Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Poananga not going it alone

The spurned Maori Party candidate for Ikaroa Rawhiti is ruling out an independent run for the East Coast seat.

Atareta Poananga, the 2005 candidate, lost out to former partner Derek Fox in a poll of party members at 14 selection hui this month.

She's challenged the process, but says there's little that can be done because the ballot papers were destroyed.

Ms Poananga still supports the Maori Party, and says she hasn't thought of running on her own.

“Having been in an independent campaign and actuall running that campaign for Derek in 1999, I know the difficulties posed to anyone going as an independent. I’m the sort of person would have to have a hard analysis like that before I even thought about it, so I’m not thinking of it at this point,” Ms Poananga says.


The Problems Gambling Foundation says gambling is undermining Maori culture.

Chief executive John Stansfield says there are reports of Maori selling whanau taonga to feed their habits.

That causes stress and shame in whanau.

He says kuia have also told him of problems at the marae level.

“They had a problem recently at a tangi. When they looked into the back of the wharekai for the ringawera, they were nowhere to be seen, and they were up the road at the RSA playing the pokies, so it’s not just our cultural taonga but also our traditions that are placed at risk,” Mr Stansfield says.

Gambling also steals time that parents should be putting into making sure their children feel cared for and don't get into trouble.


A special service is starting about now at Turangawaewae Marae to celebrate a double anniversary.

Not only is it the Ngaruwahia Poukai, it's the 70th birthday of the flagpole, Pikiao, and the carved house, Tuhono.

Pokaia Nepia, the marae komiti chair, says the flagpole is a reminder of the links between Kingitanga and the Ngati Pikiao people from around Late Rotoiti, which were strengthened by the late Princess Te Puea Herangi.

“We all know that Te Puea once stayed in Pikiao. She was very well known for that, for starting up all these farms around the district, and we can gather probably from that where she managed to bring this flagpole back to Turangawaewae and erect it there to coincide with the opening of Turongo,” Mr Nepia says.

The kitchen has baked a cake to be cut by Raima Turner and Hikairo Herangi... two kaumatua who have a clear memory of the flagpole being erected.


The Royal Commission looking onto Auckland governance wants to hear suggestions on how all Maori living in the metropolis can be heard.

Its chairperson, QC Peter Salmon, says Maori representation is definitely on the commission's agenda.

The retired retired High Court Judge says the existing councils have tried to address how they should strengthen their relationships with the region's iwi like Ngati Whatua and Tainui-related groups, but it can't stop there.

“I think all Maori would agree that the mana whenua iwi have a special status in relation to local government in Auckland. Then there’s the question of proper representation of other Maori as well and that’s something we want to hear about from Maori,” Mr Salmon says.

The Royal Commission will hold consultation hui with mana whenua and taura here groups.


The Children's Commissioner wants the government to help Maori service providers deliver positive messages about parenting.

Cindy Kiro says there was so noise around the so-called anti-smacking bill that the real consequences of the move didn't get discussed properly.

She says rather than making Maori parents fear the law, there need to be programmes to encourage behaviour change.

“They should feel proud of the leadership that was taken through that time, proud of the stance that New Zealand has taken because we’re the first English-speaking country in the world to do this, and proud they can achieve as parents and caregivers in the future. There are things we can do and we can look forward with iwi and Maori to a more non-violent life,” Dr Kiro says.

She says the new legislation seems to be having a positive impact, and public attitudes are changing.


Maori vegetable growers are excited by the early results of a programme to breed viruses out of Maori potatoes.

Huub Kerckhoffs from Crop & Food Research says the joint project with Tahuri Whenua, the national Maori vegetable growers collective, has been working on several cultivars.

He says there was some concern that Maori potatoes could be naturally poor performers, but that's was shown to be wrong when part of the crop was dug up last week.

“These ones without the viruses are really out-performing, really big yields, more capable of fighting off other stress. I’m amazed by the buy-in of Maori. I’ve got a lot of East Coast people here last week and every one is really enthusiastic about it. Maori growers are really keen to link in with these sort of techniques,” Dr Kerckhoffs says.

There's a revival of cropping on the East Coast, with Maori keen to grow some of the older species on their under-developed land.


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