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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spectrum talks leaves parties split

Maori broadcasters, iwi and spectrum claimants meet in Taranaki next week to get an update on talks with the Crown over how Maori might benefit from frequencies freed up in the switch from analogue to digital television.

Piripi Walker from Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo, the Wellington Maori language board, says there was broad agreement at a hui in Mangere in February to make a fresh claim, based on a 1999 finding by the Waitangi Tribunal that Maori must have hands-on ownership and management of spectrum if they are to foot it in the "knowledge economy".

He says officials are preparing a paper to present to Cabinet next month, but there is still a lot of distance between the two sides.

“Similar to a lot of resource issues, a lot of treaty issues, a lot of article two issues, the Maori view as perceived within iwi and hapu and expressed on the marae is going to be very different from that espoused by both of the main political parties.” Mr Walker says.

The hui at Kairau Marae near New Plymouth on June 29 and 30.


Researchers from Otago University's department of medicine are asking why Maori and Pacific Island children have among the highest rates in the world of admission to hospital for the serious lung disease bronchiolitis.

Dr Tristam Ingham, who is heading a $1.5 million project funded by the Health Research Council, says there is no clear explanation why the disease hits those children at five times the rate of non-Maori.

He says a number of factors have been suggested, including the low levels of Vitamin D caused by skin pigmentation screening out sunlight.

“Factors such as household crowding and socioeconomic status do play a role, but the aim of this study is to further investigate exactly what is going on and why Maori and Pacific are so disproportionately affected,” Dr Tristram says.

If a cause is found, more research may be needed to identify the best way to tackle the problem.


The Maori Language is considering ways to teach New Zealanders the Maori version of their national anthem.

Wayne Ngata, the acting chief executive, says having crowds or players mumbling along because they don't know the words won't be a good look on global television during the next year's Rugby World Cup.

He says people should know their anthem regardless of what language it's in.
The commission is considering producing booklets with the anthem to distribute through supermarkets, and of making the world cup the theme of next year’s Maori language week.


Tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand says Maori smokers shouldn't feel guilty about their addiction ... but they have a right to feel angry they are addicted.

The former industry executive, who is in New Zealand to give evidence to the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry, says he was alarmed at reports the cigarettes sold here have higher rates of tar and nicotine than most other countries.

He says that, and targeting from an early age, could explain why almost one in two Maori adults still smoke.

“I would urge them not to feel guilty. The primary responsibility, I believe, belongs with the tobacco industry because they have knowingly produced a product that is higher in nicotine, higher in tar for this marketplace, that they know and have evidence in their own records that when used as intended, it kills,” Dr Wigand says.

He says there are significant differences between the evidence given to the committee by the two tobacco companies operating in New Zealand and what's contained in their internal documents.


Despite demoting two of his Maori caucus for misusing credit cards while they were ministers, Labour leader Phil Goff says the party still has the people and policies to win back Maori voters.

He says Shane Jones has a lot to contribute to the party and will come back as a force.

He says other MPs like newcomer Kelvin Davis and Nanaia Mahuta are also stepping up to the plate.

“Kelvin is the newest member of the caucus. He’s very able, very well qualified, very well experienced, and committed to working hard on behalf of his people. You’ve got Nanaia coming forward again now. She took a time out for the birth of Waiwaia she’s ready to come back, she’s ready to put the time into that,” Mr Goff says.

He says in contrast, the Maori Party's co-leaders are both approaching retirement and are in perpetual conflict with maverick MP Hone Harawira, and National is also failing to attract talented Maori.


The author of a book on Maori architecture says she's humbled by the reaction to her work.

Deidre Brown's book subtitled From fale to whare and beyond has been named a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards, which will be announced in August.

The Auckland University art and architecture historian says there hasn't been a comprehensive book on Maori buildings for more than half a century, and she relished the opportunity to bring a Maori perspective to the task.

“The book has been really well received and I’m humbled by the way it has been received. It won a Maori book award last year and a few weeks ago it won an award from the Instotute of Architects so it was really lovely on one hand that our community has received it so well but also that the profession of architecture has received it well,” says Dr Brown, who's from Ngati Rehia and Ngapuhi.

She is now working on history of Pacific architecture.


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