Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Invisible protest no indicator

A long-time Maori activist says the likely lack of protest activity on Waitangi Day should not be read as a sign of content across Maoridom.

Annette Sykes, a Rotorua lawyer, says many issues remain unresolved.

She says the mood of optimism sparked by the election of America's first Black president is tempered by the economic turmoil, and discontent among Maori is just bubbling under the surface as families start feeling the effect.

“Waitangi may well be a forum where ‘Yes we can’ from Obama might mean ‘can we really’ when we start to analyse the realities of what’s happening in terms of destruction of whanau livelihoods as a result of the likely redundancies, the exploitation or resources like oil and wood from our territories, yet the lack of guarantee of ongoing sustainability and work for our families,” Ms Sykes says.

She says now it's part of the government, the Maori Party can expect to be challenged at Waitangi.

DIVISIONS HAMPER MAORI REPRESENTATION

A former Maori Auckland Regional Councilor says Maori will need more than two or three representatives on any super-city council.

The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance is expected to recommend a body covering the whole Auckland region.

Nganeko Minhinnick, who was on the ARC's during the brief period in the late 1980s when it had two Maori seats, says since then Maori have become more aware of the impact local government has on issues such as waahi tapu.

She says divisions over the way the previous government was handling the Tamaki Makaurau claims means there is now less agreement between the half dozen mana whenua iwi than there was 20 years ago.

“I don't think any one of that group will allow one to speak for all, and you might in future have some people making claims against ourselves,” Mrs Minhinnick says.

PERFORMING SCHOOL MOVES CLOSER TO CITY

After 18 years in Porirua, an internationally acclaimed performing arts programme is moving into central Wellington.

Manager Mary-Rose Royal says the Whiteria Bachelor of Applied Arts programme has been offered space in the Performing Arts Studio in Vivian Street, which gives it a larger and more accessible dance studio.
She says the programme has produced many of this country's leading performers.

“I think our kaupapa is about tu tangata, it’s about standing our young people tall through their involvement in the performing arts but it’s also to celebrate the cultural diversity of Aotearoa and be able to dance across cultures and for the last 16 years we’ve traveled internationally with our students every year,” Ms Royal says.

The unique programme includes Samoan, Cook Islands, Maori and contemporary New Zealand dance along with studies in creative enterprise and research.

UNIONISTS LEFT OUT OF MAORI ECONOMIC SUMMIT

Maori unionists have been left out of today's economic summit called by the Maori Party, leading to calls for Maori workers to sign up for their union.

Syd Keepa, the convenor of the Council of Trade Unions runanga, says CTU Maori vice president Sharon Clair was invited in her capacity as an iwi leader and Hui Taumata member, rather than wearing her union hat.

He says Maori and Polynesian workers will be hard hit by the global financial squeeze, and they need every bit of protection they can get.

“Join a union now because if you job’s at stake at the moment, particularly in manufacturing, a lot of those workers that will be put off this year will go out the door with just a shake of the hand, so it’s important the message goes out to those un-unionised Maori workers to actually join a union,” Mr Kepa says.

RATANA MOVEMENT NOT TAKEN FOR GRANTED

Labour leader Phil Goff says the party will never take the Ratana movement for granted.

That was one of the accusations made during last week's commemoration hui for the movement's founder, which marks the start of Labour's annual political calendar.

Mr Goff says he was able to address the concern on the spot.

“I had quite long discussions with Ruia Abraham who was the person who made the comment about not being taken for granted and I think by the time I left in the evening w had a good understanding of the benefits to Rata and the benefits to Labour working together for the same reason the alliance originally began because the morehu, their interests are represented by both organisations and we can achieve more by working together than working separately,” Mr Goff says.

At the last general election the majority of Maori, including Ratana followers, remained loyal to Labour with their party vote even if they gave their electorate vote to the Maori Party.

MERITO TAKEN TO ROTORUA’S MATAATUA MARAE

Gerry Merito is being taken back this morning to Rotorua, his base for many years as a pivotal member of the Howard Morrison Quartet.

His son John Merito says the entertainer, who died on Monday after performing a concert in the Waikato, will lie on Mataatua Marae on the old Taupo Road until the funeral service on Friday morning, which will be followed by private cremation.

Entertainer and former showband member Frankie Stevens says Gerry Merito will be remembers as a great performer who had a major influence on the quartet's sound and stage act.

“He had a sense of humour and a musicality I think I quite unique to New Zealand. He was the comedic brilliance behind the Howard Morrison Quartet,” Mr Stevens says.

Gerry Merito also influenced many of the Maori entertainers who followed on, like Billy T James and Pio Terei.

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