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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stony creek reoccupied

Protesters occupying empty buildings on Stony Creek station in the far north are preparing for a visit from the police.

In the latest an the ongoing saga, some members of Ngati Aukiwa hapu and their supporters reoccupied the buildings on the weekend while the rest of Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa was at a hui discussing progress on their settlement.

Protest leader Wilfred Peterson says the rest of the iwi has no rights to the land, which is all that is left in Crown hands.

He says the occupiers don't fear police action.

“There's just a manager on the block and there’s no workers on it, and while the homes are getting left vacant, Ngati Aukiwa is taking over, and that’s what the problem about with the police now. We’ve got korero from reliable sources that the police will be here to arrest anybody that’s in the house,” Mr Peterson says.

He says his tupuna allocated land for all the hapu in Ngati Kahu, and those who have sold theirs are now after Ngati Aukiwa's.

CTU PICKS ELECTION PRIORITIES

The Council of Trade Unions is picking Maori and workers' rights as issues for this year's election.

The organisation has been in Rotorua looking at its political strategy and the future of the labour movement.

Sharon Clair, the CTU's Maori vice president, says the cornerstones of the strategy are protecting and enhancing workers' rights, stronger public services, and higher wages.

The role of Maori in the workplace is also important.

“We are the ones who are at the bottom of the rung, particularly Maori women, when it comes to income, and skill and qualification, and this is all of course a continuation of colonialism and the impact of that upon us in our development,” Ms Clair says.

The CTU wants to see more skill development and employer investment into the Maori workforce.

KAWERAU COMES UP TOPS IN GAMBLING STAKES

A Bay of Plenty timber town has received the dubious distinction as the gambling capital of New Zealand.

John Stansfield from the Problem Gambling Foundation says it's a result of poker machine operators targeting brown towns.

That will be an item for discussion at an international conference on problem gambling in Auckland today.

Mr Stansfield says gambling is a huge burden on Maori communities.

“The place where it’s worst to be a gambler in the whole country, and this is to say where families are losing, each individual man, woman and child, losing $480 a year on pokie machines, and that is in Kawerau. It’s a long time since Kawerau was a rich town. This is a poor, brown town,” Mr Stansfield says.

The place that gambles the least is the Christchurch suburb of Selwyn

MAOIR PARTY HOPE POLICING BILL WILL LEAD TO IMPROVEMENT

The Maori Party hopes the new Policing Bill will improve liaison between police and Maori.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says the police have a lot of ground to cover to restore Maori confidence.

He says his party will back the bill, which aims to strengthen Police governance, accountability and organisation.

But it wants to see a lot more consultation, which has been lacking in significant initiatives like the taser trials.

“No consultation with Maori and yet 56 percent of those who have been tasered and Maori or Pacific Island so one would have thought there are implications for Maori with the use of that particular weapon, but no, there was no consultation,” Dr Sharples says.

He says this week's further arreats in relation to relation to a so called terrorist camp in the Ureweras show police have learned little since last October's Ruatoki raids.

Epidemiology Hui
Wellington medical students will spend part of the summer learning how kaupapa Maori might help track patterns of disease.

Rhys Jones from Ngati Kahungunu says the Maori have been the missing factor in epidemiology, the study of health in populations.

He says Maori can benefit from the changed approach.

“We know that if we go on doing things we’ve always done in a status quo sort of way where Maori tend to be marginalized, you end up benefiting non-Maori more than you do Maori and so actually increasing inequalities, which is not what we are about, so we basically need special efforts and special resources directed to Maori io address some of these issues,” Dr Jones says.

The Wellington School of Medicine will hold workshops on how students can incorporate Maori into their research and practice.

ASB TRUST PUTS ASIDE PUTEA FOR INNOVATIVE EDUCATION

A community trust wants to target more of its resources towards Maori and Pasifika underachievement in education.

The ASB Community Trust is holding hui in Auckland and Northland next month to explain the strategy.

Chief executive Jennifer Gill says it will offer up to five years' funding for innovative projects that challenge the status quo.

She says that the Trust doesn't have all the answers but the community does.

“We believe that there are many people in the community, either in institutions or in iwi or in community groups or in kohanga, who actually have ideas about how we might address the issue, which is an issue of national importance,” Ms Gill says.

Projects could range from anti-truancy programmes to work in preschools or universities.

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