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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monte Ohia gets second run at south

The president of the Maori Party says the reselected candidate for te tai Tonga stands a much better chance second time round.

Monte Ohia's selection was confirmed over the weekend at Pipitea Marae in Wellington at the last of nine regional hui held across the vast electorate.

Professor Winiata says Mr Ohia’s chance of unseating the sitting Labour MP Mahara Okeroa is enhanced by the Greens decision not to field a candidate.

He says another plus is that three years ago many Maori voters took a punt backing a new party, but this time the party’s track record speaks for itself.

“That was absent. It was speculative when our people voted for the four members and didn’t vote quite enough for Monty and Atareta and Angeline but each of them will have the favourable experience of the Maori Party behind them on this occasion,” Professor Winiata says.


Taranaki Maori providers are looking for new ways to address Maori health.

Donna Leatherby, the health promotion co-ordinator for Hauora Taranaki, says they're holding a series of hui to stimulate discussion.

She says problems like obesity, diabetes and heart disease need a response not just from the Health Ministry and the District Health Board but from the community.

“We've buried far too many Maori to diabetes and to cancer and I feel very strong about how we can all work together as Taranaki whanui to address some of these issues and support one another as providers, hapu, iwi, whanau and start planning on strategic thinking,” Ms Leatherby says.

The providers have proposed growing vegetable gardens and fruit orchards in kura and marae as a possible initiative.


It's up to those living away from the hau kainga to retain the dialect of their own people.

That's the view of Vapi Kupenga, the head of the taurahere, representing Ngati Porou members living in Auckland.

Over the weekend, they launched a series of wananga to help iwi members retain the unique features of their own tongue.

She says there has been a resurgence in te reo Maori back on the East Coast.

“We are the ones who are living away from Ngati Porou who are needing te reo ake o Ngati Porou. It’s nopt those ones at home. They’re well along the way. Our children are speaking so fluent so it’s fitting that we who are away recover our own reo,” Vapi Kupenga.


Pita Sharples wants a Kevin Rudd style apology to Maori.

The Maori Party co-leader says last week's kupu muru hara to Australia's stolen generation should mark a fresh start across the Tasman.

He says while there are apologies included as part of individual treaty settlements, there are many past government policies which adversely affected all Maori, such as suppressing tohunga and punishing children for speaking Maori in school.

“All these events have never been acknowledged. They’re a major force in the loss of tikanga Maori and culture in this country. So I guess the Prime Minister’s done the Samoans. She’s apologised to the Chinese, and I believe the gay people. We must be on the list though. Maybe we’re after the animals, I don't know,” Dr Sharples says.


Tairawhiti Museum can't find many of its taonga.

Director Monty Souter says an audit last year identified problems with some of the work put into the museum's care.

The old cataloguing system lacked essential data, so while many items are missing, they may have been misplaced rather than stolen.

“Eight percent of the collection wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Some we’re still looking for. So the exhibition explains to the public of the Gisborne-Tairawhiti region what the audit was about and what the findings were, and that’s quite a brave thing to do by any museum but we’re really wanting to be transparent about the history of this museum and the state that we find it in,” Dr Souter says.


The Maori Party candidate for Te Taitonga will not be overshadowed by his political colleagues.

That's the view of the party president, Whatarangi Winiata in the wake of the reselection of Monte Ohia as the candidate in the Te Tai tonga electorate.

Professor Winiata says a rigorous selection process held over nine hui through the vast electorate opted for Mr Ohia, who has spent most of his life working in education, the last few years as kaiarahi at Christchurch Polytec’s Institute of Technology.

He says while the party’s current MP's now have high public profiles, that wasn't always the case, and with training expects Mr Ohia to also become a prominent figure in Maori politics.

“I think Monte will be fine. He’s highly articulate in both languages with a sound understanding of the Maori world view and a very good understanding of the political scene in Wellington,” Professor Winiata says.


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