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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 06, 2009

Key attacked at Waitangi gate

Afternoon Thursday February 5

The scuffle at the gates did not deter Prime Minister John Key from being welcomed onto Waitangi Marae today.

The incident added some drama to what has otherwise been a very relaxed and friendly build up to tomorrow's Waitangi celebration.

As he got out of his car Mr Key was attacked by two men, whjo were later arrested.

There was more jostling at the gate as veteran activist Titewhai Harawira elbowed aside Nellie Rata to overrule the traumata and assert her self-given right to hold the hand of any prime minister venturing on to the lower marae.

As the group came on, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples was berated by Ngati Whatua kuia and Maori Party list candidate Naida Glavish for not taking the lead.

The most senior Maori in the government ended up at the far end of the speakers’ bench, while Mr Key was flanked by Mrs Harawaira and Natinal Party Maori vice president Hiku Cherrington.

Northland members John Carter and Phil Heatley, along with new MPs Paul Quinn and Sam Lotu-Liga also shared the front bench alongside Tame Iti.

But former Maori affairs minister Tau Henare ended up glowering three rows back.

Mr Key told the hui he was not a quitter, and the attack would not stop him coming back to Waitangi next year.

Ngati Kahu kaumatua Dennis Hansen said people from other tribes shouldn’t come to Waitangi to dump their rubbish, and challenged Ngapuhi to throw out what he called “yapping dogs”.

ROTOITI CELEBRATES WOODEN BOAT TRADITIONS

A collection of wooden waka from around the country are due to sail on Lake Rotoiti in Rotorua this Saturday.

The annual Parade of Wooden Boats will run for two days showcasing boats from the Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Squadron as well as vessels from all over the North Island, including 60 dinghies, yachts and restored classic launches.

Alec Buchanan, one of the organisers, says two fully-manned waka from Te Arawa will lead the parade down a waterway filled with history.

“Lake Rotoiti along with the other lakes has huge history in terms of Maori and of course water was used as their means of transport,” Mr Buchanan says.

KING PROUD OF LOST IN TRANSLATION

Maori entertainer Mike King says his new series, Lost in Translation, which premieres this weekend on Maori television was a journey of discovery, and the best work he's ever done.

The Waipu based broadcaster who cut his teeth as a stand up comic, says the series tracing the history of the Areaty of Waitangi took him to all parts of Aotearoa.

He says the series was a long time coming, and he never anticipated how much satisfaction he would derive from the process.

“Eight years in the formation and two years in the filming but it is finally done and a trip of discovery on two fronts. I learnt a hell of a lot about the Treaty of Waitangi and the spirit of the people of the time but a journey of self discovery, learned a bit about myself, so it was awesome, best thing I have ever done,” Mr King says.

IWI CHAIR SET PRIORITIES FOR GOVERNMENT CONTACT

Iwi leaders have told the prime minister they are not against further privatisation of state assets as long as Maori can get a stake.

The proposal on infrastructure investment was contained in a presentation to John Key at a closed door meeting in Waitangi today.

Iwi chairs have been meeting regularly over the pst couple of years in an attempt to develop common positions and build up their political weight.

It’s a work in progress, with post-settlement iwi like Tainui and Ngai Tahu leading the charge and others like Ngati Porou jealously guarding their mana.

The paper prepared for the meeting with John Key focused on treaty settlements, infrastructure and water.

It urged Mr Key to make good a campaign offer to move the Office of Treaty Settlements into the Prime Minister’s Department, which is seen as a better reflection of the treaty relation ship.

Iwi want a chance to invest in major infrastructure and utilities, perhaps through public private partnerships or taking a stake in state owned enterprises.

It suggested bidders for infrastructure projects should get priority if they involve iwi.

The iwi chairs also want to be involved in setting the terms of reference for stage two of the Resource Management Act review, which will include water ownership and allocation.

WAKA A WATER A SIGHT TO EXCITE EXPERIENCED EYES

The Northland kaumatua credited with sparking the revival in Maori waka traditions says he was moved by the sight of the flotilla of waka gathered this morning at Waitangi.

Hekenukumai Busby has just returned for a circumnavigation of the north island aboard the ocean going double hulled waka Te Aurere.

He was on hand in the iconic Bay of Islands settlement this morning to watch the biggest contingent of waka in 20 years, including visitors from Tainui.

“It's great to have them here. They had three waka here in 1990. This time there is six. Mind you, there are lost of waka been built up here since then and we got about 20 and the water is so calm this morning and it’s just beautiful out there,” Mr Busby says.

He says for many young Maori men aboard the various waka the occasion can be a life changing experience.

WHAKAREWAREWA BUBBLING OVER WITH HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Its a big weekend for Te Arawa as thousands head to Rotorua tomorrow to celebrate the area's Maori heritage.

Whakarewarewa Thermal Village is hosting Whakanuia - an events day filled with sports, Cook Island music, historic films, Pacific Island performance, kapahaka, health talks, Maori cultural workshops and crafts - including a Pasifika parade and indigenous wearable arts.

Renee Nathan, from Whakarewarewa, says celebrating the different cultures living in Rotorua is what Waitangi Day is all about.

Organisers are expecting more than 3000 people at the event which will coincide with the Raggamuffin reggae festival on Saturday.

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