Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 14, 2009

Communities needed to fight crime

The Corrections Department's new head of Maori services is calling on Maori communities to help address the high Maori imprisonment rate.

Jon Royal says prisons are just the bucket, and people end up there through their interactions with the police and courts rather than the department.

But building more prisons is the wrong way to address the problem.

“We're second only to America in incarceration rates and fiscally that’s not sustainable. My role is to go to communities or go to Maori leaders, stakeholders and say ‘hey, we’ve got to share this responsibility. If we leave it up to government agencies, if we leave it up to this department, the number of Maori coming into prison will get away on us,’” Mr Royal says.

The Maori Services Team has launched a new quarterly newsletter to encourage debate on Corrections issues.

FLAG FLAP OBSCURES LOSS ON AUCKLAND REPRESENTATION

Win a little, lose a lot.

That's Labour MP Shane Jones’ take on the choice of a Maori flag.

Consultation finished with a hui in Dunedin yesterday, and expectations are the recommendation put to Cabinet will be for the tino rangatiratanga flag, which is closely associated with the Maori Party.

Mr Jones says while the Maori Party has been in a flap over the flag, its National and Act partners in government have hardened their stance over Maori seats on the Auckland super city council.

“The power you have as a parliamentarian over the public purse, especially when you are in government, can do a hang of a lot more good than stirring people’s emotions about choosing a flag that may fly for one day on the Harbour Bridge whilst at the same time the same government that’s giving them the flag won’t give them Maori seats for the Auckland super city and there’s the actual difference in who’s got the power here,” Mr Jones says.

He says Maori will eventually ask what's wrong with the national flag that they need to make their own flag.

FAMILY HISTORY KEEPS IHIMAERA FROM BENDING HEAD TO CROWN

Author Witi Ihimaera says he turned down the title of Sir because it would reduce the mana of being a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

A ceremony was held in Wellington today to bestow titles on those given the equivalent awards by the previous Labour government between 2000 and 2008.

Those turbocharging their titles included Sir Tumu te Heuheu, Sir Wira Gardiner and Sir Ngatata Love.

Ihimaera says he accepted his tohu in 2004 on the basis it was a New Zealand award.

“From a whanau point of view, I couldn’t not help but think of all of those ancestors of mine. I kept on thinking ‘man oh man, they would turn over in their graves if I accepted this’ because or valley has always been associated with Te Kooti Rikirangi and his battles against the Crown and so at a very deep emotional level, there was no way that I was going to take it,” Ihimaera says.

Novelist Patricia Grace and academic Ranginui Walker were also among the 13 people who refused a title.

WILSON ISAAC NAMED CHIEF JUDGE OF MAORI LAND COURT

After a long period of uncertainty, Wilson Isaac has been named Chief Judge of the Maori Land Court.

Judge Isaac has been acting in the position for almost a year, since former chief judge Joe Williams was appointed to the High Court.

He affiliates to Ngati Kahungunu, Tuhoe, and Ngati Porou.

Tom Bennion, the editor of the Maori Law Review, says the appointment will be welcomed by lawyers who deal with the court and the Waitangi Tribunal, which Judge Isaac will also chair.

“I just think he’s thoroughly competent and will make a great chief judge. He’s a very likeable person, he’s very fair, and he runs a good court,” Mr Bennion says.

Before being appointed to the bench 15 years ago, Judge Isaac worked in Gisborne, where he developed an extensive practice in Maori land law and family law.

TURIA KEEN FOR GANG OUTREACH FUNDING TO RESUME

Associate social welfare minister Tariana Turia wants her department to go back to funding gang-led social work.

Gang-related programmes have been a feature of the system since the 1970s, when former National prime minister Rob Muldoon was challenged by Black Power to help them into jobs and productive activity.

But in recent years such programmes have all but disappeared.

Mrs Turia says that is hindering the efforts of people like south Auckland Mongrel Mob Notorious chapter head Roy Dunn to work with at risk young people and show them alternatives to gang life.

“We have bureaucracies who are quite judgmental about those who they don’t deem to be appropriate to be working with young people and so they won’t resource it. People like Roy Dunn are doing a great job, because he’s the kind of person who can get to those hard to reach young people, and we need to resource it,” Mrs Turia says.

TUHUA TANGATA WHENUA SAY OBSIDIAN SOUVENIRING MUST STOP

A Bay of Plenty iwi wants visitors to leave their precious volcanic glass alone.
Tuhua, or Mayor Island, is known for its rich veins of obsidian, also known as tuhua by Maori.

Magda Williams from the Tuhua Trust Board says the obsidian is tapu to the island's owners, Te Whanau a Tauwhao ki Tuhua.

She says a helicopter company operating tours to Tuhua has been asked to return the sacred rock.

She says kuia and kaumatua are upset at the way visiting non-Maori have taken big chunks of obsidian for doorstops or garden ornaments.

She says now it's not used for cutting tools or weapons, the only reason to take obsidian is to place in urupa and marae to link kaumatua and kuia back to the island.

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