Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Harawira savages mongrel government

A Maori Party MP is going on the road to whip up anger over the Government's vote against the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

Hone Harawira is devoting next week to a national tour on the issue, and says he'll keep raising it until the election.

He says Labour's Maori Caucus could have prevented last week's no vote, or at least got an abstention on the non-binding resolution.

The Taitokerau MP says the government has thumbed its nose at 20 years of work by Maori and other indigenous peoples from round the world.

“I'm bloody glad this government opposed it. I needed to be clear to Maori all around the country that this Labour Government is a dog government man. When it comes to being dog on Maori rights, there ain’t no more mongrel government than this one. One thing I’ve always like about National, they’ve got a habit of stabbing you in the front. This Labour crowd, pats you on the back, and in goes the knife,” Mr Harawira says.

The Government says the declaration was in conflict with treaty settlement mechanisms and other remedies developed in New Zealand over the past 20 years.


Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau's role in encouraging support for the Maori fisheries settlement has been rewarded with a seat on the settlement trust.

The push by the country's largest iwi to end 15 years of squabbling over allocation was critical to the final settlement model being adopted.

Mr Tau becomes the first Ngapuhi representative to sit on Te Ohu Kaimoana or its predecessors.
He replaces former chairman and Labour list MP Shane Jones.

The other new director is Opotiki accountant Fred Cookson from Te Arawa and Ngati Kahungunu, who has extensive experience managing iwi assets.

He replaces Business Roundtable chairperson Rob McLeod.

Directors of Te Ohu Kaimoana are appointed by an iwi electoral college, Te Kawai Taumata, from a panel of candidates selected on a regional basis by iwi.


Marae orators of tomorrow are battling it out this week.

The top students from schools around the country and their supporters are thronging the Manukau Events Centre at the annual Manu Korero speech competitions.

Waatea news reporter Te Kauhoe Wano says today's competition is for the Pei Te Hurinui Jones trophy for senior Maori and the Korimako trophy for senior speech in English.

He says the speakers have been of a consistently high standard.

“The way they've delivered, their strength when they’ve stood, their proudness when they’ve stood, reo Maori and reo Pakeha, their ability to speak correctly, their ability to put a poiunt across and make it clear, all those things have been covered.

“However, I do feel there’s room for pushing other elements of getting up and speaking publicly, such as using ngahau or entertainment or humour to get across your point, and I think that’s one thing that’s a little bit lacking, they’ve lacked spontaneity, they’ve been a little bit too rigid, they’ve been too conformed and they've lacked humour,” Mr Wano says.


In another blow to the Government's proposed settlement with Te Arawa, Ngati Tuwharetoa has asked the Waitangi Tribunal for binding recommendations over part of the Kaingaroa Forest.

The tribunal has to power to order the Crown to hand over licensed forest land or state owned enterprise land to particular claimants, but has never used it.

On behalf of Tuwharetoa ariki Tumu te Heuheu, lawyer Karen Feint said the tribunal's report on Central North Island claims released last month found Tuwharetoa's claims were well founded, and substantial remedies are justified.

But its chances of getting a fair settlement would be prejudiced if the 10 forest blocks identified were handed over to affliate iwi and hapu of Te Arawa, as the Crown proposes.

She says Tuwharetoa is also concerned that the Crown is departing from the agreed system for dealing with the land, as set out in the 1989 Crown Forests Assets Act.


The head of Labour's Maori caucus says the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights is only of historical interest for this country.

Labour's Maori MPs have come under fire from the Maori Party for their defence of New Zealand's decision to vote against the declaration at last week's General Assembly.

But Shane Jones says the declaration was not consistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the work this country has done on treaty settlements and building a national identity which embraces Maori.

“The declaration reflects 24 years worth of work and time and events have moved on in New Zealand. We’re no longer back at that period of time in the early 80s when there was precious little interest or opportunity for Maori culture and Maori rights to be secured and enjoyed, and that’s not the case today. We’ve made enormous strides,” Mr Jones says.

He says the Maori Party seems determined to stir up strife between Maori and Pakeha.


Health workers say it's time to play catch up on cervical cancer.

Gay Keating from the Public Health Association says while Pakeha women are now far more likely to get regular cervical smear tests, Maori women are 20 years behind.

That's one of the reasons preventable cervical cancer is the third most common cancer for Maori women, at a rate twice that of non-Maori.

Dr Keating says there may be a range of reasons why many Maori women don't participate in the National Cervical Screening Programme.

“Maori women are more reluctant to come forward, maybe because they feel they don’t know they GP so well, of that they’d rather have a woman do it, or maybe prefer to come along with their friends. Maori and Pakeha, we’re all a bit shy about raising our skirts in front of someone we don't know terribly well,” she says.

A campaign to encourage Maori women to have regular smears was launched this week.


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