Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, February 16, 2009

NZ First can’t forget Maori voters

A former New Zealand First MP says the party needs to appeal to Maori voters if it’s to find its way back into parliament.

They party met in Auckland over the weekend to discuss how to rebuild itself in the wake of last year’s election loss where it failed to reach the 5 percent threshhold.

Pita Paraone says there"s still widespread support in the party for leader Winston Peters.

He says the party can't afford to forget its Maori supporters who at one stage delivered 5 Maori seats into its hands.

“Without exception the New Zealand First Party received in excess of 5 percent from each of the electorates of Maori support both in the Maori electorate and Maori voters who remain in the general roll,” Mr Paraone says.

The leadership issue will be considered at New Zealand Firsts AGM in September.


The primary teachers union says new literacy and numeracy standards won't improve the performance of Maori students.

Releasing the annual report on Maori education last week, Education Minister Anne Tolley said she expected the new national standards to lift Maori educational achievement.

But NZEI president Francis Nelson says that's not how education works.

“They are not the answer at all. What they give is an opportunity to report on the progress we make, so the focus on a set of national standards isn’t going to change things on a day to day basis for Maori students or any other students. Teachers practice will do that,” she says.

Francis Nelson says the emphasis should be on improving training and support for teachers, and addressing the socio economic issues that result in 50 percent of Maori students being taught in decile 1 schools.


A documentary maker with a cross cultural background is looking at the pros and cons of marrying outside the Maori culture.

Nevak Ilolahia says her programme Skin to Skin features well known and not so known Maori sharing personal stories of their cross cultural relationships.

She says a common theme was whanau boycotting weddings because their relatives were marrying someone from another culture ... which her own parents avoided with a bit of misdirection.

“My dad's Tongan and my kuia were telling people my dad was from up north which he is. They assumed Ngapuhi and ‘No, no, further up. Tonga. There was all this negative attachment round these things and it’s good to see it changing and it’s more acceptable. It makes for a more interesting world,” she says.

Skin to Skin will screen on Maori Televison next month.


Tainui has opted for continuity, returning seven previous members to its executive board Te Ara Taura.

Some members of the previous executive were unable to stand again in yesterday’s election because they failed to retain their seats on Te Kauhanganui, the tribal parliament which chooses the powerful executive from among its members.

The three new members on the 10-strong board are well known Huntly identity and health manager Timi Maipi, accountant Maxine Moana and Robert Tukiri Junior.

Outgoing chair Tukoroirangi Morgan, says there are still major tasks on the table, including completion of the Waikato river settlement.

“The bill is in the House. It will go through the parliamentary stages. Both Lady Raiha and I are working closely with ministers to ensure we tie up any outstanding issues, and there are outstanding issues, to be sorted and that’s part of the co-management relationship. There are a number of things to be done that haven’t been done yet,” Mr Morgan says.

The chair will be decided at a meeting of the Te Ara Taura executive in a fortnight.


A shadow has been cast over Te Uri o Hau's multi-million dollar Northland coastal development after trustees dumped directors including Sir Graham Latimer from its commercial arm, Renaissance Group.

Hearings for an amended resource consent for the Te Arai Point development south of Mangawhai are due to start early next month.

Te Uri o Hau chair Russell Kemp says a faction of trustees led by deputy chair Rawson Wright voted to reduce the number of Renaissance Group directors from five to two, sacking Sir Graham, Whangarei mayor Stan Semenoff and Ngati Wai elder Laly Haddon of Pakiri.

Mr Kemp says it's a short-sighted approach to managing the tribe's treaty settlement assets.

“If things don't happen, then things will dry up. By putting credible people to one side you shut a few doors that were always open and you were allowed to talk to them. But some of those doors have been shut,” Mr Kemp says.

Rawson Wright says the trustees wanted to establish whether the tribe's commercial arm was healthy, and they weren't getting the information they wanted out of the former Renaissance group directors.


Maori Muslims will soon be able to read teachings from the Koran in te reo.

Dr Mohammed Shorab, the president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama of New Zealand, says the project to translate holy book has instigated during a 1989 visit to New Zealand by the late Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the fourth Head of the International Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

He says there has been extensive consultation with the Maori Language commission, Waikato University’s Maori department and kaumatua to make sure the translation of the ancient teachings is correct.

“We strongly believe that the Mori language will be spoken to the day or judgment or the end of time, no matter hope many thousand years that is, and the law book being the last law book for mankind, it was essential it be translated into the Maori language of the current time the Maori language,” Dr Shorab says.

The first half of the Maori Koran will be launched in April during a visit to New Zealand by his group's fifth head, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, when he visits in April or May.


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