Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We can see Russia from our marae

Auckland's Ngati Whatua hapu has told the Government it wants to see the tino rangatiratanga flag flying from the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

The Prime Minister has asked Maori Affairs Pita Sharples to consult with Maori on which flag should represent Maori on the bridge on next year's Waitangi Day.

Ngati Whatua spokesperson Ngarimu Blair says when the issue first came up last year, hapu chair Grant Hawke told the Government the tribe's preference was for the tino rangatiratanga flag.

He says Dr Sharples should heed the call of his Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia that he should only consult with mana whenua iwi.

“It's the Auckland Harbour Bridge, not the New Zaland Harbour Bridge. It’s not a parliament building, council building, it’s a bridge, and therefore we’d support her call that it consultation should primarily be with local iwi, the tangata whenua, which is us. Our mana here in Tamaki, we can see the bridge from our marae,” Mr Blair says.

Ngati Whatua is expecting up to 30 thousand people at its Waitangi Day concert at the Okahu Bay reserve, which will feature House of Shem, Tama Waipara and Sons of Zion.

FLAG DECISION NOT FOR SINGLE HAPU

Northland-based Maori MP Shane Jones says Ngati Whatua has no right to say which flag should represent Maori.

The Labour list MP says Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is wrong tribally and politically to say the decision should rest with mana whenua groups.

He says the Orakei-based hapu spends too much time talking up its mana rather than talking to its neighbours.

“Ngati Whatua’s public statements go beyond the line of what is acceptable. They have no right and they have been given no authority to choose a flag on behalf of all the Maori tribes, and if they are going to show this level of hospitality on my behalf, they can start paying the toll from Ngapuhi every time we go through the Puhoi toll road in their rohe,” Mr Jones says.

Mr Jones says there needs to be serious debate about the country national symbols, but the way the Maori Party is going about it will alienate many New Zealanders and especially Auckland motorists.

URBAN MAORI PIONEER WINS GRADUAL ACCEPTANCE

The outgoing head of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority says tribal authorities are gradually coming to terms with organisations representing city-based Maori.

June Jackson says the authority was set up in the early 1980s because of concerns the then-government's devolution policies were ignoring Maori who lived away from their own iwi.

She says that caused resentment, as other groups felt they were competing for resources.

“I think it’s lessened but at the time it was pretty hot. They were highly critical of who did we think we were. The tribes didn;’t like uys and didn’t like what we were doing, but we all move on, we get older and that's life,” Mrs Jackson says.

She will be succeeded as MUMA chief executive by her son, former Alliance MP turned broadcaster Willie Jackson.

MAORI KEEN TO PUT RESOURCES TO WORK

The chair of yesterday's Maori jobs summit says Maori organisations are keen to use their assets to create new jobs and opportunities for their people.

Ngatata Love says the hui brought out people invited and uninvited who realise there is a crisis and want to get working on answers.

He says Maoridom has considerable resources which can be released.

“The key players, those that have assets, that have resoruces tht they can turn into work opportunities, often in cooperation with Crown agencies or with other iwi, will move ahead very quicklyto identify those, to see what road blocks there may be in areas like construction and forestry and housing, those sorts of things, to actually create the jobs and get the economy moving again,” Professor Love says.

Based on yesterday's hui, Maori will make a powerful contribution to next month's Prime minister's jobs summit.

NGATI WHATUA BRIDGE A FLAG TOO FAR

A Northland-based Maori MP is attacking a bid to give Auckland's Ngati Whatua the final say on what flag representing Maori should fly from the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Shane Jones says Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has no right tribally or politically to say the decision should rest with the Orakei-based hapu.

A Ngati Whatua spokesperson says the hapu would be happy to see the tino rangatiratanga flag flown - which is also Mrs Turia's pick.

Mr Jones says the debate is trivialising the Maori contribution to the development of New Zealand's national symbols.

“A flag has to reflect the finest sentiments and people’s level of confidence as to what symbols and what kind of signs we want to represent us, and that is not to be made by Ngati Whatua, they’ve gone beyond the pale in my view, and they should sit down and spend more time talking to their neighbours rather than trumping up what authority they falsely think they have on our behalf,” Mr Jones says.

He says at a time the nation faces economic calamity, the flag debate seems frivilous and divisive.

WHITIREIA STRIVES FOR CULTURAL AUTHENTICITY

Whitireia Polytechnic's performing arts programme is about to cross a major cultural barrier.

The 19-year-old programme teaches students dance moves and musical styles from a wide range of Polynesian cultures, including Maori, Tongan, Samoan and Niuean.

Now it's moving from Porirua to central Wellington, to take advantage of a larger dance studio in the Vivian Street Performing Arts Studio in Vivian Street.

Tutor Gaylene Sciascia says it's an exciting challenge for the course, which prides itself on the way it is able to maintain the cultural integrity of its material.

Each year's intake does an international tour as part of the programme.

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