Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Grameen bank of Aotearoa

The president of the Maori Party says a proposed Maori development bank or agency should focus on getting low income Maori groups into business.

The Government has a bill before Parliament to set up a new agency, Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand, with initial funding of $35 million from the Maori Trustee.

Whatarangi Winiata, who has long advocated a Maori bank, says poor Maori would benefit from an organisation like the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh which provides small loans, training and support.

He says any bank must recognise Maori are distinctive people.

“We have different kinds of social commitments. We have different kaupapa, different values. We are motivated by those values that are inherited. So the bank would need to design its policies and its practices, its tikanga, to be responsive to kaupapa driven businesses,” Professor Winiata says.

He says established land trusts and iwi organisations have strong relationships with mainstream financial service providers, and are unwilling to switch.


A sacked Auntie says Maori Television is falling down on its social role by axing its popular advice programme.

The channel is dropping Ask Your Aunties to make way for te reo Maori programmes in the prime time slot.

Mabel Wharekawa-Burt says the panelists receive hundreds of letters and emails asking for help.

She says many of the queries are referred to social and mental health agencies.

“At least half our letters are violence related and I know the atmosphere that creates. We don’t reach out to anyone but if they can be anonymous, and they know now there are two or three of us who come from that background, where will they go, where will the kids go when their parents are hitting them. Because I don’t believe Maori TV has another service programme like it,” Ms Wharekawa-Burt says.

She says the cast was told the contract would not be renewed the day after the filming of a Christmas special.


A participant at yesterday's National Homelessness Conference says not enough attention is being paid to the number of Maori sleeping rough.

Wilf Holt from the Auckland City Mission says that number is disproportionately high, and contributes to the unique nature of the problem in this country.

Before next year's conference there will be research done into the cost of homelessness to the rough sleeper and to society.

Mr Holt says work on Maori issues is also needed.

“There's as growing realization perhaps belatedly that we really do need to focus on Maori issues in terms of homelessness and I would like to think that the next annual conference may very well have a pretty well total focus in that area,” Mr Holt says.

He says many of the young Maori homeless congregate in groups and make a life for themselves on the streets.


Labour is still hoping for the Maori Party's support after the next election, even if it refuses to enter a coalition.

The Maori Party president, Whatarangi Winiata, says being in coalition would restrict his MPs from speaking out on behalf of Maori.

But Labour leader Helen Clark says the MMP system allows for considerable flexibility.

She says Labour has appreciated the support of the Maori Party on various issues this term - and there has been no restriction on the new party's ability to speak out.

“We only have one coalition partner and that’s Jim Anderton, one person. Apart from that we have arrangements with New Zealand First, with United Future, with the Green Party, and informally, we work with the Maori Party. They’re in the loop on many things, so there’s lots of ways you can have a relationship,” Ms Clark says.

She says if Maori want the continuation of policies which promote low unemployment and investment in families, they should give their party votes to Labour rather than Maori Party.


John Tamihere says his west Auckland Maori trust is being frozen out of official efforts to tackle domestic violence.

The former Labour MP says Te Whanau o Waipareira has developed an integrated Family Management Plan to get into dysfunctional whanau and tackle the problem at its source - but it can't get the $1.3 million dollars needed to fund it.

He says it's part of a pattern of behaviour by government departments which discriminate against Maori providers.

“It’s become apparent that no government department wants to entertain any kind of consultation process with Waipareira or any process that allows us to evolve a community-based solution to a major and growing problem,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the only effective way to get on top of domestic violence is through Maori community providers.


A Ngapuhi man is defending his challenge to the auction of a document linked to his tipuna.

David Rankin withdrew his objection to Thursday's sale after talking to Webb's Auctions.

The document was presented by Northern Maori MP Hone Heke Ngapua to fellow MP Thomas McKenzie for supporting his right to introduce a Native Rights Bill.

Other MPs in the 1894 Parliament left the House, forcing the bill to lapse for lack of a quorum.

Mr Rankin says he needed to confirm it wasn't a similar document stolent from the Matarahurahu hapu's whare tapu in the 1960s.

He says Maori communities need to keep an eye on the taonga passing through auction houses.

“What they used to do in the old days is advertise in the paper for Maori taonga so a lot of farmers would find Maori caves and tahei all the taonga out of it like the Nankivell, so they would sell them off to collectors and the collectors would sell them off to museums around the world,” Mr Rankin says.

He hopes the document will be bought by a museum rather than a private collector.


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