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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 21, 2008

Maori ceremony not right in government

The race relations commissioner says it may not be appropriate to import Maori protocols wholesale into government departments.

Joris de Bres isn't commenting directly on a ruling by the Human Rights Review Tribunal that former probation officer Josie Bullock suffered detrimental treatment because of her gender when she was ordered to sit behind men during a Corrections Department poroporoaki in 2004,

But he says the case highlights some of the difficulties of trying to make organisations more bicultural.

“It is perfectly clear to me that if someone goes to a Maori context, a marae or elsewhere, it is a very simple and reasonable expectation that people will observe and respect the protocol of that place. If it is a protocol in a government department or a non-Maori setting then it is a matter of working towards a protocol that reflects the culture of that organisation,” Mr de Bres says.

He says the Army has shown how a hybrid organisational culture can be developed without undervaluing or usurping either culture.

HUI ARANGA AT SILVERSTREAM

Maori Catholics from around the motu are gathering at Silverstream in the Hutt Valley for a weekend of sports, singing, competitions and prayer.

The Hui Aranga started in Otaki in 1946 to keep the faith growing among Maori, and it moves to another centre each year.

Henare Ngaia from the kaunihera matua of the Hui Aranga council, says fundraising by the host region keeps down costs for manuhiri.

He says it's a great chance to catch up with old friends.

MAORI NETBALL IN WHANGAREI

Meanwhile, Maori netballers are heading for Te Taitokerau.

Up to 4000 players and supporters from 11 regions or waka are expected at the 21st Aotearoa Maori Netball tournament in Whangarei.

Jane Rehua, from Aotearoa Maori Netball, says it's a good way to promote a healthy lifestyle message.

“We have health coordinators, all those thngs, to help our rangatahi, because it’s for them. We have the premiers there to tautoko and play their best and it’s really competitive,” Ms Rehua says.

Aotearoa Maori Netball wants to get a Maori team into the world netball series, but Netball New Zealand has refused to back the idea.

WAITANGI EDIFICE DEFENDED AS BACK DOOR WHAREKAI

A new member of the Waitangi National Trust says the visitors centre at Waitangi has outlived its usefulness.

The Historic Places Trust and Northland-based Labour list MP Shane Jones have come out against a proposed new centre to be sited just north of the Treaty Grounds behind the Whare Runanga.

Erima Henare says they should put any concerns to the consent process being run by the Far North District Council.

The current centre below the Treaty Grounds was opened by Prince Charles and Lady Diana a quarter century ago.

“There's a need for a new facility that will cope with the numbers of people that now come to Waitangi, that will delver them a quality product around what is available on the estate, and at times the café part of it can serve to assist the whare runanga for gatherings it might have,” Mr Henare says.

He says there seems to be an agenda to bring the Waitangi Treaty Grounds back under the control of the Crown.

NATIONAL OPPOSES MAORI COUNCIL SEATS PLAN

John Key says National wouldn't support any plan to include Maori seats on any Auckland regional authority.

The idea is contained in an issues paper put out as part of the Royal Commission into the way the country's largest city is governed.

The National leader and Helensville MP says it's a non-starter.

“Yeah I'm not sure that really delivers in the way we would want. I mean I kind of go back to I guess our general view of representation, that I genuinely believe that if all representatives have the broadest responsibilities, then you’re likely to get buy-in and people taking up issues. Otherwise it looks a bit tokenism and I don’t think it always works,” Mr Key says.

He says there are other ways to ensure Maori issues are properly debated.

MINISTER BACKING ONGOING COMMITMENT TO VETERANS

Caring for old Maori soldiers is an ongoing responsibility for Maori.

That's the view of Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia, who is a guest at this weekend's reunion of the 28 Maori Battalion in Gisborne.

The Ikaroa Rawhiti MP says he's honoured to spend time with the World War 2 veterans.

“Their numbers are dwindling now. They’re down to the 40-odd mark. It’s not a big rush and shindig there. They like to get together, they like to take it easy, and they like to talk about things they did together and certainly it’s a good gathering, and they’ve also got the king (Tuheitia) coming to rededicate a couple of the marae in Turanga,” Mr Horomia says.

He says Maori veterans from the Korea, Malaya and Vietnam deployments also need ongoing support.

A large group from the north is expected at the powhiri tomorrow bringing the kawe mate or memory of former battallion association president Tamati Paraone, who was buried on Monday.

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