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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Glavish defends ex top cop

A Maori woman leader says ex-cop Clint Rickards should be left to get on with his life.

The former assistant commissioner finalised the terms of his split with the police on the weekend, and marked his new found freedom with a wide ranging interview with broadcaster Willie Jackson on Radio Waatea.

Mr Jackson followed up by talking to Naida Glavish, the chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua, who worked with Mr Rickards in police advisory roles.

Nothing she saw coming out of his two trials on historic sex changes caused her support to diminish.

She says people can't live in the past.

“Tomorrow is a mystery and yesterday is history. Do we want to live a life of history in our future. And I don’t know actually what he did. All I know is that he was found not guilty, twice, by a law of this land which he himself swore to uphold,” Ms Glavish says.

Clint Rickards' resignation is a loss, because of the influence he was able to exert in improving relations between the police and Maori communities.

STRUCTURAL RACISM PERSISTS IN HEALTH SYSTEM

Maori are more likely to suffer from medical misadventure in hospital than other New Zealanders.

Researcher Andrew Sporle says that's one of the disturbing findings by Auckland University's Family and Whanau well being study.

Its analysis of census data and other records from the past 25 years shows Maori and Pacific patients are treated differently than their Pakeha counterparts.

He says not much seems to have changed since the early 1990s, when Eru Pomare and Neil Pearce identified differences in the way children with asthma were treated.

“Eru and Neil found that if you’re a brown kid you got one treatment, and if you’re a Pakeha kid you got another treatment, and the clinicians didn’t even realise they were doing it. It had almost become structural. Automatic. When it was pointed out to them the clinicians were horrified, they said ‘we're not racist,’” Mr Sporle says.

WHAKAREWAREWA ATTRACTIONS TALKING AGAIN

Two Rotorua Maori tourism attractions are burying the tomahawk.

A locked gate has separated the Whakarewarewa village from the Maori arts and institute Te Puia for a decade.

Grace Neilson, the chief executive of Whakarewarewa Thermal Village tours, says the two groups are now talking about how they can work together to protect the area's unique environment and culture.

“It is a way of life for people here, so it is ensuring that is sustainable for the future. And that is about hw the geothermal is managed, looked after, protected, not just as a tour company but to continue with our way of life with natural hangi, the baths, and all the springs that are in this area,” Ms Neilson says.

The village plans a celebration on Waitangi Day of its first 10 years as a standalone tourism venture.

HUMAN RIGHTS NEED WATCHING

The Human Rights Commission has used International Human Rights day to urge New Zealanders to be more vigilant.

Rosslyn Noonan, the Chief Commissioner, says rights including being free of violence and abuse, being free to participate in society, and being able to speak out and associate with who we wish.

There is also concern about entrenched inequalities that separate Maori and Pacific Islanders from other New Zealanders.

She says things people take for granted can quickly come under threat.

“I think we've seen, in terms of the public debate around a number of issues recently, that these rights can be very fragile, and I think in the area of economic, social and cultural rights, there’s still quite a long way to go,” Ms Noonan says.

The Human Rights Commission yesterday launched a book outlining ten cases which illustrate how people can stand up for their rights.

GOLF TRUST GETS REWARD FROM RANGATAHI INVESTMENT

A trust which helps young Maori golfers is celebrating the success of recent graduates.

Josh Carmichael, Doug Holloway and Brenden Stuart, all made it to the New Zealand Open, at The Hills near Queenstown earlier this month.

Mick Brown, the chair of Ngaki Tamariki Trust, says young Maori often struggle with the high tournament and coaching expenses of the sport, so the trust tries to help out.

It now has graduates competing all over the world.

“We have sent people to Canada almost on an annual basis if we feel they’re up to the standard for competition there, and back and forth to Australia,” Judge Brown says.

Ngaki Tamariki sent Aaron Lougher from Mount Maunganui's and Rotorua's Landyn Edwards to Singapore's under 19 tournament last week, where they secured top three places.

RIVERTON CELEBRATES 200 YEAR HERITAGE

New Zealand's oldest European settlement is celebrating its links with Maori.

Riverton opened its new heritage centre at the weekend, including a museum, art gallery and information centre.

Director Daniel McKnight says professional set builders and prop-makers were used to give visitors a sense of how harsh the environment would have been for the early settlers, but how rich it was in natural resources.

Local Maori used the area's stone to make tools, and collected kai such as muttonbirds and seals.

It was the latter that attracted the Pakeha.

“Our people here were hit by the worst peole we could possibly imagine on the planet at the time, sealers and whalers form across the ditch, across in Australia. Quite an unsightly and unkempt bunch of people, and unfortunately ended up being the first people that integrate with those. But we don’t have many stories of battles, the early people that come here intermarried quite quickly,” Mr McKnight says.

The town's population of just 2000 people raised $400,000 towards the project, and they have been generous with loans and gift of taonga - including 94 toki or adzes found on one farm.

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