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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 13, 2008

Whakaruruhau calls in cops

The umbrella group for iwi radio stations has called in the police after its former chairperson admitted the theft of $10,000.

Te Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi Maori o Aotearoa has been in crisis mode for the past week as its executive tried to uncover the truth about two cheques signed by Te Maumoko August.

Willie Jackson, who was elected co-chair when the problem emerged, says Mrs August admitted the theft yesterday and her family made full restitution.

Te Whakaruruhau is funded through Te Mangai Paho, the Maori broadcast funding authority.


The Greens Maori Affairs spokesperson is feeling lonely.

Metiria Turei says there aren't enough Maori environmentalists active at a political level.

She says while there are plenty doing work at the grassroots level, there are not many who are available to help develop policy at a regional and national level.

"A Maori environmental lobby organisation of some kind would be enormously helpful because we don't have that here. You have to work enormously hard to get Maori environmental engagement so you make sure that policy makes sense from a Maori point of view and a lot of that gets missed out. But I do think it's because we're actually mostly busy doing the work rather than trying to mess with government," Ms Turei says.


Maori short films are getting a screening in Palmerston North tonight for Matariki.

Taiarahia Black, from Massey University and Kevin Reilly from the Manawatu Tenants Union will give commentaries on the films at the Square Edge gallery.

Professor Black says their korero will put the films in context and link them to traditional Maori concepts and contemporary Maori thinking.


Mourners have been flowing through the Christchurch Polytechnic marae to pay tribute its kaihautu, Monte Ohia, who died yesterday.

Mr Ohia, from Ngati Pukenga, Ngaiterangi, Ngati Ranginui and Te Arawa, was 62.

He had a long record in education, working not just in schools, wananga, universities and polytechnics but for the Education Ministry and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Mr Ohia was making his second attempt to win Te Tai Tonga for the Maori Party.

"Monte's the kind of person you make a relationship with and it lasts forever. What a loss and what a loss to the Maori Party and what a loss to New Zealand, this great guy has gone," Dr Sharples says.

Monte Ohia's body will be taken tomorrow morning to Waikawa Marae in Picton, with the funeral on Monday morning.


The former chair of Te Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi Maori o Aotearoa has admitted defrauding the umbrella group for iwi radio stations.

Te Maumoko August resigned after the organisation's bank queried signatures on two cheques totalling $10,000.

Willie Jackson, who was elected co-chairperson on Monday, says it's taken a week to get to the bottom of the matter.

"What she said was she defrauded the cheques to try and reimburse herself. What we were trying to do was find the evidence of that but we couldn't find the money in IRD, so we were just going through the process looking at everything when I sort of put the heat on her and then she woned up to her family and the family came up and gave me the news yesterday," Mr Jackson says.

He says Te Maumoko August's family has reimbursed the money, but the matter has been referred to the police.

Maori broadcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho suspended Te Whakaruruhau's funding when the potential fraud came to light.


Motueka Maori should benefit from an agreement signed today between Te Awhina Marae and the Tasman Regional Sports Trust.

Rochelle Curtis, Te Awhina's hauora services coordinator, says trust is keen to learn how it can improve services to Maori.

That fits in with the marae's desire to strengthen its sports programme, which is based around a small gym in the complex, and to address other health problems caused by lack of exercise and poor nutrition.

Te Awhina Marae is also trying to start a rangatahi waka ama squad.


The Maori new year could be a financial winner for some quick-witted poet.

The first Matariki poetry grand slam will be held at Auckland's Classic Theatre on Sunday evening.

Organiser Mei Hill says there's a $500 first prize to the poet who is able to wow the three judges and the audience in their three-minute time slot.

She was inspired to organise the poetry slam to remember Hone Tuwhare and Mahinarangi Tocker, who have both died in the past year.


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