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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Hide defends Maori appointment plan

Local government minister Rodney Hide is defending the final plan for Maori representation at Auckland super city.

The ACT leader resisted calls for dedicated iwi seats on the council because representatives would not be appointed rather than elected.

Now Cabinet has now approved a Maori statutory board to advise the council, with mana whenua iwi Ngati Whatua and Tainui controlling the appointments.

“Well there is going to be a process by which the local Maori will choose who will represent them and so they will be going through a process. It won’t necessarily be a voting process but there will be a mechanism overseen by the Minister of Maori Affairs by which they will be chosen,” Mr Hide says.

He says members of the super city council have to represent all of Auckland, while those on the statutory board will represent specific interest groups.


Meanwhile, Maori hoping to increase their influence in local government are meeting in Auckland today.

The hui at Unitec's at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae is hosted by the IHI or Iwi Have Influence group, which was formed to protest the exclusion of Maori from Auckland's super city council.

Member Rau Hoskins says it hasn't given up on guaranteed Maori representation.

“Looking at the whole breadth of different opportunities to increase Maori participation in local government and of course one of those should be through guaranteed representation on the super city. That has not come to pass as yet but we would hope there would be some support for some legislation in future that would look to move in that direction,” Mr Hoskins says.


Eight Maori world champions will be acknowledged at the Maori Sports Awards in Manukau tomorrow night.

Organiser Dick Garrett says Maori athletes are competing in a huge range of sports.

As well as their historic strength in rugby, league and netball, Maori players are making contributions to football and cricket. as well as having success in individual sports.

Among those being honoured will be action pistol shooting champion Tiffany Piper from Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Tuwharetoa.... and cage fighter James Te Huna, also from Tuwharetoa.

Other Maori world champions include woodchoppers Jason and Karmyn Wynyard, karate-ka Shayne Taupo, powerlifter Tohora Harawira, rower Storm Uru and wheelchair racer Matthew Lack.


Local government minister Rodney Hide says he expected criticism by iwi of his plans for a statutory board to represent Maori on the Auckland super city.

Mana whenua groups are considering boycotting the board, which Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua says is toothless and powerless.

Mr Hide says the super city council will need to interact with local Maori, so the government has come up with a mechanism to allow this.

“Now ultimately yes it’s true the council will be making the decisions, but that is as it should be because they are the people the people of Auckland have elected. You can’t suddenly overturn that democratic ideal and say here’s a bunch of people will make decisions, have the power but not be subject ot the discipline of getting us to vote for them,” Mr Hide says.

He worked closely with Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples on the board proposal, and he hopes over time other Maori will see its merits.


The author of a new history of Tuhoe says autonomy for the Urewera region is not a far fetched idea.

Judith Binney's Encircled Lands covers the tribe from 1820 to 1921, including the period of the rohe potae when the iwi was supposed to have self government within Te Urewera.

She says it remains a core element in the way Ngai Tuhoe see themselves, and it's sure to be part of the current treaty settlement negotiations.

“There is very clear evidence tracking through of the way in which they have consistently held for this and held this for a long period of time and I think it is reasonable they could develop a form of self government in negotiation which would not threaten any of us,” Professor Binney says.

Countries like Spain have shown it is possible to include regional self-government within a democratic national structure.


Hitting his mid-thirties is not slowing down a Maori champion.

Jason Wynyard... from Nga Puhi and Ngati Maniapoto... has won eight world titles in his 13 years as a professional axeman.

He says, unlike rugby and league, which tends to take a toll on the body, woodchoppers can still compete into their forties and fifties.

Both Jason and his wife Kamryn will be recognised as world champions at tomorrow's Maori Sports Awards at the Pacific Events Centre in Manukau.


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