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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sharples to apologise for MTS bid secrecy

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples will apologise to the Prime Minister and deputy Prime Minister for keeping them in the dark about Maori Television's rugby world cup bid.

Pita Sharples says as a new Minister he was naive to not discuss his ministry's commitment of $3 million towards the bid for free to air broadcast rights.

“I should have discussed it in more detail. I did write a letter to Minister English and outlined the fact Maori TV was going to bid for it and TPK might be supporting them but the detailed conversation with the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister I did not and I regret that. But that’s me. I’ve only been a minister for a year and I’m still learning what you don’t do and I will apologise to them for that error,” Dr Sharples says.

Te Puni Kokiri is buying programming to encourage viewers to use Maori words and phrases, which will wrap around rugby broadcasts during the two years of build-up as well as the live games.


Meanwhile, National MP Tau Henare says he can see no benefit to Maori from Te Puni Kokori funding Maori Television's world cup bid.

The former Maori affairs minister says government money to help Maori should go on providing jobs, but the money going to MTS won't create one new job.

“It is absolutely wrong for the government to subsidise what is essentially a commercial bid. If you agree with this, then we are going to go back to the days of subsidising and subsidies just do not work. I think we will do more damage to MTS by allowing them to dip into the government putea every time they want to make a commercial decision,” Mr Henare says.

He is a big supporter of MTS.


Patrica Grace has made the shift into non-fiction to capture a story more strange than the stories she invents for her novels.

Ned & Katina: A True Love Story is being launched about now at Porirua's Pataka Museum to mark the start of this year's Maori Art Market.

The book is about the love between Ned Nathan and the woman he met as a Maori Battalion soldier in Crete, and whom he later brought home to the Hokianga settlement of Waimamaku.

Patricia Grace says when Ned and Katina's sons, Alex and Manos Nathan, asked her to write the story, she was intrigued by the letters and photographs they brought with them.

“I'd heard a little bt about the love story that is at the core of it. I knew Ned and Katina, not very well, but I had met them. I realized there was a lot more to it. There was a story of war and heroism and a full range of themes really,” she says.

Ned and Katina is published by Penguin.

And Manos Nathan is one of the featured artists at the Maori Market, which runs from tomorrow night until Sunday at Te Rauparaha Arena.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says Maori Television's bid for Rugby World Cup broadcast rights needs to be judged on its merits.

Te Puni Kokiri has committed to buy programming around the broadcasts, which gives MTS $3 million to put towards its bid.

Prime Minister John Key says if taxpayer money is involved, he expects Maori Television to ensure its free-to-view broadcasts can be seen nationwide.

Dr Sharples says MTS should have no trouble doing that.

“Maori Television's track record is brilliant in terms of producing nationwide coverage of things as well as worldwide so they cannot fault Maori on technology and expertise. If they do, then it’s a racist call,” Dr Sharples says.

He will apologise to John Key and fellow shareholding minister Bill English for not keeping them informed about the Maori Television bid.


Maori health needs in the south should be better served under a new governance model adopted by the Otago and Southland district health boards.

Tahu Potiki, a member of both boards, says representatives from iwi runanga will join a Maori subcommittee which can make funding decisions.

They will also serve on a Maori advisory group to the chief executive.
Mr Potiki says with a smaller Maori population, Maori health needs in the south are different than in other parts of the country.

“We've suffered a little from being carried along by national Maori health initiatives which have in some instances worked very well for us and in others painted with such a broad brush they miss some of the local needs,” Mr Potiki says.

The four DHB seats on the iwi governance subcommittee will include the boards' Maori members, so the weight of numbers will be favour Maori.


A national gathering of gay Maori has stressed the continuing importance of practicing safe sex in the face of record levels of HIV infection.

The Hui Takaatapui at Te Mahurehure Marae in Auckland over the weekend drew more than 150 people to talk about issues affecting gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender Maori.

The hui included a fashion show and a 'Tiki Toa' bus tour to parts of the city which feature in camp history.

Organiser Jordan Harris says it was a chance to emphasise healthy communities and healthy individuals.

“The rates of HIV are high among Pakeha and non-Maori in particular, Maori tend to have some of the lowest HIV rates. However, it’s still an issue for our community,” Mr Harris says.

Next year's Takataapui hui will be in Wellington.


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