Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, January 21, 2008

Little hope for UN probe

A Maori Party MP is conceding a United Nations investigation into last October's anti-terror raids in the Bay of Plenty will have little effect.

UN officials have sent a "please explain" letter to the government asking for information whether there were human rights breaches in the way people were treated.

Te Ururoa Flavell says the government will probably ignore any report which comes out of the UN about the issue.

He says its defence always seems to be to point to human rights abuses by other UN members.

“If there are any issues with respect to human rights for indigenous peoples in Aotearoa, then the Government doesn’t give too much credit to the United Nations, even though we’re very quick to stand up and come to the defence of the United Nations should it be looking at other countries, so we don’t hold out too much hope,” Mr Flavell says.

He says the government is earning a shocking record overseas for its treatment of the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa.

MAORI TRUSTS DIVERSIFYING INTO PROPERTY

The Federation of Maori Authorities is picking an increase in investment activity this year by its members.

Paul Morgan, the federation's executive vice chairperson, says the Maori trusts are diversifying their portfolios so they are not too dependent on the farming or forestry sectors.

He says the 10 largest authorities would between them have more than $2 billion invested in commercial property.

“There's more and more investment in commercial property, and it can be from bulk store retail areas, shopping malls, commercial buildings, large scale retail outlets, so it’s happening and continuously happening,” Mr Morgan says.

Many authorities, especially in the central North Island, are investing in geothermal or wind energy projects.

TUWHARE ONE OF THE GREATS OF LITERATURE

He was right up there with the literary greats.

That's the tribute the Prime Minister has paid to Hone Tuwhare, whose tangi is going on at Kaikohe.

Helen Clark says the Ngapuhi poet was an incredibly significant figure in New Zealand literature, despite having little formal education.

His 1964 collection No Ordinary Sun was the first book by a Maori poet published in English, and he went on to win national and international recognition.

Ms Clark says when she instigated the Prime Minister's awards for literature in 2003, there was little debate about the initial line up.

“Hone was one of the three great firsts to be nominated. And I presented him with an award in Parliament in 2003 for his lifetime achievement in poetry. The two other people who got awards were Michael King and Janet Frame. Doesn’t that tell us where Hone was - right up there with the literary greats,” Ms Clark says.

Hone Tuwhare's funeral will be held at one tomorrow at Te Kotahitanga marae in Kaikohe.

DAVIS QUERIES HARAWIRA ACHIEVEMENT RECORD

Labour's Taitokerua candidate has indicated the gloves are off for his election year contest with Hone Harawira.

Kelvin Davis will kick off his campaign on February 5 at his home marae at Karetu in the Bay of Islands.

But the former Kaitaia Intermediate school principal has already come out fighting, accusing the Maori Party MP of failing to deliver for Maori voters in the north, despite his high profile.

“Hone is a master of self promotion, and I’m not trying to denigrate him, he’s the master of it, he’s a real politician and he’s made a noise, he’s done a lot of things that have grabbed publicity and good on him. I just still ask the question, where are the real tangible results for Maori in the last three years since the Maori Party has been a force,” Mr Davis says.

He's taking to heart Mr Harawira advice that if he was polite, no one would listen.

WANANGA NEED TO BE VIGILANT OF QUALIFICATION QUALITY

A Maori academic is warning that tighter access to mainstream universities could have negative consequences for wananga.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori studies at Canterbury University, says the changes, which are driven by new funding rules, will affect Maori, who are more likely to be second chance learners.

He says the challenge for Maori tertiary institutions will be to maintain the quality of their specialist degrees, rather than allowing themselves to be seen as a soft option for Maori students.

“In the future places like Auckland, University of Canterbury, Victoria, they’ll become places for Pakeha people and middle class Maori people, and the degrees will carry some status, and the wananga and the kura kaupapa sorts of things will be seen as sort of ethnic and inferior, and that’s a real concern,” Mr Taonui says.

WAKA AMA INVOLVING WHOLE WHAANAU

Numbers were up again at this year's Waka Ama nationals at Lake Karapiro.

Organising committee member Hoturoa Kerr says more than 2500 paddlers took to the water during the five day event.

Horouta from the East Coast again showed its dominance of the sport, grabbing 18 gold medals.

Its 6-strong young women's crew, the Hinerupe Maidens, won the 500 and 1000 metre titles for a fourth straight year.

Mr Kerr says the growth of the sport is driven by rangatahi.

“They tell their parents they’re coming to waka. Then their parents tell someone else and their kids turn up. You end up with a waka that’s half of one family and half of another. Everyone’s down there having a good time, and then the parents jump in and start paddling too,” Mr Kerr says.

The next major sprint event is the World Championships in Sacramento, California in August.

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