Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Te Puia red tape frustrates tourism maven

A high profile tourism identity says government interference is one of the reasons he won't seek another term on the board of Te Puia, the Maori arts and crafts institute in Rotorua.

Former Fullers managing director Mike Simm says he's proud the rebuilding of Te Puia has been completed ahead of schedule and 10 percent under budget.

Mr Simm says it's a world class indigenous tourism attraction.

But he says a similar upgrade at Skyline Skyrides started about the same time but finished before te Puia even turned a sod.

“The approval process and the review takes quite a long time with government and I guess the frustration was the government wasn’t required to put any money up for this project. One wonders sometimes why the review had to be quite as laborious as it was,” Mr Simm says.

The $20 million Te Puia upgrade, which was paid for out of retained earnings, will officially open on Friday.


United Future MP Judy Turner says the government 's anti-violence strategy ignores this country's high levels of female violence.

Past studies have highlighted a disproportionate number of Maori turning up in violence statistics.

Now a study from Victoria University has found mothers are as likely to kill their children as fathers.

Ms Turner says despite clear evidence women are as violent as men in the home, a $14 million Ministry of Social Development campaign is solely focused on changing the attitudes and behaviour of violent men.

She says women and children are always painted as victims.

“Well that's only half the picture, and if we are serious abut it we actually need to be looking at all the facts, and the facts suggest that women too have problems managing their anger and are very quick to resort to violence as equally large numbers of men, and that should be of equal concern,” Ms Turner says.

She says children and families will suffer if half the perpetrators of child violence are ignored.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says money used to improve Maori literacy is well spent.

The Government has launched a Maori language medium strategy, Te Reo Matatini, which aims to coordinate the many initiatives that are already underway.

Mr Horomia says the aim is to make te reo Maori a natural part of New Zealand life.

“If people don’t promote the language in everyday activities, you know in sports, out shopping or wherever else, it becomes a language that’s just learnt in school or on the kapa haka stage. What this strategy is about is to try to increase and improve participants’ ability to both read and write the language,” Mr Horomia says.

Te Reo Matatini will help providers delivering bi-lingual and immersion programmes find new ways of using te reo.


Political scientist Maria Bargh says Labour will need to find fresh talent if it is to win back seats from the Maori Party, or even retain the three it holds.

Labour is sounding out high profile Maori to stand in the four Maori seats it lost last election, and Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa is also considered vulnerable.

Mita Ririnui, who lost Waiariki to Te Uroroa Flavell, is out of favour with many senior party figures.

Dr Bargh, a Victoria University Maori politics lecturer, says in the eyes of many Maori voters, Mr Ririnui and Mr Okeroa are still tainted by their support for Labour's Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“The current issues like fresh water and the potential privatization of fresh water and the comments existing Labour Maori MPS make about those different issues still leads many Maori voters to suspect that fighting for Maori rights isn’t really at the top of the minds of all the Maori MPs,” Dr Bargh says.


Former MP John Tamihere says Maori need to stop their rangatahi joining gangs.

Mr Tamihere says the community is justifiably outraged at the death of a two year old in a drive by shooting in Wanganui.

He says the path to gang membership and inevitably prison usually starts with lack of interest in school and low self esteem.

Mr Tamihere says that's a better place to start than trying to change the behaviour of gang members or prospects.

“There's no doubt it’s a Maori-related problem down there. There’s no doubt whether you’re in Wairoa or in Wanganui, there’s a problem between the Mongrels and the Black Power. Now if they’re going to be what our younger people aspire to join, we’re going to have some problems. And the key is like in turning off our poor criminality is turning off the traffic heading towards the gangs and or the prisons,” Mr Tamihere says.


Maori political agitator Tame Iti says his outspoken ways are affecting his international travel.

The colourful Tuhoe character is off to Austria at the end of the week to take part in Lemi Ponifasio's production based on Shakespeare's last play, The Tempest.

Mr Iti says he's used to his activities being monitored domestically, but now his reputation has spread.

“I'm kinda blacklisted in some countries around the world too. Australia I’ve been flying in and out of Australia for nearly 40 years. Now I can’t just fly into Australia any more, because they have visas. If they’re not paranoid about Islamic or the Arabs, they get paranoid about people like you and I,” Iti says.


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