Waatea News Update

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Bad news, then the good news for southern hui a tau

The head of the Ngai Tahu Runanga says Saturday's hui a tau at Moeraki will be told the worst is over.

The tribe made an $11 million loss last year on revenue of $174 million, driven by a $22 million write off in the value of assets in its seafood and tourism divisions.

Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon says a structural review has trimmed operating costs, and improved market conditions should help the fishing business in the current year.

Mr Solomon says the annual hui will also be told Ngai Tahu will be looking to work more with other tribes.

“This financial year coming, one is we’ll get back on track with the returns from the Holdings Corporation, but I also think there are a lot more opportunities opening within iwi katoa of closer relationships, more working together culturally, financially, socially and environmentally,” Solomon says.

Mark Solomon says highlights include being recognised as a mandated iwi organisation to receive the fisheries settlement assets, and the launch of the Whai Rawa tribal saving scheme.


List MP Georgina Te Heuheu says the Ministry of Maori Development is failing to deliver value to Maori.

The Maori Affairs select committee this week held a financial review of Te Puni Kokiri.

Mrs te Heuheu says MPs were alarmed at the $7 million spent on consultants, the high staff turnover, and what appears to be a lack of expertise in the ministry.

She says National is not convinced Te Puni Kokiri is helping disadvantaged Maori:

“We've been asking them now to convince us that they really do bring value to lifting Maori, and I suppose from the point of view of Maori in enhancing rangatiratanga. In the end I suppose iwi do that themselves,” te Heuheu says.


The late Sir Peter Buck will be remembered this weekend at his papakainga in Taranaki.

Also known as Te Rangi Hiroa, Sir Peter was the first Maori medical doctor, the MP for Northern Maori from 1909 to 1914 and a distinguished anthropologist.

Ngati Mutunga kaumatua Tahuaroa McDonald says the commemoration begins this evening with a kawe mate at Ruapekapeka Marae in Urenui.

Mr McDonald says Te Rangi Hiroa has a special place on the marae.

“Te Rangihiroa grew up on our marae, and he was whangaied by our tupuna kuia called Roimata. When he born, a whare was built for him, and it still stands today. It’s a raupo whare, and that’s called Maihi Tamariki, and the whare paremata or Rangipuahoaho,” McDonald says.

Tahuaroa Mc Donald says Saturday the Royal Society of Scientists will present its Te Rangihiroa Award of Excellence, and there will be speeches from descendants of te Rangi Hiroa and fellow Young Maori Party members Maui Pomare and Pohau Ellison.


Childrens Commissioner Cindy Kiro says Maori need to find alternatives to violent behaviour within their whanau.

Dr Kiro says today's white ribbon campaign should remind people ahead of the stressful Christmas period that violence is not acceptable.

She says it's not good that the rates of family violence for Maori are higher than other ethnic groups.

“There's all sorts of reasons for that. Most importantly it’s the way in which we’ve been brought up and learn to react in times of stress and contact, and we’ve got to find other ways to behave,” Kiro says.

The government Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families is trying to revive the Te Rito Family Violence prevention strategy, which made Maori-based approaches a priority.


Maori Affairs select committee chairperson Dave Hereora says spending by Te Puni Kokiri is in accordance with policy guidelines.

Committee member Georgina Te Heuheu this week grilled chief executive Leith Comer about the $7 million the Maori development ministry spent on contractors.

Mr Hereora says Mrs te Heuheu was getting sidetracked by the numbers.

“You actually need to get into the detail of what the spending was for and the reasons for it. Their spending was in accordance with the policy framework that they are employed to do,” Hereora says.

Dave Hereora says he's more concerned about the agency's high staff turnover and what appears to be a shortage of skills in house.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says the shock resignation of Ngai Tahu chief executive Tahu Potiki highlights the need for iwi to build up skilled people.

Mr Horomia says while his departure is a loss to the wider tribe, it could benefit the Otakou Runanga, where Mr Potaka is headed.

“Tahu Potiki has a lot of skills like a lot of people his age in Maoridom, and I’m very keen that people like that get the succession plan in order and start to ensure that we have the right pack up Maori around us and the right skills.” Horomia says.

Mr Potiki quit in advance of tomorrow's Ngai Tahu hui a tau, at which the runanga will attempt to explain to beneficiaries why it made an $11 million loss last year.


The best Maori surfers in the country are gathering at Poihakena Marae in Raglan to be welcomed for the annual Maori surf champs.

Defending masters champion Te Kauhoe Wano says Maori surfers dominate the New Zealand surf scene, and he expects competition to be tight.

