Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 22, 2008

Two tick strategy doubt

A political scientist says the Maori Party's two tick strategy is unlikely to win the party any extra seats.

The party vote of Maori voters is keenly contested this election, with Labour, the Maori Party, the Greens and New Zealand First all wanting a piece.

Tariana Turia says the Maori Party is capable of getting to 8 percent, giving it MPs outside the Maori electorates ... and taking party votes away from Labour.

Raymond Miller, the head of Auckland University's political science department, says that sounds extremely ambitious in the current political climate.

“Because many Maori Party voters are traditional Labour voters, they may well continue to split their vote between the Maori Party with their electorate vote and the party vote going to Labour so it really is very hard to see at this stage how they can get to 8 percent, but nothing is impossible,” Dr Miller says.

The Maori Party could be looking ahead to possible changes to the voting system, which would make it prudent to shore up its party vote.

GANG CLAIM BACKLASH THREATENS WIDER RIGHTS

One of the lawyers helping with Black Power's treaty claim says political opposition to the claim threatens every Maori's rights.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen said there was no legal standing for the claim, which wants the tribunal to link the origins of the gang to the effects of colonisation on Maori.

Other Labour MPs have called on the tribunal to reject the claim out of hand.

Moana Jackson says the claim raises legitimate issues, and the political response is unreasonable.

“By seeking to deny the right of these people to make a claim, you go down a slippery road where who do you deny the right to next? Do you deny it to Maori who have dreadlocks or do you deny it to Maori who are blonde-haired and blue-eyed? It’s a really dangerous as well as a fabricated and misleading stance that the politicians are taking,” Mr Jackson says.

He says Dr Cullen's response shows the minister either hadn't read the claim or hasn't read the Treaty of Waitangi Act.

MOKO ARTISTS TRY TO PUT TATTOOISTS RIGHT

Two ta moko artists are in London this week to tell their international colleagues the rights and wrongs of using traditional designs.

Patrick Takoko and Richard Francis from Te Uhi a Mataora are at the 10th annual International Tattoo Convention.

Mr Takoko says there is a vogue for ta moko designs outside Aotearoa, but most of those doing them have no understanding of the tikanga of the tattoo.

“If they see something on the Internet, if they see something on the TV, there’s the pause button on the DVD. They can pause it and they are probably able to copy it. But they don’t have the intellectual property. In terms of the design, yeah, they’re bastardising, stealing ideas, and there’s no real integrity there,” Mr Takoko says,

He'll be explaining the difference between ta moko, which depicts the whakapapa of its wearer, and kiri-uhi, which is influenced by moko and can be worn by non-Maori.

PARATENE LINES UP WITH GREENS TO PUT LIST MESSAGE

A Maori actor turned politician is encouraging Maori voters to keep splitting their votes.

Rawiri Paratene is chasing the Green Party vote in the Auckland general seat of Maungakiekie.

He says Maori have voted strategically since MMP was introduced... and he's hoping voters will stay smart.

Mr Paratene says while the Maori Party is pushing hard for two ticks from supporters, that party vote will be wasted because of the number of electorate seats it's likely to win.

“They have to poll around around 8 percent of the vote. They’re not going to do that. The most that they could expect, and it would be a huge victory for the Maori Party, if they could get around 3 percent. So they’re not going to get any extra votes. So a party vote for the Maori is not going to be in the trend of intelligent voting that Maori have showed in the past,” Mr Paratene says.

He says if Maori give their party vote to the Greens, it will give the Maori Party a strong partner for the future.

TAIRAWHITI BUSINESS SUPPORT GROUP

East Coast Maori businesses are grouping together for whanaungatanga and support.

Robyn Rauna, the chair of the newly-formed Tairawhiti Maori Business Network, says its first major event, a Maori business expo, was well received by the community.

She says the ability of Maori to work together is a strength.

“Part of being Maori and being from this areas is our natural inclination to act collectively. Clearly we’re different because we’ve got a Maori face but also we have a different approach to business. It’s not in our psyche to stand up and say ‘have I got a good deal for you,’” Ms Rauna says.

The next major event is in December, highlighting businesses run by men.

PERUPERU PRODUCTION RAMPING UP IN NORTH

Traditional Maori potatoes are becoming an increasingly common sight in city market, and growers are ramping up production.

Ricky Houghton from Kaitaia's He Korowai Trust says growers in the far north are waiting for the wet weather to ease so they can get in disease-free seed for the Christmas crop.

It's proving an economic use of previously undeveloped Maori land, with the peruperu attracting a premium, as he proved at a food fair in Auckland earlier this year.

“We took down half a tonne. We were selling 100kg a day. Started off at $5 on the Monday, $6 on the Tuesday, $7 on the Wednesday, then on the Thursday we were getting between $8 and $9. There’s huge interest, huge demand. The cooking catering industry is using peruperu now in garnishing for a lot of high class meals so there’s huge demand, huge interest,” Mr Houghton says.

The first potatoes to come through will be the uenuku, which is purple right through, and the tawhiao, which has a yellow and purple skin.

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