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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, December 07, 2009

IHI gearing up for long fight on local bodies

Organisers of a hui on Maori in local government are expecting a tough fight ahead.

Helen Te Hira from the Iwi Have Influence group says Friday’s hui was unhappy with the statutory Maori board proposed for the Auckland super city, and Maori will continue to push for seats at the council table.

She says the government has shown it intends to sideline Maori, so it’s important Maori unite to protect what they’ve already got an push for more.

“As Maori we know we don’t keep or attain things in this country without a struggle and without a fight. That fight can be on the streets or it can be in the boardroom. But it’s got to be done together and it’s got to be about strengthening each other individually,” Ms Te Hira says.

She says the invention of the Maori statutory body has worrying implications for local government throughout New Zealand.


Maori are taking more than their job skills with them when they head across the Tasman.

Paul Hamer from the Institute of Policy Studies says one in six Maori now live in Australia.

He says just over 6000 or 7 percent of the 93,000 Maori identified in the Australian census said they spoke Maori in the home.

“Often when people talk about skills they forget about other skills which are equally valuable to New Zealand and one of those is te reo Maori of course,” Mr Hamer says.

It will be harder for Maori speakers in Australia to maintain and pass the language on.


Meanwhile, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples want older Maori expatriates to come home.

He says reports one in six Maori now live in Australia are disturbing.

Dr Sharples says New Zealand is missing out on their talents, and on recent trips over the Tasman he’s been telling kaumatua their marae are crying out for them.

"Get your mokopuna and go home. Leave your kids there if they want to stay there. I am one who wants to come back to Aotearoa and build and support out people there. It’s sort of like they’ve escaped, and there’s a bit of a downturn for them now over there because of the recession but we do need our people back home,” Dr Sharples says.


Maori Television is again claiming the lead broadcaster title for the 2011 Rugby World cup.

Chief executive Jim Mather says the pending deal with the Rugby World Cup board will give the channel rights to show all 48 games, including 16 live broadcasts.

He says those 16 games will also be simulcast with a Maori commentary on the Te Reo Channel, with the commentary also going out on the iwi radio network.

He says the other free to air broadcasters, Television New Zealand and TV3, will also broadcast the games, so all New Zealanders should be able to watch the games.

“On our own we reach 90 percent of New Zealand through our UHF analogue transmission. Through the satellite transmission 100 percent but certainly having TVNZ, TV3 on board will guarantee 100 percent cover or as near to it as is possible,” Mr Mather says.

Following on from the three David Tua fights Maori Television will show this year, the World Cup coverage should make the channel more attractive to mainstream advertisers.


Maori party co-leader Pita Sharples has admitted the party isn’t meeting its members’ expectations of consultation before major policy decisions are made.

In the past MPs have used breaks between parliamentary sittings to get around the country and hold hui, but its support arrangement with National means the caucus is under huge pressure.

Dr Sharples says that has led to MPs flying on their own on issues like the emissions trading scheme, Accident Compensation changes and the super city.

“We’ve got to find a way of getting our people involved in the decision making. Some of the academics have kicked up about some of the decisions, say ETS, ACC, but the rank and file aren’t involved in that discussion and somehow we’ve got to find a way to channel the discussion back to them and the understanding so they know exactly what it’s about,” Dr Sharples says.

In hindsight the party could have dealt better with the furore over Hone Harawira’s trip to Paris and subsequent email, but he’s happy the Tai Tokerau MP is continuing with the party.


East Coast sports stars are working together to help local tamariki stay out of trouble.

Former New Zealand Maori captain Rua Tipoki, All Black Hosea Gear and boxer Shane Cameron hope their mentoring scheme will help build leaders of the future.

Tipoki, who has recently returned to Gisborne after playing in Europe, says his own background was similar to many troubled youngsters, being brought up by a solo dad in a low income part of town.

Rua Tipoki says it was only the presence of a couple of strong role models who stopped him becoming another crime statistic.

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