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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Historian Don Stafford honoured in death by iwi

Rotorua civic leader Trevor Maxwell from Ngati Rangiwewehi says the people of Te Arawa owe a huge debt of gratitude to historian Don Stafford, who died yesterady in Rotorua.

Mr Maxwell says many older whanau remember how as a young man Mr Stafford would spend countless hours with the old Maori men of the day, learning te reo and picking up on old tribal stories and history.

His interest resulted in 23 books, almost entirely on Te Arawa history.

“Over the years he’s been for us like a walking encyclopaedia. He just had a passion for the Te Arawa stories. He might have been born a Pakeha but he truly was one of our Te Arawa sons,” Mr Maxwell says.

Te Arawa requested Mr Stafford lie for 2 nights at Te Papai I Ouru at Ohinemtu. His service will be on Friday at neighbouring St Faith's church where he was a parishioner for many years.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the Government's three strikes bill will make bad law.

An analysis of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill by Auckland university law lecturer Richard Ekins found it will discriminate against Maori because of the type of crimes covered.

Mr Goff says there is enough scope in current law for judges to punish serious offending and the parole board to treat prisoners appropriately.

He says the bill, which was put up by the ACT Party and extensively embellished by National, is all about political rhetoric.

“Not much impact but where it does have impact, perhaps undesirable removal of flexibility I think adds up to bad law. The truth is the law does provide right now for the worst of those offenders who constitute a risk to the public to be kept locked away and that’s the way it should be,” Mr Goff says.

He says at the same time it's creating more Maori prisoners, the Government is doing away with effective Maori focused rehabilitation programmes like Te Hurihanga in Hamilton.


Maori surfers in Taranaki fear a surfing dream-team will expose their prime spots to world view.

The 17-strong international team is in the area as part of the 2010 TSB Bank women's surf festival which starting in New Plymouth on Saturday.

Wharehoka Wano from Ngati Te Whiti says the hapu has lent its support to the event, but some of the surfers are concerned it may inspire other surfers from around the world to seek out the west coast breaks like Stent Rd and Rocky Points on Paora Rd.

Mr Wano says the surfing community mixes well with Maori in the region and it is important the relationship is maintained.


Organisers of the first East Coast traditional kai festival are thrilled by response to Saturday's event at Ruatoria.

The festival was driven by a new mana tane group which is encouraging the reestablishment of maara kai or vegetable gardens in the region.

Member Rob Thompson says local entertainers donated their time and prices were set low so everyone could go away with fresh and cooked meats, fish and garden fresh veges.

Next year's festival will be at Te Araroa.


Maori are almost twice as likely as Pakeha to be dissatisfied with that their quality of life.

A nationwide survey of just over 1000 people by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development found that 22 percent of Maori rated their quality of life as fair or poor compared to 12 percent of pakeha.

Chief executive Peter Neilson says this is not surprising as the recession has hit Maori disproportionately hard.

He says low incomes, overcrowded housing and other factors could contribute to that dissatisfaction.

There were few Maori in the $200,000 a year income group, who all rated their quality of life as excellent or very good.


The Hawkes Bay Maori Tourism Trust has gone street level, opening an information and booking office on Napier's Marine Parade.

Kaumatua Tom Mulligan says it's a place for visitors to find out the stories and culture of Ngati Kahungunu.

He says it will also be used to promote the area to visitors to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The centre has room for exhibitions, with the opening show coming from students of Te Wananga o Aotearoa's Toimairangi contemporary Maori Visual Arts programme in Hastings.


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