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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 28, 2010

McCarten hale and hearty for Mana challenge

Mana by-election candidate Matt McCarten says he's confident his health will hold up under the pressure of the campaign.

The Unite Union leader says the contest between Labour's Kris Faafoi and National's Hekia Parata has been a snooze so far, and he intends to liven it up with his message of government support for job creation, a rise in the minimum wage to $15 and reversing the gst increase.

Mr McCarten revealed in a newspaper column last month that he was battling a serious cancer, but he now says the prognosis has improved.

“Between my western medicine and my acupuncturist and my naturopath and my kuias and kaumatuas all praying for me I think I’ve got my bases all covered but it seems to have stepped away from what they thought was terminal and they think it can be managed for many years yet so I’m feeling pretty good about it,” Mr McCarten says.

He's counting on getting the support of maverick Maori Party MP Hone Harawira on the campaign trail.


New Zealand's top Maori cop says the dramatic improvement in the relationship between Maori and the police over the past 15 years has drawn the attention of international police agencies.

Superintendant Wally Haumaha, the police national manager for Maori, Pacific, and Ethnic Services, says the number of iwi liaison officers has swelled to 70 since the first, Joe Diamond, created a bridge to Maori communities.

He says other police forces are looking at the model as a way to improve relationships with their indigenous people.

“Just look at how Waitangi has share up over the last four, five years and the Maori wardens working around the flagpole and policing their own communities in much the same way. All that has shifted with the support of our iwi liaisons being able to demonstrate to our organisation that there is another way of working with out people,” Superintendant Haumaha says.


East Coast elders have placed a ban on gathering kaimaona from the Waiapu River south to Port Awanui.

Morehu Te Maro from Te Wiwi Nati marae cluster says the rahui runs until the beginning of December.

He says the aim is to preserve fish stocks, in line with traditional Maori conservation practices.

“We are seasonal fishermen. Our people were always seasonal fishers. They don’t fish for the sake of getting there and having a fish. They fish when that certain fish is in its season and the only time it’s worthy of going out to fish for that certain type of fish,” Mr Te Maro says.

While there have been a few objections to the rahui, most Pakeha in the area have grown up close to Maori and understand the reasoning behind such conservation measures.


Maori lawyer Annette Sykes says the Iwi Leaders Forum is disenfranchising the majority of Maori.

Ms Sykes used the annual Bruce Jesson memorial Lecture in Auckland last night to deliver a stinging critique of the self-appointed forum, which she says is dictating policy to the Maori Party.

She says the iwi leaders have never sought a mandate for their actions, and they are deliberately bypassing traditional Maori leadership structures.

“What is happening is we have elite groups, an elite caste meeting amongst themselves, what for, so they can sit down like the Business Roundtable with the National Party-ACT coalition and plan new right strategies for this country, most definitely not strategies in the interests of Maori if we analyse them carefully,” Ms Sykes says.


Former Alliance president Matt McCarten is counting on Maori Party MP Hone Harawira to help him pick up some of the Maori vote in the Mana by-election.

The Unite Union leader says he's entering the race against Labour's Kris Faafoi and National's Hekia Parata because both major parties are still wedded to the view that the free market will deliver jobs and fair wages.

He says the seat has a large Maori population, many of whom are on the general roll.

“I will be wanting Maori support and Hone Harawira is coming to support me and coming to work with me so that will be good. We are going to do outreach to as many Maori electors as possible and I’m looking forward to it, because he is the man and what he says I think has a lot of following,” Mr McCarten says.


Educationalist Tamati Reedy says he'd like to see te reo Maori made a compulsory subject in schools.

Professor Reedy says that's a long-held personal view, and not one he is advocating as the chair of a ministerial review of the Maori language strategy and sector.

He says last week's Waitangi Tribunal report showing the number of Maori children in Maori language education shows that there is a disconnect between words and action when it comes to te reo Maori.

“If we view it as of great value, then it stands to be held in esteem like all the rest of the subjects we call the core curriculum our children go through in the schools of our country, right through from early childhood into the higher levels of education,” Professor Reedy says.

The message coming from the review panel's regional hui is that Maori language resources need to be devolved down to local level to be more effective.


World music fans at next year's Womad Festival will be treated to an innovative mash up featuring taonga puoro virtuosos Richard Nunns, Waimihi Hotere and Horomona Horo and electronic musician Paddy Free.

Other Maori who'll take to the stage at New Plymouth's Brooklands Park from the 18th to the 20th of March include Maisey Rika and the reformed Trinity Roots.

The festival is headlined by world music supergroup Afro Celt Sound System, who played the first New Zealand WOMAD in 1997, with other stars including blind Malian singers Amadou and Mariam and Trinidad and Tobago’s calypso ‘queen’ Calypso Rose.


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