Eco Tourism.

Sport and Recreation New Zealand is offering a taste of the great outdoors to students in low decile schools in Auckland and Northland.

SPARC Get-2-Go Challenge manager Deb Hurdle says those kids who really enjoy things like rock climbing, mountain biking and kayaking could make a career out of it.

“If they get a taster for it and decide they like being involved in this, there are lots of institutions around New Zealand who run courses that kids ca do, that can do their unit standards, can get a diploma in it, and then they have the qualifications so they can set up and run their own business,” Hurdle said.

Deb Hurdle says schools will enter teams to participate in the challenge, with regional winners heading for the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre on Great Barrier Island in December.

FISHERIES PLAN SPLITS TUHOE

A split has emerged within Tuhoe about who should receive its share of the Maori fisheries settlement assets.

Members of the Tuhoe Maori Trust Board have proposed a structure to receive the tribe's $16 million in fisheries assets, and are seeking a mandate from members.

But Te Kotahi a Tuhoe, a group formed to unite the various elements of the eastern Bay of Plenty tribe, says the plan excludes many iwi members.

Aubrey Temara, who is co-chair of Te Kotahi a Tuhoe as well as chairing the trust board, says the structure is unfair.

“I think the process of consultation has been absolutely derelict, our people have not had the time and fair opportunity to have a good look at this document and see what it’s all about. So, $16 million of assets is $16 million of assets, but there’s a bigger price to be paid,” Temara said.

Aubrey Temara says Te Kotahi a Tuhoe wants Te Ohu Kaimoana fisheries settlement trust to hold off making a decision for six months, so Tuhoe can sort out its internal divisions.

SHARPLES ON CULTURAL GIFTS

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he feels an obligation to support Mangere MP Taito Philip Field on the issue of cultural gifts.

Labour whips have sent Mr Field on leave while police investigate a range of allegations, including that he took cash gifts from constituents.

Dr Sharples says he accepts cash koha from supporters, because it is given from the heart.

He says Maori and Pacific Island people face similar hostility from the majority culture.

“There is this move to support each other and there’s been a lot of interacting this last two years between the different islands and New Zealand and Maori. But there is a cultural obligation also to point out also the koha system that our whanaunga from Samoa use,” Pita Sharples said.

The Maori Party caucus is today expected to discuss how its MPs should handle koha.

DIABETES PROGRAMME RETHINK

The head of Auckland University's Medical School, Des Gorman, says a diabetes prevention campaign needs to look at cultural factors rather than focus on cost.

The Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council has decided not to keep funding their Te Wai o Rona diabetes prevention strategy, because it was costing more than they anticipated.

Professor Gorman, who headed the programme, says there is acceptance in the Maori community that diabetes is a major health issue, so now the health professionals need to devise prevention strategies that work.

“What's significant is there’s clearly this increasing acceptance that being fat is not good, there’s an this increasing acceptance that diabetes robs people of actually seeing their grandchildren, There’s an increasing acceptance of the fact there needs to be some changes in Maoridom about for example the fact Maori women die 15 years younger than European women. That’s unacceptable in 2006,” Gorman said.

Des Gorman says the Te Wai o Rona strategy was launched without enough Maori input.

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