Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 23, 2009

FOMA members looking for weather clues

Members of the Federation of Maori Authorities are hoping for some clear indications of government policy today when Environment Minister Nick Smith addresses their annual meeting at Pipitea marae.

Chief executive Rino Tirikatene says FOMA's 150 members between them manage more than $10 billion dollars in assets, mainly in farming, forestry and fishing.

He says while they are in a better finacial situation than many other New Zealand corporates, they still need certainty to rin their businesses.

“Maori are inherently very conservative in the nature of their businesses because they have to be kaitiaki and mangers of their asset bases. So it doesn’t help when the policy arrangements concerning some of the big issues impacting on those assets are still under development as well, and climate change and the ETS is a classic example there,” Mr Tirikatene says.

Nick Smith is talking to the hui about climate change and freshwater policy.


Labour MP Kelvin Davis says the deal between National and ACT over Accident Compensation spells disaster for Maori workers and whanau.

The Northland-based Maori list MP says the radical nature of the deal shows the Maori Party was foolish to back the introduction of the Government's ACC legislation.

National has agreed to look at opening the workers' account to competition.

Mr Davis says that would be a disaster for Maori, who are concentrated in industries with high injury rates.

“Let's stop referring t the competition side of things. That’s just political spin. The reality is this is privatization. Maori families and Maori companies aren’t going to benefit from it,” Mr Davis says.

He says the what the government is proposing amounts to a huge wealth transfer from New Zealand taxpayers and whanau to Australian insurance companies.


Former Kiwi coach Brian McLennan is crediting whanau for the Leeds Rhino's third win in a row of the Challenge Cup, the United Kingdom's top league trophy.

Mr McLennan, who's back home visiting family, says the Rhinos include a mix of English, Australian and New Zealand players, including Maori prop Kylie Leuluai.

That makes working on unity important.

“The Leeds team I've got is a close knit as any I’ve coached and we base our concept around whanau, whanau first, you look after one anther and have a bit of selflessness and do what’s right for your teammate,” Mr McLennan says.

Meanwhile, the Kiwis open their Four Nations rugby league campaign against the Kangaroos at the Twickenham Stoop in London on Sunday.


A government backed task force is recommending a Maori approach to preventing sexual violence.

The taskforce of government and voluntary sector representives was set up after the public backlash at the acquittal of former assistant police commissioner Clint Rickards of historic sex charges.

Director Kim McGregor says the task force wants a national plan which would include allowing Maori to address sexual violence in their own communities.

“There are very different needs for Maori survivors of sexual violence. Maori have a much more holistic approach to the problems of sexual violence in comparison to tauiwi so the responses required are quite different,” Dr McGregor says.

The government should also fund a pilot programme for Maori offenders.


One of the founders of Kohanga Reo says giving formal recognition to elders is rejuvenating the Maori language pre-school movement.

Hundreds of kaumatua and kuia who work in kohanga have been given honorary Tohu Whakapakari, the movement's specially-developed teaching qualification, which has equivalent status to a mainstream early childhood diploma.

Iritana Tawhiwhirangi says it's the way Kohanga Reo has got around restrictive Education Ministry conditions which were driving elders out of the movement.

“All districts this year have acknowledge their elders right around the country and there’s been a wonderful return of the joy and spirit and excitement of kohanga,” she says.

Iritana Tawhiwhirangi says without the wisdom, experience and knowledge of reo and tikanga only kaumatua can bring, the kohanga reo movement will wither and die.


Lincoln University scientists have found puha contains 1080 poison.

But don't stop the traditional boil-up - three tonnes of the Maori delicacy would have to be eaten in a single sitting for it to kill.

Shaun Ogilvie, the university's senior lecturer in wildlife management, says tests also found watercress contains minute traces of 1080 ... but 9 tonnes would need to be consumed before it had an adverse effect.

He says 1080's naturally occurs in some plants to stop them being browsed by animals.

Dr Ogilvie, who's of Te Arawa and Ngati Awa descent, says he won't be giving up his pork, puha and watercress boil ups as a result of the findings.


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