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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 24, 2007

Horomia puts Maori over party

Former MP John Tamihere is stepping on Labour toes with his bid for the Waitakere mayoralty, but he's getting support from at least one senior government member.

He wants to unseat Bob Harvey, a former Labour Party president who is considered one of the intensely tribal party's elder statesmen.

But Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says Mr Tamihere ... and former Alliance MP Willie Jackson, who's after the Manukau mayoralty ... have his blessing.

“You know I've just sent a message out that more Maori should contest local body elections. They’re both very capable. JT’s always been tailor made for that sort of stuff. I think they wouldn’t be short of support but certainly I would support any Maori running for a local authority,” he says.

Both the mayoral candidates share Ngati Porou whakapapa with Mr Horomia.

BE FAIR SAYS FORMER MAYOR

Meanwhile, a former mayor has some words of advice for the mayoral aspirants.

Derek Fox served 12 years on the Wairoa District council, six of them as mayor.

He says the way to advance Maori concerns is through logical argument and building rapport with fellow councilors.

Mr Fox says councils can lose sight of their duty to represent all constituents.

“You know all you had to do was be fair and the lot of Maori would improve. That’s all you had to do. Just be absolutely fair and do the thing that was fair and reasonable and the plight of Mari would improve. Because by and large councils have not done that,” he says.

TE RERENGA WAIRUA CARPARK TO BE MOVED

The Conservation Department is finally removing a carpark and toilets from sacred ground at the top of the North Island.

Work is due to start next month on moving the facilities at Cape Reinga, at the same time Transit starts sealing the 19 kilometres of road from Waitiki Landing.

A replacement carpark is being built 100 metres to the south.

Both projects have faced resistance over the years from the iwi which are considered the guardians of the end of Te Ara Wairua, or the pathway of the spirits.

Ngati Kuri and Te Aupouri want the Crown to first resolve their treaty claims to the area.

But DoC spokesperson Carolyn Smith says Ngati Kuri is taking an active part in the development.

“There's been a nursery developed at Te Manawa by Ngati Kuri and with support from the department and Transit, producing plants for replanting along the side of the road with the road sealing project and also with the healing of the site out at Te Rerenga Wairua once the current carpark and toilets are removed,” Ms Smith says.

By the time the project is completed in three years, there will be no trace of the former buildings.

HIRING MAORI CAN BE POSITIVE

Businesses are being encouraged to see the positive side of hiring Maori.

A report by the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust and Auckland University's business school has identified that by 2021 almost one in five workers will be Maori.

Co-author Chellie Spiller says businesses need to learn how to attract and retain Maori talent, so they can take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

“Employing Maori can help improve service, increasing your share of the growing Maori market, and improving teamwork and understanding within the corporate culture, and also increasingly, businesses are looking to have relationships with iwi through trusts and how business can build profitable partnerships within their local communities,” Ms Spiller says.

CLASH AT THE NOT OK CORRAL

A west Auckland-based National MP says the entry of John Tamihere into the Waitakere mayoral race will make for an interesting couple of months.

Tau Henare says he's pleased to see Maori candidates putting their names forward.

He says incumbent Bob Harvey looked safe until the former Labour Party maverick turned up.

“I tell you what. It’ll make the campaigning out in west Auckland really really interesting. Democaracies need to be interesting and democracies need some characters and certainly in those two fellows we’ve got a few characters,” Mr Henare says.

MAORI KAI TOO DEAR FOR RESTAURANT TABLES

Kaanga wai, inanga, paraoa parai, hangi, towai, puha, horopito and kawakawa.

That may sound foreign to some people, but for Ngarakitawhiti Anaru, it's an expensive wish list of favourite foods.

The Te Puke chef is a finalist in the Hospitality Association's beef excellence awards with her peppered sirloin dish.

Ms Anaru used to incorporate Maori kai into her menus, but says it's now too rich for most diners.

“It's far too expensive for the hotel and you don’t really get appreciated as much, or within Te Puke here, no one really wants to pay that $35 mark just for a dish, because most of the Maori kai that you can source now is mostly organic, so it's quite pricey,” Ms Anaru says.

She encourages other chefs to have a play with Maori ingredients, in the same way they've incorporated flavours from Asia and other cuisines.

FIRST CLASS MOKO TALENT AVAILABLE

A leading Ta Moko artist says Maori now have a range of first class tattooists to call on.

Gordon Toi is just back from his annual trip to Europe, where his work is increasingly popular.

He says the leading ta moko artists like Derek Lardelli, Mark Kopua, Rangi Kipa and Laurie Nichols have developed distinct styles which people interested in the ancient art can identify.

“Five, ten years ago you never really had a choice. You could go to the cuzzie in the garage of the Pakeha tattooist. Now you’ve got a whole host of different guys that are out there doing moko. That’s a good thing too. I say the more the merrier. The main thing is just to mahi really,” Mr Toi says.

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