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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 13, 2006

George McLeod laid to rest

Ngati Porou has said goodbye to one of its warriors.

George McLeod, also known as George Tamahori, was buried at Kennedy Bay in the Coromandel yesterday.

His son Rob McLeod, the head of the Business Roundtable, says his father led other Ngati Porou in the Maori Battallion through the campaigns in Egypt and Italy, where he was injured at the Battle of Cassino.

His education at Te Aute College was interrupted by the 1931 Napier earthquake, and despite showing extraordinary aptitude, the shell shock he picked up in the war means he was not able to pursue a career in accountancy.

Mr McLeod says his father was determined his children should realise their potential.

“When we grew up as kids, he kept banging the table and insisting we had the best educational opportunities, so if you think about my siblings, they sort of range form 1948 to 1957. He practically put every one of them through the tertiary system,. And I put that down directly to his influence, and because the older ones went and did that, it sort of created a role model effect for the rest of us,” McLeod says.

Rob McLeod says his father was 93 at the time of his death in Tauranga last week.

FAST TRACK OPTION NOT OFFERED TO MAORI

A Maori health researcher says Maori aren't being informed of private treatment options.

Donna Cormack from the Wellington School of Medecine's Eru Pomare Research Centre says last week's cancer control symposium highlighted disturbing inequalities in the incidence of certain cancers among Maori, and the fact they had a greater chance of dying from the disease.

Ms Cormack says Maori have a different experience of the healthcare system than non-Maori.

She says in focus groups and hui, Maori say they never have private options discussed with them.

MIHAKA WANTS CREDIT FOR REO BATTLE

Veteran campaigner Dun Mihaka wants some acknowledgement for his contribution to the Maori language revival.

Mr Mihaka is in a stand off with the Maori Language Commission, which wants him to return a hire car he uses for his work as an unofficial advocate of Te Reo Maori.

Mr Mihaka says he'll give the car back eventually, but the commission needs to acknowledge it exists in large part because of his efforts, including a 1980 court battle where he established his right to use te reo Maori in official situations.

“They have given all the accolades about the language to guys who weren’t even there on the spot, They get all the accolades, they get all the awards, honorary degrees, and I’m left with nothing. I don’t mind that, I don’t mind that at all, as long as I get acknowledged," Mihaka says.

FISHERIES SETTLEMENT PUTS PRESSURE ON LAND

The Government will come under increasing pressure to settle the Te Atiawa raupatu claim now the New Plymouth-based iwi has received its fisheries settlement.

Te Ohu Kaimoana fisheries settlement trust has handed over $8 million dollars in fisheries assets to the tribe's mandated authority.

Negotiations with the Office of Treaty Settlements over the land claim have stalled because of what the Crown says are mandating issues.

Te Ohu Kaimoana chairperson Shane Jones, who is also a Labour list MP, says elders at the handover ceremony at Waitara Marae asked why their fish was coming before their land.

“And a particularly strong challenge was laid at the feet of myself and Mahara Okeroa, who was absent, as the when was their land going to be sorted out, because they believed the Crown has dragged the chain, and if the fisheries commission as able to sort out Te Atiawa’s mandate in a short period of time, why can’t their land mandate be sorted out in an equally short period of time,” Jones says.

CANCER RATE TO GET RESEARCH SCRUTINY

A Maori health researcher says the medical profession is starting to focus on an alarming rate of cancer among Maori.

Donna Cormack from the Eru Pomare Research Centre in Wellington says last week's symposium on the National Cancer Control Strategy heard of several projects looking at why Maori were more likely to get certain types of cancer, and why they were more likely to die from the disease than non-Maori.

Ms Cormack says a lot comes down to the attitudes of medical professionals and the kinds of treatment people are offered.

“The cervical cancer audit carried out a couple of years ago showed that Maori women were significantly longer than the recommended period before they got the next step, the next stage of investigation, so we’ve got some evidence, and there’s certainly some international evidence, that there are significant differences in the quality of care,” Cormack says.

Donna Cormack says the symposium has helped researchers focus on the kinds of areas they need to look at further.

SCHOLARSHIP WILLL HELP TENNIS DREAMS

Young Maori tennis players in the Manawatu could get a chance to go to the top thanks to an award made to a Palmerston North doctor.

Sports medicine specialist Ra Durie has been given a $25 thousand AMP premium scholarship to pursue his vision of a sports academy for young Maori tennis players.

Dr Durie says during his training in sports medicine, he had the opportunity to observe sports development programmes in Australia and the United States, and he brought some lessons home.

IN: These top athletes we see from overseas, they aren’t born champions or just happen to become good. They’re the products of development programmes that take talent and provide it with the right environment, facilities and training programmes that allow them to exploit their talent,” Durie says.

Ra Durie says he focused on tennis because he observed that very few Maori children were playing the sport, and their participation needed to be encouraged.

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