Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maori roll best for local franchise

Labour leader Phil Goff says the Maori electoral roll should be used as the basis for Maori seats on the Auckland super city council.

New mayor Len Brown has pledged to review the question of Maori representation.

Mr Goff says the Maori Party had muddied the issue by creating an advisory board dominated by mana whenua or iwi from the Auckland region, rather than giving all Maori a democratic right to be heard.

“I think it would increase Maori participation in council to have those seats, done on the same basis as Maori representation in our central government. That doesn’t give special rights to people. It simply gives the choice to people who are treaty partners at Waitangi to be heard through their own seats if people demonstrated an interest in doing so’” Mr Goff says

He's impressed with new mayor Len Brown's commitment to working with the Maori communities.


Greens' co- leader Metiria Turei says the ACT Party's push to amend the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill to specifically ban charging for beach access is discrimination against Maori.

New ACT MP Hilary Calvert proposed the move during her first day in the house, and Attorney General Chris Finlayson says if Maori win customary title they won't get a right to charge.

Ms Turei says ACT wants to constrain Maori but leave other private beach owners able to do what they want.

“I'm really disappointed that Attorney General Chris Finlayson is even considering it. It is a discriminatory intention by ACT. It’s not about being fair. It’s about attacking Maori and Maori customary rights,” Ms Turei says.


The author of a history of New Zealand popular music before rock and roll says he was suprised to find how many of the prominent players were Maori.

Chris Bourke has called his book Blue Smoke, after the hit song composed by Maori Battalion member Ruru Karaitiana, which was the first record both recorded and manufactured in New Zealand.

He says thousands of people came to love music ... and met the love of their lives ... through bandleaders like Karaitiana and Epi Shalfoon.

The book starts in 1918 with Walter Smith from Ngati Kahungunu, the writer of Beneath the Maori Moon, who taught music in Auckland for more than 50 years.
“Walter put on these big concerts of all his pupils playing all kinds of stringed instruments, everything but the violin. Mandolins, harps, lap steel guitars, and he’d put them on at the (Auckland) Town Hall and they’d all be dressed in white wit leis and really big occasions. That’s where I start this book, with this giant figure who passed on this new style of music through the century,” Mr Bourke says.

Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music is published by Auckland University Press.


A Maori owner of a popular Bay of Plenty beach says she will simply close the road if the government passes a law prohibiting Maori from charging for access.

ACT is seeking an amendment to the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill to specifically ban charging for access.

Narda Mills says her uncle Norm Newdick set a fee when he opened the family's beach near Maketu to the public more than 60 years ago.

She says the charge of $3 a car barely covers the cost of the road, toilets and rates, and prohibiting it would be highly discriminatory.

“I wouldn't be happy about that. I’d plant trees up the road so nobody could go down. Or just make our own private one for ourselves,” Ms Mills says.

She says most of those who object to paying the $3 fee are Maori, who claim they also own the beach.


The author of a book on Maori MPs says the low Maori vote in the local government elections is an indication where Maori are putting their political priorities.

Mariah Bargh, who lectures on Maori politics at Victoria University lecturer, says criticism of low Maori turn-out is misplaced.

“You know Maori are already actively involved at a local level with other political institutions like runanga, Maori land incorporations. It’s not like Maori are just sitting around at home, they’re actively involved in local politics but on a different scale and not necessarily involved with councils,” Dr Bargh says.


The co-winner of the top prize at the weekend's Maori Language Awards says a vital step is missing in the drive for language revitalisation.

Tokoroa's Ruakawa Charitable Trust won Te Tohu Huia Te Reo for a third time, sharing it this time with Massey University's campaign to encourage students and staff to order their coffees with the words hoko kawhe.

Charlie Tepana, Raukawa's pouwhakahare, says he used the award ceremony in Rotorua to get into the ear of Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples about what still needs to be done.

He says despite the range of initiatives, people are still not speaking the language, especially in their homes and to their children.


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