Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 02, 2011

Time has come for Harawira party

Te Roopu Mana leader Hone Harawira says his new political movement is one whose time has come.

Mr Harawira will resign from Parliament this week and contest a by-election for the Te Tai Tokerau seat he now holds.

Despite the presence at his launch rally in Auckland on Saturday of former Green and Alliance MPs Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos and Unite organiser John Minto, Mr Harawira said Mana did not want to be part of any coalition that denied its identity as Maori.

He says it can go further than previous parties he has been a member of.

“Mana Motuhake never really had their own MP in the House, and they only really got in as part of the Alliance, Mana Maori was never able to get to that point. I am there currently although I am going back to get a mandate and I intend to return to Parliament as an elected MP for the Mana movement,” Mr Harawira says.

He says Maori Party did not turn out to be the champion of the poor as he thought it should be.


Meanwhile, Hone Harawira’s campaign manager is anticipating the by-election in Te Tai Tokerau will put Labour under real pressure.

Matt McCarten says the weekend’s surprise announcement of Mr Harawira’s intention to force the by-election was about getting a mandate for the MP and his movement, rather than about catching the Labour contender flat-footed.

“They are quite weak, they now have to front their talk, they’ve either got to put Kelvin Davis into the race or not and so if I was on their side that would cause me a few headaches. I think and hope and suspect that Hone will win and have his mandate and that won’t be good news to the Labour Party in some sense,” Mr McCarten says.

He says Maori voters like to vote for something they believe in or aspire to.


Visitors to Rotorua Museum yesterday got a sneak peek at its new Don Stafford Wing, which will open in August.

Director Greg McManus says the $22 million extension named after the late historian will allow the museum to display a larger number of its Maori artifacts.

He says many taonga from the region will be brought back for the opening show from Auckland Museum, Te Papa, and overseas institutions.

“We asked for everything on loan and it was a very long process but once we explained to them what it was all about and they met us and met Te Arawa kaumatua everyone was willing and in the case of the royal collection we basically wrote to the royal family and asked that their taonga that were given by Te Arawa in 1901 to the Duke of York, we asked if we could borrow them back and they said yes so that’s fantastic,” Mr McManus says.

The museum sought five-year loans for the taonga it’s bringing for the Nga Pumanawa o Te Arawa exhibition.


Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says his new party will champion the rights of the poor in a way the Maori Party has failed to do.

The launch of Te Roopu Mana in Auckland on Saturday included speeches of support from unionists and former Green MPs Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos.

Mr Harawira says while a Maori identity is essential to Mana, it also has to pick up the job the Maori Party has failed to do.

“We were supposed to be there for the pani me te rawa kore. The Maori Party is not there. I intend to honour that obligation to be there for those in need, for those most vulnerable or those who don’t have a voice,” he says.

Mr Harawira says the by-election he is forcing in Te Tai Tokerau will give him and the new Mana movement a mandate.


An Otago University epidemiologist says child poverty is leading to a huge increase in severe skin conditions among Maori and Pasifika.

Associate professor Michael Baker says incidence of the skin conditions has doubled over the past two decades, with Maori children almost three times more likely than Pakeha to be affected.

He says minor wounds and infected insect bites are easy to control if treated early, but about 60 thousand children are being admitted to hospital every year because the wounds are left to fester.

“There are some families who have inadequate amounts of hot water and soap for washing, getting their children to see a doctor early is difficult because of transport costs, and also the high cost of after hours consultation with a GP so these are all barriers that are affecting the poorest groups in New Zealand,” Dr Baker says.

He says skin injuries become an unnecessary drain on the health system.


The director of the Wairoa Maori Film Festival says it’s great to be able to bring some international indigenous perspectives to the region.

As well as a line up of new and old films from Aotearoa, the programme for the Queen’s Birthday weekend event includes work from Australia, North America, Hawaii, Israel, and the Arctic community of Pittagangituq.

Leo Koziol says a highlight for him will be the documentary Seven Generations, about the group indigenous grandmothers for peace.

The group includes Rongomaiwahine kuia Pauline Tangiora, one of the festival’s directors.

Some of the films features in the Wairoa Festival will tour other centres later in the year.


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