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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Green rejects Maori advisory board

The Greens co-leader and Maori affairs spokesperson, Metiria Turei, says local government Maori advisory boards don't work.

Nominations closed yesterday for people to be appointed to a statutory Maori advisory board for the Auckland super city.

Ms Turei says the board was subject to spirited debate at this week's Unitec seminar on Maori local government representation, and her fellow panelists concurred that the answer was dedicated seats on the council itself.

“We've been on advisory boards for 170 years. They haven’t been effective for us. They’re just ways of parking Maori issues with the Maoris and leaving the decision makers free to do as they please. If we want to have a truly modern approach to treaty issues we must be at the decision table and that means seats on the Auckland super city,” Ms Turei says.

She'd like to seen new Auckland mayor Len Brown move quickly to review the representation question.

INSIDER STORIES OFFER VIEW OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCESS

The editor of a book on Maori in Parliament says it will give ordinary readers an insight into a unique part of New Zealand's political system.

Maori and Parliament: Diverse Strategies and Compromises is a collection of presentations and papers from academics, political commentators and current and former MPs.

Maria Bargh, a lecturer on Maori politics at Victoria University, says it's drawn from a conference held last year.

“It means you get real insider stories. These parliamentarians were talking about the ins and outs, the back room deals, things you wouldn’t ordinarily hear about and that’s really the point of the conferences and now the book, is to get that kind of detail on the record because otherwise people don’t really hear those kinds of stories,” Dr Bargh says.

What interested her most was Georgina Beyer on her realisation that her future with Labour was over when she wavered on support for the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and Shane Jones discussing the importance of compromise in politics.

HUGE EFFORT TO WIN TE REO PRIZE FOR THIRD TIME

The head for the Raukawa Charitable Trust's reo team says winning the Maori language Commission's supreme award for the third year took a huge group effort.

Charlie Tepana says the Tokoroa-based trust puts te reo Maori at the centre of everything it does.

It's also drawing in the wider community, such as Tokoroa North Primary School, which has done a classroom out as a wharenui, with children knowing multiple pepeha and waiata.

Charlie Tepana says he was impressed with the quality of entrants for this year's Te Tohu Huia Te Reo.

GOFF SLAMS OPERATION EIGHT COURTROOM DELAYS

Labour leader Phil Goff says the justice system is taking too long to process those arrested in the so called Tuhoe terror raids of 2007.

On the eve of the third anniversary of Operation Eight, when 300 heavily armed police cordoned off the Ruatoki Valley and arrested people for allegedly taking part in firearms training in the Urewera ranges, the trial of the 17 defendants still hasn't started.

Mr Goff says New Zealanders should be worried about a justice system that is taking so long.

“I don’t want to interfere with the process of the courts and comment on whether it was the right thing or the wrong thing. The courts can determine that. But you shouldn’t be waiting three years to get an outcome for that. Those who have been charged and the wider community deserve greater certainty and more quickness from the justice system than what’s being delivered,” Mr Goff says.

COUNCILOR SAYS MAORI REPS NEED MAORI VOTE

An Auckland super city councilor, Alf Filipaina, says the fact he's Maori doesn't mean he can represent Maori in city affairs.

Citizens and Ratepayers councilors Jami Lee Ross and Des Morrison say there's no need for separate Maori seats, because there are three Maori on the council.

But Mr Filipaina, who also has Samoan whakapapa, says he's not a Maori representative because he wasn't elected by voters on a Maori roll.

“It's interesting Jami-Lee Ross is now acknowledging the fact he’s Ngati Porou, because in the term he’s had in council, two terms, he mentioned it I think six years ago and really hasn’t heard anything else apart from that and next minute he’s got the mandate as Maori but no, none of us have,” he says.

Mr Filipaina says when they served together on Manukau City Council, Jami Lee Ross voted against the formation of a Treaty of Waitangi committee.

BOOK CHARTS HIDDEN HISTORY OF MUSIC

Maori showbands are being hailed as a vital link between jazz and dance band music and the rock and roll that replaced it.

Author Chris Bourke says he was surprised at how many Maori musicians featured in his new book Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music from 1918 to 1964.

He says Maori teachers and bandleaders like Walter Smith and Epi Shalfoon taught generations of players, including many of those who created the Maori showbands of the 1950s and 60s.

He says those bands became one of New Zealand's most successful musical exports just as the beat boom swept the dance bands away.

“I've got the Maori Hi-Fives meeting met Beatles, or as I put it, the Beatles meeting the Maori Hi-Five, because there’s this wonderful photo, which I couldn’t get hold of sadly because Rob Hemi had died, of Rob and Paul McCartney together. Rob is taller and he’s got his arm around his shoulders and he’s standing up straight, Rob’s got a very cool grin on his face, he’s happy, but McCartney is ecstatic to be standing beside a member of the Maori Hi-Five,” Mr Bourke says.

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