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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Option deadline catches out tardy switcher

The national manager of the Electoral Enrolment Centre, Murray Wicks, is denying any attempt to stop voters switching to the Maori roll.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira claims one of his constituents, Kaitaia woman Margaret Sullivan, tried to switch from the general to the Maori roll in the 2006 Maori electoral option, but the change wasn't registered.

He says her most basic democratic right isn't registered.

But Mr Wicks says Ms Sullivan's form was handed in to the Kaitaia postshop too late to reach the register of electors in Whangarei in time for the August 2 deadline.

He says the option process gives people four months to make the change.

“On April 3 when it started she was send a Maori electoral option form. She does not deny getting it. Halfway through the option period she was sent a reminder postcard. Again she does not deny receiving it. She left it until the last minute and missed the cut off date,” Mr Wicks says.

There are 20,000 more Maori on the Maori roll than there were before the 2005 election.

FORESHORE SOFTENING A GOOD SIGN

The Green's Maori Affairs spokesperson is welcoming the Prime Minister's indication there could be changes to the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Helen Clark told Maori Television this week there was room for dialogue on the issue, even though Ngati Porou has already settled its takutai moana claims within the framework of the Act.

Metiria Turei says the Green Party and the Maori Party both want to see the Act dumped.

“I would be very keen to have that dialogue with the Prime Minister about how that would work. I don’t buy the argument that because we have one iwi and potentially another one in the process who’ve negotiated agreements with government about there foreshore and seabed, then that means the legislations should not be repealed,” Ms Turei says.

She says iwi and hapu can still negotiate direct with the Crown, but they should get back the option of being able to also pursue claims through the courts.

HARRISON’S LEGACY HE TANGATA, HE TOHUNGA WHAKAIRO

The biographer of Paki Harrison says the master carver's greatest legacy may not be the houses he built but the students he trained.

Ranginui Walker says after carving the house Tane-nui-arangi at Auckland University's Waipapa marae, Dr Harrison joined the teaching staff and passed on his deep knowledge of the Maori arts as well as the revolutionary advances in carving he had developed.

He then developed a short-lived degree course at Te Wananga o Aotearoa which produced 25 graduates before it was curtailed by the Government's takeover of that institution.

“That's advancing carving from the mere technical process to a deep esoteric spiritual tapu academic process that it was in the old days where it embodied your world view, where it epitomised Maori epistemology, so that was the contribution,” Professor Walker says.

Tohunga Whakairo: Paki Harrison will be launched tonight in Tane-nui-arangi

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