Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 02, 2007

Promotion unchallenging for capable Jones

The workload for new Cabinet Minister Shane Jones is being described as a waste of talent.

The list MP was given the building and construction portfolio in this week's reshuffle, as well as associate duties in immigration, trade and treaty negotiations.

Willie Jackson, a political commentator and former Alliance MP, says Mr Jones is the most talented and able Maori MP in Labour.

“We haven't really seen that ability being utilized and it would be really maximized if he has a senior position in Cabinet, but being the minister of leaky homes is hardly a way for use to view the talents of Shane Jones,” Mr Jackson says.

STARTING AT BOTTOM GOOD LESSON

But National's deputy leader says Helen Clark has been wise to start Shane Jones at the bottom.

Bill English, who has been working with Mr Jones on parliament's finance and expenditure committee, says there is no doubt about his ability and experience.

I think where Shane’s always going to struggle a bit is with the collective responsibility. Cabinet is an intensely collective way of doing business and individual opinions aren’t as important as the Cabinet’s ability to get it right, and so it tends to have a bit of an impact on a person like Shane, who as he says about himself has a fairly big ego,” Mr English says.

RUBBISH DUMPED NEAR MARAE LAND

A Rotorua marae is fighting illegal dumping of rubbish.

Erana Waiomio, from Takinga Marae, on the edge of the Ohau Channel into Lake Rotoiti says the area is becoming littered with car wrecks, old whiteware, household rubbish and broken bottles.

She says her son went through the rubbish and found mail addressed to locals... but when confronted they weren't apologetic.

“No No they weren't. They were cheeky. He found the mail and he told them it belonged to them and they were very cheeky to him, and I thought oh no, I didn’t want him to get upset because you never know what will happen,” Mrs Waiomio says.

The next step may be talking to the council and the police about stopping the illegal dumping.

“The Church took it over in 1947 under the auspices of Fr Isaac Gupwell. He basically hand built the school and taught the kids and washed their clothes and caned them when they needed to be caned all by himself for a good 25 years I guess,” Mr Gemmell says.

There will be a special celebration for four former students who've just received Doctorates.

ACCELERATED EFFORT TO SOLVE DIABETES PROBLEMS

Sporting legend Peter Snell is among a group of international experts who have joined Maori researchers tackling diabetes among Maori.

Chris Cunningham, the director of Massey University's Centre for Maori Health and Development, says a symposium this week brought together some of the most advanced thinkers in the field to help set the research programme.

They included Dr Snell, who is now at the University of Texas, Gerald Reaven from Stanford University, who first linked diabetes to abdominal obesity and high blood pressure, and Kerrin O'Dea, an expert in the nutrition and health of Australian Aboriginals.

“You know I don't think we’ve had such experts in one place at one time so we’re very fortunate that they came. Very much that we’re accessing decades worth of experience that other people have had, but also how do we contextualise it both in a Maori setting and a New Zealand setting,” Dr Cunningham says.

Diabetes can take more than a decade to come on, so the key to addressing it in the Maori population is to identify it early and change behaviours.

WORLD RECORD HAKA ATTEMPT

Hundreds of haka kaikorikori will attempt a world record haka today.

As part of Push Play Day - a national initiative to get New Zealanders active - Harbour Sport is organising the synchronised haka at 2 pm.

While there are two official sites - Hato Petera College in Northcote and North Harbour Stadium - organiser Wiremu Mato says people can register online to join in at their own school, club or workplace.

There's even been a registration from Scott Base in Antarctica.

He says the most familiar chant was chosen to get the war dance into the record books.

“We're going to do Kamate Kamate, only because it’s probably the most well known one where we have a lot of buy in form a lot of the mainstream schools, so we thought we’d keep it something that was fairly simple,” Mr Mato says.

PAO PAO PAO PUTS TALENT ON STAGE

The cream of Maori musical talent will be on display at the Wellington Town Hall tonight.

The annual Pao Pao Pao concert will showcase everything from hip-hop to kapa haka, jazz to taonga puoro.

Organiser Ngahiwi Apanui says many of the top Maori musicians are now working a lot overseas, so it's a rare opportunity for Kiwi audiences to see acts like Moana and the Tribe or Whirimako Black.

“The big highlights for me will be the appearance and performance of Ngatai Huata, who was the founder of the Black Katz, so it’s kind of like acknowledging what’s going on today but also going back and acknowledging the trailblazers like Ngatai,” Mr Apanui says.

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