Waatea News Update

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Maori to join Green caucus

Greens co-leader Metira Turei is looking forward to having another Maori MP in the Greens' caucus.

David Clendon from Te Roroa, a resource management lecturer turned sustainable business consultant, enters Parliament at the end of next month when Sue Bradford steps down.

Ms Turei, who beat Ms Bradford for the leader's slot in May, says Mr Clendon has been with the Greens since the party formed and his broad experience will be invaluable.

“It's going to be great having another Maori in the Green Party caucus who can take on some of the issues se we can do more of that work. He and Catherine Delahunty and I have all been working on Maori issues in various forms so having three of us, two Maori and a Pakeha focusing on these issues, will be really good,” Ms Turei says.

She says Sue Bradford has made a wonderful contribution to the party.


A Maori academic says what he's learned at two international conferences on indigenous child abuse has confirmed his belief economics and not ethnicity is behind high rates of Maori child abuse and murder.

Rawiri Taonui, Canterbury University's head of Maori and ethnic studies, spoke at conference workshops in Italy and Wales.

He says a sharp rise in the number of Maori children killed coincided with the Rogernomics economic reforms of the 1980s, when many Maori lost their jobs, but the rate is trending down.

“Although the Maori rate is still very high there’s a link between our socioeconomic status and levels of child homicide as opposed to the idea there’s something wrong with our culture and we’re just angry savages,” Mr Taonui says.

Indigenous people overseas want to know more about how the Maori cultural renaissance has contributed to a decline in child abuse.


It will be all go at Ruatoki for the first week of the school holidays as the community tries to recover from a fire that destroyed four classrooms at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori a Rohe o Ruatoki.

Spokesperson Tamati Kruger says Friday's fire appears to have been caused by an electrical fault, and after being fueled by chemicals in the science block was carried by the wind over to a hall used by the community.

A second block of classrooms was unscathed.

He says there won't be much of a holiday for teachers and parents, as they’ll be clearing the site before the board negotiates with the Education Ministry about getting relocatable buildings on site before the fourth term starts.

The school is likely to wait until the end of the year before it starts negotiations with the ministry on new permanent buildings.


The Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres, says the Government will be held to account now the United Nations Human Rights Council has signed off its review of New Zealand.

New Zealand presented a report on its progress on human rights commitments in May, and the council says it has concerns about social disparities between Maori and non-Maori, the status of the Treaty of Waitangi, the over-representation of Maori in the criminal justice system and other issues.

Justice Minister Simon Power told the council the Government’s is committed to respecting and strengthening human rights nationally and internationally.

Mr de Bres says the review creates moral pressure to address issues such as the high rate of Maori imprisonment.

“The answer to that is not to imprison people at the rate they are being imprisoned. There have to be more alternatives to prison and there have to be as the minister has in fact indicated, there have to be more an examination into the drivers of crime and that includes the social and economic conditions,” Mr de Bres says.

New Zealand will be back before the committee in four years.


The new Maori face in Parliament wants to pave the way for a new generation of Maori entrepreneurs.

David Clendon from Te Roroa will join the nine-member Green caucus at the end of next month, replacing Sue Bradford who's stepping down after 10 years in Parliament.

Mr Clendon, who has a masters degree in resource management from Lincoln University, says he's built strong links with Maori business networks through his work as a consultant on sustainable business.

“As a people Maori are always looking for opportunity and have an amazing amount of energy so that’s something I would like to see develop and expand, the opportunity for young Maori and not so young Maori to come into business in their own right and to create their own futures,” Mr Clendon says.


Thousands of people have been through Te Papaiouru marae in Rotorua over the weekend to pay tribute to Sir Howard Morrison, who died last Thursday aged 74.

One of them was steel guitarist Ben Tawhiti, who worked with Sir Howard both on stage and in pioneering the Tu Tangata community development model.

He says his friend was always a class act, in whatever situation he found himself in.

“One gift that he always had was the ability to phrase the lyrics of any song. He had a marvelous voice. Whenever he stood on that stage, he was immaculate. I hope that’s a lesson to many of our entertainers coming up,” Mr Tawhiti says.

Sir Howard's funeral will be held tomorrow, after which he will be buried at Kauae cemetery near Ngongotaha.


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