Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 19, 2009

Maori Party has succession headache

A seasoned political strategist says the decision by Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata to stay on is a sign of failure.

Matt McCarten, the former president of the Alliance, says the 75-year-old was asked to stay on because the party could not build a consensus around the two other contenders for the role.

He says the president's role includes building a party machine to contest the Maori electorates, and creating a succession plan - and Professor Winiata has failed on both counts.

“It's a worry. You haven’t got any obvious contender in pace so you’re asking someone in their 70s to stay at the helm of the party which really needs somebody, if Whata as the president can’t do it, a good secretary to organize it and get a machine on the ground because they are going to go through another election of potentially not winning those two seats again,” Mr McCarten says.

He says Professor Winiata's target of having 18 Maori Party MPs by 2017 is just picking numbers out of the air, and the priority should be winning all seven Maori seats.


Meanwhile, rangatahi within took time at the Maori Party annual hui at Mahurehure marae in Auckland to talk about strengthening their voice.

Spokesperson Haimona Gardiner says the Young Maori Party is working on a constitution which will set the rules for electing a leadership group.

He says with 50 percent of Maori aged under 26, it is important rangatahi have a voice in the party's policy development.

“It is important we bring rangatahi into the party. We need to groom future leaders. At the moment our youngest MP is 51 which is still pretty young but we do need to build our leadership within the party,” Mr Gardiner says.


Ngati Manawa has declared zero tolerance of gangs,

The central North Island forestry township of Murupara has been wracked by violence between Tribesmen and Mongrel Mob members, culminating in two deaths in recent months.

Kaumatua Pem Bird, the principal of Murupara School, says the iwi has banned patches and gang colours from the marae.

“You cannot be Ngati Manawa and be a gang member of gang sympathiser. Take your pick. You’re welcome back on if you make the right choice. If not, then accept the consequences of your actions. We‘re going as far as tangihanga in saying if you are a gang member belonging to my marae, you die, we’re not going to have you back on the marae, because the fact is they will bring in the hordes and endanger the wairua, the lives, our pakeke, We’re not going to have that,” Mr Bird says.

Ngati Manawa is holding a hui on Wednesday to encourage neighboring iwi to join in the rahui and ask the gangs to renounce violence and.


The Raukawa Trust Board has been honoured for its efforts to revitalise te reo Maori.

The south Waikato iwi picked up the Supreme Award, Te Tohu Huia Kaimanawa, at this year's Te Taura Whiri Maori Language Awards.

Charlie Tepana, the pouwhakahaere for Raukawa's reo team, says the priority of its Whakareia te Karaka o te Hinu Raukawa five year strategy is supporting marae, which are a barometer of the language.

“We're seeing every year the diminishing number of capable kaumatua speakers and the next generation following that kaumatua have very little fluency so we’re trying to put in place steps to ensure our marae will always have capable speakers and our kawa and tikanga, law and customs are forever upheld,” Mr Tepana says.

Language learning network Te Ataarangi and former Maori language commissioner Timoti Karetu were also honoured for their contributions.


A Waikato university scholar says it's vital to research traditional understanding of the Maori way of death before those with the knowledge die themselves.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku of the School of Maori and Pacific Development is heading a three year project which has won $950,000 in funding from the Royal Society of New Zealand and $250,000 from Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, the National Institute of Maori Research Excellence.

Professor Te Awekotuku says it will include recording the chants and karakia still actively performed at tangi by learned people.

“It is vital that while they are still with us we take the opportunity and request the privilege from them of extending our knowledge and of enriching the canon of actually learning more, reading between and behind the layers within those chant traditions,” Professor Te Awekotuku says.

While Maori talk about death all the time, there has been little formal research into tangi customs.


There are two new Maori faces in the All Blacks for the test squad which will face Japan, Britain and France.

Coach Graeme Henry picked Hawkes Bay winger Zac Guildford from Ngati Kahungunu and Wellington utility back Tamati Ellison for the six game tour.
That makes a total of nine Maori in the squad.

Ellison says his whanau's association with rugby dates back to great great uncle Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison, who captained New Zealand's first official rugby team on its tour of Australia in 1893.

Apart from making the ABs, one of his ambitions is to keep building his skill in te reo.


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