Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, June 09, 2008

No future for seats under United Future

Maori seats are in the gun if United Future gets the constitutional overhaul it's asking for.

Leader Peter Dunne has given his wish list for the next election, including referenda on continuing the Mixed Member Proportional system, keeping the Queen as head of state and what to do about the Maori seats.

The Maori Party wants the seats entrenched so they can't be scrapped by a simple majority of Parliament, but Mr Dunne says they hold Maori back.

“So long as we have the Maori seats in place, we are effectively saying to Maori and to New Zealanders as a whole, that’s the only place that Maori fit. I think that Maori are a critical and vital part of our society and I think what we need to be doing is encouraging full participation right across the spectrum, and I don’t think we’ll achieve that by saying ‘you’ve got your little corner over there, stay in it and don't ever move out of it,’” Mr Dunne says.

He says if the Maori electorates were removed, the Maori Party is likely to retain its place in Parliament through a jump in its party vote.


Massey University researchers want to know why Maori women are more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Maori.

Lis Ellison-Loschmann from the Centre for Public Health Research says the three year study will track more than 2000 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, to see whether their interaction with the health system accounts for the different survival rates.

She says they're casting a wide net in their search for answers.

“We're going to collect information on a whole lot of things including socio-demographic factors, and the sorts of things that may hinder or may help people going through cancer treatment services as a way of finding out why Maori and Pacific people are experiencing lower survival from breast cancer than non-Maori, non-Pacific people,” she says.

Dr Ellison-Loschmann affiliates to Te Atiawa, Ngati Raukawa and Ngai Tahu.


The Maori farmer of the year says being Maori is a big part of success.

Dean Nikora and his wife Kristen won the Ahuwhenua Trophy for their work on Mangatewai Station in the central Hawkes Bay, where they milk about 1000 cows on their 342 hectare block.

The judges said as well as being a financial success, the Nikoras had incorporated Maori cultural values in the company from the way it managed the business and the environment to the use of te reo in its operations.

Mr Nikora says he's never forgotten a lesson from his childhood.

“People matter. If we are to get ahead, there is a sharing that is required. We’re not going to do it individually. That’s in our culture and the way we do stuff. I think that’s come through into our business and it’s made out business pretty special. They talk about emotional intelligence being 90 percent of success. Well, that’s Maori culture and it intrigues me they are teaching it in universities now, but it's how we are,” Mr Nikora says.

As well as the Ahuwhenua Trophy, Dean and Kristen Nikora took home $40,000 in cash, products and services.


The Maori Party is being accused of taking a leaf out of National's campaign playbook.

Former Labour cabinet minister John Tamihere says the party is polling well among Maori, despite its lack of specific policies.

The outspoken head of West Auckland's Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust says it's hard to tell what the Maori Party stands for, apart from a fuzzy sense of standing for Maori.

“I don't understand what they want out of education. I don't understand what they want out of health. I don't understand where they want to position us economically at this stage. I understand what they stand against – anything they don’t agree with. They’re worse than John Key. They seem to be doing well just on a brand rather than on any substance so they’ll have to come up with some substance shortly I’d imagine,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says knowing what policies the Maori Party stands for will make it clearer whether the party can work with a National-led government.


Meanwhile, the Maori Party co-leader, Pita Sharples, is joining in the tributes for a prominent Auckland kaumatua.

Ngati Whatua yesterday held a special dinner at Orakei Marae for Takutai Wikiriwhi, to celebrate the Queens Service Medal he won in the New Year's honour list.

The dinner also marked Mr Wikiriwhi's his long service to the iwi in Tamaki Makaurau and the Kaipara.

Dr Sharples says when the iwi started taking a more prominent role in Auckland affairs in the late 1980s, the kaumatua was one of the few available with the language and cultural knowledge to hold the paepae.

“When the other elders died off, he was the authority here and he was so good. Second to none for his karakia and his tikanga and carrying out the duties of a tangata whenua here,” Dr Sharples says.

He'd have like to see Mr Wikiriwhi awarded an even higher honour for his contribution.


An ope from Ngai Tuhoe crossed the Tasman this weekend to support a film shot in their midst.

Rain of the Children is a revisiting by director Vincent Ward of the territory covered in his first feature, In Spring One Plants Alone.

That film, shot over 18 months in the early 1980s, documented the daily life in Te Urewera of kuia Puhi, who lived with her schizophrenic son in a house with no electricity or running water in a remote community in Te Urewera.

The new film, which premiered at Sydney Film Festival, delves deeper into her life.

Waihoroi Shortland, who plays one of Puhi's sons, says it's an extraordinary view of history.

“This is a very ordinary person who had an extraordinary life. Not the kind of life you’re going to find in history books or couched with the kind of heroism that one would say you make movies out of, but it’s certainly one hell of a story,” he says.

Rain of the Children will have its New Zealand premiere in the Auckland Film Festival at the Civic Theatre in July.


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