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Monday, October 05, 2009

Language excuse for entrepreneuship

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says a Maori Television broadcast of the Rugby World Cup can be justified if the coverage is used to promote Maori language and culture.

Maori Television submitted a bid for the free to air broadcast rights for up to 16 of the 48 matches, based on getting additional funds of up to $3 million from the Ministry for Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri.

Prime Minister John Key told breakfast television today that if there was a taxpayer subsidy involved he'd expect the broadcasts could be viewable by all New Zealanders - something Maori Television can't currently deliver on,

But Dr Sharples, who has been working on the bid for several weeks out of sight of his fellow ministers, says that's not something his ministry needs to be concerned about.

“Te Puni Kokiri has the responsibility to protect Maori language and it does so thorugh Te Taura Whiri I Te Re, the radio stations television, all this things, and this is probably just another opportunity to promote Maori language and Maori culture,” Dr Sharples says.

Maori Television has had to fight perceptions it is a second class service.


The chair of Two Degrees says the company's international shareholders are keen to retain Maori investment in the insurgent mobile phone business.

Maori trusts and iwi are being offered a chance to buy shares to keep the Maori stake at 20 percent.

Current investors include the Maori spectrum trust, Te Huarahi Tika, which has also provided radio spectrum to the venture, and two central North Island land trusts.

Mr Osborne says sales have been slow because it's a new type of investment for Maori, but the other shareholders are giving them time to buy in.

“The other Two Degrees investors really value Maori participation in this network. They say it gives a really uniquely New Zealand flavour to the business. And they think it’s really important that cultural values like that exist in the Maori culture are somehow engrained in the value f the network, so I think that’s particularly important,” Mr Osborne says.

Two Degrees is exceeding its targets for acquiring customers, and it's studying use patterns to see where it should build out its network.


Greenstone carvers have been welcomed on to the staff of Te Puia Maori arts and crafts institute in Whakarewarewa.

Chief executive Te Taru White says the new pounamu development and training unit will be open to the public later this month.
He says it adds a new dimension to the historic institute.

“It marries very with our whakairo school, our carving school, and also our weaving school traditions. It’s another opportunity to extend and build the profile of our wonderful traditional arts so we are pretty excited about that,” Mr White says

He says all items made at the institute will carry a Te Puia mark of authenticity, replacing the Toi Iho mark promoted by Creative New Zealand's Te Waka Toi.


Labour MP Shane Jones says Maori shouldn't have to buy their way into the hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

A row has broken out over Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples using his budget to subsidise Maori Television's bid for free to air broadcast rights, with Prime Minister John Key saying he'd be unhappy if the taxpayer-subsidised broadcasts couldn't be seen across the whole country.

But Mr Jones says Dr Sharples' bid points to deeper problems with the tournament preparations.

“The rugby union in New Zealand does not have a flash reputation in respect of Maori rugby, the National Government has not made much of an effort to elevate the Maori personality in preparing for the world cup. It’s just astonishing the Maori affairs budget is being used to ensure Maori aren't left out,” Mr Jones says.

He says Pita Sharples needs to prove how a $3 million gift to the International Rugby Board is the best use for funds set aside by parliament for Maori development.


A Starship hospital cardiologist wants action to fight alarmingly high levels of rheumatic fever among Maori.

Nigel Wilson says Maori contract the illness, which can lead to heart problems later in life, at 10 times the rate of Pakeha.

He says rheumatic fever can be prevented by the timely application of antibiotics to bacterial throat infections.

“The government have been saying mot sore throats are viral, which don’t respond to antibiotics, therefore don’t give antibiotics to people who come along with sore throats and that’s fine in some communities but it’s not fine where people are at risk of rheumatic fever,” Dr Wilson says.

Doctors in upper North Island areas where rheumatic fever should take swabs when Maori and Pacific Island children present with sore throats.


A Maori touch is being credited for giving the Melbourne Storm the extra edge needed to put the Parramatta Eels in the hinaki on the weekend.

Commentator Ken Laban says assistant coach Steve Kearney from Te Atiawa and Ngati Toa was critical in the Storm's National Rugby League premiership win for the way he has managed the increasingly diverse cultural makeup of the Melbourne team.

He says when Kearney eventually moves on to a head coaching role, Storm coach Craig Bellamy has a replacement in mind.

“He fully intends to replace Ste en Kearney with another Maori or Pacific Island coach because he said (Kearney) has got a way about the players, a lot of the other clubs have had trouble with their Maori or Pacific Island boys but with Steen their, the influence of our Maori boys over there is not going to decrease, it’s only going to increase,” Mr Laban says.

The Storm has more Maori players in its development ranks ready to join Adam Blair from Ngapuhi in the top team.


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