Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 02, 2006

Smith vision misses vital step

The co leader of the Maori party says Mike Smith must think he's a political seer, with his predictions of the demise of the Maori party.

Last week the activist, who gained notoriety by chainsawed the pine tree on Auckland’s Maungakiekie or One Tree Hill, said Maori voters will soon turn away when they see the Maori Party can't deliver.

Tariana Turia says Mr Smith is overlooking the effect the Maori party is having outside the Parliament.

“I'm not a matakite, and obviously Mike Smith thinks he is. I think there is a huge change taking place in this country, and I think people like Mike Smith should realise it’s not only the change in Parliament that we are looking for.

We are looking for changes in attitude right through this country, and if that’s all we do, we will have done a good job,” Turia said.

MAORI COT DEATH DRAGS NZ FIGURE

High rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome among Maori have pushed New Zealand near the bottom of the table for infant deaths in developed countries.

Pat Tuohy, the Health Ministry's chief adviser on child health, says a new Commonwealth Fund study found our cot death rates are high compared to European countries, Scandinavia, America and Australia.

But Dr Tuohy says the study didn't take into account ethnic background.

“In NZ our cot death or SIDS rates are higher than most of the other countries that we compare ourselves with. However, if you break it up by ethnicity, you will find that the rates among European and Asian families are quite low and the rates among Pacific families are somewhere in the middle and the rates among Maori families are higher,” Tuohy said.

In 2003 some 42 Maori babies died of sudden infant death syndrome, compared with 14 Pakeha babies.

LIGHT SHINES THROUGH TUTUKUKU

A Massey University masters student is using fibre optic technology to update a traditional Maori art form.

Kura Puke of Te Atiawa has received a $10 thousand Massey fellowship towards her project Muramura, which uses optic fibre illuminated by light-emitting diodes to create tukutuku panels.

Ms Puke says the panels can be sychronised to work together.

“These panels can be shown as individual pieces or they can be shown in an installation such as a wharenui. There is a dialogue between them, in that they create a space between them. Or these panels can all come together and make one very large work,” Puke said.

Kura Puke is using customary patterns such as patikitiki and purapurawhetu in her illuminated tukutuku panels.

ARAWA SETTLEMENT DIVIDES IWI

The MP for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell says the deal announced between the crown and a group representing Te Arawa will result in haves and have nots within the Arawa community.

He says a number of tribes who had already presented their cases to the Waitangi Tribunal were left out of the deal, as the government prioritised cases involving large natural groupings.

He says while the settlement with Nga Kaihautu O Te Arawa, is costing the Crown $36 million, but could be worth a lot more to the tribe.

Mr Flavell says that will impact 60 percent of the iwi, but leaves a sizeable number yet to have their cases resolved.

Te Ururoa Flavell says he wants to know what mechanisms the government has in place to resolve the rest of the Te Arawa claims.

ARMY MARK TOO HIGH FOR MAORI TEENS

If they're fit enough to play league or rugby, they can join the army.

That's the thought of Ron Mark, the Defence spokesperson for New Zealand First.

The former career soldier says entry criteria for the military, should be relaxed to allow young Maori and Polynesian men, who didn't do well at school, a chance to learn skills in the structured environment the military provides.

Mr Mark says he sees too many aimless young men missing out on that chance because of low grades.

Ron Mark says the army should reevaluate its entry criteria.

OLD TROUPERS BACK ON STAGE

Some of the most respected Maori musicians from the old days are busy rehearsing a new show for Maori Television

The bandleader, steel guitarist Ben Tawhiti, has put together a group including saxophonists Marsh Cook and Joe Haami, Buddy Wilson on guitar, who will back a range of singers.

The band goes by the name Nga Kaumatua.

Mr Tawhiti says the TV series, Maumahara, will hark back to the places and sounds many older Maori still remember fondly, such as the Auckland Maori Community Centre.

The series will also include interviews with elders like Ranginui Walker, Doc Wikiriwhi and Kingi Taurua about the experience of moving to the city in the 1950s and 60's.

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