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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Waitangi kaitiaki not keen on political flag

A guardian of Waitangi Marae is objecting to the tino rangatiratanga flag flying on his marae next Waitangi Day.

Kingi Taurua says many in the north would be unwilling to see it hoisted over the 1835 United Tribes flag.

He says the flag chosen by the Government as the official Maori flag is in fact a flag the Maori Party picked up from the Kawariki protest movement.

“If that flag is going to fly anywhere, because it’s a political flag, what is stopping National or Labour or Act or any of the political parties from asking to fly their flag also on that particular occasion. It is not a tino rangatiratanga flag when it is used by the Maori Party as a political flag,” Mr Taurua says.

The consultation process over the flag was tainted because the Maori Party aggressively flew its flag at every hui.


Labour leader Phil Goff says dropping the TVNZ charter will undermine the broadcaster's commitment to covering Maori issues.

He says the move by Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman is a move to soften the public for privatisation.

Mr Goff says the charter did not deliver on Labour's hopes for better current affairs and Maori coverage, but its removal will guarantee the situation will get worse.

“I would like to see mainstream public tv having more of a mainstream public broadcast role in terms of promoting debate about current affairs is in terms of representation of issues such as issues in Maoridom. We haven’t seen that and we’re bound not to see it with the removal of the charter requirements,” Mr Goff says.

New Zealanders are entitled to expect more out of a television channel they own.


Murupara school principal Pem Bird is claiming a double standard over te reo Maori exams.

He says students can sit the NCEA exam with questions either in English or Maori ... for the same marks.

He says doing the test entirely in te reo is far more difficult, and the 16-member Nga Kura iwi o Aotearoa group has asked Education Minister Anne Tolley to act.

“You cannot have a double standard in Maori so she will do her research, get some work done, to bear out what we are saying here,” Mr Bird says.

The issue needs to be sorted before students sign up for for next year's courses.


Former Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels says the Maori Party has conned the Government into supporting an extreme agenda with its choice of a Maori flag.

The Prime Minister, John Key, yesterday announced the red and black tino rangatiratanga flag will become the national Maori flag and fly from government sites on Waitangi Day.

Mr Key says the move recognises "the partnership the Crown and Maori entered into when signing the Treaty of Waitangi."

But Mr Samuels says the flag will always be associated with the Kawariki protest group.

“Tino rangatiratanga means absolute sovereignty. Well for those people who want to advocate that, and associate themselves with a flag that clearly indicates that perspective, then that is their privilege but for the Prime Minister to come out and say this will advance race relations is actually cultural claptrap,” Mr Samuels says.


And while the flags are flying, Labour leader Phil Goff says stripping dedicated Maori seats from polytechnic councils shows the government's real agenda is to marginalise tangata whenua.

He says Maori are already hard hit by an 80 percent cut in funding for adult education which has spelt the end for the majority of night classes.

The Polytechnic bill now before Parliament will further strip Maori of the chance to influence the educational choices available to their rangatahi.

“Taking Maori representation off our polytechnics is going to contribute to the problem that we’ve got which is not enough young Maori people aspiring to and going on to taking advantage of tertiary education,” Mr
Mr Goff says.

Taking Maori representation away from polytechnics will simply add to the problems young Maori are facing not lessen them.


The Stroke Foundation says Northland Maori communities losing kaumatua and kuia to the condition at an alarming and needless rate.

It says because of the region's high Maori population and high poverty levels, Northlanders are twice as likely to have high blood pressure as the national average.

Regional manager Rex Paddy says eating healthier food, stopping smoking and other life style changes can reduce the risk of stroke.

“You can get people who are a core part of those communities suddenly taken out by stroke. If it doesn’t kill them, it makes them difficult for them to continue in the leading role they had, so it can be devastating,” Paddy says.

Maori communities often felt abandoned by the health services because of an almost total lack of rehabilitation help available to whanau looking after stroke victims.


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