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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Maori committee battle prelude to super city stoush

Manukau mayor Len Brown says his council's stoush over marae funding shows the challenges the Auckland super city will face with Maori representation.

An attempt to change the rules to allow council's Treaty of Waitangi Committee to allocate the $145,000 budget for marae development failed to attract the necessary support from 75 percent of councilors.

Mr Brown, who this week announced he would run for the greater Auckland mayoralty in 18 months, says some councilors opposed the change because the committee included some members appointed through a process of iwi consultation.

“That give you some idea of the challenge we will face if the Government do not take a stand and make a decision round Maori seats. The only option then will be for the council and the community to make that decision in Auckland,” Mr Brown says every local government is required to review its Maori representation every three years.


Greens' co-leader Meteria Turei says Maori values are behind her party's determination to oppose the government over its climate change policy.

She says both National's emissions trading scheme and the Labour government plan it replaces would subsidise polluters for years before they need to take responsibility for carbon emissions.

That's why the Greens and the Maori Party are lining up against the major parties, who have indicated a willingness to work together on the issue.

“We agree completely with the Maori Party that the environmental impacts have to be the key issue and then managing the costs to the community, to the most vulnerable, as part of that too, and what Maori Party and Greens are saying is that the polluter must pay. Those who are doing the damage must be financially responsible for it,” Ms Turei says.

She says National's emissions trading scheme will make the public pay twice - once for their own costs and again to subsidise the big polluters.


The director of Auckland University's Tobacco Control Research Centre wants more Maori researchers to turn their attention to tobacco control.

Marewa Gover says a new strategy released at this week's Public Health Association conference by the Tobacco Control Research Steering Group puts the needs of Maori and Pacific peoples as a priority.

She says the strategy may improve the funding available.

“We still have no dedicated funding for tobacco control research as such for the monitoring we need to do and the evaluation of programmes and approaches that are being used. It’s still pretty much left up to researchers to chase research funding,” Dr Glover says.

Areas for research include the nature of addictiveness and what works to help people quit smoking.


Auckland super city mayoral aspirant Len Brown says his support for Maori is a point of difference with likely rival John Banks.

The Manukau City mayor says that suport goes further than just advocating Maori seats on the super city council.

He says Maori leaders provide an example of the way forward for the city as a whole.

“I look at how much of the waterfront is owned by Ngati Whatua. I see Tainui investing in our place and I see young Maori people in our schools looking out at those leaders and saying ‘Yo, look at that, I can aspire to that, look at those guys.’ If we can have Maori kicking some serious backside in business and education, then we are all going to profit as a country,” Mr Brown says.

While he is a proud Aucklander his heart and soul will always be in South Auckland with its Maori and Polynesian populations.


The Health Research Council has developed a Maori ethics framework to guide researchers wanting to engage with Maori.

Khyla Russell, a member of the council's Putaiora Writing Group, says the guidelines will be available to anyone seeking funds to research in Maori communities.

She says Maori have complained about the amount of research on them which fails to be translated into action.

“If you just take education and health and being told we’re obese, we’re under educated, we’ve too much diabetes, we’re over something or other else, and yet that has been being produced since the 1950s and yet there has been no action to redress and address that,” she says.

Dr Russell says the ethics framework will challenge some of the assumptions which have driven research on Maori, and should lead to better follow up and allocation of resources.


Childhood memories of the Te Maori exhibition have flavoured an exhibition opening at the Mangere Arts Centre today.

Curator Nigel Borell says Kawakawa is a tribute to the first international touring exhibition of taonga Maori, which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in September 1984.

When it returned to Aotearoa in 1986, it became the first point of contact for many tamariki Maori with traditional Maori art forms.

“It's amazing what some people remember about that experience because on one hand it’s such a profound moment but also some people remembered it was so hot and sticky and smelly and not necessary the things you think they would remember but as a youngster those are the memories they have of that occasion as well,” Mr Borell says.

Kawakawa at Mangere Arts Centre includes the responses of 12 contemporary Maori artists, including Natalie Couch, Charlotte Graham, Hemi Macgregor and Saffron Te Ratana.


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