Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dunne blasts Labour on Maori vote

The leader of United Future says Labour is still taking its Maori and Pacific Island voters for granted.

Peter Dunne told Radio Waatea talkback host Titewhai Harawira that the rise of the Maori Party is an understandable reaction to Labour's neglect of its Maori supporters.

He says a similar reaction is starting to emerge among Pacific Island voters, who Labour credits with helping it win the last election.

“Labour's in big trouble here because it professes the liberal concern for Maori and Pasifika and others but actually doesn’t treat them that way at all, just treats them almost like cattle to be reared into the voting boxes and giving it the number it needs and I think that’s appalling and I think we’re moving on beyond that,” Mr Dunne says.

He says there's also a need to rethink the existence of the Maori seats, because they maintain a ghetto approach to politics and stop the move to a more integrated society.

REW REHAB CENTRE IN ROTORUA TAKES WHANAU ORA TACK

Rotorua-based Te Utuhina Manaakitanga Trust is building a new live-in rehabilitation centre for people with drug and alcohol problems.

Pam Armstrong, the project leader, says the 15-bed centre will be able to treat up to 60 people with serious addictions each year.

She says the demand for a wellness centre had increased since the closure in 2005 of the central North Island's only in-patient facility - the Kahunui Residential Drug and Alcohol Service in Opotoki.

It will be funded by five district health boards and run on the whanau ora model, looking at all dimensions of those in care and looking at their wellness and potential rather than the drug and alcohol problems.

Ms Armstrong says residents will be taught to awhi and support each other in their recovery and growth.

ARIKI ANGRY AT PEOPLE’S SOVEREIGNTY

The host of a hui in Rarotonga which called for the dissolution of the Cook Islands government says the issues at stake have parallels in Aotearoa.

A group of ariki called the hui after a Sydney-based New Zealand Maori, Bruce Mita, convinced them that as traditional leaders they were the rightful owners of manganese deposts found on the seabed around the island state.

Ted Nia from Te Atiawa and Rarotonga, who manages the marae where the hui was held, says the controversy has woken the ariki up to issues of sovereignty.

He says they're mounting a challenge to Crown ownership or resources.

“That concept has been brought here to Polynesia and imposed on the arikis and I don’t think they agree with the idea that the English Crown, as represented by the Westminster parliamentary system, has precedence over them as ariki over this resource in their own lands,” Mr Nia says.

Cook islands deputy prime minister Sir Terepai Maoate is to meet with the Ariki to spell out their place the constitution.

REFUGEES NEED SUPPORT FROM MAORI

An award winning musician says refugees deserve more support from tangata whenua.

Moana Maniapoto is a regular face at the Mangere Refugee resettlement facility, where four times a year she and her band perform for the new intakes.

Today is world refugee day, but she says many Maori fail to differentiate between immigrants, who make a choice to come here, and refugees who are unable to return to their homelands and must start a new life.

“If yyou look at our culture, we have a history of manaakitanga, of looking after visitors. Refugees, there are only 750 a year. I think New Zealand could up that quota, double it at least,” Maniapoto says.

She says the refugees appreciate any insight into Maori culture they can get.

PAULA POACHING CUTTING MAORI PROFITS

The man overseeing 30 percent of New Zealands paua quota says not enough is being done to tackle paua poachers.

Dean Moana is the prepared foods manager for Aotearoa Fisheries, which this week bought Palmerston North-based processor Ocean Ranch.

He says until farmed paua becomes available in larger volumes, poachers will make their mark on the limited stocks in the wild.

“Industry wide we’ve been concerned for a long time and the lack of resources to actually catch people that are doing it, there are various figures that are bandied about how much poachers actually take, but they do have a significant impact on the catch,” Mr Moana says.

The Maori-owned company is facing a slow-down because there is less demand for luxury products like abalone in the current tight world economy.

ART STILL A CALL TO ACTION

A controversial Maori artist says art still needs to make provocative political statements.

Diane Prince has called her new show at Wellington's Bowen Gallery Kia Hiwa Ra - Alert ... a reference to the hundreds of posters she's put up over the years calling the community to action.

Prince - whose past work has included a New Zealand flag placed on the floor of a gallery and titled Please Walk On Me - says her current large pen drawings include some of her heroes.

“Sort of like a biographical journey of people who have challenged the state. I’ve got a lot of people in Petrie dishes because New Zealand was seen as a great experiment in social engineering, to our disadvantage,” Ms Prince says.

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