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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Declaration creep good news to Maori Party

Maori party president Whatarangi Winiata is welcoming the prediction by a former Waitangi Tribunal chairperson that the principles of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will find their way in time into New Zealand law.

Sir Taihakurei Durie made the comment in a private letter of congratulation to Maori Party MPs, which was read in Parliament by Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira.

The retired judge declined to comment further.

Professor Winiata says Sir Taihakurei is reminding people what happened with the status of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“It has no standing in the law except for those parts of the law where reference has been made to it and there are few. Nonetheless it has great standing among the people of this country and he’s saying we can expect the declaration will in due course find it is on the same track,” Professor Winiata says.

This week's affirmation of the declaration has greatly improved relations between the Maori and National Parties.


The design for the grounds of an Otara Maori immersion school has won Mike Thomas from Jasmax two awards in this year's New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects pride of place landscape awards.

Judges praised the strongly Maori design character that enhances the Te Whanau o Tupuranga's sense of community and place.

Mr Thomas says he consulted with local iwi on stories which were incorporated into paving patterns.

The design needed to tie together the vaious old and new buildings in the school complex, as well as include space for food gardens.


A former Samoan rugby representative wants to know what support Maori and Polynesian players need when they finish their professional rugby careers.

Tuapuai Fa'amalua Tipi now lectures in critical studies at Auckland University's faculty of education.

He's interviewing 70 recently-retired players for a report which could have implications for the way clubs and national squads manage their players in future.

Tapuai Fa'amalua Tipi says many Maori and Polynesian players spend their career earnings on benefits for their wider families and neglect their own future fortunes.


Two time Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate Derek Fox says there is little chance he will put his name forward again to stand for Parliament.

The broadcaster and Mana magazine editor and former Wairoa mayor lost to Parekura Horomia by 695 votes when he stood as an independent in 1999, and by 1645 votes as a Maori Party candidate last election.

He says the problem is funding rather than lack of political fire.

“It's a very costly thing to do as an individual very demanding of your time, and I think I still own my bank money from the first time I ran in 1999 so I am unlikely to run again. I just can’t afford it,” Mr Fox says.


The country's doctors want an additional tax on tobacco to encourage people to stop smoking.

The president of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Harry Pert, has told the Maori Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the tobacco industry that such a tax would hit hardest on low income earners, and in particular Maori and Pacific smokers.

But he says any short term pain would be worth the long term gain.

“Price is a very effective way of reducing tobacco consumption. There is a lot of evidence for this so it isn’t just us flying a kite here. There is evidence that particularly for vulnerable communities, if the price is increased, people will spend much more time considering stopping and getting involved in smoking cessation,” Dr Pert says.

He says money raised from the tax could go towards extra smoking cessation programmes targeting low income earners and Maori and Pacific islanders.


St Josephs Maori girls college student Sarah Te Aho says young people could be doing more to look after their environment.

The young conservationist attended last week's Sir Peter Blake Youth Environment Forum in Wellington, where she highlighted the problems caused by litter at the beach near her home at Waimarama in the Hawkes Bay.

She says her school environment group encourages other students to not leave their mess for others.

She's keen to pursue a career in environment management.

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