Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 22, 2010

Style clash means Vitali not so vital

The chair of Auckland Museum's taumata says chief executive Vanda Vitali had outlasted her usefulness to the institution.

Dr Vitali has resigned after a break down in relations with the museum's governing board.

Martin Mariassouce says the taumata, which advises on how taonga Maori should be stored and presented, found the Canadian to be a forthright advocate for her opinion.

He says Dr Vitali was brought in three years ago against a background of the museum's funders wanting to cut spending in the wake of a successful rebuilding programme.

“There needed to be a shift and I guess at that time Vanda was probably the right person to create those shifts. There was a style that was useful for probably a good six months but I don’t think the style changed so personal reflection, I think there was a style clash between the trust board and its chief executive and therein lies the tension,” Mr Mariassouce says.

He hopes the museum's future leader will have an Aotearoa flavour with Maori aspirations, but the choice could be complicated by changes in the museum's governance brought about by the shift to a super city.


Maori Party MP Rahui Katene is demanding Labour's Shane Jones resign for his criticism of Pita Sharples race relations day speech yesterday.

Mr Jones attacked the Maori Party co-leader's suggestion one man one vote was not the best model of democracy for the Auckland super city.

Mrs Katene says as a list MP Mr Jones is the beneficiary of a two vote system.

“If Shane doesn’t like the idea of one person two votes then he should resign. It’s being hypocritical if he doesn't,” she says.

But Shane Jones says he has no intention of resigning.

He says Dr Sharples weakened the case for Maori representation on the super city by pushing for a tribally-based mana whenua model, rather than using the Maori roll ... and he's now whining because he got rolled by ACT's Rodney Hide.

“The democratic system cannot and will not absorb special places in the voting system for people on the basis of the tribe they belong to. All Maori ought to be entitled to be on the Maori seats and vote. And that was the case in the super city model we proposed – two seats based on the Maori roll so you had a very inclusive approach. I don’t like this business that the mana whenua have a special seat,” Mr Jones says.

He says Rahui Katene is making giant leaps of logic backwards.


A lawyer acting for Ruatoki residents says Justice Minister Simon Power used misdirection to avoid proper scrutiny of police actions in the Operation Eight terror raid on Ruatoki in 2007.

Mr Power told the United Nations Human Rights Committee review of New Zealand that the charges involved intent to commit violent actions toward creating a sense of terror among the citizens of New Zealand.

Eighteen people face a variety of weapons charges, but Peter Williams QC says the solicitor general ruled out charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act because of lack of evidence.

He says the complaint to the UN committee was not about those arrested but about Tuhoe people caught up in the raid.

“The real grievances that I am talking about are the peaceful law abiding people when there was a large contingent of heavily armed police that went through their town, searched premises and unlawfully detained people while those searches were being carried out,” Mr Williams says.

He fears Simon Power will use hysteria over the terror raids to legalise the illegal methods the police used in Operation Eight.


Government plans to open conservation land in the Coromandel to mining could conflict with treaty claims.

Leanne Ngamane, the Hauraki Trust Board's resource manager, says more than 70 percent of the land the iwi is claiming is owned by the Department of Conservation.

“It is ironic that those stewardship by lands that perhaps may be targeted by the government in relation to mining may also be the same lands that may actually be when we come out of negotiations be available for treaty settlements,” Mrs Ngamane says.

While Maori in the area have been opposed to gold mining in the past, some whanau do have mining interests so the board will be have to weigh any proposals carefully.


Resource teachers are meeting in Wainuiomata this week to look at ways to lift the achievement of Maori boys at both kura and mainstream schools.

Organiser Jakie West says the Resource Teachers Learning & Behaviour's Maori caucus Tama Tu Tama Ora hui will give the teachers a chance to share what works in their regions, and take on board the latest research.

She says teachers are tired of the negative statistics.

“Tama tu tama ora means boys standing strong, living well. That’s what we’re doing. We’re calling. He karanga tenei. This is a call not only for RTLB Maori but for Maori education professionals who want to do something about it,” Ms West says.

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