Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Green warns against arming prejudiced police

Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says arming the police in the wake of yesterday's non-fatal shooting of two police officers in Christchurch could lead to more Maori suspects and even innocent bystanders being killed.

Ms Turei says it's understandable that calls to arm the police follow such incidents.

But she says such decisions should be based on a proper assessment of the benefits and risks ... including the long standing pattern of discrimination shown by higher arrest and prosecution rates for Maori.

“The more you arm the police, the more likely it is that not only offenders be shot and killed, but that innocent people will be shot and killed, and because we know that there is a tendency to focus on Maori offenders, that the police haven’t dealt with all the discriminatory filters within their own systems and personally which means that Maori are more likely to be targeted, then the Maori community is at particular risk,” Ms Turei says.

She says Police Minister Judith Collins, like her predecessors, has never acknowledged the extent of discrimination against Maori by the police


It's sixty years today since politician, lawyer, scholar and Ngati Porou leader Apirana Ngata died, and another Maori lawyer says New Zealand has yet to grapple with the legacy of Apirana Ngata.

Annette Sykes says the man who graces our fifty dollar bill was a complex individual who had an enormous impact on the country during his 38 years in Parliament.

She says as a founding member of the Young Maori Party he entered public life with a kaupapa of advancing Maori aspirations.

“He went on to secure some significant participatory arrangements for Maori in government which I don’t think have been matched, notwithstanding the enormous strides that even the New Zealand First MPs and the Maori Party MPs have made. I believe that was essentially because he was a man of vision steeped in Maori tradition and there were some non-negotiable positions he would not compromise,” Ms Sykes


The World War 2 battle for the Italian town of Monte Cassino which cost the lives of hundred of New Zealand Division and Maori Battalion troops has inspired paintings by artists including Ralph Hotere, and now come the poems.

Cassino: City of Martyrs by Robert Sullivan of Ngapuhi and Ngai Tahu has just been published by Huia.

He says the poems, which he wrote while teaching in Hawaii, steer clear of notions of nationhood or the price of citizenship and try instead to focus on the emotional cost of the battles his relatives fought in.

“Sitting in the park underneath that massive mountain and just looking up at the abbey which has been restored now and appreciating the task our men were given to take that mountain, it was very moving, quite awe inspiring,” Mr Sullivan says.


Ngai Tai ki Umupuia is elated the Environment Court has blocked a Queensland-style canal housing development on the Wairoa River on Auckland's southeastern fringe.

Laurie Beamish, the manager of Ngai Tai Umupuia Te Waka Totara Trust says Ngai Tai traditionally buried its dead between the river's high and low tide marks.

He says putting more than 260 houses along canals bulldozed into the side of the river would have destroyed many urupa.

“The marae and our own people are thrilled that the court decision has seen fit to recognise the exceptional relationship of Ngai Tai to the awa and the fact that the court says it should be recognised as a matter or national importance,” Mr Beamish says.

He says the development did not fit with Manukau City's future development plans which the iwi had consulted on.


Maori tobacco control worker Skye Kimura says anti-smoking campaigns will need to do more with less if they are to reach Maori.

The Government has cut $12 million from anti-smoking advertising, saying the savings will go towards front line services.

Ms Kimura from Midcentral DHB says only 6 percent of the more than $200 million raised by tobacco tax goes on Maori programmes, and that needs to increase.

“We do know that a lot of the plans of DHBs are looking at Maori as a priority. I’d just like to see more money from tax our people are actually spending on cigarettes be reversed so they can support Maori quit attempts,” she says.


The author of a biography of Apirana Ngata says the Ngati Porou politician and scholar laid the foundation for the current Maori economic, cultural and political revivals.

It's 60 years ago today that Ngata died after a lifetime of service that included 38 years as an MP, included several stints as Maori affairs minister.

Ranginui Walker says when he entered Parliament in 1905, Maori were at a low ebb.

As well as encouraging the rebuilding of marae and the preservation of language and culture, Ngata created mechanisms for Maori to consolidate and hold onto their land, which continued after his forced resignation as minister in 1934.

“His achievement was in getting a big chunk of money from the government for his land development scheme which threw out a lifeline to the culture, ‘hey, we can do this, we can get in there and catch up,’ and so he was cut down by the commission of inquiry,” Professor Walker says.


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