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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Doomed gambling harm bill has right aim

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says she will be fighting hard this week for Te Ururoa Flavell's bill aimed at reducing the harm of gambling.

The bill, which gives more power to local authorities to restrict pokies and changes the way pokie money is distribute, isn't expected to get past first reading because it doesn't have National's support.

But Mrs Turia says any benefit that communities projects get from gambling profits is outweighed by the damage done.

“Why would we think it’s okay for us to do well out of such a harmful activity because we know families that have lost everything including their homes. It is a significant issue and one that we feel very strongly about because we know of the impact on Maori and Pacific communities. It’s been huge,” she says.

Mrs Turia says the pokie industry has engineered a huge transfer of wealth from Maori communities to the more affluent suburbs that control the gambling trusts.

RUGBY CLOTHING DESIGN PROCESS SHOULD SET PATTERN

The Minister of Maori Affairs says the way Maori designs for Rugby World Cup merchandise are protected should serve as a model for other events.

Pita Sharples launched the artworks yesterday at Takapuwahia Marae in Porirua, home of Ngati Toa Rangatira, whose haka Ka Mate provided the inspiration for one of the six designs.

He says they came out of a long term relationship between the iwi, Te Puni Kokiri, Rugby World Cup organisers, and Maori artists' group Nga Aho Incorporated.

“The process that has been established puts the ownership of the intellectual property in Nga Aho. I think it serves as a blueprint for other artists wanting to use their intellectual property in such a way in garments for sale around the world,” Dr Sharples says.

COUNCILOR SEEKING TO BRING MAORI PERPECTIVE

New Auckland councilor Des Morrison says he intends to bring a Maori perspective to the business of the super city, even if he is not there as a dedicated Maori representative.

The former New Zealand Steel executive won the Franklin ward for the Citizens and ratepayers ticket after serving two terms on the old Franklin District Council.

He says he's proud of his Ngapuhi roots, and he's also heartened by the new council's support for iwi.

“After a week at the Auckland council I’ve been pleasantly surprised in terms of the other councilors and just the small time that we’ve been working together in terms of the acceptance of Maori as tangata wheuna,” Mr Morrison says.

He's also impressed with the way iwi are supporting the council in its activities.

SHARPLES SETS HIGH BAR FOR DROPPING MARINE BILL SUPPORT

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says nothing short of total condemnation from Maoridom will stop the party support the Marine and Coastal Areas Bill into law.

Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu have come out against the stringent tests in the bill required to prove Maori customary interests in coastal areas, and Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira is agitating against it.

But Dr Sharples says his party is determined to see the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act repealed and the courts given back the power to determine Maori customary rights claims.

“It's by far not perfect but you’ve got to look at today’s time and where we are and if you think a Government is going to turn around today in a parliamentary environment and say ‘Oh Maoris, you want this, you want that,’ and just give it, no. Everything has to be hard fought for and within that parliamentary framework,” Dr Sharples says.

Other iwi have contacted him supporting the party's position.

MAORI LESSONS EMBRACED BY NEW ARRIVAL

An Australian educationalist is showing New Zealand schools the way on making te reo Maori a core part of the curriculum.

Bradley Fenner, who crossed the Tasman a year ago to head Auckland's Kings College, has made the language compulsory for year nine students.

He says the move was underway at the elite private school before he arrived, but he embraced the initiative wholeheartedy.

“We think it's absolutely vital to be good citizens of this country to have that understanding and we know that with understanding of language comes understanding of culture. I’m a relative newcomer here, I’ve only been in New Zealand since April of last year but it just continually come home to me how important Maori culture is within this country,” Mr Fenner says.

The key to making te reo lessons compulsory was finding a teacher of sufficient caliber to engage students.

GEAR SHOWS HIS CLASS AT TWICKENHAM TEST

Maori rugby has been credited with bringing Hosea Gear back to the international game.

Commentator Te Kauhoe Wano says the Ngati Porou winger made his test debut against Australia two years ago, but was quickly dropped from the All Black squad.

But his three-try haul for the Maori team against England mid-year made rugby bosses sit up and take notice, leading to his recall and the top draw effort in the All Blacks 26-16 win over England in front of a sell out Twickenham crowd at the weekend.

He expects to see Hosea Gear in the All Black squad for a long time to come.

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