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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, September 19, 2008

Maori could rally round victim Peters

A former New Zealand First MP is counting on Winston Peters' stoush with Parliament's privileges committee to rekindle Maori support for the party.

Mr Peters made a closed door appearance before the committee yesterday to answer further questions about a donation by expatriate businessman Owen Glenn to the costs of his 2005 Tauranga electoral petition.

Edwin Perry, who now heads the Wairarapa Maori wardens, says Maori know Mr Peters has used his party's confidence and supply relationship with Labour to advance their interests, and they don't like the way he's being treated by his political opponents.

“The Maoris I have spoken to say they are going to vote for Winston on the party vote because if you are Maori on the Maori rill, a lot of our people still don’t know that you can give the party vote to anther party, and I’ve said to them give us the party vote and give the constituency vote to the candidates in your area,” Mr Perry says.

Auckland University political scientist Raymond Miller says Maori overwhelmingly supported New Zealand First candidates in the 1996 election, and Winston Peters is perfectly capable of exploiting the underdog effect to win their votes.

MOU BETWEEN NGAI TAHU AND SOUTHERN POLICE COMMAND

The Police southern district commander says responsibility to Maori communities doesn't end with kaitakawaenga or iwi liaison officers.

Superintendent George Fraser will today sign a memorandum of understanding with Ngai Tahu at Karitane's Puketeraki Marae near Dunedin.

He says there must be a wider involvement than kaitakawaenga can provide.

“We should never rely in individual officers in individual roles. It’s a responsibility across 11,000 police officers in the New Zealand police and in the southern district we’re very much putting our hand up and saying every officer here has that responsibility,” Superintendent Fraser says.

He hopes the MOU will generate good will between the police and the Maori community in Otago.

ECOSYSTEM STUDY TURNED INTO ART

A Horowhenua environmentalist has turned her studies of the links between ecology and community health into a series of artworks.

Huhana Smith completed the paintings in Ngä kai kai-taru while researching her PhD.

They attempt to show how her Raukawa hapu at Kuku Beach sees the ecosystem as part of a cultural landscape, and how that differs from the Pakeha approach.

“Iwi and hapu approaches are actually more complex and then there’s a whole lot of complexities that come about from other territorial authorities not taking as much consideration of those intricacies as perhaps iwi and hapu have to, so it becomes more difficult to get active protection or active change happening,” Dr Smith says.

Ngä kai kai-taru: The weedeaters is on show at the Mahara Gallery in Waikanae, where Dr Smith will present a seminar on September 27.

NGATI MANAWA SETTLEMENT GENEROUS TO A FAULT

The chair of Ngati Manawa says his iwi's treaty settlement is generous ... to neighbouring iwi.

The iwi, whose rohe includes the Kaingaroa Plains and upper Rangitaiki River, signed an agreement in principle yesterday to settle historic claims stemming from the New Zealand wars of the 1860s, Crown land buying policies and land, river and forestry development in the region.

Negotiations had been suspended to allow the completion of June's multi-iwi Treelord forestry settlement.

Ngati Manawa gets just over 6 percent of that settlement, despite a large part of the Kaingaroa forest being on its traditional land.

Bill Bird says it had to look at the bigger picture.

“There are concerns, not only from neighbouring iwi but from within Ngati Manawa themselves. The key determinant is the land from which the wealth is generated. With that in mind, such is the generosity of Ngati Manawa that we understand that there are iwi in the CNI collective that only have minor land interests, but hey, we are willing to share with wealth with our neighbouring iwi,” Mr Bird says.

UNDERDOG ROLE COULD SUIT PETERS’ ELECTION PLAN

A political scientist says Winston Peters' battle with Parliament's privileges committee could revive Maori support for New Zealand First.

Mr Peters made a further appearance before the committee behind closed doors yesterday.

Raymond Miller, the head of Auckland University's political science department, says Mr Peters is capable of exploiting his current underdog status to appeal to voters who feel he is being hard done by.

“He shouldn't be written off and if we think in terms of Maori voters of course they gave all their electorate seats to the New Zealand First Party in 1996 and while New Zealand First has not appealed strongly since, nevertheless there is always the possibility that many Maori voters could consider giving their party vote to New Zealand First in the event they felt that New Zealand First still had a useful role to play in the New Zealand parliament,” he says.

Associate professor Miller says if the New Zealand First vote does collapse totally, one beneficiary could be the Maori Party, whose support is likely to be critical to whichever major party forms the next government.

TAIRAWHITI STUDENTS SHOW TECH PROFICIENCY

Remote Maori communities on the East Coast are using technology to bridge the gaps between them and promote their Nati-tanga.

21 of the region's schools submitted more than 500 short films, adverts, DVDs and digital photos for the annual Nati awards.

Pani McLean, the tumuaki of Ngata College, says students are using technology to tell tribal stories, and learning skills which can lead to careers.

“There's going to be a number of students form the Tairawhiti region that are going to be swept up by different television and film schools,” Ms McLean says.

Ngata College took out the Supreme Award, which includes a trip for to two students to Wellington on Monday to the science fair at Parliament.

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