Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Coalition three years in the making

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says his party's deal with the incoming National Government was a long time in the making.

Observers and even some of the party's supporters were surprised how quickly the proposed confidence and supply agreement with National came together, especially after its pre-election promises to go back to members before it started talking.

But Dr Sharples says there was a standing invitation from John Key for the parties to work together.

“He suggested this throughout the three years and we weren’t able to publicise that or to make any moves on that because we were remaining cross bench and able to criticize anyone both sides but as parliamentary parties do they have cross party talks throughout the year so we had a number of talks, particularly with National and Labour and Greens, over those three years, and always the talks with National were totally amicable,” Dr Sharples says.

The Maori Party bargained for ministerial portfolios outside of Cabinet in areas where it believes it can make a difference.

HAURAKI BOARD WELCOMES CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT

Hauraki is throwing its weight in behind a Maori Party-National coalition.

Trust board spokesperson John McEnteer says the coalition is heading in the right direction to repeal Labour's Seabed and Foreshore Act.

Takutaimoana is a significant part of Hauraki's treaty claims, because the iwi was one of the first to have its foreshore and seabed taken off it during the gold rushes of the 1860s.

Mr McEnteer says his iwi wants to talk to a Government which is willing to look at its issues.

“It's setting the framework for the discussions to occur and that’s certainly a very stark contrast to the intransigence that Labour has shown when they’ve been dealing with us in this region on these matters, so that’s got to be good from our point of view,” Mr McEnteer says.

He says even though sitting Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta trounced the Maori Party's Angeline Greensill by 1000 votes, there is still significant support for the Maori Party in the Hauraki Waikato electorate.

PROVERB BOOK A CHALLENGE FOR THE YOUNG

The compiler of a collection of Taitokerau sayings wants young people to pick up the korero of their ancestors.

Tahuhu Korero is being launched about now at the Sir James Henare Research Centre at Auckland University.

Centre co-director Mereta Kawharu says the proverbs, tauparapara and waiata are a way to explore the landscape and its people and tribes.

She says the 200 sayings are just a sampler of what the north has to offer the language.

“I guess with any project this could be a lifetime. I could have got a lot more. But we probably spent the best part of two years on this. It’s the beginning of a new project really. That’s to try and convince our young people the worth and the value of what's in the book,” Dr Kawharu says.

Tahuhu Korero: The Sayings of Taitokerau is published by Auckland University Press.

CRITICISM STILL ON THE CARDS DESPITE DEAL

Pita Sharples says the Maori Party's confidence and supply agreement with National gives it the freedom to criticise the Government on some issues.

The party's five MPs have fanned out across the country to win support from members for the proposed deal, which includes two ministers outside Cabinet and further talks on the Foreshore and Seabed Act and the future of the Maori seats.

Dr Sharples says there has to be give and take, but there is also considerable freedom for the Maori Party in the agreement.

“If we have a ministerial or a subministerial in a particular area, then of course we can’t criticize, but in all other areas we’re allowed to hold the government to acount. Anything outside of our portfolios, anything at all that the Government comes up with that we don’t like, we would obviously signal our intention to oppose it but we would oppose it in the House.

Dr Sharples says John Key privately made it clear soon after taking over National's leadership that he would be willing to work with the Maori party.

RANGITANE REUNION IN PALMERSTON NORTH

While Hastings resounds to the sounds of the Takitimu Festival, over the hill the descendants of another ancestral waka are gathering.

Palmerston North held a civic powhiri today for Rangitaane decendants.
Reunion organiser Chris Whaiapu says more than a thousand people are expected over the weekend for sports events, workshops and tours of the Manawatu.

He says Maori with Rangitaane whakapapa are spread far and wide, and the last time the iwi was together was probably 800 years ago when the Kuruhaupo sailed to Aotearoa.

LEILUAI AT HOOKER FOR WORLD CUP SEMI

The Kiwis' prospects against Great Britain tomorrow night could hinge on how well Thomas Leuluai handles the shift to the front row.

Leuluai, who has Maori and Samoan whakapapa, has played most of his career at scrum half, but takes the field in Brisbane as hooker for the Rugby League World cup semi final.

Former Warrior centre Clinton Toopi says the Wigan player will not let the Kiwis down.

Toopi is considering a switch to Rugby Union once he recovers from a major knee injury.

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