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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, February 14, 2011

Titewhai Harawira apologises for Sharples slur

The mother of embattled Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has apologised to Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples for calling him spineless and a gutless dog.

Titewhai Harawira says she's not backing down from her view that the party leadership should have come back to the members on whether they should continue to support National's Marine and Coastal Area Bill

But she says her language was over the top, as she told Dr Sharples at the start of a Tamaki Makaurau electorate committee meeting.

“I stood up and apologized to Pita Sharples for what was in the media and I take this opportunity of publicly saying my apology has been tendered to Pita Sharples and it has been accepted and recorded in our minutes. That is where the issue lies,” Mrs Harawira says.

She says the row over Hone Harawira's behaviour is being used as a smoke screen to divert attention away from the way the leadership has moved away from the party's kaupapa on what should be put in place of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

MAYOR TOLD TO GET ON AND SIGN CHEQUE

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has some advice for Auckland mayor Len Brown ... accept the budget for the Maori statutory board and move on.

Mr Brown last week buckled to criticism of the board's $3.4 million a year price tag, and indicated the sum put to tonight's full council meeting for ratification will be lower.

Mrs Turia says Mr Brown should remember that many Maori voted for him because they though he would bring a more enlightened approach to dealing with their issues.

“That behaviour is no different than we experience in parliament when you have a majority of tauiwi determining things, These things are not unusual but what Len Brown needs to do is get on with his job of running the council and accepting the important role (of Maori) as he stated before he was elected,” Mrs Turia says.

She says Len Brown said he wanted a strong Maori presence in the council, and now he has got it.

KORA HAPPY TO DO CONCERT ON DRY LAND

Maori rock funk collective Kora has found playing to Queenslanders battling floods and cyclones a sobering experience.

The band of brothers is back home preparing for a short tour starting with next Saturday’s Sacred Hill Summer Festival in the Hawkes Bay, where they will play alongside Shapeshifter, the Black Seeds and Ladi6.

Guitarist Laughton Kora says it’s sure to be a lot different than the band's week-long tour along the Brisbane coast in the lead up to Waitangi Day.

“When we got there the flood was all finished but fans that come to see us, they hadn’t been working for three weeks and we were like oh wow, and then we jumped on the plane and they got hit again,” Mr Kora says.

Once live commitments are out of the way the band is heading into the recording studio to work on its next album.

STRANGE PARTNERS FOR SECOND FORESHORE HIKOI

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says Maori should read the Marine And Coastal Areas (Takutai Moana) Bill before they march against it.

The Auckland District Maori Council is threatening another hikoi to protest the bill, which is expected to have its second reading in the next couple of weeks.

Mrs Turia says the bill the Maori Party has contributed to is significantly different to the 2004 Act which sparked the first hikoi.

“We have to decide why we are marching this time alongside of the ACT Party, the Coastal Coalition and the CAN group from Hawkes Bay. I’m quite confused and sad I think because people haven’t understood the legislation,” she says.

Mrs Turia says while the new Bill doesn't go as far as the Maori Party wanted, it is an improvement on the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson people taking court action under the Maori and Coastal Areas Bill will be able to seek funding from a special fund administered by the Minister of Maori Affairs, rather than being eligible for legal aid.

MATATINI DELAYS DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE

The chair of the Maori Party's disciplinary committee says it will be next week at the earliest before the committee will be able to deliberate on the complaint against Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira.

Te Orihi Paul, who is also the party's co-vice president, says the national Te Matatina kapa haka competition starting on Thursday must take precedence over whip Te Ururoa Flavell's complaint.

“Matatini is a really important part of our Maori world. It’s international and to have this crashing into Matatini, it does something to the ethos, the wairua of our world, so we have to be careful what happens and our people know that, they understand and appreciate that,” Mrs Paul says.

The committee must refer any recommendations to the full council of the Maori Party.

CENSUS PREPARES SPECIAL EFFORT TO REACH MAORI

Statistics New Zealand wants to get a clearer picture of the Maori world on census night, March 8.

More than half a million people or one in seven New Zealanders identified as having Maori ethnicity at the 2006 census, 30 percent up on 2001.

Census manager Carol Slappendal says that trend is expected to continue, which is why the department is mounting a You Count campaign aimed at Maori.

“The census provides the best source of information for and about iwi because it includes everyone in the country. For iwi, it provides accurate population counts and of course that sort of information is very important for being able to set goals and monitor progress.” she says.

Ms Slappendal says the census forms can be filled in on paper on online in English or Te reo Maori.

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