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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Perception and reality meet at tide line

Labour leader Phil Goff says reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act could cost the Maori Party votes once its supporters realise they've been had.

Mr Goff says the so called agreement between National and the Maori Party to let Maori go to the High Court to prove customary title is just two sides posturing to save political face.

He says perceptions need to line up with reality at same stage.

“When they don't, then people both feel angry because they haven’t got what they wanted, and feel angry that the wool has been pulled over their eyes and people don’t know what the difference between Crown ownership and public space is because there is no difference, they know that the same criteria for customary rights will apply as applied before the courts for decades and actually was being applied in the negotiations between iwi and the Crown under the existing act,” Mr Goff says.

NURSES’ STORIES ENLIVEN HISTORY BOOK

The author of a book celebrating a hundred years of the New Zealand Nurses' Organisation says she's discovered some larger-than-life Maori characters in her research.

Mary Ellen O'Connor says the rigid and regimental nature of the profession in its early years put off many Maori women, who were more likely to go into fields like mental health care.

But she says there were women like Marika Wehipehana who persisted and also practiced what is now called cultural safety, especially in strongly Maori areas like the East Coast.

The book is Freed to Serve, Proud to Care.

MATARIKI GAMES FOR TAINUI KAUMATUA

The organiser of today's Port Waikato Matariki Winter Olympics says the Maori new year celebration brings out the competitive spirit in the region's kaumatua.

Livane Ratu from Huakina Development Trust says kuia and koroua from Waiuku to Mangatangi will get advice on health eating and ways to avoid falls, which are the main cause of injury among the elderly.

They will also engage in some age-appropriate games like giant ball soccer, indoor bowls and darts.

A lemon tree will be planted, with due ceremony, to mark the day.

HIGH TAR AND NICOTINE LEVELS HITTING MAORI SMOKERS

Tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand says high levels of tar and nicotine in New Zealand cigarettes could be one reason the addiction hits Maori so hard.

Dr Wigand, who went public in 1996 with documents showing the industry was covering up its knowledge of the risks of tobacco, is in the country to give evidence to a Maori affairs select committee inquiry.

He says while factors such as family pressure to smoke and the lack of effective cessation programmes may contribute to the fact almost one in two adult Maori are addicted to tobacco, the way the industry concocts its products here is causing extreme harm.

“The high level of nicotine, the high level of tar could go to explaining partially the reason why there is such an issue among the Mori. You have a nicotine level that’s substantially higher than (brands in other countries). You have a tar level that is directly related to the illnesses associated with tobacco use, the morbidity and mortality, and I think that’s part of the equation,” Dr Wigand says.

He says as more affluent societies step up the pressure to go smokefree, the tobacco industry is shifting its focus to marketing in the developing world and to lower income communities such as Maori.

MAORI TO BE INVOLVED IN STAGE TWO OF ART PLAN

The consultant behind a 10-year public art plan for Hamilton is denying he left Maori out of the picture.

Some Hamilton City Councilors have complained Rob Garrett's $20,000 report ignored important themes like heritage and Maori.

But Mr Garrett says his intention was always to involve tangata whenua in the detailed planning which follows the initial document.

“You can't tell the stories of Hamilton and you can’t engage the communities of Hamilton without giving consideration to the Maori stories, both the vibrant, living ongoing stories of today as well as the heritage,” Mr Garrett says.

The four themes he identified for the council to focus on are the river, arrivals, innovation and people.

TITANICS PLAY TO PUT A SMILE ON FACES

Playwright Albert Belz wants today's audiences to experience some of the excitement generated by the Maori showbands of the 1960s and 70s.
His Raising the Titanics premieres tonight at TAPAC theatre in Auckland's Western Springs College.

The 37 year old from Ngati Porou, Ngapuhi and Ngati Pokai says he wanted to write a play which put Howard Morrison, Billy T James, Prince Tui Teka and Kiri Te Kanawa on the same stage.

That was put in the too hard basket, and instead he came up with the story of a fictitious showband called the Maori Titanics.

“Encompassed all the good times, the best things, the innocence, the romance, the adventure of that period. It’s about making people walk out of that theatre with the biggest smile on their face and walk down memory lane, having experienced for the first time the beauty that was the Maori showbands,” Mr Belz says.

This week's TAPAC season of Raising the Titanics is sold out, but it gets another run next month at the Taonga Whakaari: Maori Playwrights Festival in Papakura.

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