Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 02, 2007

Solomon demands reasons for attacks

Ngai Tahu chairperson Mark Solomon has rejected a demand that he withdraw into the background until the runanga elections in November.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu yesterday announced Mr Solomon would retain the title of kaiwhakahaere, but runanga meetings would be chaired by his deputy, Don Couch, who would also be the tribe's spokesperson.

Mr Solomon says he rejected the offer and the ball is now in the runanga's court.

He still doesn't know what his critics want.

“Not once have you ever show what I’ve actually supposed to have done wrong, nor not once have they ever show what their purpose is. When the Ngai Tahu whanui came before us on Friday, they repeatedly asked ‘tell us what he has done wrong?’ No one to date has been able to answer that question,” Mr Solomon says.

He is humbled and honoured by the support shown to him by tribe members.


Labour Maori MPs took to the streets of Dargaville yesterday to spell out the changes in their Government's social assistance packages, including the extra week's holiday for workers and the rise in the minimum wage.

Dover Samuels, Mahara Okeroa, Dave Hereora and Shane Jones visited the high school, police station and a kumara processing plant.

Mr Jones says the Northern Wairoa has a high Maori population, but seldom gets visited by MPs.

He says Labour is the only party committed to working people.

“Policies that have been outlined would only be delivered from a centre left government, and there’s only one show in town capable of addressing the needs of working class people, as well as superannuitants. There’s no way in the world that National is going to put up the minimum wage nor give workers an additional week's holiday,” Mr Jones says.

As a result of yesterday's visit, a Dargaville High student will take part in the annual youth parliament in July.


Wakatu Incorporation chairperson Paul Morgan is warning other Maori landowners to audit their access to water.

Wakatu is fighting Tasman District Council over use of Motueka's groundwater.

Wakatu and Ngati Rarua Ati Awa iwi trust want to a bore on their land to service commercial, residential and industrial land in Motueka.

The council, which wants to use the water for neighbouring areas, blocked the water right application.

Mr Morgan says the planning regulations tend to leave Maori out in the cold.

“We've told all our fellow trusts to look and do a water audit on all their properties, because what they don’t understand is how the system of managing water works and they’ll find that they don’t control the permit or licence over that water,” Mr Morgan says.

He says it's wrong in Maori terms to separate land and water, as Tasman District Council plans to do.


Fighting words from Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon, as his stand-off with the South Island tribe's runanga escalates.

Mr Solomon rejected an offer put to him yesterday that he retains his title as kaiwhakahare but lets his deputy, university lecturer Don Couch, chair all runanga meetings and speak on behalf of the tribe until fresh elections in November.

He says his critics have failed to spell out what their concerns are with his performance, and he rejects their claim he is bringing the tribe into disrepute by refusing to go quietly.

“I did not, I have never brought Ngai Tahu into disrepute. I did not go to the media over my exit offer. Other people did and I refuse to be fettered for the actions of others,” Mr Solomon says.


A pioneer of Maori media says for all the resources put into Maori broadcasting, Maori news in English has been left behind.

Gary Wilson, whose efforts at the Journalists Training Organisation, Waiariki Polytechnic and Mana News opened the door to media careers for many prominent Maori and Pacific island journalists, says there has been no intelligent overview of where money for Maori news and current affairs is best spent.

He says since 1990 the focus has been on Maori language services, even though news in English can have a significantly wider impact.

“There's been no justification for the neglect of developing the expertise to produce significant Maori news and current affairs programmes in English that can not only serve the majority of Maori who are not fluent in te reo but also the majority of other New Zealanders,” Mr Wilson says.

He says a lot of important Maori issues are important New Zealand issues, and the wider public deserves to be informed of them.


While most early childhood educators are bemoaning the lack of male teachers, almost a third of kai ako in kohanga reo are men.

That success attracted favourable comment at the Early Childhood Council's annual conference in Christchurch.

Kohanga Reo National Trust spokesperson Titoki Black says the movement recognises Maori men have a special role with children.

“We're different from other early childhood providers in that we empower our fathers from day one and not just our fathers, our grandfathers as well, and for us it’s not just about enrolling their child. It’s about having to share their role as a male in kohanga with other children who do not have a father in their homes,” Ms Black says.

Jan Peeters from Ghent University's Child Care research centre in Belgium's University told the conference New Zealand's rate of less than 1 percent males in early childhood teaching is one of the lowest in the world.


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