Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Binge drinking upsets minister

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia wants to see Maori communities addressing issues of binge drinking.

Hundreds of people marched in Manukau City at the weekend against what's seen as an explosion of liquor outlets in the city.

Mrs Turia says it's poor policy to have alcohol so freely available in poor communities where there is already so much stress, and it's a problem that needs to be tackled on a number of levels.

“We're concerned about the numbers of our people in particular who when they drink, essentially don’t behave well. We’ve got huge issues around violence. A lot of the road deaths are caused through alcohol. It’s something that’s got to be talked about in our communit,” Mrs Turia says.

She says it's clear alcohol companies have targeted poor communities with their outlets.

NOMINATIONS SLOW COMING IN FOR MAORI SEATS

With only four days before nominations close, no one has put their hand up for two of the three Maori positions on Environment Bay of Plenty Regional Council ... the only local authority in the country with dedicated Maori seats.

Incumbent Tipene Marr is being challenged by Miro Araroa for the Kohi ward covering the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Returning officer Cindy Butt says Mauao, covering Tauranga, and Okurei Maori, which includes Rotorua, are so far uncontested, but there has been a lot of demand for nomination forms.

Nominations close at noon on Friday.

WHAKATOHEA PART OF SUPPLY DEAL WITH CHINA

An iwi-owned company in the eastern Bay of Plenty has signed an agreement with a Chinese seafood retailer which could generate millions in export earnings and hundreds of jobs.

Robert Edwards from Whakatohea Maori Trust Board says Eastern Seafarms, a joint venture between the board and Sealord, has agreed to provide mussels to Shandong Oriental Ocean Group, which plans to open 500 stores throughout China in the next three years.

He says the mussels will come from Coromandel until the company's own lines off Opotiki come into production.

Robert Edwards says the joint venture could create as many as 900 jobs in the impoverished district, and aims for turnover of $250 million within 15 years.

WANANGA GETTING NEW HOME
One of the most successful organisations for training Maori medium teachers has a new home.

Te Waananga Takiura O Nga Kura Kaupapa Maori, which has just over a hundred students, has been in temporary premises for the past 9 months.
A new building just off Great South Road in Newmarket was blessed in a dawn karakia yesterday.

The wananga's tumuaki, Tawhirimatea Williams, says the brakes can now come off, wih the building able to cope with expected growth.

MEETING HOUSE USED TO QUELL GANG TENSIONS

A Ngati Porou elder has welcomed the use of a wharenui held by a Chicago museum to seek peace between warring gangs.

The New York Times reported Ruatepupuke II was used for a ceremony based on Maori ritual to resolve conflict between gangs from violence-ridden Fenger High School.

The gangs were required to speak and then exchange songs and hugs as a way to show the youth how to resolve disputes verbally.

Amster Reedy says the house, which was built in Tokomaru Bay in 1881 and has been owned by the Field Museum since 1905, carries its own knowledge in a way that others can benefit from.

“I feel it's stunning. I’m not surprised though because matauranga Maori taketake has a knowledge of its own, has an ability to transcend cultures, the ancient knowledge of our people, the understanding, particularly of the spirit of the people,” Mr Reedy says.

MATUA PARKINSON AIMS FOR COUNCIL SEAT

Meanwhile, a former Maori All Black is standing for Tauranga City Council.

Matua Parkinson, who also captained the New Zealand Sevens, says historically Maori have not been good voters in local body elections, but he hopes to overcome this.

“We're trying to get it out there, instead of whinging, get off the sideline, get in the game, give me your vote, get me in the game, and then we can start playing ball from there,” Mr Parkinson says.

He has had a lot of encouragement from both rugby mates and iwi leaders to stand for the Welcome Bay ward.

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