Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 22, 2010

Urban Maori forced into statutory board

West Auckland Maori leader John Tamihere says the mana whenua groups who accepted positions on Auckland super city's Maori statutory board have painted all other Maori who call Auckland home into a corner.

He says there has been no transparency or proper mandating for the process by which mana whenua, who have seven seats on the board, choose the two mataawaka representatives to look after the interests of Maori from tribes outside Tamaki Makaurau.

He says it does all Maori a disservice.

“The day that they acknowledged that they would be absorbed by this thing and assimilated by it, they actually made a decision on behalf of all Maori, not just the Maori they represent, so we have been virtually dragged into this new Maori statutory board, not knowing exactly what its structure is, what its systems are, what its resourcing is and what its powers will be,” Mr Tamihere says.

The mataawaka representatives will be announced next week, with the board starting work on November 1.


The chair of the Ngati Raukawa Settlement Trust says the confirmation that the iwi has a role as co-guardians of the Waikato River marks a new start for the tribe.

Kaumatua and tribal leaders travelled to Wellington yesterday for the third reading of the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill.

Chris McKenzie says the Tokoroa-based iwi can now concentrate on settling its historical claims.

“We want to stop the grievance mode and the grievance mentality and get on to the development mode and the river is one step in us looking forward and the comprehensive will be the second and vital step for us to resource ourselves and move to development mode,” he says.

Mr McKenzie says for too long Raukawa has been pushed to the sidelines when the river was discussed.


Labour's Maori affairs spokesman Parekura Horomia says government action alone won't save the Maori language.

Mr Horomia, a fluent reo speaker, says the Waitangi Tribunal's report on the language aspects of the WAI 262 intellectual property claim makes grim reading.

He says for it to survive, Maori people need to make a commitment to use it in their everyday life.

“We've got this dramatic intergenerational change where we are seeing the last of those who are totally fluent with the language, who lived with the ancient people and we have new paradigms and new generations and we have got to modernize how we teach it on,” Mr Horomia says.

A Labour government would be fully supportive of measures to promote the language.


Labour MP Shane Jones says all parents receiving state assistance should be obliged to get early childhood education for their children.

And in the case of Maori his preference would be for them to go to kohanga reo or Maori immersion pre-schools.

He says the Waitangi Tribunal's report on the current state of te reo Maori shows a sizeable fall-off of tamariki going to kohanga - and the government can do something about it.

“If you're being supported by the state in some manner or form to raise your children and there’s a lot of that that takes place now, for example with the family assistance package that was originally brought in by Steve Maharey, well the deal is we’re doing to to make it simpler for you to awhi and tautoko the kids. Get the kids into kohanga,” Mr Jones says.


Maori health workforce advocate Te Rau Matatini has signed an agreement with the Health Ministry's workforce development agency to lift Maori involvement in the sector.

Kirsty Maxwell Crawford, Te Rau Matatini's chief executive, health says both organisations recognise a crisis in the sector.

She says only 2 percent of health workers are Maori, and the goal of both organisations is not just to grow the workforce but to encourage those working their now into future leadership positions.


The organiser of a tonight's Maori Showband tribute concert in Takapuna says he was stunned at the level of interest.

Armand Crown from Ngati Maniapoto studied the history of Maori music as part of his postgraduate studies, and went on to produce the Maori Television series Unsung Heroes.

He says there is an audience out there hungry for the chance to hear musicians from bands like the Quin Tikis, the Hi Quins, the Hi Liners, Maori Troubadours, Hi Fives and Volcanics.

He says it was sold out in two weeks before promoters had a chance to advertise through interest generated from an Internet site.


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