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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Rino Tirikatene seeks Labour nod

The grandson of the first Ratana MP is seeking the Labour Party nomination for the southern Maori seat held for 35 years by his grandfather Eruera Tirikatene and 29 years by his aunt Whetu Tirikatene Sullivan.

Rino Tirikatene will battle Christchurch trade union organiser Jo McLean for the right to take on incumbent Rahui Katene in Te Tai Tonga.

Labour leader Phil Goff says both are strong canditates.

“Rino is a guy I’ve known for some time. He’s got a law degree. He’s very well qualified. He’s been working on consultancy work up in Papua New Guiinea recently but he’s also worked very closely with Ngai Tahu on the fisheires issues. Jo works for the Engineers Union as an organiser for them,” Mr Goff says.

Labour is keen to win Te Tai Tonga back from the Maori Party.


The head of Te Hotu Manawa Maori says smokers need support, not censure.

Moana Tane says in the wake of the select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry, organisations are increasingly asking the Maori heart foundation for help to provide training around smoking cessation programmes.

She says pressure is coming on Maori smokers to quit, but treating smokers like outcasts ignores the value of manaakitanga in helping people get through a difficult addiction.

“All the smokers are socially stigmatized. They’re in the closets. They’re under the tables. Nobody is owning up to it. Why? Because we have made it so uncomfortable for them. Is this how we treat our people? I don’t think so. Not is we’re serious about improving the mortality rates of our people. We’ve got be a little bit more compassionate here,” Ms Tane says.

She says Maori need to have the process of quitting put to them in a simple, non-judgmental way.


The producer of a 24 hour drama challenge says the weekend event was a testament to what Maori playwrights and actors can achieve with limited resources.

Five playwrights were given 12 hours to write a 15 minute script, which was then rehearsed and performed over the next 12 hours.

Claire Noble says the challenge, which capped off the Taonga Whakaari Maori Playwrights Festival at the Hawkins Theatre in Papakura, was an amazing feat.

“The writers not only stayed up all night, they actually stayed for the entire day. They worked with their groups. Again the actors not only had this amazing task of remembering lines and doing costumes and so on, and they put their hearts and souls into it. Nobody was getting paid, It was just about celebrating Maori playwrights,” Ms Noble says.

The 24 hour challenge was won by Kath Akuhata Brown whose play Toroa was acted by Rob Williams, Veronica Brady and Amber Cureen.


A hui of Maori teachers working in mainstream schools says the government's national standards policy will damage the learning of tamariki Maori.

Laures Park, the Matua Takawaenga for primary school union NZEI Te Riu Roa, says the 200 teachers at the annual hui of the union's Te Reo Areare Maori council voted unanimously for the standards to be trialed rather than imposed unilaterally.

She says the teachers query the government's claim that the standards will address Maori underachievement.

“If they are concerned about Maori underachievement at the moment, we actually know that’s a fact so why not actually do something about that. What else are we going to find out but ‘yes we are underachieving,’” Ms Parkes says.

She says Maori parents are already getting school reports saying their tamariki had failed to meet the national standards, but there has been no advice or support on how to deal with that judgment.


Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell is calling for people charged with white collar crimes to be treated the same as Maori gang members.

The Waiariki MP says if it's OK for police to freeze the assets of his constituent, Maketu Mongrel Mob leader Pop Barclay, while they try to seize them under the proceeds of crime law, it should be okay to target business people facing criminal charges such as Bridgecorp executives Rod Petricevic and Rob Roest ... who the Serious Fraud Office has charged with using investors money to buy and maintain a luxury yacht while the company was sinking.

“If we are going to do it for some, let’s do it for everyone and follow that procedure through because I think a number of people that have been hurt by some of the white collar crimes, especially in terms of the investment companies we have heard about, so there is an issue there,” Mr Flavell says.


The Auckland-based Hindu Council has celebrated the Maori new year with a Matariki event bringing together more than 100 Indian elders and kaumatua Maori.

Organiser Pravin Patel says there is much to be gained from what has become an annual meeting of cultures.

It included karakia in both te reo and sanskrit, workshops on yoga and gardening, and a documentary on the stars of Matariki.

He says creating small changes can promote awareness and understanding of other cultures.


Film festival audiences will get the chance to see what Hollywood thought of Maori back in 1929.

Under the Southern Cross will play at Sky City Theatre in Auckland on Saturday, with a new soundtrack composed by Warren Maxwell, Maaka McGregor and Himiona Grace.

Dianne Pivac from the New Zealand Film Archive says the 57-minute long feature was thought lost until a copy turned up in London in 1980.

The tale of tribal conflict was shot on location at White Island, Rotorua and the Waitomo Caves, and starred an all-Maori cast.

“You get a very strong sense that these people are completely in charge of what they are doing and they are having a great time. I like to think about that because you could think ‘Here was this exploitative Hollywood director looking for exoticism and photogenic natives and all that carry on’ which is definitely true but you can also look at it and say ‘These guys know what they are doing and they are having a good time doing it,” Ms Pivac says.

Under the Southern Cross starred Whitarina Mitchell, who half a century later became the kuia for the Film Archive.


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