Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 20, 2009

Two choices for Maori flag

It's come down to two options for the Maori flag.

That's the word from Maori Party MP Hone Harawira who is leading consultation hui on the flag around the country.

He says after a number of hui involving more than 200 participants two options are clearly favoured, the 1835 flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the Tino Rangatiratanga flag.

“It’s about making sure that what we decide at the end of the day is a reflection of our history a reflection of us and embodies a lot of our hopes and aspirations for the future,” Mr Harawira says.

A decision on which flag which represent Maori will be made by mid-September.


The Greens Party co leader Meteria Turei says there is merit to Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias' idea of easing prison numbers with an amnesty for prisoners.

Ms Turei says the current system of longer sentences and tough parole hearings is clearly not working and it's time to look at alternatives.

She says the government has shown an unwillingness to look at any other options when the minister of Justice Simon Power, dismissing Justice Elias's comments.

“We don't care about your 40 years of experience of actually dealing with criminals on a daily basis, we’d rather talk to ourselves and our mates. He’s wrong to do it. He’s wrong to dismiss her experience. He’s saying it’s not working and there’s got to be other ways of doing stuff,” Ms Turei says.

The Greens join the Maori party in supporting Justice Elias with co-leader Tariana Turia saying prisons are a bottom of the cliff solution, while Dr Pita Sharples points to the doubling of the prison population as proof that the way we are deal with crime is not working.


However Former New Zealand First spokesman for crime and punishment, Ron Mark, says Chief Justice Sian Elias has crossed the line with her suggestion of amnesties for prisoners.

Mr Mark, of Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Porou, Ngati Raukawa and Te Arawa says people go to prison as a punishment for repeated criminal activity.


An auction house planning to sell an alleged piece of the Waitangi Treaty grounds flagpole Hone Heke cut down in 1845 have pulled the item from sale for a second time.

David Rankin, a Ngapuhi descendant of Hone Heke's eldest brother, lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission and threatened a hikoi regarding the plans by Dunbar Sloane to sell the relic.

A previous auction of the wood was cancelled in March this year amidst worries over whether it was authentic, after experts said the wood was Oregon pine while the original flagpole was totara.

Mr Rankin says he did not want Hone Heke's name associated with anything that could be considered fake.

“Hone Heke is a national icon of the country. He’s up there with Sir Edmund Hillary. If we used Sir Ed’s name with something that wasn’t quite right I’m sure the Hillary family would speak out and as Hone Heke’s not here today to defend himself, it falls on the family and the hapu,” Mr Rankin says.

He does not believe the item was pulled from auction due to the threat of protest as some have suggested but because of authenticity issues.


Tuhoe came away from their first economic summit at the weekend with the message to move on from a grievance mode.

Spokesperson Chas Te Whetu says participants looked at the economic situation facing the tribe during the recession and what the iwi can contribute to the global economy.

He says the hui at Maungarongo Marae in Ohope heard inspirational words from pioneer treaty negotiator Sir Tipene O’Regan.

“It uplifted most of the people who were present out of the grievance mode made them look forward to the next 40, 50 to 100 years looking to a global view and they touched on China as a country and what reserves they had in order to look at investment and what Maoridom have to explore and develop and not just Tuhoe,” Mr Te Whetu sys.


Maori athletes who have close ties to their whanau and whakapapa are more likely to succeed.

That's the word from former Silver Fern Margaret Foster, who has started a mentoring programme Whakahihiko He Tangata for Aspiring Young Athletes.

Ms Foster, from Ngai Tahu, says the aim of the programme is to assist up and coming Maori athletes reach their full potential.

“We see sport as being a really powerful vehicle for developing better Maori people and obviously they are going to be better leaders and stronger whanau but I think the underlying current was about being proud to be Maori,” Ms Foster says.

A Whakahihiko He Tangata was held earlier this month and three more workshops will be held this year in Christchurch before the programme is taken around the country.


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