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Friday, April 23, 2010

Winiata calms fears on declaration

Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata says people should not fear the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be abused by Maori.

Professor Winiata says like the Treaty of Waitangi, the declaration affirmed by the government this week will contribute to the richness of New Zealand's race relations.

He says the aspirational document is likely to affect the way laws are made and interpreted, but it won't be used as a stick.

“ We don't have any reason to be afraid that there will be any attempts to abuse it or that any attempts that are made will be dealt with so that the misuse doesn't occur,” Professor Winiata says.

National's support for the declaration has enhanced the relationship with the Maori Party.

SMOKING LINK TO MAORI SUDDEN INFANT DEATH DECRIED

A spokesperson for Maori SIDS says smoking is probably the largest single cause of sudden infant deaths among Maori.

Herena Te Wano says that's why her organisation presented the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry with 60 pairs of baby booties, representing the children who die every year of SIDS.

She says while bed sharing is a factor in the disproportionately high rate of SIDS among Maori, smoking during pregnancy or after greatly compounds the risk.

“We don't counsel against bed sharing. However, when a mother has smoked during pregnancy, we advise they should choose a safer option to sleep their baby away from them either in a cot, a basinet or a wahakura which is a flax bassinet for babies aged from zero to six months,” Ms Te Wano says.

Maori SIDS would support a ban on the sale of tobacco products, but would also like to see more education programmes targeted at Maori.

NAZAC OBSERVANCES SHAPE HOROMIA

Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says as the number of Maori World War 2 veterans continues to decline, more attention should be paid the needs of Maori soldiers from subsequent military actions.

Mr Horomia plans to make his annual Anzac Day pilgrimage on Sunday starting at the dawn parade near his Tolaga Bay home and taking in commemoration events in Gisborne, Wairoa and Hawkes Bay.

He says since attending his first parade as a child, he's embraced the annual ritual of acknowledging the sacrifices of his forbears, and now his contemporaries.

DIRT LOGIC DIFFERENTIATOR FOR NATIONAL

Leading Maori Party member Derek Fox believes the Government has affirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a way to differentiate itself from Labour.

Mr Fox says the decision to reverse the previous Labour government's vote against the document shows the merits of the Maori Party's decision to support National.

But that support alone wouldn't be enough for such a major shift in New Zealand foreign policy.

“It would be nice to say that yes, it was entirely because of the Maori Party that National has gone along with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples but National too needs to demonstrate a point of difference between it and Labour. The DRIP is part of that,” Mr Fox says.

After the election, he told his Maori Party colleagues they had 18 months to produce tangible benefits for Maori, and the declaration can be counted as such a benefit.

MAORI DOCUMENTARIES FOR FREE ONLINE AT NZ ON SCREEN

On-line audiences can watch a wide selection of Maori films as part of NZ On Screen's free ANZAC collection.

Irene Gardiner, the content director of the New Zealand on Air-funded service, says Maori-themed movies and documentaries were some of the most popular items in last year's ANZAC collection.

She expects strong interest again for documentaries about Victoria Cross winners Willie Apiata and Te Moananui a Kiwa Ngarimu, RNZAF pilot John Pohe, who plotted the legendary Great Escape from Stalag Luft, and Tainui Stevens' Maori Battalion March to Victory.

Taika Waititi's short film Tama Tu is also available on the site nzonscreen.com

SONG COMPOSED TO HONOUR BATTALION MEMBERS

Meanwhile, a London-based Maori singer sopngwriter hopes a song he composed to honour his grandfather's service in the 28 Maori Battallion will strike a chord with other soldiers' descendants.

Jayson Norris, who hails from Kaitaia, is back for a promotional tour.

He says his late koro Charlie never spoke much about the war, but the song Freedom to Live speaks of the bravery of those who served.

He's honoured Freedom to Live was chosen by 28 Maori Battalion Association as a tribute song to play at their Crete and Greece ceremony next month.

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