Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Goff confident of Mahuta support

Labour leader Phil Goff says Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta will be competitive against any candidate the Maori Party puts up.

The Maori Party is holding hui this month to select between former Waikato-Tainui chief executive Hemi Rau, retired soldier Tauhuia Bruce Mataki and Housing New Zealand regional manager Pia Searanke.

Mr Goff says he was in the electorate last week with Ms Mahuta, and was struck by the level of support she attracted.

“We're never complacent about these things. You can never take the electorate for granted. But she’s a well respected candidate, she’s experienced, she’s still young, and she’s got good networks throughout the Waikato,” Mr Goff says.

PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS BACK GST CUT BILL

The head of public health at Otago University's Wellington school of medicine says the benefits of removing GST from healthy foods would eventually outweigh the costs.

A panel of experts brought together by the Science Media Centre this morning discussed the Maori Party bill to make such a change, which comes up for first reading next week.

Professor Tony Blakely says a multi-year study, the Supermarket Health Options Project, found people would buy more healthy foods if the price was discounted by the level of the tax.

He says improvements in health will come from the combined actions of government, communities, whanau and individuals.

“Individual choice matters but making healthy choices is a lot easier when you’ve got food that’s affordable to purchase. We’ve had a 20 percent increase in the cost of purchasing groceries in the past three years and no real increase in people’s wages after inflation. A 15 percent reduction in cost for healthy food for low income families would be welcomed,” Professor Blakely says.

INDIGENOUS TOURISM OPERATORS SHOULD TEAM UP

An expert in indigenous and eco-tourism believes Maori and Australian Aboriginal operators should work together to promote themselves internationally.
Tony Charters, who judged New Zealand entrants in the Tourism for Tomorrow awards, convened a conference in Brisbane last week looking at the future of tourism in the region.

He says visitors down under want to see both Maori and Aboriginal culture, not one or the other.

“Australia can never present what New Zealand presents and vice versa and I think there’s a lot of opportunity for Australia and New Zealand to start acting more complementary to each other because if you talk to people from the Northern Hemisphere, when they talk about coming Downunder, they’re not talking abut coming to Australia They’re talking about coming to Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Charters says.

He says Tourism for Tomorrow award winner Whalewatch Kaikoura has been advising Aboriginal groups on development prospects.

SCREENING PROGRAMME LIKELY TO PICK UP RHEUMATIC DISEASE

A Kaitaia GP expects a screening programme starting next week in the Far North will turn up at least 20 new cases of undiagnosed heart disease among Maori children.

Lance O'Sullivan says a team from Greenlane Paediatric Services will test 600 children.

He says similar scanning programmes in South Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and East Coast have identified heart damage caused by bouts of rheumatic fever, which is associated with over-crowded and poor quality housing.

“The rates we see of rheumatic heart disease among our communities are rates you see in third world and developing communities. We currently have 36 children on our register here on the programme for treatment with rheumatic fever, 35 are Maori,” Dr O'Sullivan says.

WAKATU USES WHANAUNGATANGA TO GROW BUSINESS

The general manager of Nelson-based Wakatu Incorporation says whanaungatanga or family relationships are as important in modern Maori business as it was in traditional times.

Ropata Taylor, from Ngati Rarua and Te Atiawa, says Wakatu is a long term conservative investor.

Over the past 30 years it has grown its asset base from $11 million to $250 million through investment in horticulture, property, seafood and tourism businesses.

He says it also works with other like-minded Maori organisations such as the major Taranaki land incorporation Paraninihi ki Waitotara, with whom it has a crayfish joint venture out of its Wellington subsidiary Port Nicholson Fisheries.

Mr Taylor is a panelist in tonight's forum on Maori business success at the Waitakere City Council Chambers.

MARK TWAIN PLAY GETS SECOND RUN

The controversial 1895 lecture tour of Aotearoa by American writer Samuel Clements, better known as Mark Twain, comes under the spotlight this week at Downstage theatre in Wellington.

Taki Rua's production of Mark Twain and Me in Maoriland is back for a repeat and revised season, after a run at the New Zealand Arts Festival earlier this year

Artistic director for Wellington James Ashcroft says writer David Geary was inspired by the story of Twain calling for a monument in Whanganui which honoured Maori who fought on the side of the Crown, to be destroyed, because it encouraged Maori to become traitors to their own race.

“I thought it was a fictitious premises that David had come up with, but then he showed me his research, and truth is stranger than fiction,” Mr Ashcroft says.

Mark Twain and Me in Maoriland starts tomorrow and runs until July 24

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