Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 17, 2008

Maori Party ballots burned

An attempt to challenge the selection of Derek Fox as the Maori Party's Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate seems to have foundered for lack of paper.

Atareta Poananga, who is mounting the challenge, says each of the five candidates appointed scrutineers to act on their behalf.

But she says the scrutineers weren't allowed to observe the counting at each of the 14 selection hui - and now the ballot papers have been destroyed, so there can be no recount.

“The scrutineering role to me was the number one issue and so I’d like some confidence that everything went well but when you don’t have the ballot papers any more there is little you can do about it. It‘s like a foregone conclusion, in the sense that there’s nothing you can do about it,” Ms Poananga says.

She's putting her faith in party president Whatarangi Winiata to the process is improved for future selections.

WAIKATO GUARDIANS’ ESTABLISHMENT GROUP STARTS WORK

Tainui's chairperson says the hard work is just beginning on cleaning up the Waikato River.

Representatives from Tainui and other river iwi have joined the region's mayors and crown members on a committee to establish the guardianship structure that is part of the Waikato-Tainui river settlement.

Tukoroirangi Morgan, who co-convenes the committee alongside Treaty Negotiations Michael Cullen, says it's the first time the iwi have been able to sit beside the Crown as an equal partner.

He says both sides are fully committed to the process.

“We have to do a substantial amount of work around the vision and strategy,. We have to look at innovative ways of how to achieve the over-arching purpose of Waikato-Tainui’s claim which is to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the river,” Mr Morgan says.

Public consultation on the plan starts in May.

KORO TRANSLATES STORY FOR SKATE ACE

A book about one of the country's youngest professional skateboarders has given a Gisborne family a lasting tribute to their koro.

Learn to Skateboard with Luka was written by nine-year-old Luke Peta and his parents Lee and Errol.

Luke's grandfather, Tokikapu Peta, translated the book for its bilingual edition shortly before he died last year.

Lee Peta says it was a huge contribution.

“I asked him if he would translate this book for Luka about two years ago and he moaned and groaned and didn’t want to have anything to do with it because as a child he was never really allowed to speak his language. One day he came over and said because it was for his moko, he actually changed his mind,” Mrs Peta says.

Luke has won Gisborne's under 12 regional competition four years in a row, and came second at the Under 12 nationals when he was five.

ROYAL COMMISSION COULD BACK MAORI SEATS

Maori seats could be back in the Auckland region.

Peter Salmon QC, the chair of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, says that's one of the options which could be looked at when the commission looks at issues of Maori representation.

The local government reforms of the 1980s got rid of the two electorate-based Maori seats on what was then the Auckland Regional Authority, but he says the idea could be looked at again.

“One idea that’s been suggested to us is that the regional government, and of course Auckland has to have a regional government, whatever form it takes, could be Elected on the basis of the national electorates which would include the three Maori electorates in the Auckland region,” Mr Salmon says.

The public can make submissions until April 22, with hearings scheduled in May and June and the commission's report to the Governor-General due by the end of the year.

SAVINGS COMMISSIONER ENDORSES IWI SAVINGS

The retirement commissioner wants to see iwi helping their people to get the savings habit.

Ngai Tahu's Whai Rawa scheme, which subsidises saving for home ownership and management, already has 13,500 members.

Tainui is looking at a similar scheme.

Diana Crossan says it's a sound policy, as Maori are earning more and living longer, so they can think about retirement.

“Ngai Tahu as an organisation or as an iwi has managed its money well, and what we want to do is help individuals and their families manage their money well and some of the things about Kiwisaver leads people to getting better financial education so it might be that in the first instance you don’t join Kiwisaver but you manager your debt and your mortgage better so you are better off in the long term,” Ms Crossan says.

The retirement commissioner chairs Ngai Tahu's Whai Rawa savings scheme.

TAMATI PARAONE LAID TO REST AT OTIRIA

One of the last of the 1939ers was late to rest today.

Hundreds of people passed through Otiria Marae near Moerewa over the weekend to honour Tamati Paraone, who died last week at the age of 92.

The Ngati Hine kaumatua joined the 28 Maori Battalion in 1939, and was always a great supporter of the battalion's association, serving for several years as its president.

Hemaana Waaka, the director of a Waka Huia documentary on Mr Paraone, says even before going off to war he was known for his speed and athleticism.

This led to him being given a special position in the wero, and he was one of the last to be trained in the traditional manner.

“In the early days when the challengers went out there was no taiahas. You just went out there and greeted the visitors and laid your stick and intimidated your visitors to the extent they would want to chase him and beat him up. So the host made sure to send a man there that had the speed to run because, because the visitors had their runners too, and so it was a bit of a disgrace if they caught your runner, and Tamati never ever got caught,” Mr Waaka says.

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