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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 13, 2009

Harawira supporters there for long haul

A Maori Party stalwart says Hone Harawira's Taitokerau constituents are giving the MP overwhelming support.

Rotorua lawyer Annette Sykes says yesterday meeting, which was closed to Pakeha journalists, was unhappy with the suggestion by party president Whatarangi Winiata that the long time protest leader quit the party and become an independent.

She says before the party hierarchy arrived at the hui, the electorate council had adopted resolutions charting a way out of the crisis, including that the party should accept Mr Harawira's apology for using racial terms and expletives in an email.

“What his people are saying is Hone is not an embarrassment. He is a proud fighter for their rights. Ordinary mums and dads, nannies and koros, rangatahi who are proud to be part of the Maori party which enables a leader who they have treasured to put the issues that they want forward,” Ms Sykes says.

Under the party's constitution the Tai Tokerau electorate council should be ultimately responsible for Mr Harawira's fate.


The Institute of Chartered Accountants has named a specialist in Maori business its outstanding new member.

Leon Wijohn from Te Rarawa, Tuhoe, Ngai Tahu and Ngati Whaoa beat out four other finalists for the coveted award, which is open to accountants who have been qualified for less than 5 years.

He says once the historical settlement process is completed Maori could control up to a quarter of the New Zealand economy.

But with less than two percent of accountants with Maori whakapapa, there's a great need to encourage more into the profession.

“Probably half of them have connections back to their hapu and their iwi so there’s a huge need for us to get out there and try and get students to think of accounting as a profession and try to get people that are at universities to think about accounting because of the need we have now and the need we’re going to have in the next 10 years,” he says.

The Outstanding New Member Award earned Leon Wijon $38,000 in prizes including a new car and an overseas holiday.


This weekend's Maori music awards in Hastings will celebrate the impact Maori have on New Zealand music.

Organiser Tama Huata says it's a chance acknowledge musical expertise and help shape future directions for Maori in the industry.

A symposium today included discussion of traditional and modern composition as well as a panel of artists and industry representatives.

Mr Huata says the awards make up for the paucity of Maori music in mainstream awards, and show the range of music from waiata to hip hop to rap and R&B.
Tama Huata.

Tomorrow's programme at the Hawkes Bay Opera House Plaza includes performances during the day by artists including Maisey Rika, Smashproof and Te Huaki Puanakai, with the awards ceremony in the evening.


Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua is angry an organisation chart for the new super city relegates Maori relations to a third tier manager.

Ngarimu Blair, a Ngati Whatua o Orakei trustee, says it's a massive step backward after generations of effort to treaty build partnerships with the soon-to-be-disestablished Auckland city Council.

He says the discussion document released by Auckland Transition Agency executive chair, Mark Ford is an insult to the rengion's mana whenua iwi.

“We're probably for some tribes worse off than what they’ve currently got and we’re certainly under Ngati Whatua no better under this proposal by the ATA than where we’re at now and so one wonders what was the whole point of this about trying to make Auckland greater and more unified. It certainly hasn’t brought in Maori,” Mr Blair says.

He says the document from the Auckland Transition Agency illustrates the kind of institutional racism Ngati Whatau has come up against as it tries to build treaty-based relationships.


A small team from Te Papa is flying out for Europe tonight to bring home the remains of 33 Maori from museums in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Sweden.

The skeletal remains or koiwi tangata include four tattooed preserved heads known as toi moko.

Acting chief executive Michelle Hippolite says the return of the tupuna follows the successful repatriation of 45 ancestral remains from the UK two years ago.

She says Te Papa has spent six years negotiating the return of the koiwi tangata and toi moko.

“It's not appropriate for tupuna to be on display in museums, In the UK there are very few museums now where you see toi moko on display,” Ms Hippolite says.

The tupuna will be welcomed back with a powhiri at Te Papa at the end of the month, and they will eventually be returned to the iwi they came from.


The carver of a 9 metre waharoa to be unveiled in Taupo at first light tomorrow wants it to be a unifying force in the community.

The carving, commissioned by Contact Energy to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Wairakei power project, tells the history of the region and geothermal energy's part in it.

Delanie Brown says he incorporated the words of his Tuwharetoa ancestors into the totara work, including the story about the ancestor who called geothermal activity into being.

The waharoa at the entrance to the cenotaph has involved Maori, the Taupo district council, the RSA, religious faiths and Contact Energy.


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