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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

President to guide through political shoals

Maori party president Whatarangi Winiata says a key role for his successor will keeping MPs true to the party's kaupapa.

Professor Winiata agreed to stay on for another year after delegates to the party’s annual conference failed to agree on a successor.

He says putting together a succession plan is now his highest priority, and the ideal would be younger person who can remind members inside and outside Parliament of the party’s core values.

“The members in the house are under a great deal of stress a lot of the time and it’s very easy for them and their thinking to be shaped, framed by those with whom they are in contact every day and those are the other 117 members who do not think about kaupapa Maori,” Professor Winiata says.

He says the Maori party needs to holds the balance of power so every piece of legislation needs its support to get passed.


Besieged Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says a passion to turn around Maori lives drives him rather than desire for personal wealth.

The Tainui descendant attracted fresh scrutiny after demanding an oath of allegiance from 700 male followers, including a suggestion he and wife Hannah be the recipient of spontaneous gifts.

Bishop Tamaki denies he is getting half a million dollars a year on top of his salary.

He says critics are jealous the church has turned around thousands of lives including drug addicts, gamblers, gang members and abusers of women and children.

“The first passion has always been Jesus Christ, that Jesus is he answer to all the problems of society, I honestly believe that. That’s the only permanent way people will change from the inside and have lasting results from their families and I think also Hannah and I have discovered over time that our call is related to our people, to Maori,” Mr Tamaki says.


Mixing marae styles with modern architecture won Gisborne firm Nicoll Blackburne two gongs at the Gisborne-Hawkes' Bay regional architecture awards.

The Maori Land Court’s new Gisborne offices and courtroom was a winner in the pubic architecture category, as was a sew senior school for Ngata Memorial College in Ruatoria.

James Blackburne, who worked on both designs, says the aim was to use suitable elements such as amo and raparapa.

The courthouse incorporated work by Tairawhiti artist Derek Lardelli,

“We suggested to Derek that it would be really good to use the windows, to put the artwork into those, where other buildings you might just commission the artist to create pieces of art that get hung on the walls or put on the ceiling, I wanted the artwork to become part of the building,” Mr Blackburne says.


Foreign exchange losses, a lack of tourists and the property market downturn are behind South Island tribe Ngai Tahu having a shocking financial year.

Ngai Tahu Holdings chair Trevor Burt says a fall in the iwi's operating surplus from $31 million to $18-point-five million in the past year is not a good look.

He says the reasons are similar to those experienced by many other businesses.

“We really got caught as a number of exporters did on currency movements so we had quite a significant exchange loss there, tourism numbers were down considerably as most tourism operators would have known and I suppose the third key contributor was in our property portfolio we basically did less property development, particularly in residential, than we had done in previous years,” Mr Burt says.

Ngai Tahu is optimistic about the current year after overhauling its foreign exchange hedging and with new property developments coming onto the market later in the year


Maori Anglican leader Whatarangi Winiata says some of the criticisms of Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki echo attacks on Ratana Church founder Tahupotiki Ratana … but there the comparison ends.

Bishop Tamaki is under fire for demanding a personal oath of allegiance from church members, and there’s accusations he’s living a lavish lifestyle on the donations of followers.

Professor Winiata says the sight of high profile Maori in religious settings has often caused discomfort in sections of Pakeha society, but there’s no evidence he’s the next Maori prophet.

“I haven’t heard any of his predictions abut the future, the kind of thing that Ratana did, and he’s a long way from having the kind of numbers that Ratana attracted and his style is very different, I wouldn’t say it was poverty that he presents to the country,” Professor Winiata says.

Ratana’s message of hope for dispossessed and impoverished Maori has stood the test of time, with the church still going strong almost a century after it was founded.


The first Maori showband to leave Aotearoa will this week be honoured with a star on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Maori High Fives started in Wellington in 1959, and took their brand of rock and roll, show tunes and musical comedy to Sydney the next year.

Musical director Kawana Pohe says it's a wonderful tribute from the town the band made its base when it arrived in the mid-60s.

Mr Pohe, who still lives in Nevada, says it was a time when the Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior were at their zenith, as well as the band's biggest hero, Louis Prima.

“We call Louis Prima the godfather of Maori showbands because everybody copied him but when we got here and played with the Sahara, both with Louis Prima and with Keely Smith, what do you do when you’re on the same bill with him and do Louis Prima stuff so you eventually develop your own style,” Mr Pohe says.

The unveiling of the star outside the New York casino hotel on Thursday will be followed by a concert tribute to the showbands, featuring the reunited High Fives, the Maori Volcanics, Rim D Paul from the Maori High Quins and others.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I get in touch with the High 5 today? If possible I would love to get an autographed picture of them for my Dad. In Jun 63, they were in England & he enjoyed their music. The autographed pic he has was from Lakenheath NCO Club 30 Jun 63. New autographed pic be a cool surprise for his birthday!

12:37 PM  

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