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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Settlement right for Te Arawa

The Prime Minister says critics of the Te Arawa settlement are out of step with a national desire to wrap up the claims process.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa executive council, the body recognised by Government to settle the iwi's claims, represents just 55 percent of claimants.

Lawyer Donna Hall. whose Ngati Rangiteorere iwi went to the High Court to be allowed to withdraw from Nga Kaihautu, says it represents even fewer than that.

But Helen Clark says the settlement is the right thing to do.

“Somewhat unfortunate that their local member of Parliament isn’t supporting it, and I understand that got some quite adverse comment, but I feel there’s huge traction now with the treaty settlement process. I think throughout the country people say ‘Let’s get on with it, let’s not go for another generation when we haven't settled,” Helen Clark said.

WAITANGI PLACE FOR BRASH

The head of the Waitangi Day organising committee says National Party leader Don Brash should come to the Bay of Islands next February to explain his stance on Maori issues.
Pita Paraone from Ngati Hine, who is also a New Zealand First MP, says any aspiring prime minister should be prepared to respect the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in Maori society.

He says Dr Brash's comments on Maori ethnicity are at odds with that.

Mr Paraone says Maori are always ready to listen and debate, and Waitangi Day is a good time to do that.

“People are always welcome to come and I think that welcome will still be extended to Dr Brash and people who make those sorts of comments because that’s an opportunity for them to face the people and justify their comment,” Paraone said.

Pita Paraone says it's sad that Dr Brash's increased support in the polls seems linked to his Maori bashing.

ORGAN CONSULTATION BEST BEFORE DEATH

A Counties Manukau Maori health worker says Maori wanting to donate their organs should make sure their whanau understand the process

Phil Heremaia says many Maori say they will be donors, but whanau veto the decision after their death.

He says people should talk with their whanau before it is too late.

“More likely for them to accept that you are going to be a donor if you sat down and said ‘Hey, this is what it’s about, this is what I want to do, carry out my wishes,’ and normally, hey, we do, but where do you define whanau, you’ve got your wife, your children, but what about uncle, brother, do they step in and say no, what happens there,” Heremaia said.

Heremaia is planning a three year national hikoi to educate Maori on organ donation.

HIV RISK FOR MAORI WOMEN

Heterosexual Maori women are at greater risk of being infected by the HIV virus than any other group.

Nigel Dickson, the head of the AIDS Epidemiology Group at the Otago University School of Medicine in Dunedin, says the most recent survey of HIV cases shows 69 people contracted the disease in the past six months in New Zealand through heterosexual transmission.

44 were women, including 20 Pakeha and 10 Maori.

Doctor Dickson says that means Maori women were over represented, as a percentage of the population.

“If you look at the population as a whole of women aged 15 to 45, there are four times as many European women as Maori but it does suggest Maori women are being over-represented in these statistics. The numbers are small, could be a chance finding, but it does perhaps provide a warning that Maori women are at greater risk of HIV,” Dickson said.

BRASH CLAIMS RIGHTLY OFFENSIVE

Prime Minister Helen Clark says Maori have a right to be offended by Don Brash's questioning whether Maori were still a distinct indigenous group.

Ms Clark says far from being a display of political naivity, the National Party leader is mounting a deliberate campaign to win support from those who belive Maori are in a privileged position.

“It's a statement of the obvious to say that there is no person in New Zealand who only has Maori ancestry. We all know that. But to leap from that to saying that that means Maori are not a genuine indigenous people I find quite offensive myself, and I don’t have a drop of Maori ancestry. It’s like denying an entire people’s culture and ancestry. This cannot be,” Clark said.

KAWERAU RANGITAHI GET BLUE LIGHT FOR GREAT OUTDOORS

Like many other small rural communities, Kawerau has issues with rangatahi abusing alcohol and drugs.

But the community tried to do something about it by running blue light events which show young people alternatives to the drug lifestyle.

Blue Light coordinator Wes Hall says many young Maori who live in and around Kawerau, haven't experienced the outdoor pursuits the region offers.

“The blue light team here in the last 12 months has run 62 events. The abseiling, the rock climbing, getting out in there and doing things, to show the kids there is more to life than just ... the drugs.,” Hall said.

Wes Hall says as well as outdoor events, Kawerau Blue Light is staging a whanau extravaganza this month featuring local bands and fronted by Lotto presenter Russell Harrison.

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