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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lax speaking crowns hui

The Koroneihana hui at Ngaruawahia has concluded, but not without hitches.

Thousands of people from around the motu came to Turangawaewae on the banks of the Waikato River over the week to celebrate the new reign of King Tuheitia.

But Tainui's famous control of ceremony wasn't as apparent as in previous years, with today's timetable thrown out by additional and unexpected speechmaking.

Waatea News reporter Mania Clarke says there was surprise and concern among the kaumatua and even among the crowd at the seemingly liberal approach of some of the speechmakers that were allowed to pay tribute to Tuheitia on this, his first coronation, such as (Manukau mayor) Sir Barry Curtis and mangai kaumatua from various iwi.

“One young boy was physically removed. Even that approach, in times before of King Koroki and Te Arikinui, even a young man speaking would not be appropriate so this will cause much discussion and debate in coming days as to the lax, liberal approach to this more formal occasion,” she says.

PARAONE EYES ANOTHER LINE OF ATTACK ON TREATY PRINCIPLES

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone says the imminent failure of his bill to remove Treaty of Waitangi principles from legislation isn't the end of the matter.

Labour has told the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination it supported the bill's introduction because of its confidence and supply agreement with New Zealand First.

But it will go no further, because its passage would harm the relationship between Crown and Maori.

Mr Paraone says it hasn't been a wasted exercise.

“It certainly has been a useful exercise for New Zealand First in terms of hw we prepared the original bill but I think what we will do is come back with a more refined bill with suggestions of what those definitions (of treaty principles) should be,” Mr Paraone says.

He says the current situation leaves judges too much room to define treaty principles.

IHIMAERA SMILING OVER DUTCH FILM SCHOOL CHANCE

Witi Ihimaera is going back to school.

The Whale Rider author will spend five months at the Binger Filmlab feature-film development centre in Amsterdam turning his 1996 novel The Matriarch into a screenplay.

Mr Ihimaera says with Kai Tahu performer Rachel House off to Prague to study directing, it's clear a new sort of Maori film sector is emerging.

“The more skills we bring, the better we are able to sustain and begin to develop a Maori film industry. At the moment we have got the beginnings of one so I’m really excited about the chance all of us have, Rachel, myself, the new directors, Taika Waititi and all of those others to create a Maori film industry. That’s what all of this is about,” he says.

It will be his first time in Amsterdam since his honeymoon in the 1970s.

TUHEITIA SPEECH GOES DOWN WELL

The new King has spoken, and the people are well pleased.

That's the feeling at Turangawaewae today, as a week of Koroneihana celebrations for King Tuheitia reached its conclusion.

Reporter Mania Clarke says while his inaugural speech was short, its positive and forward-looking tone was well received.

“After much anticipation, finally the iwi have heard their king Tuheitia make his first formal speech and talk about the things that are on his mind.

“There were three main things that came across in his first speech. One was the importance of education as a huarahi for us as Maori people to go forward.

“Two was about unity, about working together as iwi espite our differences, and thirdly was let’s take a broader global look to complete and fulfill the things we have in the kainga at roots level, so some good concepts, some good thoughts, and people are really pleased with what's been said,” Ms Clarke says.

SENTENCING CRITICISM WELL DESERVED

A leading criminal lawyer is endorsing the finding of a United Nations committee that cultural rights are being overlooked by the courts.

The Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination says while the Sentencing Act allows cultural issues to be raised, few Maori defendants know this.

Peter Williams QC says such material could make a difference to sentencing, but few Maori are prepared to assert their rights.

“Some Maori people in particular don’t challenge the court process enough and they are often overborne by the solemnity of it and they don’t communicate many matters which could act in their favour or in mitigation,” he says.

Mr Williams says the justice system failed to recognise the multicultural nature of New Zealand society.

TALL BLACKS FACE OLYMPIC SIZE CHALLENGE

It's make or break time in Sydney for New Zealand basketball.

After a 12 point loss in their first game against the Australian Boomers, they need a win tonight to keep alive their chances of filling the Oceania slot at next year's Beijing Olympics.

Former Breakers coach Jeff Green, who will call the test for Maori Television, says the Tall Blacks have an uphill battle going on the court so soon after flying back from a European tour.

He says the intensity of the rivalry will be seen from the initial haka.

“The Aussies love it. They stand there and they understand the haka and the challenge the Tall Blacks are throwing at them and they stand toe to toe. They don’t stop the teams from advancing. Especially the Australians understand what it’s all about and take the challenge face on,” Mr Green says.

He says while captain Pero Cameron performed to his usual standard last night, fellow Maori players Paul Henare and Paora Winita will need to lift their game tonight.

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