Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chemistry Key to Maori Party link

Prime Minister designate John Key says the chemistry is very good between National and Maori party leaders which augers well for a long-term relationship.

John Key says New Zealand is a country which has its best years in front of it and it was important to build broad consensus with the Maori party having a natural fit with National.

“The fact that we didn’t need them to form a government so there’s no pressure there and the fact that they didn’t have to come with us, they could have sat on the cross benches, took all the pressure out of the negotiations and the relationship and just let us sit there and build what I think is on strong foundations now a long term relationship where chemistry is very good between the leadership team with Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia and myself and there is a real willingness to make this thing work,” Mr Key says.


The National Government's relationship with Maori is at the same time going beyond having the Maori party as part of its coalition.

Iwi leaders who meet Prime Minister designate John Key last week told him they want to be involved in the new government's initiative to kick start the economy by spending up large on infrastructure projects.

Tukoroirangi Morgan who chairs Waikato-Tainui says Maori control around $25 billion in assets and six iwi leaders told Mr Key they are ready to move beyond dealing with the Crown over Treaty claims.

“We're talking about roads. We're talking about power stations. We're talking about airports. We're talking about everything. But it’s got to be couched within a context of sustainability. We have to be conscious about the issues of global warming and climate change. But Maori haven’t had those opportunities to contribute and to be involved in infrastructural development. We're ready,” Mr Morgan says.

Iwi want to form partnerships with the Crown to undertake the infrastructural projects.


The stories that emerged from the innaugural Takitimu Festival will inspire generations to come to learn more of the history of their ancestral waka.

Tama Huta, who co-ordinated the event which wrapped up in Hawkes Bay over the weekend, says while the arts and cultural performances were well attended, it was the wananga that most left its mark on festival goers.

He says the Takitimu waka has a rich Pacific history dating back to Samoa in 800 AD, and the hui brought together peoples from nations throughout the Pacific who shared their stories.

“The connections and the histories that came out enable us to say we’ve got a whole lot more work to do in years to come, and reaffirming these links, whakapapa, and celebrating our arts and culture, it’s a beautiful platform that is being set and that’s what we can springboard from for the future,” Mr Huata says.

Talks are already underway about a second Takitimu festival.


Incoming Associate Maori Affairs Minister Georgina Te Heuheu says she has no problem taking a position below Maori party co-leader Pita Sharples who will be Minister of Maori Affairs.

Georgina Te Heuheu is confident the arrangement will work well and she is not sorry not to have the top Maori Affairs job.

“No not at all. I’m looking forward to working with Pita. We get on well anyway. I’m very happy John has seen that’s a key part of where he wants to help, where he wants to lead the Government that we’ve got so no, I’m thrilled for Pita and I’m equally thrilled I’ve got an opportunity to work with him,” she says.

Mrs Te Heu Heu also becomes Minister for Courts, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, and Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control.

Another Maori, Paula Bennett is the bolter in the new Government becoming Minister of Social Development after just three years in Parliament.


Meanwhile the Maori party is confident that the gains from holding Ministerial portfolios will be far greater for Maori than retaining their ability to criticise policies.

Incoming Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples says both himself and Turiana Turia, who will be Minister for the Community and the Voluntary sector, deliberately choose the areas they wanted to have responsibility for and are confident they will be able to make a real difference.

Dr Sharples says while they will not be able to criticise in areas they have portfolios he believes the tradeoff will be worth it.

“So for example I am a bit stuck to comment too much about education because I have an associate ministerial in education. However, I think it’s worth it for me to have that associate (role) so I can plan some initiatives in two areas that concern me, the overall literacy of our people and kaupapa Maori education, which has basically been buried in the past,” he says.

Dr Sharples also has associate roles in education and corrections while Mrs Turia has associate roles in health and social development including employment.


The Head of Te Wananga o Aotearoa says the institute is looking at upskilling Maori to manage post-settlement assets.

Chief executive Bentham Ohia says aligning the wananga with the Primary Industry Training sector will allow Maori to learn skills in the industries created by their settlement assets.

“Our incorporations and our land owners and our sea owners will require people with skills and capabilities to be able to manage and work the land for an economic gain for our people and that’s where Te Wananga o Aoteaora comes in as an opportunity to engage and provide the training and development path to have the necessary skills to support our people,” Mr Ohia says.

The wananga is taking over Tairawhiti Polytechnic’s Papatoa Forestry Training programme and next year delivering it across 18 sites.


Anonymous Jacob said...

nice article

2:40 AM  

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