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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 24, 2011

Harawira whips resentment for final push

Te Tai Tokerau candidate Hone Harawira says the campaign against him is being driven by fear the underdog will get a champion in Parliament.

Mr Harawira forced tomorrow's by-election to get a mandate for himself and his new Mana Party, which merges his long-standing treaty kaupapa with the left wing rhetoric of Unite union head Matt McCarten and social justice campainger John Minto.

He says it's not what the two mainstream parties want to hear.

“They have stealing blind from the people who work and from the poor people in this country including for generations and no one has been able to highlight that and when I go back in intend to do so,” Mr Harawira says.

It's the loyalty of his support on the ground that will allow him to prevail over the better-funded campaigns against him.

EDUCATION FOR JOBS A COMPELLING MESSAGE

But Labour leader Phil Goff says his party's candidate Kelvin Davis is the true voice of the struggling Maori families in Te Tai Tokerau - which is why he should win tomorrow.

He says in the short campaign for former school principal has won the trust of the voters, and his message of building a future for Maori with jobs and education has resonated in a region where one in five people are out of work.

“People want to work, they want a chance, they want to build their lives and they know that the pathway to that is education and it’s skill training opportunities,” Mr Goff says.

The Electoral Commission says early voting is ahead of the general election, with 1028 votes recorded by Wednesday night, compared with 864 ordinary votes at the same point in 2008.

TE HANA REPLICA VILLAGE OPENS

Te Uri o Hau opens its replica 17th century Maori village at Te Hana tomorrow.

Thomas de Thierry, the chair of Te Hana Community Development Charitable Trust, says building Te Ao Marama village has transformed the small predominantly Maori community just north of Wellsford.

The marae will offer a cultural tourism experience, as well as being available for education groups.

He says the knowledge and skills of kaumatua from the 14 marae around the Kaipara went into the design, and a huge amount of voluntary labour went into the $4 million project.

The dawn opening of Te Ao Marama village starts with the blessing of the waharoa or entrance-way, followed by the opening of the whare tupuna.

GOFF CONSIDERS MERITS OF COMPULSORY VOTING

Labour leader Phil Goff says he would favour adding the issue of compulsory voting to a constitutional referendum.

Pundits are expecting the turn-out for tomorrow's by-election in Te Tai Tokerau to be low, in line with the Mana and Botany by-elections.

Mr Goff says he's coming to see the merits of the Australian system of compulsory voting.

“People should make the effort to get out and cast their vote. If they don’t like anyone, cross out every name but at least you’ve made the effort and it’s not because you couldn’t get off your bum to do it. That is a decision that should be a decision for all New Zealanders and I would be prepared to consider putting that in a constitutional referendum some time in the future,” he says.

The Electoral Office says by Thursday night it had received 1361 early voters in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election, compared with 1,129 ordinary votes by the same point at the 2008 election.

The Te Tai Tokerau roll total now stands at 32,738.

MAORI BATTALION SITE PICKS UP INTERNET PRIZE

The co-ordinator of the 28 Maori Battalion website says the site is starting to pick a wider audience than just descendants of whanau.

The site won the Crown-Maori Relationships category in this year's Institute of Public Administration Gen-I awards.

Monty Soutar says many of the 6000 monthly visitors are New Zealanders travelling to Europe and North Africa who want to walk in the steps of the battalion ... and he has been able to help by uploading maps and even photos of the battle sites, such as the foxholes he was shown on Mt Olympus in Greece.

The site has so far been able to source photos of 1100 of the 3600 men who served in the battalion during World war 2.

KAUMATUA KAPA HAKA A HIT WITH AUDIENCES

The co-ordinator of this year's kaumatua kapa haka competition says audiences can't get enough of the old school style of performing.

Fourteen roopu from throughout the country are comining together at Te Papa in Wellington this weekend for the finale of the museum's Matariki celebrations.

Mere Boynton says the soft sweet sound preferred by the kaumatua is a world away from the slick, fierce competition of Te Matatini.

She says despite kaumatua saying they're not competing, they always amaze the crowd with distinctive additions to their kaakahu each year.

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