Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Maori absence noted in world cup showcase

Labour tourism spokesperson Kelvin Davis says National seems determined to make Maori invisible during the Rugby World Cup.

The list MP says there was almost no mention of Maori at the launch of the Real New Zealand Showcase, which is supposed to show visitors for the cup what the country has to offer.

“The Real New Zealand Showcase cannot be called real New Zealand if there is absolutely no Maori input into anything or no Maori being showcased other than a few Maori waiters and a couple of Maori songs that were played. It’s a total disgrace and it reflects on the government’s support of Maori in initiatives and Maori ventures,” Mr Davis says.

He says as Tourism Minister, Prime Minister John Key has so neglected the Maori sector that the $4.5 million set aside to develop a Maori tourism action plan is largely unspent.

TE HEUHEU STEPPING DOWN WHILE PARTY STILL ON TOP

Retiring National list MP Georgina te Heuheu says she's please she can retire while her party is on top.

The Ngati Tuwharetoa lawyer isn't seeking reselection after 15 years in the job.

Mrs te Heuheu currently holds the portfolios of Courts, Disarmament, Pacific Island Affairs and Associate Maori Affairs.

“I'm very proud to have been involved in Parliament as a member of the National Party but also when we’ve got a government which I believe is showing very strong leadership under John Key in what has been and will continue to be quite challenging circumstances so I have decided it is time for me to step down,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

She is looking forward to having more time for her family.

BATTALION WEBSITE MAKES AWARDS FINAL

The developer of the 28th Maori Battalion website says it's proving its worth as a source of memories and histories.

Monty Soutar says the bilingual site, which was launched two years ago by the Battalion Association in partnership with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Te Puni Kokiri, is drawing more than 3000 unique visitors a month.

It has made the finals of the Crown - Maori relationships category of the Internet Providers Association Awards.

The site includes a page for each of the 3600 battalion members where people can contribute memories, images or videos.

KEY KEENER ON WATER MANAGEMENT THAN OWNERSHIP

Prime Minister John Key says he's more interested in how water is managed than who owns it.

Indigenous law expert Jacinta Ruru has suggested the new national policy statement on fresh water ignores underlying claims of Maori ownership.

Mr Key says it's an argument that comes up often.

“The view of the Crown is that no one owns water, like no one owns fresh water, the sea, water, the airwaves or air space. We have usage rights and Maori have significant usage rights. Water, yep, there is always going to be contention about who owns it. I don’t think we should be too hung up about that. I think we should focus on the usage rights and actually making sure it’s more efficient. At the moment we have quite an inefficient allocation system when it comes to water.

GREENS OFFERING STABILITY TO MAORI VOTERS

With Hone Harawira's Mana movement threatening to draw votes from the Maori Party, the Green Party is pushing for some of those votes.

Co-leader Meteria Turei says it's the only party to consistently stand up for Maori aspirations ... which is why it opposed both the Foreshore and Seabed Act and the Marine and Coastal Area Act as discriminating against Maori.

She says the Green-inspired home insulation scheme has benefited thousands of Maori families.

“In terms of a place to put your vote for a stable Maori advocacy I think we are the best option by far and away, our policy is the best, our stability is the best, our political power is the best,” Ms Turei says.

AUNTY’S GARDEN SITE OPENED FOR BUSINESS

Kahungunu Asset Holding Company today launched Aunty's Garden, an online network of Maori growers, artists and service providers.

General manager Aramanu Ropiha says the project arose out of the mara kai scheme to create marae-based vegetable gardens.

She says it has expanded to include a wide range of Maori producers who are looking for a way to cut out the middle man.
Growers must declare their commitment to traceability, sustainability and fair trade.

Ms Ropiha says the Aunty's Garden site is now only informational, but it could become an e-commerce site in future.

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