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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New King gets Fox stamp of approval

The new Maori king is taking the right steps to fill his mother's shoes.

That's the verdict of veteran journalist Derek Fox after King Tuheitia's first public appearance following his year of mourning.

Fox says the week long Koroneihana at Ngaruawahia was an extraordinary celebration of the Kingitanga, and the king's advisors have done a remarkable job over the past 12 months of easing him into the role.

“I've bumped into King Tuheitia a few times in the past 12 months and each time I’ve seen that he’s grown a bit. His mother was a little lady who left some very big shoes to fill, and I think it’s going to take a while to fill those shoes, but I think he is certainly taking the right steps,” Mr Fox says.

King Tuheitia is facing unprecedented scrutiny because of the international interest generated by Dame Te Ata's tangi.

JACKSON, TAMIHERE CAMPAIGNS PARALLEL BUT SEPARATE

Manukau mayoral aspirant Willie Jackson says he won't be running a joint campaign with Waitakere contender John Tamihere.

The two former MPs share an afternoon radio talkback programme, and today made a joint announcement of their plans to stand.

But Mr Jackson says there are separate issues in each city, so there will be separate campaigns.

“It just so happens that we’re both Maori, we’re both very political, and we’ve gone down similar territories in terms of our political careers but that’s just how it is. It’s not as if we have to do things together. It hasn’t worked out like that at all. But both of us have been thinking about the problems in our areas,” Mr Jackson says.

The two campaigns will share resources, including advisors from across the political spectrum ... former Alliance president Matt McCarten and National Party-linked Matthew Hooten.

LESSONS IN MAORI FATHERHOOD

Maori men in west Auckland are getting tips on the tikanga of being a father.

West Auckland social worker Joe Waru developed his Tu Matua course to teach tane the traditional Maori values associated with parenting, and ways they can communicate with their children.

He says Maori fathers need help to identify their strengths and build on them, rather than constantly being told about their shortcomings.

“Maori fathers are demonized. They’re the bad guys. And there is a difficulty for many agencies and service providers to connect with Maori fathers. I think that’s because there is little understanding of the language of Maori fathers and how to connect with them,” Mr Waru says.

He works out of Man Alive in Henderson and at the Helensville Men's Resource Centre.

HENARE GRIPES OVER APIATA VC GUEST LIST

National Maori Affairs spokesperson is accusing the Government of playing political games over the award of a Victoria Cross to SAS Corporal Willie Apiata.

Tau Henare says no National Party MPs were invited to Government House for Corporal Apiata's investiture.

Nor was his local MP, the Maori Party's Te Ururoa Flavell.

Mr Henare says it's part of a wider problem.

“I'm really worried that some of our institutions are being politicised and used by the government as some sort of advertising tool for its own purposes,” Mr Henare says.

The guest list was put together by the Honours Secretariat of the Prime Minister's Department, in consultation with Government House and the Defence Force.

BATTLE ROYAL OUT WEST FOR MAYORAL CHAINS

The west Auckland mayoral contest is shaping up to be a battle royal between two Labour-linked politicians.

Former Tamaki Makaurau MP John Tamihere today confirmed he will try to deny former Labour president Bob Harvey a fourth term as mayor of Waitakere City.

He's sharing campaign resources with another Maori former MP, Willie Jackson, who is seeking the Manukau mayoralty.

Political commentator Chris Trotter, who has been in on the early discussions about campaign strategy, says in a three way fight with Len Brown and Dick Quax, Mr Jackson has a strong chance of taking south Auckland.

But it will be a lot harder to grasp the mayoral chain out west.

“JT with his charisma and his cheeky qualities is up against Bob Harvey, an ad man, someone who’s equally cheeky, not afraid of dropping his trousers to make a point. These two I think are going to have a battle royal,” Mr Trotter says.

The other high profile Maori seeking a mayoralty, former Labour MP Georgina Beyer, has dropped out of the race for Carterton.

HEALTHY KAI GIVING CHEFS INGREDIENT FOR EXCELLENCE

A focus on healthy kai has put two put two Te Puke chefs into the finals of the Hospitality Association's beef excellence awards.

Rhiannon Dobbs from Tainui was inspired by first nations people from Great Turtle Island - also known as North America - for her Beef Cherokee, which uses sirloin marinated in berries with sauteed yam and mint.

Ngarakitawhiti Anaru from Te Arawa, the head chef at Te Puke Hotel, is serving peppered sirloin on organic potatoes topped with basil herb pasto and a balsamic tomato, roast garlic, red wine and wholegrain mustard vinagrette.

She says the dish is a reaction against the fatty nature of a lot of Maori kai.

“My one's to do with absorbing iron. You’ve got your vitamin C with your acidic flavours to help absorb the iron within the meat and also the garlic and the mustards and the vinegars to help keep away germs,” Ms Anaru says.

She'd like to see education in healthy eating starting with the chefs of tomorrow ... at kura kaupapa level.

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