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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Clark blasts Nats’ treaty obstruction

The Prime Minister isn't expecting any help from National in getting treaty settlements through this year.

Helen Clark says there's a huge flurry of activity on historical claims under her deputy Michael Cullen, with proposals for negotiations or heads of agreement coming to Cabinet almost every week.

She says it takes time to build up steam in the process, and it should be remembered the previous National government only completed two major claims in nine years.

It had backing from the Opposition that Labour can't count on.

“Ever since John Key became leader of the Opposition they seemed to stop voting for treaty settlements. We’ve had to get on and do it ourselves and work with other more sympathetic parties and I sometime find that when Labour’s in government the National Party just block things. When they were in government we used to support treaty settlements because we thought they were in the interests of New Zealand,” Ms Clark says.

She says on current indications it appears Maori will meet the September deadline to lodge all historic claims.

MAORI MORE LIKELY TO DIE FROM CANCER

A cancer researcher is calling for more funding into why Maori more likely to die from cancer as Pakeha.

Gabi Dachs, from the University of Otago, says the cancer rate for Maori is about the same as Pakeha, but Maori men are about one and a halt times more likely to die and Maori women almost twice as likely.

She says no one is looking into the ethnic disparity, and whther it has a cultural, sociological or biological cause, or a combination of factors.

“We're quite a small country and what I think is a major message here is that this is an issue that ius New Zealand in turn and it needs to be done by New Zealand researchers. Nobody in America or the UK is going to look at this, so it’s very important this work is carried out here to understand more about it,” Dr Dachs says.

Greater understanding of cancer biology among Maori could leads to changes in treatment regimes and more culturally appropriate screening programmes.

WHAITIRI WINS PLACE ON GAP YEAR ADVENTURE

He is used to being behind the scenes, but Lewis Whaitiri will soon have his face beaming live to the world.

The up and coming Maori Television producer has been chosen to travel the world with five others for a British-made reality tv show tied in with social networking site Bebo.

The Gap Year will take the six from Iceland to the Amazon, filming them as they experience new cultures, meet new people, and experience events.

Mr Whaitiri says he's relishing the chance to share the Maoritanga instilled into him growing up in rural community in Whangara on the East Coast.

“For me it's a privilege to be the face of New Zealand and to be the face of Maori and share it with the wider world. Everybody only knows us as the haka and there’s more to us than just the haka so hopefully on this trip I’m able to share this with everybody around the world,” Mr Whaitiri's says.

His journey begins on May 21.

RANGIHIIROA PANOHO WINS BACK UNIVERSITY POST

The Association of University Staff is welcoming the reinstatement of an expert in Maori art history Auckland University.

The Employment Relations Authority ordered the university's vice chancellor to give Rangihiroa Panoho his job back in the art history department, and pay him $25,000 compensation.

Marty Braithwaite, the association's deputy secretary, says it clearly wasn't a legitimate redundancy by the university, because the topic continued to be taught by less qualified staff.

“It simply decided it was going to cut a couple of the positions, chose Dr Panoho as one of the people and sacked him. Now they clearly targeted the person and not the position because the authority found that the various components of his position remained,” Mr Braithwaite says.

Dr Panoho was back on the payroll from Monday, but he's still waiting to here if the university will appeal to the Employment Court.

SCOTTIE MORRISON ASKED TO EXPLAIN BICULTURISM TO DONS

Te Karere presenter Scottie Morrison is heading to Oxford University.

The Unitec adjunct professor has been invited to the Oxford Round Table in July, making him only the third New Zealander to present to the prestigious forum.

The year's round table is on the theme of biculturalism, and Professor Morrison's paper looks at how the 1987 Maori Language Act has affected relations between Maori and Pakeha.

My passion is Maori language. I thought how could I relate the Maori language into the wider topic of biculturalism and I looked at the Maori Language Act and I was at a conference held by Te Taura Whiri, the Maori language commission earlier on this year where it was discussed that there was no reference to Maori language being indigenous, and I was thinking what were the impacts of that,” Morrison says.


FUNGUS REMINDER OF EARLY INDUSTRY

As families around the country tuck into field mushrooms brought on by autumn weather, a specialist in traditional Maori foods says fungi was an important food source for pre European Maori.

Charles Royal says the old people knew which varieties were edible, and which ones to avoid.

He's been into the bush over the past week harvesting hakeka or jew’s ears from fallen trees.

He says the fungus was one of the country's first export crops.

“Maori used to harvest and export hakeka or ear fungus to China in large quantities because it’s high in carbohydrates and low in proteins. The Chinese would thinly slice it and use it in cleansing the blood, so it was also a medicine for the Chinese people as well,” Mr Royal says.

He's busy gathering other fruits of the forest for the annual wild food challenge in a fortnight.

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