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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Police seek relationship with Taranaki Whanui

Wellington Police hope a relationship agreement with iwi will result in fewer Maori going to jail.

The Area Commander, Inspector Simon Perry, says the agreement with Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, which respresents Taranaki, Te Atiawa, Ngati Ruanui and Ngati Tama descendants, is a step to building friendship and respect in the community.

He says after more than three decades in the police, he's convinced new solutions are needed.

“Jail is often not the best answer but what I have seen is some very successful initiatives where Maori have been engaged at an iwi level in relations to healthy families and the like and we have seen some very positive results from those initiatives. When I say that, we are not seeing young people going to jail and having their lives ruined, and that is what a lot of this is about,” Inspector Perry says.

The agreement aims to change attitudes both ways between police and young Maori.

MAORI HOUSES LESS OVERCROWDED

A team of social scientists say a long term reduction in Maori smoking rates, less overcrowded houses and an increase in secondary school pass rates means Maori society is better off than it was 30 years ago.

Andrew Sporle, Martin von Randow and Cindy Kiro were commissioned by the Maori centre for research excellence, Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, to analyse Census data from 1981 to 2006.

Mr Sporle says while the drop in smoking means fewer cancers in the medium to long term, there is a more immediate health benefit in people having adequate housing.

“With overcrowding we will begin to see benefits in terms of child health quite quickly because the more crowded a house, the more likely you are to get an infectious disease which can end up as a chronic illness so this is really good news and it shows some positive change is possible,” Mr Sporle says.

The research shows there are still significant areas of inequality between Maori and non-Maori households.

NGATI POROU ENCOURAGES VOTER ENGAGEMENT

Te Runanga O Ngati Porou is taking the credit for any increase in the local government vote from parts of the East Coast with high Maori populations.

Chief executive Monty Soutar says last election the turnout in suburbs like Kaiti, Mangapapa and Elgin was less than 27 percent.

Since then the runanga has run a major doorknocking campaign to raise voter participation for its own elections ... and that has spilled over into the current poll.

He says to keep up with the iwi’s youthful population, the runanga has been ahead of the government in embracing technology, and is allowing text and Internet voting for its settlement ratification.

KEY ACCUSED OF DOGWHISTLING TO NATIONAL BASE

Labour MP Shane Jones says the Prime Minister failed to react on air to breakfast host Paul Henry's attack on Governor General Sir Anand Sayanand because he didn't want to offend some National voters.

Television New Zealand has suspended Mr Henry for asking John Key whether he would appoint someone who looks like a New Zealander as the next governor general - and questioned whether Ponsonby-born Sir Anand was one.

Mr Jones says Mr Key let the country down by failing to challenge the host's racist statement.

“What we saw from John Key in the Paul Henry interview was dogwhistle politics. Many of the supporters of the Prime Minister privately want to create that 1950s Pakeha cultural dominance. Those days are gone. The reality is that we’re probably even beyond biculturalism now, we’re in to multiculturalism,” he says.

Mr Jones says Paul Henry has no place in public broadcasting and should be sacked by TVNZ.

FLAVELL KEEN TO SEE MORE WANANGA

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says Maori need to challenge the idea that there should be no more than three wananga or Maori universities.

The former chief executive of Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi says the country's three wananga have each established a unique formula for more Maori involvement at the teriary level.

He says a $14.5 million settlement of Awanuiarangi's treaty claim over not getting an establishment grant shouldn't be the end of wananga development.

Mr Flavell says he doesn't buy the argument that the maori catchment is too small with his own area of Rotorua being suitable for a small wananga.

EXHIBITION CELEBRATES WORK OF JOHN HOVELL

The curator of an exhibition on the work of a master mahi kowhaiwhai says intricate painted roof panels of marae throughout the country are testament to John Hovell's skill.

Damian Skinner says the artist, who is now an Anglican minister in the Solomon Islands, grew up at Kennedy Bay next door to celebrated carver Paki Harrison.

Dubbed the Maori Michaelangelo because of the amount of time he spent on his back painting kowhawhai, Mr Hovell also used became a significant contributor to contemporary Maori art.

“The relationship is quite close in that kowhaiwhai, particularly the kapirua motif which is the crescent with the circles cut out of it which is a really strong kowhaiwhai motif from the East Coast has really been his lifelong love and in a sense all of his about exploring the possibilities of the kapirua and in a wider sense kowhaiwhai,” Mr Skinner says.

The Passing World, The Passage of Life: The Art of John Hovell runs at the Tairawhiti Museum until December, and Damian Skinner's book on the artist's life will be released next month.

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