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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 03, 2007

Warrior Syd Jackson dies

One of the leading voices of the Maori rights movement for more than four decades has died.

Syd Jackson from Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu died at his home just after five this afternoon of cancer. He was 68.

Mr Jackson was one of eight children of Everard Jackson, a Maori All Black of the 1930s.

An outstanding scholar, he earned an MA in politics before making a career in the union movement.

With his then wife, the late Hana Te Hemara, he was a founding member of Nga Tamatoa, the young warriors, and spearheaded protests such as a petition to allow Maori to learn their language at school.

In recent years he built up south Auckland-based Turiki Healthcare into a major Maori provider.

His nephew Willie Jackson says his uncle battled cancer for several years.

“He's been an amazing fighter and he fought the cancer perhaps how he approached life. He was a bloke who never gave up on a kaupapa and so he fought this right to his last breath,” Mr Jackson says.

Syd Jackson's body will be taken back to Hastings for burial.

No reira e te rangatira, moe mai, moe mai, takoto mai.


Saturday was National Gambling Free Day, with protests in Auckland and Christchurch.

Some venues even took the hint and turned off their pokeys for the day.

Bill Bradford, the director of social marketing for the Gambling Foundation, was heartened by the number of Maori who protested.

He says it's a growing problem in Maori and other low income communities, as was highlighted by some recent campaigns.

“We ran a campaign around getting people to make submissions to Manukau City around their gambling policy, and we got 7000 submissions. They came mainly from Maori and Pacific Islanders. These pokeys are hurting our whanau, it’s responsible for people spending money that they can't afford to spend,” Mr Bradford says.


Child advocacy workers within the women's refuge are looking for ways to stop escalating rates of child deaths and abuse.

More than 40 refuge and Maori development unit staff are holding a hui in Wellington this week to share experiences and ideas.

Spokesperson Kerri Donoghue-Cox says with more than 12,000 children using refuge services over the past year, there will be common issues and themes which will help the workers improve their effectiveness.

“We can't get together often enough and don’t have direct links to be able to have that on our doorstep, whichever level you’re at, so we want to be able to bring it all together and that’s what we feel is our gap as child advocates is that we don’t have a tight formal network and this is going to help create that,” Ms Donoghue-Cox says.

Children make up almost half of those killed in acts of domestic violence in the 12 years since the Domestic Violence Act was passed.


A Waitangi Tribunal finding that other iwi have customary rights within the Ngai Tahu rohe has been welcomed by one of the two surviving original top of the South island claimants.

Richard Bradley from Rangitane says the finding his tribe had overlapping interests down to Waiau-toa or the Clarence River should help its current negotiations.

The tribunal also upheld the claims of Ngati Apa to interests as far as Kawatiri or the Buller River, and Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama, Te Atiawa and Ngati Toa had similar claims upheld.

Mr Bradley says the finding means the iwi will need to involve their larger neighbour in the settlement talks.

“I'm really hopeful that we would be able now in the light of this latest report sit down with Ngai Tahu and have some rational discussions about how we might jointly receive some benefit from Crown assets in that area, because after all there’s no disputing the fact that Ngai Tahu were similarly disadvantaged by the Crown purchasing process in the 1960s as Rangitane were,” Mr Bradley says.

He's encouraged by the Tribunal's finding that there is nothing in a 1990 Maori Land Court judgment on tribal boundaries nor in the Ngai Tahu Settlement Act which prevents recognition of overlapping customary interests.


Television New Zealand's claim to leadership in Maori broadcasting is being challenged by one of the original Maori broadcasting claimants.

The state broadcaster says it intends to increase its Maori-focused programming, as part of its strategy of being a local content leader.

But Whatarangi Winiata says TVNZ has lost its claims to leadership through years of inaction.

“They are not equipped to do that sufficiently and they are not in an environment that allows them to do that. Whakaata Maori is doing that and Maori radio is doing that. They are the leaders in Maori broadcasting, so I think the presumption that they have a leadership role is inappropriate,” Professor Winiata says.

At the same time TVNZ claims to be boosting Maori content, it is demeaning the Maori language by shifting Te Karere to a less visible time slot.


Ngai Tahu artist Shona Moller is going to what some New Zealanders used to call Home to make a point about colonisation.

Her work version of the London Underground map, with the tube stations replaced by Maori names, will feature in a solo exhibition in London next June.

Waterloo has become Tirau, Leicester Square has become Taupo, Bond St has become Taihape and Canary Wharf is now Paeroa.

Ms Moller says it's a commentary on the Anglicisation of Aotearoa and the arrogance of colonisers who imposed their own names in the landscape.

“It's a little bit of a tongue in cheek thing. How would they feel really if we sailed our waka up the Thames and all climbed out and changed their place names, Picadilly becoming Paekakariki and things like that,” Ms Moller says.


Anonymous atihana said...

I think the mainstream media response to Syd's passing should not be ignored. The NZ Herald managed to comment thru three Pakeha politicians as their obituary to a great Maori. David Lange who called him a racist presided over a government that destroyed our secondary industry and put thousands of Maori on the scrap heap. Whose the racist? The comments and media highlights have been despicable and understandable. And no wonder. Syd exposed the truth and the bullshit of the media mainstream in such a way that they responded right to the last irrationally and with hatred. In retrospect those developments that have resulted such as Te Reo in mainstream have proved one thing. Syd was right and they were wrong.

4:47 PM  

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