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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Education debate draws rant

The pressures of campaigning are starting to show in Te Taitokerau, with Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell accusing Hone Harawira of nutting off over the absence of the Maori Party candidate from a debate in west Auckland.

Mr Flavell says he stood in at last night's education debate because Solomon Tipene was admitted to hospital with a recurring stomach complaint.

That led Mr Harawira to complain he was being ganged up on by two teachers - Mr Flavell and Labour's Kelvin Davis.

“Hone had arrived so when he came in he sort of nutted off abut the fact it was all set up a jack up which was way over the top in the circumstances which was we were just talking about policy lines,” Mr Flavell says.

He says Solomon Tipene should be well enough to complete the campaign.

HARAWIRA SEEING CONSPIRACY ON ABSENCE

But Mana candidate Hone Harawira is still claiming Solomon Tipene's absence from the debate was the result of underhand tactics.

Mr Harawira says Prime Minister John Key's statement last week that Kelvin Davis was the likely winner makes him think Mr Tipene is being left in the race to strengthen Labour's chances.

“The Maori Party has been instructed, probably by National, ‘let’s all act together to bury Hone because if he gets in he is going to change politics in Aotearoa and that’s something none of use want,’” Mr Harawira says.

His focus now is getting supporters registered and to the polls on Saturday.

RENTERS STILL UNCERTAIN ABOUT CHRISTCHURCH PACKAGE

Christchurch Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says today's announcement of rebuilding Christchurch is good news for many homeowners, but the government needs to come up with assistance package for low income renters.

The Government says it will buy insured houses in areas which cannot be rebuilt on, and take over any relationship with insurers and reinsurers.

Mr Taonui says the red-zoned areas like Bexley, Avonside and Darlington include large numbers of low-income Maori who rent homes which may now be set for demolition.

“In and around those areas where people own houses, there are also lots of rental properties and there’s a significant Maori population so they are going to have to move on and there is no specific package for those people so that is one downside. If 100 people in your area own homes and are gong, you probably have to go and where is the assistance for you,” he says.

DAVIS KEEN TO CARRY ELECTORATE WEIGHT

Labour's Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate says a jump up from list status to electorate MP on Saturday would give him more authority to advocate for Maori within the party.

Kelvin Davis says Maori voters need to appreciate that the way to make real long term gains for Maori is within a major party.

“If I have the mandate from the people of Tai Tokerau, then my voice can be louder because I can start demanding things and they can’t say ‘Kelvin, you’re getting a bit bolshie, you’re going to be number 400 on the list next time around.’ If I’ve got the mandate from the people of Tai Tokerau I can say I’m here speaking on behalf of the people of Tai Tokerau, this is what has been told to me and this is the view that I'm pushing,” he says.

Mr Davis says there have been many robust discussions in the Labour caucus, but Maori MP's are being increasingly listened to.

HOROMIA CALLS TO WOMEN TO SPEAK

Ikaroa Rawiti MP Parekura Horomia says it's time for Maori to let their wahine speak on the paepae.

His own Ngati Porou iwi has a history of women orators, but it's unusual in other areas.

He says some aspects of Maori kawa reflect the colonial era, and they don't relate to the needs and desires of young Maori.

“I think its time for wahine to talk on the paepae. I know some people listening to this will want to knock my ears in but if you have women who have the reo and no one else has, you’ve got to confront what we’ve got now and use it,” Mr Horomia says.

He says for many young Maori, culture means getting a ta moko tattoo or taking part in kapa haka rather than joining in the life of a marae.

BILINGUAL ACTOR SPARKS FILM AUDIENCE INTEREST

Film producer Nicole Hoey says audiences at a lesbian and gay film festival in San Francisco are getting a whole new view of things Maori.

Ms Hoey attended last night's screening of Kawa, an adaptation of Nights in the Gardens of Spain, along with writer Witi ihimaera and director Katie Wolfe.

She says the audience at the Casto Theatre bombarded the trio with questions, especially about the role of a child who speaks both Maori and English in the film, leading to a discussion on bilingual education.

The screening of the film led to talks with distributors and other festivals about getting Kawa to more venues.

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