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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lady Raiha Mahuta dies

As Waikato-Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan stood by the banks of the river today signing the agreement for joint management of the Waikato River with the Waikato District Council he felt a deep sense of sadness and loss.

His co-negotiator of the agreement between the iwi, Crown and local authorities, Lady Raiha Mahuta had died over-night.

Mr Morgan says he spoke to Lady Raiha yesterday and said he wanted to call the signing off until she was felling better but she said to go ahead because she had read the document and was happy.

“I stood there by myself and that’s a strange experience actually because for the past five years she’s been my constant companion and we’ve fought the fight together and to have her not there is hugely difficult to bear with,” Mr Morgan says.

He meet with Prime Minister John Key and treaty negotiations minister Chris Finlayson on Friday to see if the Waikato River Settlement Bill could be passed through parliament with urgency so that Lady Raiha could see the conclusion of the work she had fought tirelessly for in spite of having incurable cancer.

He says it is a source of great sadness that she will not see the conclusion of her work with the passing of the bill into law expected next month.

MORE MAORI MEN NEEDED IN TEACHING

School principal turned Labour Party MP Kelvin Davis says more Maori men are needed in the profession.

The Maori caucus of the Resource Teachers Learning & Behaviour Association is holding its Tama Tu Tama Ora hui hui at Wainuiomata this week to discuss the needs of Maori boys.

Mr Davis says Maori teachers are on that list of needs, and young men need to know that education can be the best adventure in town.

“We need to make teaching an attractive occupation, We need more Maori men in teaching. Let’s make sure the right people get the right training and then we will have the people there in the sector who will make a difference for our kids,” Mr Davis says.

Teachers need to be able to work well with boys and their whanau to raise achievement.

OLD HANDS BACK TO PICK LEAGUE TEAM

Tawera Nikau and Tony Iro have joined Howie Tamati to help select the Kiwi Rugby League team ahead of the Anzac Test in Melbourne in May.

As well as keeping a running tally on whose fit and in form for the Anzac Test and the Four Nations series later in the year they're also looking to the future.

Tawera Nikau was recently in Sydney with fellow Kiwis Ruben Wiki and Benji Marshall to talk to up and coming players.

The former Kiwi captain, who affiliates to Waikato Tainui, says the message was fairly simple, that they want them to play for the Kiwis

Tony Kemp and Darrell Williams have stepped aside as selectors after the completion of their two-year term.

LIFES WORK MOSTLY COMPLETE

Tainui kuia Lady Raiha Mahuta who died in the early hours of the morning was not a person to leave work undone.

Although suffering from incurable cancer, the wife of the late Tainui leader Sir Robert Mahutu worked tirelessly as a co-negotiator to conclude the Waikato River Settlement with the Crown and local authorities.

With co-negotiator Tukoroirangi Morgan she signed off procedures for settlement with the Crown earlier this month.

Then at 11 o'clock last night she put her signature to the agreement with the Waikato district council moving forward a vision she shared with Sir Robert to have authority over the river returned to Maori.

Tainui trust board member Taitimu Maipi says it was as if Lady Raiha could finally rest knowing her part of the work was done.

Mr Maipi says when the agreement was signed this afternoon with the Waikato district council no one would have been in any doubt of Lady Raiha's contribution.

TE IRIRANGI IDEAL NAME FOR EAST

An expert on the Maori history of East Auckland Pita Turei say the name Te Irirangi is totally appropriate for the area.

A group of residents in the Howick, Pakuranga and Botany area have called a public meeting on Friday night to muster opposition to the name recommended by the local government commission for the local board being set up as part of the Auckland super city.

Mr Turei says that Tara Te Irirangi was an important Ngai Tai rangatira who helped negotiate peace with Governor Grey in the 1850s.

He says those opposing his name are simply showing prejudice against Maori.

“And it's denial from Pakeha people who want to believe there is no Maori history in their area, and they want to believe that because they want to have no involvement with Maori in their areas,” Mr Turei says.

He says those calling the meeting are the same people who have opposed reconstruction of Te Whare o Torere which was torched four years ago.

PETERS PEEVED AT SHARPLES’ RUGBY GRIPE

The head of the Maori rugby board and the Maori representative on the NZRFU Wayne Peters is critical of Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples for not discussing his call for a Maori team to compete in the 2017 world cup before going public.

At a parliamentary luncheon he hosted last week to celebrate 100 years of Maori rugby Dr Sharples shocked those present by coming out strongly in favour of such a proposal and was critical of the NZRRU for not giving a high enough priority to Maori rugby.

NZRFU chairman Jock Hobbs was quick to rebuke both such suggestions, and Mr Peters says Dr Sharples should have addressed his issues to the NZRFU in advance of the meeting.

Mr Peters says he has been around rugby for too long to be embarrassed by statements such as Dr Sharples.

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