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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Select committee tobacco inquiry starts

The Maori Affairs Select Committee kicked off its inquiry into the tobacco industry with a hearing in Rotorua today.

The inquiry is chaired by Nation's Tau Henare, but it came about through pressure from Maori Party MP Hone Harawira.

The Tai Tokerau MP says he has mixed emotions about the inquiry into an industry that leads to the death of more than 600 Maori a year.

“I'd rather have all of our people alive rather than have to go through this exercise but the tobacco giants don’t care that our people die from their products. They just want money. Someone’s got to do it and I’m glad it’s us, the Maori Affairs Select Committee. I’m looking forward to it,” Mr Harawira says.

He sees the inquiry as a step towards banning the sale of tobacco in New Zealand.


A new champion has emerged from the 50th Golden Shears.

26-year-old Cam Ferguson from Waipawa clipped his way to victory at Masterton over two-time winner Johnny Kirkpatrick and 17-time winner David Fagan, with Dion King 4th.

Commentator Koro Mullins says the win capped a great summer for the Te Aute Old Boy and shows he's got what it takes to compete at the highest level of the sport.

“When you're at that level it’s all a mid game and the young man, only 26, to step up in his first Golden Shear final, a lot of these guys have done 10, 12, 20 Golden Shears final, and for this man to step up to the plate and took it out, wonderful,” Mr Mullins says.

The win puts Ferguson into the New Zealand team heading to the world championships in Wales in July.


Ngati Rangiwewehi's first equal placing in the Te Arawa kapa haka regional championships held at Rotorua's Energy Events centre on Saturday gave an extra thrill to the event's co-ordinator.

As tutors, Trevor Maxwell and his late wife Atareta won two national titles with the Rotorua group.

This year the group is coached by his nephew, Dan Vaka, and it came back strongly after failing to make the cut to years ago.

Honours were shared with Te Maataarae i Orehu, whose total was boosted after a recount, with Tuhourangi - Ngati Wahiao, Nga Uri o te Whanoa and Manaia also through to represent the region at Te Matatini in Gisborne next February.

Mr Maxwell says he was touched by the tribute his old team paid to Atareta and him.

The Kahungunu region picks its Matatini contenders at Te Aute College next weekend.


Former ACT deputy leader Muriel Newman says Maori men are the problem ... but the government shouldn't create targeted programmes to address the problem,

Mrs Newman is sticking by her claims to the ACT Party conference that the National Maori party relationship has brought race relations to an all time low, and there's no way the Maori Party's flagship whanau ora policy should just be for Maori.

But she says Maori men have abandoned the whanau.

“If you look back at 1968, 72 percent of children born into Maori families had a mum and dad who were married and by 2008 that had dropped to 22 percent. That is actually a real issue I wish Maori leadership would address. It hasn’t changed like that for any other group in New Zealand,” Mrs Newman says.


The director of Maori anti smoking group Te Reo Marama, Shane Kawentata Bradbrook says today's start of the Maori Affair's Select Committee's investigation into the tobacco industry is a milestone.

The committee heard evidence in Rotorua today, and sits at Alexandra Park Raceway in Auckland on Wednesday and Thursday.

Mr Bradbrook says it will hear from people who lost parents to smoking-related diseases.

“It's an historic moment to not only take on the tobacco industry but also to get some parliamentary inquiry into tobacco and the consequences on Maori which has been devastating since the 1950s when governments around the world knew that there was a link between smoking and cancer,” says Mr Bradbrook, from Ngai Taamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Ngati Kahungunu.


There was a strong Maori flavour at Sydney's Parramatta Stadium over the weekend as Kiwi coach Steven Kearny and captain Benji Marshall led a roots camp for young players eligible to play for New Zealand.

Players from the under-20s National Junior, Jersey Flegg and S.G.Ball competitions mixed with established NRL stars Roy Assotasi and Nathan Cayless and legends Tawera Nika and Ruben Wiki.

New Zealand Rugby league football manager Tony Kemp says many of the emerging players were born in Australia to New Zealand parents, and they need to know the door is open for them to wear the Kiwi jersey.

The day was capped off with a hangi put by the Sydney under 16 rangatahi team, who are raising money to attend the national Maori tournament in Rotorua over Labour weekend.

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