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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Not just Maori flag up for debate

Labour leader Phil Goff has suggested that discussion around whether we should have a Maori flag is only part of the question and the debate for the future will be what sort of flag will bring all New Zealanders together.

Commenting on Maori party MP Hone Harawira's claim that the next big issue for Maori is constitutional reform Phil Goff says he sees issues such as unemployment, health care and education as more pressing.

However he agrees we need to start having discussions around constitutional change.

“There will debate and discussion around what sort of flag New Zealand should have as our current flag, appropriate for the needs of a 21st century nation, but maybe the debate around whether we should have a Maori flag or not is only part of the question. The real question might be what sort of flag for the future would bring all New Zealanders together,” Mr Goff

He agrees with Hone Harawira that adoption of a written constitution and with it what flag the nation should have will take considerable time as it will be important to get broad consensus among New Zealanders.


The former CEO of Te Taura Whiri says last week's Maori language week was by far the best he's seen.

Haami Piripi says the language commission has worked hard in getting whanau, communities and businesses on board to use te reo Maori.

Mr Piripi says despite a drop in fluent Maori speakers in the last 35 years, Te Wiki o te reo Maori showed the language is alive and thriving in Aotearoa.

“Ten years ago we were trying to stimulate organisations like television stations, radio stations companies, law firms, to pick up language projects, and it seems to me now these organisations are doing it themselves and I think that’s a very good sign, a sign of health, and I think this week has been the best Maori language week we have had for a long time,” Mr Piripi says.

He says the drop in fluent speakers is because of the deaths of an older generation of te reo speakers.


This year marks the 25th anniversary since the Te Maori exhibition toured the United States and Tainui kaumatua Tui Adams remembers how a twist of fate got him to Chicago.

Dr Adams is one of two surviving kaumatua from the touring party but says he was not an original delegate.

Maataamua kaumatua, Henare Tuwhangai, who led all the ceremonial karakia was unwell by the time.

“I was the one at time being taught those particular karakia and certainly he did run out of breath a couple of times and I just took over the karakia as it happened and he joined back in again. That was the reason he wanted me to come," Dr Adams says.

The other surviving kuia is Marjorie Rau-Kupa from Te Atiawa.


Maori investors in a new mobile phone company can now see the results of their efforts.

2 Degrees launched this morning with a pre-pay offer half of what customers can get from the incumbent operators.

A decade ago the Maori Council challenged the then-Labour Government’s sell-off of spectrum suitable for telecommunications.

As a result some spectrum was reserved and Te Huarahi Tika Trust was set up to find a use for it.

The trust found a business partner and spent the next nine years overcoming regulatory obstacles to building a network.

Some $250 million dollars later and Maori interests including the trust have a 20 percent stake in 2 degrees.

As the third player, 2 degrees is out to disrupt the market. The wero it laid down today was calls at 22 cents to landlines or other two degrees mobiles and 44 cents to Vodafone and Telecom mobiles.

It wants customers talking, not texting, as it challenges what it calls a broken market with the highest prices and lowest usage of any comparable country.


Labour leader Phil Goff says a renaissance in the learning of Maori should be celebrated.

Commenting at the conclusion of Maori Language Week says there is however a long way to go and efforts must be maintained to support te reo.

“Both the Maori and in the wider Pakeha community we need to make sure that the effort is going in, that we have sufficient people that will keep the language alive and vibrant, but also that we try to build the speaking of at least some Maori language into the day to day business of our society,” Mr Goff says.

There are still a huge number of families whose forebears would have spoken Maori fluently but today still haven't had the opportunity to acquire those skills.


A Maori educator says in spite of the current Referendum on Child Discipline, proactive behavior management should start now, to stop the cycle of physical violence for future generations.

Aroaro Tamati from Te Kopae Piripono in New Plymouth says acknowledging the mana of the child ensures children can determine their own destiny.

“We're viewing them as they would be at age 21 and we’re thinking about what do we want as their conflict resolution when they are 21 years old, when they are 30, what skills do you want them to have? Do you want the to resolve an issue physically? Or do you want them to resolve it with words and negotiation, so where does physical behaviour management fit?” Ms Tamati says.

She says the age-old adage of children being seen and not heard should be dropped.


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