Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Michael Walker injured pig hunting

Top Maori jockey Michael Walker is fighting for his life in Auckland Hospital after a pig-hunting accident near New Plymouth.

The 24-year -old is in a critical condition in Auckland hospital with head injuries after falling over a bluff into a gorge on Monday.

Racing commentator George Simon says the accident will end Walker's bid to become the first New Zealander to ride 200 winners in a season.

His total to date is 173, and he was on course to make the record before the July end of the season.

Mr Simon says Walker is a superb athlete.

“Michael has fought back from adversity previously and I’m sure he is going to do that again. But it’s terrible news, and our thoughts and prayers are obviously with him and his immediate family,” Mr Simon says.


A media watchdog has slammed mainstream media organisations for continuing to label Maori newsmakers as radicals or activists.

Kupu Taea has released its analysis of coverage of Treaty of Waitangi and Maori issues during February and March last year.

Spokesperson Ray Nairn says the labels diminish the seriousness of Maori kaupapa.

“The terms are not being used by people being interviewed. They are being used by the journalists. So this is something that journalists presumably choose to use because it captures something they see as the centre of the story. It’s very notable that this is something simply applied to Maori and almost nobody else,” Dr Nairn says.

He says the mainstream media acts as a watchdog for Pakeha interests, overlooking treaty breaches and being overtly skeptical of Treaty-based initiatives or points of view.


A group of Auckland rangatahi hope to inject a fresh flavour into the Las Vegas dance industry.

Hadleigh Pouesi, a youth worker in South Auckland, started Sweet N Sour to give kids who like hip hop a chance to make something of themselves.

It won the New Zealand Championships, giving automatic entry into the World Championships in Las Vegas in July.

Mr Pouesi says the dancers, who are aged from 16 to 20, use their Maori, Tongan, Rarotongan, Samoan and Yugoslav backgrounds in their routines.

“We're a good mixture. We bring different cultural backgrounds into our sets and into our dances and it really brings a different flavour into the hip hop scene. It set us apart at the nationals. We performed Samoan dancing in the middle of a hip hp dance, which kind of shocked everybody, and we’ve won comps before by doing kapa haka in the middle of our dances. It’s just something different eh,” Mr Pouesi says.

As well as fundraising for their American trip, the group is preparing a production to tour New Zealand.


Mihipeka Edwards, one of the stalwarts of the Ngati Poneke Young Maori Club, has died in Wellington at the age of 90.

Mrs Edwards was born in Maketu in the Bay of Plenty in 1918, but her mother died three weeks later in the influenza epidemic.

She eventually settled in Wellington in the late 1930s, and was active in both Maori and mainstream community life.

The first volume of her autobiography, published in 1990, was an extraordinary story of an ordinary Maori woman making the transition from rural to urban life, and it sold 8000 copies.

Heeni Collins, who worked with the woman known as Aunt Mihi on the third volume of her autobiography, says she wanted to tell people the truth about things like discrimination and being hit at school for speaking Maori.

“A lot of people related to those themes of being made to feel ashamed of being Maori and trying to fit in to the wider society as she did in her early life and just her courage and her humour that she expressed in that book reached people and touched their hearts,” Heeni Collins says.

Mihipeka Edwards will be taken from her son's house tomorrow morning to Wehiwehi Marae and Manukau near Otaki, and then on to Ngongotaha for the funeral on Sunday.

No reira e te whaea okeoke atu ki te tokotoranga o o matua tuupuna.


Maori students at Whangarei's Tikipunga High School are under the microscope.

Auckland University researchers will track them from years 9 to 13 to find why some go on to tertiary study and other finish at high school level.

Elizabeth McKinley, the director of the Starpath project, says the aim is to get more rangatahi Maori into universities and polytechnics.

She says Maori outside the main centres can find moving a major hurdle to study.

“Being away from home has a greater financial pressure for students. Also the notion of being away from home. A lot of our Maori students like whanau being around them in terms of the support they get, and coming into places like Auckland or down to Hamilton, these are places a long way from home and students have to deal with homesickness to some extent,” McKinley says.

Starpath hopes to develop strategies for schools and students to overcome barriers to achievement and retention.


A National Maori MP says her party will have complete Labour's treaty settlements if it's convinced they are backed by the tribes.

Georgina te Heuheu says after years of inactivity, the new Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Michael Cullen, has generated a huge amount of work for the Parliament.

She says time is running out for the settlement legislation before the election, which National expects to win.

“My understanding is he does want to get legislation introduced into the House, but the reality is, that will not go through before the election, which means National will inherit the AIPs he has been putting together. That’s fine. Providing that we are satisfied that there’s almost universal buy-in from the tribes involved,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

She says if Michael Cullen wanted to make progress before the election, he should have briefed National on his plans.


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