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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pakeha input stifles Maori committee

Whangarei's only Maori district councilor says a Maori liaison subcommittee has been a disappointment.

The committee, which was set up in 2005 to provide a Maori voice in the region's affairs, includes six councilors and five appointed iwi representatives.

Kahu Sutherland says while the sub-committee made some progress, it was not as much as hoped.

He says its structure means everything gets filtered through mainstream Pakeha perspectives.

“We've been stifled by staff perspectives. We’ve been stifled by the method which council has to be accountable, and while that process works for a lot of issues, it certainly doesn’t for some things which are of real value to Maoridom,” Mr Sutherland says.

The size and structure of the committee could change after October's local government elections.

CHINA TARGET FOR MAORI TOURISM COMPANIES

Maori tourism operators are off to China to sell their offerings.

John Barrett from the Maori Tourism Council says the 10-day tour will take in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing.

He says China is the fastest growing tourism market in the world.

“The China tourism market within the space of five years will be the biggest tourism market on the planet. There will be more Chinese traveling than anyone else on the planet. It’s our fastest growing market in New Zealand, and we want to make the market in China aware of what's available,” Mr Barrett says.

NGATI WHATUA BUSINESS TO OPEN KIMONO

Iwi-based business are going to reveal the secrets of their success.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei and Tainui Group Holdings will feature tomorrow at an enterprise forum as part of the three day Atamira - Maori in the City event at Auckland's ASB Showgrounds.

Tiwana Tibble from Ngati Whatua Corporate says the question people are asking is what makes the business go.

“Ngati Whatua Corporate, we’ve got a substantial property portfolio, we’ve got about $200 million equity, got some ideas, going to show a few pictures of what we’ve done over the past 10 years on half a dozen different projects which I think will illustrate in themselves some of the achievements that we have had,” Mr Tibble says.

Other presenters at the sold out event include singer Che Fu, fashion designer Charmaine Love and Defence Force head Jerry Mataparae.

MAORI GLOSSARIES SHORTER AS ACCEPTANCE GROWS

Fewer Maori words are being glossed as speakers of New Zealand English become more comfortable with using them.

Glossing means adding a translation after a word is printed.

Linguist John Macalister says as more New Zealanders become familiar with the meanings of common Maori words, an explanation becomes less necessary.

“A good example is a word like iwi, which probably when it first started to be used a lot in the mainstream would always have been glossed, but now it’s just used and no one blinks. We’ve all become so accustomed to these words, but that glossing is part of the process of becoming accepted,” Dr Macalister says.

SPECULATORS BLAMED FOR HOUSING WOES

The head of Hawkes Bay's Ngati Kahungunu iwi says property speculators are making it impossible for Maori to buy houses.

The iwi has plans to build 150 houses round a marae in the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere in collaboration with the Hastings District Council, but is encountering resistance from some councilors.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says there's an accommodation crisis in the region with few properties Maori can afford to buy.

“Speculators have moved in and snapped up all the low cost houses and are now using the accommodation subsidy to the max. A $70,000 or $80,000 house in Flaxmere which is a two, three-bedroom, 800 square foot house is $250, $300 a week. There’s no hope of the people out there being bale to afford to buy that,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says the Government should change the way the Accommodation Supplement works, so tenants can capitalise it for a home deposit.

POLICE PLANS DON’T INCLUDE TAKEOVER

The Maori strategy manager for the police says there are no plans for a takeover of the Maori wardens.

That was a fears expressed by some wardens before yeterday's first working group meeting to discuss how to spend the two and a half million dollars earmarked for the wardens in this year's budget.

Wally Haumaha says vehicles, communication equipment and uniforms have been ordered for six regions, including Whangarei, Tamaki, Waikato, Rotorua and Gisborne.

He says police will help training programmes for the wardens, but they're not looking for control.

“It would be presumptuous of police to suddenly come out there and tell the Maori wardens how to train when they’ve been operating according to their own direction over some time. Look, let’s pick the best of what you’ve already got, coupled with what we focus on at our police training centre or out on our maraes and out in the region. We can put together a package that looks after the safety and well being of the wardens,” Mr Haumaha says.

The working group also involves Te Puni Kokiri, the Maori Council, Women's Welfare League and Kohanga Reo.

MURDER HOUSE MEMORIES KEEP MAORI AWAY

Bad memories of school dental clinics are still keeping Maori away from dentists, even if it's free.

Margaret Rolleston from Rotorua public health organisation Tipu Ora says a new service which uses senior dentistry students from the University of Otago had a stuttering start.

Tipu Ora signed a memorandum with the university this week to put the scheme on a formal basis, so Maori on low incomes in the region can get free dental care.

Ms Rolleston says there are many obstacles to overcome.

“Not only cost but people still think of the dentist as the murder house type thing, so even now this week on Monday we had 10 no shows for our service, and we think a lot of that is because people are still fearing what’s going to happen when they do sit in that chair,” Ms Rolleston says.

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