He says those showing their skills on the country's longest left hand break include Daniel Kereopa, Morehu Roberts and Chris Malone in the men's section and Lisa Hurunui, Misha Davis, and Jess Santoric battling for the women's crown.

“Competition there is pretty fierce, but there’s that whole kotahitanga thing, whanungatanga thing, so we always have a good time. My kids are going down, they’re 11 and 12, youngest age group is 16, they’re going to put their hats in and go out for a paddle, so it’s a real whanau affair,” Wano says.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Blue brown coalition possible without Orewa Don

Look forward to a blue-brown coalition now that Don Brash is no longer National's leader.

That's the response of Labour list MP Shane Jones to Dr Brash's sudden resignation yesterday.

Mr Jones says Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has been cordial to the National Party, but Dr Brash was a block to her teaming up.

He says expect to see the Maori Party MPs cosying up to the major opposition party

“The Maori Party MPs have stated, and Tariana has said it on their behalf, some sort of association with National is definitely deliverable in her books. I think that’s pathetic and I think our Maori voters, once they fully wake up to that, they’ll send the Maori Party in a similar direction to which Don Brash has gone,” Jones says.

He says Don Brash's position on race relations was out of step with where New Zealand should be headed, and he won't be missed.


National list MP Georgina te Heuheu says the Ministry for Maori Development's spending on consultants is over the top.

A select committee financial review has revealed Te Puni Kokiri spent $7 million on consultants over the past year, on top of its $26 million salary bill.

Mrs te Heuheu says that's a lot for a small organisation.

“There's 7 million floating around where TPK is getting outside consultants to help them do a whole range of things. On the one hand that’s not a huge amount but on another hand it is, and maybe that $7m is money iwi groups could use to build homes for our people,” te Heuheu says.

She says the spending indicates a ministry with high staff turnover which can't manage its workload.


If New Zealand is to retain the tri nations rugby league title, it will have a lot to do with the performance of its most senior player, Ruben Wiki.

That's the view of former Kiwi captain Ritchie Barnett.

The squad takes on Australia in Sydney tomorrow night, and hope for a repeat of last year, when they embarrassed the Kangaroos 24 nil.

Mr Barnett says as both captain and the Kiwis' most capped test player, Wiki will play a major role in the outcome.

He says with his Samoan and Maori whakapapa, Wiki is able to get something extra from his team mates.

“Ruben doesn’t talk a lot but he creates this great family atmosphere between the Pacific Islanders, the Maoris or whoever it may be. The younger kids just respect him immensely, and he makes those Polynesian boys feel real at home, and I think that’s the key,” Barnett says.


National list MP, Georgina Te Heuheu says the party owes a debt of gratitude to outgoing leader Don Brash.

Mrs Te Heuheu says while she had her differences with Dr Brash over Maori policy, he was able to bring the party back from the electoral savaging it received in 2002.

She say he was a leader for the times.

He did a great job in 2005. He can be very proud of that. Ultimately the individuals in a party come and go, but the values of a political party, they go on,” te Heuheu says.

Dr Brash also won plaudits from Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata, who says despite his public rhetoric on race relations, the National Party leader was always polite and open to argument in private.

But Labour list MP Shane Jones says Dr Brash caused great damage to race relations, and he'll be shedding no tears over his departure.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura says Te Puni Kokiri's attempts to upskill its employees is money well spent.

The department was criticised this week by National MPs for spending almost $7million this year on contractors, and for the quarter of a million dollars it spent on overseas travel and courses for staff overseas.

Mr Horomia says the Maori ministry should give its staff the same career development opportunities as mainstream departments enjoy.

“I'm a strong supporter of skilling people in international skills, because that’s where our markets are, that’s where the future is for Maori, and the days of jut having Pakeha do that or having agents do that are over, We’ve got to be able to do that too,” Horomia says.


Green Party MP Sue Bradford says she wants to see more support for Maori anti violence programmes.

Maori social service providers have expressed concerns about the lack of tikanga Maori in many programmes, and many iwi are now developing their own programmes.

Ms Bradford says tackling violence in society is a complex issue, and its needs a wide range of responses which acknowledge cultural differences.

“In our history it’s been all too common that the white social welfare worker has come into the Maori family and tried to help but is often seen as a tool of the state coming to oppress the family rather than as someone who can help. I think the more tikanga Maori is used in these programmes, the more effective they will be,” Bradford says.

Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill has won the support of the social services select committee and will be put to the vote in Parliament in the New Year.

National leader lacked agility for politics

Former National Party Maori vice president Sir Graham Latimer says Don Brash never developed the agility needed for politics.

