Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rugby apology needs action to encourage code

Former governor general Sir Paul Reeves says the New Zealand Rugby Football Union must face up to years of neglect of Maori rugby.

The Te Atiawa elder says last week’s apology to Maori players excluded from All Black tours to South Africa between the 1920s and 1960s needs to be repeated on a marae as part of a hui designed to take Maori rugby forward.

He says Maori rugby brings a unique flavour to the New Zealand game, which the union fails to recognise.

“Let’s find ways of positively encouraging it and developing it on an ongoing basis and these people of course will pay in Super 14 and play in cluyb matches a d provincial matches as well but there will be this added streand which is distinctly Maori rugby teams promoted by the rugby union,” Sir Paul says.


John Key’s veto of part of the Tuhoe settlement could deter other iwi from attempting to negotiate treaty settlements with the current government.

The Prime Minister ruled out returning title to Te Urewera National Park to the iwi, casting doubt on whether agreement could be reached after 18 months of negotiation.

Treaty consultant Willie Te Aho says his Ngati Ranginui iwi face similar issues, where they will be asking the Crown to return land confiscated in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“It is about waiting. It is abut the politics of the time and that’s the beauty of Maori that although we want to get just and durable settlements, the reality is we’ve waited over 150 years and governments come and go and if it means waiting for the right political environment, then so be it,” Mr Te Aho says.


The Maori manager for Pharmac says having Maori voices on the medicines funding agency is important in improving Maori health status.

The agency is seeking Maori nominations for its consumer advisory committee.

Marama Parore says the three Maori selected will need good networks into Maori communities and strong advocacy skills.

She says the data shows Maori aren’t making optimal use of the medicines available, and the advisory committee can help Pharmac come up with ways to overcome that.

“Statin medicine is a classic. It’s for lowering cholesterol. Our men are not getting access to that medication at the same rate as other people and our men die 10- to 14 years younger from heart disease than any other men in this country. Now I‘m not saying a pill is going to fix that, but it’s part of the fix, there is no doubt, and they need to be getting what they are entitled to,” Ms Parore says.

Nominations close at the end of the month.


The author of rugby history Beneath the Maori Moon wants to see the Rugby Union make Maori rugby a priority.

Malcolm Mulholland says last week’s apology from the NZFRU to all those Maori players denied a place on All Black teams touring South Africa was welcome but far too late.

He says now the administrators need to ensure Maori rugby gets more support and quality fixtures.

“Are we going to see at least one fixture a season against an international side? Are we going to see an international tour in a couple of years? To give some substance and commitment to Maori rugby, they need to look at what is the big picture and to make that public and stick to it,” Mr Mulholland says.

He is organising a hui at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae in Gisborne to give the rugby union an opportunity to apologise face to face to the families of Maori All Blacks who were denied the chance to tour South Africa.


An East Coast Maori organic grower is welcoming a boost to a scheme which pays marae to put in vegetable gardens.

Maori Affairs Mijister Pita Sharples says he’s putting a further half million dollars into the Mara Kai scheme, coming out of Te Puni Kokiri’s baseline budget.

Since October more than 200 marae have picked up the $2000 grants to buy tools and plants.

Rob Thompson says the idea is taking off, and people are relearning how to grow food for the home as well as the marae.


Meanwhile, marae are also being urged to offer fitness classes.

Waikato-based fitness instructor Ninakaye Taanetinirau says many Maori are put off by the cost of gyms and their preconceptions about what they are like.

She says disciplines like Pilates and yoga can easily be adapted to a marae setting, and some instructors are already doing this, working on the Maori preference for working in groups.

Marae exercise programmes could be a way to tackle common problems in Maori communities like diabetes and heart illness.


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