Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 03, 2008

Poll not fazing Labour's double fern

Labour's newest MP is unconcerned by a weekend poll showing the Maori Party winning all seven Maori seats.

Louisa Wall is set to give her maiden speech in Parliament tomorrow as she replaces retiring list MP Ann Hartley.

The former silver and black fern is challenging Pita Sharples for the Tamaki Makaurau seat in this year's election.

She says it's too early in the political year for the Marae Digipoll to give much of an indication of the final result, especially once Labour starts campaigning in earnest in the Maori seats.

“Some of the Maori Party candidates haven’t even been announced so obviously it doesn’t even matter to some Maori Party voters who those people are but Labour’s in the race and we will continue to be in the race. I think it’s good for democracy that Maori have a choice. Secondly I think the most interesting vote is who Maori want to govern the country,” Ms Wall says.

She'll push hard for Tamaki Makaurau and for the party vote in that seat.


The Treaty Negotiations Minister is calling the Maori Party mealy-mouthed over its attitude to treaty settlements.

Michael Cullen says the party has found something to niggle about in every treaty deal, without offering any alternatives to the current regime.

He says its response to last week's foreshore and seabed agreement with Te Whanau a Apanui was just the latest example.

“I think it's actually very mealy mouthed and completely unfair, not least to Te Whanau a Apanui. If people like Tariana and Te Ururoa want to take seriously tino rangatiratanga, then they’ve got to recognise seriously the right to iwi and hapu to make their own decisions and have someone from outside, whether it’s from Rotorua or Whanganui telling them what to do,” Dr Cullen says.

He says last week's agreement doesn't hand back anything to the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi, but rather recognises its unbroken mana over the foreshore and seabed and gives it a positive way to express than mana in a way that wasn't available before.


There a call for more resources to address the mental health of Maori stroke victims.

Rukingi Richards from Rotorua stroke support group Awhi Mai says the hardest part of recovery is often finding the courage to get out of the house.

Many Maori stroke victims become too shy or whakamaa to go out in public.

He says the problem isn't being addressed by health providers.

“Nobody really has the role to try and get people to step out the door. The providers all try to look after the physical issues, but it’s the mental issues where the whakama sits and nobody really deals with that,” Mr Richards says.


Pita Sharples isn't rating the Maori Party's chances as highly as the pollsters.

A Marae Digipoll this weekend found support for his party averaging among Maori voters 56 percent and predicted it would win all seven Maori seats.

He says the result is a tribute to the work the Maori Party has put in over the past two years, but he's not underestimating incumbents like Parekura Horomia and Nanaia Mahuta.

“It's always going to be tough to win thew Waikato seat and the one on the East Coast. They’ve got ministers who have been given very prominent roles and they have been given a lot of time out of the house to go around the people so they’ve got quite a following so it will be a really big battle.” Dr Sharples says.

At the moment he favours staying out of a coalition so it can push all parties to improve the lot of Maori.


Waikato University is trying to encourage Tainui rangatahi to take up careers in science.

It's just run a two day wananga for secondary students with Tainui links.

Facilitator Aereka Hopkins says he noticed a distinct lack of fellow Maori while he was studying for his masters in science at Waikato.

He says the iwi needs its own scientists to help it manage the Waikato River.

“They can't talk too much about restoring too much because they don’t have the expertise just yet. The Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust is going to have to call on government agencies. So that was another factor in the mix as well, to somehow figure out a programme so they can build on their science knowledge by having these kids become scientists,” Mr Hopkins says.

During the wananga the 28 students collected water samples from rivers and streams and analysed them in the university's laboratories.


Wrestle steers or join a gang.

New Zealand's newly crowned king of the rodeo knows which one is tougher.

Clarry Church from Te Arawa won his second all round champion title at the nationals in Urenui on Saturday.

He's still got a way to go to catch his father Merv and brother Dion - they've each held championship 15 times.

The farming tutor says when he was growing up, the gang lifestyle had no appeal - something he thinks rangatahi these days struggle with.

“Lot of the young ones, they more appeal to the Mongrel Mob way of looking at things. You try to steer them away from that and just liook into the eye of a biull or test their skills or their strength or how tough they are. When we were young that’s how we would see if we were tough. It wasn’t to hop in a gang or nothing. It was to get on the wildest horse or the wildest cow,” Mr Church says


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