Waatea News Update

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

No reform in Alcohol Reform Bill

Anti-booze campaigner Doug Sellman is championing the Maori affairs select committee as the one force that could take on the liquor industry.

Professor Sellman, the director of Otago University's national addiction centre, says the Alcohol Reform Bill tabled in parliament this week pretends the problem is with young people, when most problem drinkers are older.

He says it shows the government is captive to the industry, and is in stark contrast to the way the Maori affairs committee slated the tobacco merchants.

“The Maori select committee is a fantastic force in Parliament and I think in time they could be the real spark in Parliament that brings about some proper alcohol law reform that would actually make a difference,” Professor Sellman says.

He says rather than address issues like advertising, proliferation of outlets and cheap pricing, the Government is thinking of the money that will pour into party coffers at the next election.

KIWIFRUIT CANKER PART OF CYCLE

Bay of Plenty kiwifruit grower Maanu Paul says the outbreak the kiwifruit vine-killing bacteria PSA is more likely to part of a long term cycle than to be the result of some recent infection.

Scientists are still trying to identify the source of the outbreak, which has been confirmed in three Te Puke Orchards with another 75 notifying MAF of suspicious leaf damage.

Mr Paul, who recently sold his Opotiki orchard, says Maori have a significant stake in the industry as landowners, growers and processors.

But he says traditional knowledge indicates poor harvests are inevitable, usually when climate conditions trigger pre-existing threats, as he believe to be the case with PSA.

He believes a cold summer and wet spring produced the conditions for PSA to flourish.

ARMISTICE DAY HAS RESONANCE FOR PIONEER’S SON

Today's Armistice Day commemoration has a special resonance for one former soldier ... and not because of his own service.

Kingi Taurua from Ngapuhi says his father never recovered from the lung damage he sustained as a member of the Pioneer Battalion in the First World War.

He says his father called it the white man's war, where Maori soldiers were treated as donkeys rather than soldiers.

“When he came back he spent most of his time in bed, he was a very sick man, big guy, stood about six foot something, huge body, but he couldn’t do anything, couldn’t even work, and they didn’t get any support back then,” Mr Tauroa says.

He was just 14 when he watched his farther die at the age of 54, coughing up blood from his ruined lungs.

MAORI GROUPS SEEKING ROLE IN COMMUNITY ORDER

The police manager for Maori and ethnic services says iwi and Maori groups attending the Police Leadership Conference at Pipitea Marae in Wellington this week are keen to have a greater role in how their communities are
policed.

Wally Haumaha says since the first Ngakia Kia Puawai in 1999, the annual hui has become a valuable outlet for free and frank discussion between police, politicians and Maori.

He says everyone has a right to feel safe in their communities.

“A strong theme has come through about the prevention of crime and the importance of the state not taking control or preventing crime on its own, the state perhaps taking a role that sees it retreat and Maori communities, other organisations stepping up into the shoes so they can then own the position of protecting our people against victimisation,” Superintendant Haumaha says.

FILIPINA INSPIRING FOR WOMEN’S AUDIENCE

A hui yesterday featuring a campaigner for political, human and women's rights in the Philippines could spark a new wave of activism among wahine Maori.

Coni Ledesma from the National Democratic Front of the Philippines featured at the Wise Women Speak forum at Auckland University, sharing a stage with veteran activist Titewhai Harawira and lawyer Annette Sykes.

Marama Davidson, an advisor with the Human Right Commission, says it struck a chord with the audience.

“There have been talks in the past couple of weeks around Maori leadership and the talks yesterday were very clear in a call for a strong Maori voice, and active Maori voice and a political Maori voice and particularly from wahine so many were inspired and many wahine have been waiting for this sort of call for a long time,” Ms Davidson says.

She says the low number of Maori women coming through in the latest local body elections shows the need for them to get active.

NET MAKING WEAVES COMMUNTY TOGETHER

The Whanganui Regional Museum is revealing some of the secrets of traditional Maori fishing practices to schools in the rohe.

Awhina Twomey, the museum's iwi liaison manager, says as part of River Week students are being shown how to make a three metre fishing net.

She says other museum visitors are also invited to join in and tie some knots in the harakeke, and many find themselves getting quite involved in what is a very social activity.

More than 40 types of kupenga or net are known to have been used by Maori, from huge kaharoa or deep sea nets to small bait nets.

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