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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Goff looking for right message

Labour leader Phil Goff acknowledges he has work to do among Maori after a poll found the party's support is rising but his own is falling.

The Te Karere Digipoll showed Labour gaining 12 points since November to draw level with the Maori Party, which dropped 10 points.

Mr Goff says it's a good result, but he's disappointed only 5 percent of Maori named him as their preferred prime minister.

“When I go out this year and talk abut how miserable the 25 cents an hour increase in the minimum wage was, when I talk about how we need to reverse the doubling of Maori unemployment in the last year, I would I hope I would find an audience in Maoridom who say yes, those are thing things that are important to us,” Mr Goff says.


The Race relations commissioner says any review of New Zealand's constitutional arrangement needs to take into consideration the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of indigenous Peoples - and that means giving proper recognition to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Joris de Bres says the agreement between the Maori Party and the National Party for a constitutional review this year will reopen debate about entrenching the treaty.

He says even though New Zealand has not adopted the UN declaration, it can't ignore the human rights spelled out in the document.

“One of the things they emphasise is the recognition of treaties so I guess in a way we’re drawing on that as well as on the UN bodies including the UN Human Rights Council which last year called for constitutional recognition of the treaty,” Mr de Bres says.


Forget cricket, tennis and softball ... gridiron is the new summer sport for Maori and Pacific Island teenagers in West Auckland.

The Waitakere Typhoons' under-19 team has qualified for the Auckland finals, in just its first year in the competition.

The Typhoons' under-16 side will also make its final if it beats the South Auckland Raiders next weekend.

Michael Mau'u, who coaches both sides, says they're drawing on rugby and league talent in the area, especially from Kelston Boys High.

He says there's potential for Maori and Pacific Island players to do well in the American code, which already has a disproportionate number of American Samoan player in NFL ranks.


Managers of a Hamilton rehabilition programme says young Maori are the ones who will be most affected by its axing.

The Government says Te Hurihanga, an intensive live-in programme, is too expensive.

Cath Handley from the Young Horizons Trust says Maori males make up 90 percent of the participants.

She says Te Hurihanga's whanau-based approach was expensive but effective in breaking a pattern of offending which long term will cost society dearly.

“Part of restoring young people’s self esteem and getting them engaged is getting them to understand who they are and give them pride in who they are and that particularly relates to young Maori so we have a particularly strong cultural component,” Ms Handley says.

The two-year old programme cost about $160,000 for each participant, not the $600 thousand plus the Government is claiming.


Te Ohu Kaimoana predicts it will run at a deficit this year as it completes its task of allocating Maori fisheries settlement assets to iwi.

At its annual meeting in Auckland over the weekend the trust reported its operating revenue dropped almost $2 million from $11.9 to $9.9 million, and projected income will fall below $7 million this year.

Fred Cookson, the chair of the trust's audit and risk committee, says the amount earned from the sale of annual catch entitlements is falling as quota is handed over iwi, and investment earning are also dropping because of lower bond rates.

He says Te Ohu Kaimoana is in a transitional phase.

“We've relocated to one floor of the building we are in, we’ve rationalized the operations to focus on what’s efficient for us getting the allocation completed, also into the next phase of what might be our existence, so that’s meant changes an that’s meant committing transitional costs that will put us into a deficit,” Mr Cookson says.

Te Ohu Kaimoana had allocated more than 80 percent of fisheries settlement assets to iwi, worth more then $480 million.


The Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre has been asked to take part in a festival of sacred arts in India next month.

Director Tama Huata says the longstanding Hawkes Bay kapa haka, which is an offshoot of his Maori performing arts academy, has two troupes or the road most of the year, one based in North America and the other touring New Zealand schools.

He says over the past 20 years it has developed a range of items which will be suitable for perfoming in Delhi.

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