Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Government throws in $6.5m for cape carparking

Associate tourism minister Dover Samuels says a multi million dollar makeover of Cape Reinga is in the national interest.

This week's Budget will include an extra six and a half million dollars for the Conservation Department to redevelop car parks, toilets, landscaping and walking tracks at New Zealand's northernmost tourism attraction.

Once that's done DoC along with Ngati Kuri, te Aupouri and Enterprise Northland will build a $10 million visitor centre.

Mr Samuels says with visitor numbers expected to soon top 200,000 people a year, existing facilities were struggling to cope.

“This grant is very significant for Maori, for tourism and for the country. International visitors to the cape, Te Rerenga Wairua, is increasing every year, and the need for good facilities has been mooted over the long time I’ve been in Parliament,” Mr Samuels says.

Maori believed Te Rerenga Wairua was the departure point for the spirits of the dead.

MONGREL MOB EX-PRESIDENT DISMISSED GANG PATCH BAN

A former president of the Wanganui Mongrel Mob says proposals to outlaw gangs are impractical.

Willie McGregor is now a Christian who counsels gang members in Wanganui.

He says outlawing gangs will only make them appear more attractive to wannabe gangsters.

“The gang format is really a family away from a family for most of those people, and so when you ban a patch, you do nothing, you do absolutely nothing. I don’t know that we have the police to enforce it, and certainly it’s a mindset that the gangs don't recognize,” Mr McGregor says.

He says increased violence in society stems from the influence of American films and electronic games which glamourise violence, rather than anything gangs do.

SAMOAN HEAD OF STATE TIPENE OLD BOY

A former pupil of St Stephens says the death of the Samoan head of state will be felt by all those associated with the Anglican Maori boys boarding school.

Waihoroi Shortland says at 94, Malietoa Tanumafili II was probably the oldest Hato Tipene old boy.

Mr Shortland say the school, which closed six years ago, was the training ground not just for Maori leaders but for many Pacific Island boys who went on to be prominent in Pacific politics.

“From the Cooks, there were several from Tonga, certainly from the Solomon Islands, there were archbishops, there were all sorts of leaders that spent their formative years at Tipene,” Mr Shortland says.

TE OHU KAIMOANA WANTS FISH AMENDMENT BILL SUNK

The Maori fisheries settlement trust is calling for the Government to drop the Fisheries Amendment Bill, which would lead to a more conservative approach to fisheries management.

Te Ohu Kaimoana member Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngati Kahungunu says Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has been given bad advice by his officials on how to deal with a string of court cases the ministry has lost.

Mr Tomoana says instead of admitting it got it wrong, the ministry is trying to change the law by claiming it doesn't promote sustainability.

He says that's wrong.

“The amendment threatens to give the minister absolute say, without any consultation, without any right of appeal, to determine what is the utilization and what is conservation and what is sustainability and to iwi whanui tonu, it is unacceptable the rights that were gained under the deed of settlement,” Mr Tomoana says.

The Fisheries Act already provides an internationally recognised regime where sustainability goes hand in hand with utilisation.

BUDGET MONEY FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION

Maori health groups will be looking for ways to influence how an extra $23 million for suicide prevention will be spent.

Merryn Statham from the Suicide Prevention Information service says while no Maori-specific projects have been identified in advance of this week's budget, it's an area that needs attention.

The Maori suicide rate is currently higher than that of the general population.

Ms Statham says the $2.6 million for an awareness campaign for young people suffering depression will be money well spent, because depression is one of the main indicators for suicidal behaviour.

“When whanau members recognise that there’s something not actually ok with their family member or their colleague or their friend, that there’s a better understanding that they will actually know what to do about that, and how to get help for their whanau member or the person that they're working with,” Ms Statham says.

The Maori suicide rate needs to be addressed alongside other health disparities for Maori communities.

NEW AND OLD FOR CHURCHILL CUP DEFENCE

The New Zealand Maori team for the Churchill Cup rugby tournament in England will include ten new caps.

Crusaders' midfielder Rua Tipoki has been named captain, and the side also includes experienced hands such as Angus McDonald, Christian Ormsby, Tanerau Latimer and Liam Messam.

Coach Donny Stevenson says the side is taking a single minded approach to the task ahead.

“We're defending that cup, so we’re going over there determined to retain it. We’ve had our first team meeting, and we just talked abut the challenges ahead and the expectations so the boys look up to it so now we just start training and working towards that result,” Mr Stevenson says.

The team flies out on Friday afternoon.

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