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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuheitia gets change to make mark

The Minister of Maori Affairs believes King Tuheitia will follow in the footsteps of his mother and become one of the great Maori leaders of contemporary times.

Thousands of people are expected at Turangawaewae Marae today to hear the Maori king's first public speech, capping the week-long Koroneihana hui.

Parekura Horomia says it should give some pointers as to how King Tuheitia intends to carry on the work of his mother, Te Atairangikaahu.

“It's an important speech and he’ll give his direction and there are changing times in the sense of a growing rangatahi and how he presents himself is something we shall certainly see ad I have every confidence he will head off to be like his mum one of the great leaders of contemporary times,” Mr Horomia says.

TREATY BILL DEMISE NEARING

The sponsor of a bill to remove Treaty of Waitangi principles from legislation isn't upset by its imminent demise.

In response to a question from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the government confirmed it would not support Pita Paraone's bill past the select committee stage.

It supported the bill's introduction as a condition of its confidence and supply agreement with New Zealand First, but told the UN committee its passage would be injurious to the overall Crown-Maori relationship.

Mr Paraone says Labour has lived up to its side of the bargain, and New Zealand First got what asked for.

“We had hoped that through the submission process there would be enough evidence to support the notion of at least defining what those principals were but unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to see that in the report back to Parliament,” Mr Paraone says.

He is considering another member's bill which will offer clear definitions of treaty principles.

CHARITY ENCOURAGING MARAE SPRINKER SYSTEMS

The ASB Community Trust is encouraging marae to install sprinkler systems to protect their taonga.

The trust this year handed out $67 million in grants to almost 800 groups in Auckland and Northland.

Chief executive Jenny Gill says they include some Maori organisations, and the trust is keen to assist the sector.

It has a particular interest in making sure historic whare have fire protection, after a spate of blazes in recent years.

“It just breaks everybody's heart really to get an application form a group who are struggling to rebuild something from scratch, and quite often there isn’t a sprinkler system or there isn’t necessarily even insurance, and so part of what we’re encouraging applicant groups to do is certainly to insure the buildings but also to ensure that sprinkler systems are put in,” Ms Gill says.

The ASB Community Trust can make capital grants from as little as 15-hundred dollars to one and a half million.

TALK TAG TEAM TAKING ON ROADS AND DOGS

The path from national to local body politics is through talk radio.

That seems to be the pattern emerging in some high profile mayoralty contests.

Radio Live presenters John Tamihere and Willie Jackson are eying up runs for Waitakere and Manukau respectively.

They're seeking to follow in the footsteps of Michael Laws, who adds a Radio Live paycheck to his Wanganui mayor's stipend, and John Banks, who filled the talkback airwaves on the way to his first term ... so far .. as Auckland Mayor.

Mr Jackson says he's been sounding out support.

“I know that if I stand I’ve got a chance, a real chance, and talking to some people over the weekend, certain person, if he runs the campaign I’d be 99 percent sure I’d be there if he'd take it over,” Mr Jackson says.

MCCARTEN PUTS PAIR AT CENTRE OF EVERYTHING

Meanwhile, a former Auckland mayoral candidate says it's time for Maori to stand up and be counted in local body elections.

Matt McCarten says out of more than 200 elected officials in the Auckland region, the number of Maori can be counted on one hand.

The former Alliance president says it may take the entry of high profile candidates like John Tamihere and Willie Jackson to change that.

They have until noon Friday to get their nominations in, but Mr McCarten says both floated their names out to gauge support.

“Both will have quite a lot of support for all sorts of reasons. John would be a populist centre right and Willie would be a populist centre left, so they’re different in that sense although they are kind of, because they’ve got their radio show and they’ve been good mates, it will be a sort of a double act if they both run,” Mr McCarten says.

SPORTS STARS TO SHARE SECRETS

Maori sports stars are sharing their secrets with rangatahi who want to pursue a career in sport.

A celebrity panel will be a feature of the AUT Maori Expo later in the month, including Dean Bell, Deon Nukunuku, Wynton Rufer, Tony Kemp, Farah Palmer and Tawera Nikau.

Organiser Amelia Kapa says the low number of Maori in the All Black World Cup squad raised questions about what is needed to develop more high performance Maori athletes.

“We're talking about what’s needed in the home, what needs to happen at administration level, what needs to happen in schools. We want to take a really wide scope on this one and get them to talk about it because they’ve been through it, they’ve developed from being young rangatahi with huge dreams to being on top of their game,” Ms Kapa says.

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