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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Heuheu says colleagues informed of TV bid

Associate Maori Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu is denying she failed to inform senior colleagues of Maori Television's 2011 Rugby world cup bid.

Labour MP Shane Jones says Mrs te Heuheu needs to explain her role in the decision to spend $3 million of Maori development funds to prop up the bid for free to air broadcast rights.

He says as the minister with delegations over Maori broadcasting, she should have told Finance Minister Bill English and Prime Minister John Key what Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples was doing.

But Mrs te Heuheu says she wrote to Mr English on the second of September.

“I wrote a letter to advice that the bid was imminent on the basis that my understanding was the matter had been raised earlier with the other shareholding minister,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

She says because she is not a shareholding minister, she has no governance role over Maori Television.

Dr Sharples has apologised to Mr English and Mr Key for not informing them earlier of the plan.


A Maori smokefree advocate has been recognised internationally for his work.

Shane Kawenata Bradbrook from Te Reo Marama has been at the forefront of anti-tobacco initiatives in Aotearoa, and has also successfully challenged tobacco giant Philip Morris for using Maori imagery to market cigarettes to Israelis.

He says it was humbling to receive the Nigel Gray award at last week's Oceania Tobacco Control Conference in Darwin, the first time an indigenous person has received the tohu.

“It's also the first time (it went to) a non-doctor as well so a great moment and it reflects well on the indigenous community across the board that we can do this, we can do good work, it can be recognised and it’s nice to be validated by such a prestigious award,” Mr Bradbrook,says.

The Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Ngati Kahungunu lobbyist says the next item on his agenda is the Maori Affairs Select Committee investigation into the tobacco industry.


Dunedin is considering replacing its Scottish welcome for cruise ships with a Maori powhiri.

City council communications manager Debra Simes says the first of 20 ships is due in next week, so a decision is needed quickly.

She says bagpiping was trialed during the last cruise ship season, but there were logistical difficulties keeping pipe bands around if the ships were late or cancelled.

There will still be a piped farewell for tourists but talks are underway with Ngai Tahu to see if a powhiri is better on arrival.


A Maori smokefree advocate says the fight against tobacco should be seen as a Maori development issue rather than a health issue.

Shane Bradbrook from Te Reo Marama has just got back from the Oceania Tobacco Control Conference in Darwin, where almost a quarter of the delegates represented indigenous groups.

He says the presentations from Aboriginal delegates included reports of working in communities where more than 70 percent of adults smoke.

He says that research was used to tell the professionals about the peole behind the numbers.

Mr Bradbrook says in Aotearoa the fight to revitalise te reo Maori has been hampered by kaumatua dying from tobacco-related illnesses.


There's some unexpected support for Pita Sharples' right to help Maori Television with its rugby world cup bid.

The Maori Affairs Minister last week apologised to Finance Minister Bill English and Prime Minister John Key for failing to inform them Te Puni Kokiri would buy $3 million of programming if the channel won the free to air broadcast rights.

Labour MP Shane Jones says Dr Sharples has the right to say where his baseline funding should be spent, and there was no need for an apology.

“He deprecates his mana as our minister for Maori Affairs and I actually feel aroha for him but he’s up against some pretty wild characters. You’ve got Murray McCully, who’s Machiavelli, and he’s leaked everything. Then you’ve got Georgina Te Heuheu, who knows if she told the truth and was very candid, it probably wouldn’t have gone ahead,” Mr Jones says.

He saus the associate minister, Georgine Te Heuheu, has delegated responsibility for Maori broadcasting and needs to explain her role in the affair.

Mrs te Heuheu says she wrote to Mr English about the bid on September 2.


Award winning rapper Sid Diamond says the gritty streets of south Auckland are never far from his thoughts, even as his band Smashproof is about to take on the world.

Diamond, or Young Sid as he's known, affiliates to Nga Puhi and Te Rarawa but grew up in Otara.

Smashproof won the people's choice, best music video and highest selling New Zealand record trophies at the Vodafone Music Awards for the single Brother.

Young Sid says Otara gets a negative rap it doesn't deserve.

“There was a lot of violence and gangs and that but there was a lot of hard workers and churchgoers and people who work in factories. People who are not from the area think it is an area they should lock their doors when they get to the lights, but being from it, I don't see it like that,” Diamond says.

Smashproof has a deal with Universal Germany to release its album in Europe, and next week heads off for a showcase gig in New York as it tries to break into the US market.


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