Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, August 20, 2007

MPs turned DJs consider career switch

Keep the audience guessing is a showbiz adage talk hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere are living up to.

The two former MPs are refusing to confirm speculation they will seek the mayoralty in Manukau City and Waitakere respectively.

Any run would follow a well-established pattern, with their fellow Radio Live presenter Michael Laws the incumbent mayor in Wanganui, and Auckland mayoral candidate John Banks a former talkback host.

Mr Tamihere says he's still consulting on a run.

“I've always thought that is I was going to do anything at local body level, you’d allow your opposition to be declaring and going to the opening so of oysters and all that stuff but I thought the best strategy was to wait until the last minute, conduct the consultation rounds that we need to do out here with a whole range of stakeholder groups, and then make and informed decision with the family and that hasn't yet been made,” Mr Tamihere says.

Local body candidates have until noon Friday to declare.

UN CRITICISM WIDE REACHING

The Maori Party's justice spokesperson says a United Nations report on race relations in New Zealand goes a lot further than the foreshore and seabed debate.

As well as criticising the government's handling of Treaty of Waitangi issues, the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination reiterated its earlier concerns about Maori over-representation in poverty and crime statistics.

It said cultural issues aren't taken into account during sentencing, even though the Sentencing Act allows them to be.

Te Ururoa Flavell says the committed has recognised the relationship between the justice system and Maori is disfunctional.

“If the system for example is racist by intent, then clearly it’s not just about one matter and it’s not just about one cultural element. What it is is about addressing the whole issue about the justice system,” Mr Flavell says.

He says the report is a blow for New Zealand's international reputation on race relations.

TATTOOING STYLES SYNTHESIS OF AOTEAROA CULTURES

New Zealand's multicultural society is helping forge a new type of tattooing.

That's the perspective artist and curator Steven Ball is trying to put across in The Living Art of Pacific Tattoo, images of ta moko by nine photographers.

The exhibition has been to Tahiti, Milan, Amsterdam, London, Auckland and Whakatane - and it's now on show in Napier.

Mr Ball says the blending of cultures in New Zealand can be seen in the ink.

“There quite a lot of bicultural people, part-Maori, part-Samoan, part-Tongan, part-English, part-European, whatever, and I think a lot of those styles are getting mixed up and a lot of crossover is happening and I find that exciting because it totally represents where we are now,” Mr Ball says.

ANTICIPATION GROWS FOR TUHEITIA SPEECH

Anticipation is growing about King Tuheitia's maiden speech tomorrow, capping the week long Koroneihana celebration.

The speech is expected to be non-political, outlining major issues facing Maori in the coming years.

During the week the King has heard words of support from a wide range of poltical and tribal leaders ... but he's also been warned to stay clear of partisan politics.

The chair of Tainui's executive, former New Zealand First MP Tukoroirangi Morgan, says King Tuheitia will be heeding that advice.

“Tuheitia sits above all of those things and in the end it is people like myself who are charged with the responsibility of working the political issues out,” Mr Morgan says.

NOT MUCH FOR UN TO CRITIQUE

The Race Relations Conciliator believes criticism of this country by the United Nations is relatively mild.

In its latest report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has noted the disproportionate number of Maori in the prison system.

It repeated its earlier criticism of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and called for renewed dialogue between Government and Maori on the issue.

The conciliator, Joris de Bres, says it was a balanced report, and no one is pretending New Zealand's record is perfect.

“Looking at the list of things I’d like to see fixed, it’s still pretty long, but then as Ngahiwi Tomoana said to me at the committee meeting, he said we were wedged between Costa Rica and Khazakstan and his impression was that when you looked at New Zealand in between those two countries, we weren’t doing too bad,” Mr de Bres says.

MAORI LAND IDEAL FOR ORGANICS

Maori organic growers could be on the verge of a boom.

Percy Tipene, from Te Waka Kai Ora, says Maori have the potential to be significant players in the organic produce sector.

At Organics Aotearoa New Zealand's first national conference this weekend, the Maori growers' organisation unveiled its Hua Maori certification, blending tikanga Maori with existing international frameworks.

Mr Tipene says greater emphasis on organics could have health and economic benefits.

“With the actual amount of Maori land that we have available that’s been unadulterated by any chemicals ort any other phosphatic fertilizers, I think we’re in a good position to manage a process that’s going to be to the betterment of our people here in Aotearoa,” Mr Tipene says.

Maori people should be encouraged to eat more organic kai, instead of foods which encourage obesity and heart disease.

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