Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shadow portfolios handed out

Labour has assigned two of its front bench to keeping watch over the National-ACT-Maori Party's handling of the Maori affairs role.

It will be pressure on the party's Maori MPs to put pressure on the Maori Party in the new government, as Labour tries to win back that sector of the electorate.

Parekura Horomia retains primary responsibility for watching over his former portfolio, with Nanaia Mahuta iutching in as well as taking on the shado environment and tourism rioles.

Surprisingly, Mr Horomia will also speak on fisheries, while former Maori fisheries commission chair Shane Jones, now number 12 on Labour’s rankings, talks on building and construction, infrastructure and local government.

That will pitch him up against National heavyweights Bill English and Stephen Joyce, as well as defending the Resource Management Act against ACT’s Rodney Hide.

Michael Cullen keeps treaty negotiations, all the better to keep watch on progress on the slew of agreements he signed off over the past few months.

Mita Ririnui on his second term as a list MP after again failing to win back Waiariki, has an associate treaty role, while new MP Kelvin Davis, a former intermediate school principal, has biosecurity and associate education on his reading list.

RISKY BUSINESS PUTS TURIA IN GOVERNMENT

The new associate health and social development minister is praising new Prime Minister John Key for his willingness to take risks.

Tariana Turia says it was a punt to make a deal with her Maori Party despite having the numbers to govern without it.

She says his background as a trader and manager in Wall Street investment bank Merrill Lynch taught him the value of a calculated gamble.

“I think because of his previous position he’s quite willing to give things a go, take a few risks. When you’re in business you do take risks, and we’ve always had very risk-averse government so I think that we will see some new things happening which might be different,” Mrs Turia says.

She says a more risky approach could benefit Maori.

KAITAIA POWERLIFTER TAKES WORLD AGE GROUP PRIZE

What happens in Vegas ... makes the record books.

A Nga Puhi powerlifter has returned from the world championships in Nevada with two world titles

17-year-old Tohora Harawira, from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rangi Aniwaniwa near Kaitaia, took the prizes with a 145 kg bench press and a 175kg deadlift.

He has been training twice a week under powerlifting mentor Alan Heta and although he's only been involved in the sport for two years he wasn't overwhelmed when he took the stage at the Riviera hotel and Casino because he is lifting aganst the same people each year.

Harawira raised $6,000 for the trip, including raffling off his car.

BENNETT INSPIRED BY JUNIOR MINISTER

The new minister for social development and employment is looking forward to working with her Maori Party counterpart.

Second term MP Paula Bennett, a newcomer to cabinet, says Tariana Turia will have particular responsibility for the Community and Voluntary sector.

She says that sector is where a lot of the work in social services is done.

“She will do a fantastic job. She gets it. Once you get it, we can work all the other stuff around. If you don’t get it, you ain’t never going to work it out. So we are going to have a very close working relationship. Bless her, she has just been an inspiration for me in many respects and I think we are going to work really well together in working for Maori and turning some of those opportunities into realities for people,” Ms Bennett says.

TURIA DRAWS LONG BOW IN COMPARISON

And the Maori Party co-leader is also looking forward to working with Ms Bennett.

Tariana Turia says they've got on well in the three years since the west Auckland MP came to Parliament.

She's comparing her to former Alliance deputy leader Sandra Lee, who also became a mother at an early age.

“But who rose up to be the first Maori woman to win a Maori electorate, and to get into Cabinet. She was very feisty and Paula has that in her as well,” Mrs Turia says.

FAMILY CULTURE BUSINESS WINS ALUMNI AWARD

A family business which is taking kapa haka to the world was doubly honoured at Auckland University's business school's Maori business awards yesterday.

Manuka Henare, the school's Associate Dean of Maori and Pacific Development, says Annette Wehi from Pounamu Performing Arts won the Dame Mira Szaszy alumni leaders award for former pupils.

Her firm, an off-shoot of top kapa haka roopu Te Waka Hui, started with a contract to perform daily at the Auckland Museum and has since moved on to a range of related activities here and overseas.

Another award went to Pounamu Performing Arts itself, which was collected by Waka Huia tutor Ngapo Bub Wehi.

“He was extraordinary because both he and his wife have been in this business of promoting New Zealand and the well-being and the good of New Zealand for many years, so it seemed to be appropriate to recognise achievement of this extraordinary family who have given so much not only for arts and crafts and kapa haka but actually New Zealand tourism, trade, exports and all those sort of things,” Dr Henare says.

The award for outstanding Maori business leader went to Peter Cooper from Ngati Kuri and te Aupouri, who is redeveloping downtown Auckland's Britomart area.

Central North Island land trust Tuaropaki, which has turned two family farms into a $500 million dollar empire spanning farming, food production, energy and telecommunications, picked up an award for strategic vision.

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