Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bennett bail offer wins Turia praise

Associate social welfare minister Tariana Turia is backing her boss over revelations she housed a street gang member awaiting trial.

A Sunday newspaper reported Paula Bennett allowed her daughter's boyfriend, Viliami Halaholo, to be bailed to her Titirangi home for four months in 2006 while he was waiting trial for causing grievous bodily harm.

The Maori party co-leader says the Social Development Minister was doing the right thing.

“I really applaud Paula Bennett for showing she’s prepared to put her family first, that she’s not going to be bogged down with all this notion of what you have to look like and be to be a minister. I was so proud to know that her daughter and her baby were more important to her than the media,” Mrs Turia says.

The newspaper also tried to drag Mrs Turia into the story by inaccurately bringing up an incident where she wrote a letter supporting the move of a former foster child to Wanganui prison to be closer to his family.


The Auckland Regional Council wants Maori seats to be an automatic part of any Auckland super city.

Chairperson Mike Lee says that was part of the council's submission to the Royal Commission which is expected to recommend merging the region's territorial local authorities.

He says the region includes three Maori electorates, and wide consultation among its iwi indicates most support using them as the basis for a franchise.

“What we asked for was that for this greater Auckland authority, that the representation be on the old parliamentary electorates, so that would mean about 23 seats and two or three would be Maori seats,” Mr Lee says.

He says existing relationships with mana whenua groups need to be maintained and enhanced under any new system.
The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance is due to report by the end of March.


Organisers of the first Tribal Pride concert hope to make it an annual event.

Biggs Taurerewa says the venue, the Tainui's Hopuhopu base, was ideal for the alcohol-free festival.

More than 6000 people turned out for acts including Nesian Mystik, Ardijah, Katchafire, Scribe and Kora.

He says the former army base has hosted dozens of Maori and national sporting events, but it's the first time it's been used for a concert, but a follow-up concert is likely.

The concert raised a substantial koha for Whakaruruhau, the collective of Women's Refuges.


One of New Zealand's most well known entertainers has sung his last parody.

Gerry Merito, a founder member of the Howard Morrison Quartet, died at the Waihou Hotel in the Waikato this morning.

He penned comedy-style hits for the quartet during its heyday in the 1960s, including My Old Man's an All Black and Battle of the Waikato, as well as having a solo career.

Sir Howard Morrison says he's pleased he had a chance to again perform with the Ngai Tuhoe singer and guitarist and share their reminiscences in the course of filming last month's Maori Television special on the quartet.

“He was gold to me. I’m just absolutely devastated. He was a great gift to Maoridom, to all of music and humanity, and a great example of mana to his iwi tuturu,” Sir Howard says.


The Whanganui River tribes of Te Atihaunui a Paparangi are also in mourning for kaumatua Jim Takarangi, who died in Wanganui hospital yesterday after a long illness.

The Maori Battalion veteran and president of the battalion's association was 83.

Archie Taiaroa, the chair of the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board, says Mr Takarangi made an important contribution to the river claim because of his detailed knowledge Matapehi or the window, as the lower reaches of the river are known.

“The river people will miss him most definitely because he’s always the voice heard and the face that’s been seen on all of the marae, whether they’re issues surrounding the iwi totally or youth groups of Maori Battalion, whatever is going on, he’s an integral part of it,” Mr Taiaroa says.

Jim Takarangi was this morning taken to Pakaitore, scene of the Moutoa gardens occupation he helped to resolve, before being taken across the river to lie in state at Putiki Marae.


Canterbury University is offering 300 scholarships to encourage students to learn te reo Maori.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of the school of Maori and indigenous studies Aotahi, says the $70,000 programme is seen as an effective way to get more Maori spoken in and around Otautahi.

He says while many universities offer language courses, scholarships provide added incentive.

“Te reo is important for the development and revitalisation of Maori. It’s also important for Pakeha people and non-Maori to study to reo, because that’s part of our future, speaking to each other in both languages,” associate professor Taonui says.


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