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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Whanau speaks out on Nia killing

A spokesperson for the Curtis whanau says community support including from Pakeha is helping the extended family cope with the pain and shame of Nia Glassie's murder.

Toby Curtis, speaking on behalf of the whanau says there are no excuses for the actions of his grand nephews Wiremu Curtis, 19 and Michael Curtis 22, who were last week found guilty of the murder of 3 year old Nia Glassie in Rotorua.

“I think one of the main things that is happening is probably the support from people from iwi whanui, from friends, and particularly Pakeha people. They have been wonderful in their messages of support and I guess based on that one can see more than just the light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr Curtis says.

The majority of the family fully support the court's decision and feel justice has been seen to be done.


The new Minister for the Community and Voluntary sector Tariana Turia risks will need to be taken to provide better outcomes for Maori.

Tariana Turia says when she was an associate minister in the Labour government before she resigned in 2004 to form the Maori Party she was frustrated by a great reluctance by Ministers above her to take risks.

“To do things differently you have to take risk and I can’t see what’s wrong with taking a bit of risk. I know the Opposition play it up if it doesn’t work. But there’s a lot of things they’ve done that continue not to work that mainstream have been doing for a long time and we don’t slap back at mainstream institutions about their failures but we get stuck into providers in the non-government sector if things happen there that aren’t quite what they should be,” Mrs Turia says.

She is she is a firm believer that people need to account for spending public money but they need to be able to look for different ways of doing things to reach better outcomes.


Labour's spokesperson on tourism believes Maori operators need to emphasis their own brand if they are to ride out an international downturn in tourism numbers.

Nanaia Mahuta says New Zealand's marketing overseas has been built around campaigns like 100 percent pure.

She says the Maori sector has its own distinct identity that foreigners recognise.

“You only need to go to many other countries and the first thing they will say is ‘are you from New Zealand? All Blacks, haka,’ and it’s an immediate identifying sort of thing that so we know Maori tourism brings with it a certain brand that can be built on,” Ms Mahuta says.


A spokesperson for the Curtis whanua Toby Curtis says there are lessons to be learned from the Nia Glassie murder.

Toby Curtis says the family is having to come to grips with the shame and pain of the murder of 3 year old Nia Glassie by his grand nephews Wiremu and Michael Curtis who were found guilty last week.

“There was no inkling that anything like this was going on. So what that spelled out to me was OK, it’s very difficult to find out what other people are doing when they‘re not on their patch. You tend to get a different picture when you’re on their patch so the responsibility that we need to be visiting each other on their home patches, and not assume because they come and enjoy what you have to offer, that all is well,” Mr Curtis says.

As kaumatua he takes responsibility for what has happened even though he did not personally know what was going on.


Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says she is looking forward to working with the new Minister of Social Development Paul Bennett as an associate minister.

Tariana Turia who has joined the government as a Minister outside Cabinet responsible for the Community and Voluntary sectors says she will be working closely with Paula Bennett who was a solo parent beneficiary before she entered parliament.

“I like her spirit. I like the whole thing that ‘I’ve been there and I know what it takes to get yourself out of that situation,’ because she’s done it. And that’s going to work for some people. There are a number of people who are gong to look at that situation and say ‘God, I can do this too.’ There are going to be others who need support, and as long as she is conscious of that, and I think she is, we will get there,” Mrs Turia says.

She says it is significant that Paula Bennett is a Maori because much of the work social development needs to do is in the Maori area.


The huge influence of Maori and Pacific Islanders on New Zealand's main sports of rugby and league was clearly demonstrated at the weekend according to a leading sports commentator Ken Laban.

He says the influence could not be ignored with the Kiwi's World Cup victory and the All Black's win against Wales.

“The Kiwi line up close to 99 percent Maori and Pacific Island make up in the side with of course a Maori coach and a Maori captain. I look at the All Blacks team against Wales, 60 percent of that squad are Maori and Pacific Island, and even the Australian team on the weekend, there are three Tongans, one Fijian and a Cook Island Maori in that side as well so an indication we have seen of the growing Maori and Pacific Island component in our main sports,” Mr Laban says.


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