Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Far North mayor who bridged races dies

A former Far North mayor is being praised for his ability to bridge the races.

Former Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels says Miljenko "Millie" Srhoj, who died on Sunday, was dedicated to the region.

Mr Srhoj, the son of a Dalmatian gumdigger, began his career in local body politics with the Mangonui County Council.

Mr Samuels served two terms as deputy to Mr Srhoj on its successor, the Far North District Council.

“He was an outstanding mayor and an outstanding leader for the north. He transcended all racial divides, and even though he was a tarara, a Dalmatian, he was a very well liked kaumatua," Mr Samuels says.

Mr Srhoj's achievements included convincing Juken Nissho to buy the Kaitaia triboard mill after the 1990 collapse of Northern Pulp, saving the jobs of the largely Maori workforce.

Millie Srhoj's funeral will be in Kaitaia on Wednesday.


Maori human rights lawyer Moana Jackson says the Government cannot continue to ignore calls by the United Nations to address human rights violations in New Zealand.

The UN's Human Rights Council flagged concerns about social disparities between Maori and non-Maori, high rates of Maori imprisonment and New Zealand's commitment to indigenous rights.

Mr Jackson says New Zealand didn't come through the process well, and the council has echoed criticisms of the foreshore and seabed legislation which came out of the U.N Committee on the elimination of racial discrimination.

“This is not a new criticism of a New Zealand government but it is perhaps a more direct one than had been made in the past and I think that the Crown would be unwise to just let it slip or try to ignore it as it has done in the past,” Mr Jackson says.

The Human Rights Council will review progress on its 64 recommendations in four years.


Shearing contractor Koro Mullins predicts a bright future for an 18-year-old Gisborne woolhandler who beat a former world champion over the weekend.

The win means Joel Henare retains the Waitaki Merino Shears open woolhandling title and cements his reputation for identifying and grading wool.

Mr Mullins, who has just been appointed the manager of New Zealand team for next year's world shearing championships in Wales, says if the young sportsman has a good chance of making the trip if he keeps up his form during the rest of the competitive shearing season.

“Well he's probably one of these young fellows who was born in a woolshed, he’s got grease running through his veins and he is a phenomenal young athlete, youngest member of the New Zealand team woolhandler ever and he’s a darn good hard worker too,” Mr Mullins says.

Joel Henare has another Otago title in his sights at the fine wool championships in Alexandra this weekend.


As thousands of people gather at Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua for the funeral this morning of Sir Howard Morrison, stories continue to flow from the thousands of people the entertainer encouraged and supported.

A concert at the Ohinemutu marae last night included many who had shared a stage with the legend, including Tina Cross, Bety and Ryan Monga, Frankie Stevens, Suzanne Donaldson ... and Howard Morrison junior.

John Rowles says he was inspired to become as singer after seeing the Howard Morrison Quartet in his home town Kawerau when he was 10.

“Seeing his mannerisms on stage and his confidence, his big smile, influenced me a lot because I was a shy boy, I remember watching him and looking at him in awe of his confidence and that big flashy smile so that would have rubbed off on me a lot,” Rowles says.

More than 2000 people are expected at Ohinemutu for this morning's funeral service, after which Sir Howard will be taken to St Faith's church for family prayers before being taken to Kauae Cemetery at Ngongotaha.


The country's eight universities have set up a taskforce to deal with an expected shortage of Maori academics over the next 10 years.

Chairperson Kevin Seales says as Maori academics retire, it's proving hard to find suitable replacements.

He says New Zealand's universities face competition across the board for academic staff from overseas institutions who pay more, but they have unique problems with the shortage of Maori teaching staff.

“There's a desire to increase participation rates for Maori into the tertiary education system and as part of that we also need to increase the number of academics staff we have who are Maori and better reflect the populations in which we are sitting,” Mr Seales says.

While the three wananga are not involved in the study, they could become a source of academic staff for the universities.


A collection of Ralph Hotere art works pulled from auction last week could be worth more than $500,000.

Auckland auction house Art and Object cancelled the sale after Hotere disputed the claims to ownership by Annie Ferguson, who claimed he had gifted the 58 paintings, prints and drawings to her more than 40 years ago when she lived with the young artist.

Auctioneer Ben Plumbly of Art and Object says Hotere is New Zealand's leading living artist and the items represented the largest private collection of his work.

The dispute is likely to go to court.


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