Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 30, 2006

Party sets eights on eight seat future

Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata says the party's sights were firmly on the future at the party's annual conference in Christchurch over the weekend.

Profesor Winiata says feedback from members suggests the party has done an admirable job in its first year in parliament, but there is little room for complacency.

He says the party wants to win all the Maori electorates in 2008, and that means planning ahead.

“We had a very good session on the strategic plan for the party, covered election for 2008. Discussion on whether we should be limiting our focus to the Maori seats, which we expect will be eight, or whether we shd attempt to win some of the general seats,” Winiata said.


King Tuheitia made his first visit to the Far North in the role of Maori monarch on the weekend, taking with him more than 200 supporters from Tainui.

They were welcomed to Potahi Marae in Te Kao by several hundred members of te Aupouri and the four other Muriwhenua tribes.

Aupouri kaumatua Kingi Ihaka says while the king did not speak, that was not unexpected.

Mr Ihaka says his mother, the late Dame Te Ata i Rangikaahu, only made public speeches in the latter years of her reign, after years of grooming by her elders.

“There’s a vast difference between he and his mother, who was appointed to the position at age 18. Now Tuheitia is 52, and as everyone knows, the king, or the monarch at the time, rarely makes public speeches. Tuheitia never spoke at all, although he mixed and mingled with the multitudes in the far north this weekend,” Ihaka said.

Kingi Ihaka says the hui celebrated King Tuheitia's whakapapa links to Te Aupouri through his father, Whatumoana Paki, who also attended.


Endurance was the name of the game at the Kai Mata - Sugarloaf open
ocean Iron Race held at Tutukaka over the weekend.

Waka Ama crews from Rotorua to Kaitaia battled 20 knot winds and one metre swells over the 30 kilometre course.

The winner of the men's event, a team from the Hei Matau Paddlers club in Rotorua, completed the course in 3 hours 23 seconds.

Organiser Ralph Ruka says although the weather held out for the race, it was a real test of endurance.

“I think paddling for three to four hours was pretty tough, some sore bodies afterwards, tired bodies, but they all enjoyed it and were still talking about it late into the night really,” Ruka said.

Ralph Ruka says planning has already begun for a bigger and better event next year.


Northland tribe Ngapuhi is considering diversifying into aquaculture and property development to reduce its reliance on its fisheries quota.

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the runanga's annual meeting at Ngawha this weekend highlighted reliance of the country's largest tribe on the income from its share of the Maori fisheries settlement.

The runanga reported a profit of $1 million, down $170 thousand on the previous year.

Mr Tau says the difference was largely the result of higher fuel prices in the fishing operation, and that highlighted the need for diversification.

He says the runanga is looking at other ventures, even though it expects there could be some concern from members, especially at any property dealings.

“Around any Maori enterprise there’s a lot of interest because the media has highlighted a lot of the Maori failures in the past, but good research and good due diligence, you can't go too much wrong,” Tau says.

Sonny Tau says most questions at the annual meeting were about the decision to write down the value of the runanga's shares in pan Maori post settlement fisheries company Aotearoa Fisheries by 90 percent to $ 5 million.


Act MP Heather Roy says the Maori Party can rely on ACT's support when for its bill to repeal the foreshore and seabed Act.

She says ACT opposed the legislation when it was first mooted, and haven't changed its position that it was a property rights issue.

Ms Roy says Maori were denied that opportunity to pursue their property rights..

“When we talk about the foreshore and seabed, we’re delighted that Tariana Turia’s private members bill she had pulled out of the ballot has come before Parliament again, because that was never actually looked at properly in our view, and we will be supporting that bill. We firmly believe that should be addressed,” Roy said.


An art exhibition in one of Auckland's more affluent suburbs, will attempt to close cultural divisions between Maori and Pakeha.

13 Maori artists have come together at the Uxbridge Gallery in Howick for the Hono Kotahitanga or Joining Together exhibition.

Jeweller and glass artist Dave Beamish says there are still areas in the country where Maori and people from other minority cultures are not made to feel welcome, and the show may help address that.

“I get a bit troubled, a bit perplexed at the attitude of some New Zealanders who are a bit exclusive of other cultures, especially the primary culture of this country, and to be able to express the connection we have through artwork is really the appropriate venue to get some of these divisions healed,” Beamish said.


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