Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Whale Watch Kaikoura top of the world

Whale Watch Kaikoura is expecting huge spin-offs for the company, the town and the whole country from its win of one of the world's top tourism awards.

Judges of the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism awards praised the company, owned jointly by Ngai Tahu and Kaikoura hapu Ngati Kuri, for its journey from humble beginnings to becoming an internationally significant operator with whale watch ventures on both sides of the Tasman.

Speaking from London, chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapora says picking up the supreme award in front of 5000 operators from 200 countries was a humbling yet exciting experience.

“I did an interview with the BBC, the major sponsor of the event. They let me know it would be seen by round 100 million people. That type of exposure for our company is huge and it will have definite benefits for the company but also Kaikoura,” Mr Ngapora says.

Whale Watch Kaikoura is a nimble company will have no difficulty gearing up for any increase in visitor numbers.

PM KEEN TO MAINTAIN HARMONOUS RELATIONS POST HARAWIRA

The Prime Minister says it would be a tragedy if the controversy over Hone Harawira undermined race relations.

Maori Party officials and co-leader Pita Sharples met with the Tai Tokerau MP today to discuss his unauthorised trip to Paris and his sending of an expletive-filled email.

The hui was held at the marae associated with Te Rangi Aniwaniwa school set up by Mr Harawira and his wife.

John Key says he doesn't think the wider Maori party shares Mr Harawira's sentiments about whites raping land and ripping Maori off for centuries.

“One of the things you’ve had as a result of the relationship between the Maori Party and the National Party a very positive nationwide feeling we’re making improvements in race relations, not that they were historically bad, they ebb and flow a bit, but I think there’s real goodwill there and progress is being made and if people use this to somehow say this is an underlying view held by the Maori Party it would be a tragedy, because it's not,” Mr Key says.

He found Hone Harawira's comments to former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere offensive and unacceptable.

MP’S SHOOTING COMMENTS CROSSED LINE FOR HOROMIA

Labour Maori MP Parekura Horomia says Hone Harawira has crossed a line with his fellow parliamentarians in trying to defend his behaviour over his trip to Paris.

The Taitokerau MP has been meeting with Maori Party members in Kaitaia today to discuss his fate.

Mr Horomia says parliament can be a tough place, but members need to stop their arguments becoming personal.

He says when given chance on Radio Waatea to explain his actions, Mr Harawira instead used extreme language to attack on Phil Goff and other Labour MPs for bringing in the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“To try to distract the issue by turning back to the foreshore and seabed, Hone is just gutless doing that and saying we as Maori members should be shot, it’s just getting past common sense. He should go,” Mr Horomia says.

He says tensions between Mr Harawira and other Maori Party MPs are well known and the way the errant MP has been dealt with is a real test for the party leadership.

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ABSENT FROM VIOLENCE SYMPOSIUM

A researcher into Maori child abuse is disappointed at the absence of government agencies from a symposium on Maori violence.

The hui was organised by Te Pae o te Maramatanga, the centre for Maori research excellence,

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, says it was a chance to catch up on the latest thinking from Maori and other indigenous experts working in the field.

“Some of the really good research that goes on is not really heeded by the government, other than the minister, of Maori Affairs there were no government officials, policy writers, heads of department present at the hui. It’s hugely disappointing,” Mr Taonui says.

KAUPAPA MAORI DRUG CENTRE LOSES DHB FUNDING

One of the country's two kaupapa Maori residential drug and alcohol centres for young people is to close because of funding cuts.

Mere Balzer from Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa says the Hamilton urban Maori authority's 12-bed Rongo Atea unit has lost funding from the Taranaki and Lakes district health boards, as well as one of its two contracts with its main funder, the Waikato DHB.

She says no explanation was given, and believes racial attitudes are to blame.

“I just have to come to the conclusion that it’s because we are Maori kids going in there that people don’t seem to care and I’m talking about the funders here because they know that we make a difference, they know that we have a good service here. We’ve got something like a 53 percent graduation rate. For an addiction service, that is really really good odds,” Ms Balzer says.

The centre has been told it can apply for funding from the Government's "Fresh Start" youth justice initiative after April, but its doors will be closed by then and the staff would be almost impossible to replace.

ANDERTON ENDORSES KAPAPA THRUST

Meanwhile, the politician who headed the last government's drug policies is hailing kaupapa approaches to fighting substance abuse.

In a speech prepared for the Community Action on Youth and Drugs national hui on the east coast this week, Jim Anderton said thousands of lives are being turned around by Maori methods.

He says while P is getting the headlines, last year less than 10 deaths were attributed to methamphetamine abuse.

Alcohol kills more than a thousand people a year, and smoking kills 5000.

Mr Anderton says the CAYAD approach is particularly effective tackling alcohol problems in rural Maori areas.

“We have a significant number of Maori workers committed to this task and I must say they are a magnificent bunch of people who do tremendous work over a long period of time.” Mr Anderton says.

He says increasing funding for the CAYAD programmes was one of the best things he did in Government.

PAUL HENARE INTO THIRD CENTURY OF BREAKERS GAMES

Veteran point guard Paul Henare gets another chance tonight to prove what a valuable asset he is to the Breakers basketball franchise.

The team takes on NBL competition leaders Perth at the North Shore Events Centre.

Commentator Te Arahi Maihi says the continued unavailability of crack shooter Kirk Penney and a midweek sacking of American import Awvee Storey makes the former international's contribution off the bench that much more vital.

“He's a foundation player. Last week he played his 200th game and he still has a huge impact both on and off the court. On the court he’s a tenacious defender. He’s a leader. Some might rate him the kaumatua of the team but he’s still contributing night after night for the Breakers,” Mr Maipi says.

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