Dr Brash stepped down today as National leader, but says he will remain a list MP if offered a senior position.

Sir Graham has worked closely with National leaders stretching back to Sir Keith Holyoake, but says he had little to do with the former Reserve Bank governor.

He says Dr Brash's late entry into the political realm counted against him, because he had not built up the experience needed for the top job.

“It takes a long to understand and educate yourself towards politics. And you’ve got to have the patience of Job and hang on. I feel sorry but that’s politics, what goes around comes around,” Sir Graham says.

He says National is not as right wing a party as Dr Brash tried to make it, and his successor will need to know the party well.


Labour list MP Shane Jones says Don Brash had no place in the country's political leadership.

Mr Jones says Dr Brash made his mark with his first Orewa speech on race relations, and that tainted his time at the top of National.

“I think Don Brash courted disaster the moment he declared war on race relations harmony and sought to stigmatise the Maori personality, both locally and nationally, so I shed not one tear for his passing,” Jones says.

He says Don Brash was a great disappointment to many kaumatua around the country, who remembered the close friendships his father enjoyed with Maori.


Rotorua lawyer Annette Sykes says treaty claimants don't believe the Crown is serious about improving its claim settlement processes.

Ms Sykes says at yesterday's Waitangi Tribunal judicial conference, Crown lawyers tried to present the agreement to settle Ngati Whatua o Orakei's Auckland claims as an improvement on previous processes.

The judicial conference was sparked by concern from other tribes with an interest in central Auckland that their claims would be taken off the table, and it broadened to encompass all claimants with gripes about the settlement process.

Ms Sykes, who represents Bay of Plenty hapu Ngati Makino, says the Crown isn't listening.

“The overwhelming feeling by the claimants and many of their representatives is that we’ve heard this all before. The policy still means that the control about how the policy is implemented remains with the crown, and that is certainly not what the treaty contemplated and not working towards settlement,” Sykes says.


National party List Mp Georgina te heu Heu says Don Brash had to go for the good of the party.

Dr Brash resigned today and a new leader will be chosen on Monday.

One of Dr Brash's first acts as leader was to remove Mrs Te Heuheu as the party's Maori affairs spokesperson, after she refused to endorse his comments on race relations made to the Orewa Rotary Club.

Mrs Te Heuheu says Dr Brash wasn't showing National in its best colours.

“He was continuously in the public eye for a whole raft of reasons and in the end although it’s one individual, it’s our party, the National Party, that’s in the public eye. We want to be in the public eye for good things, and we want to be there because we look like a viable alternative to the current government,” te Heuheu says.


Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata says the party is looking forward to talking with the new leader of the National Party.

Professor Winiata says he wishes the best for Don Brash, who resigned today.

He says while Maori were upset at many of Dr Brash's public statements, including his Orewa speech on race relations and his comments on Maori blood, in politics it is necessary to keep lines of communication open people holding different views.

“There are no bridges to be built and no sense that it will be easier to talk with National now. He was a good fellow to talk to, a very good mind and very willing to discuss and debate issues,” Winiata says.

He says Don Brash will be remembered for rebuilding National's electoral support after its hammering in the 2002 election.


Greens’ Maori Affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei has taken offence at comments by the director of the National Addiction Centre on Maori addiction rates.

Professor Doug Sellman yesterday told Waatea News there could be a correlation between Maori sociability and sporting success with research that they are twice as likely to have substance abuse problems.

Meteria Turei says it’s a gross generalisation to claim some genetic basis to addiction.

“I find that completely offensive. It’s so frustrating that because we might suffer from some of these negative statistics, it’s immediately attributed to our ethnicity. It’s abut being Maori that the problem is, and no these other things that are happening to us,” Turei says.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Manukau lacking housing policy

Manukau City Council is considering taking a hands-on role in getting Maori into their own homes.

Treaty relationships manager Moana Herewini says a study by the Centre for Housing Research and Te Puni Kokiri highlighted the fact the council did not have a housing policy.

The researchers interviewed Maori home owners and renters from six regions, including south Auckland, about housing quality, pricing and relationships with landlords.

Ms Herewini says it should be a wake up call for the council.

“The housing policy as such hasn’t been developed at all in Manukau City Council, so as a result of this report to the treaty committee, that’s one of the key recommendations we put up and we hope council will endorse, to start looking at what we can do from here, which could include developing a policy which might address the issues of Manukau people, including Maori,” Herewini says.


Green MP Sue Bradford says she has been bouyed by Maori support for her anti-smacking bill now before parliament.

Ms Bradford says the bill should help Maori who are trying to address violence within their communities.

She says iwi in the north, where she lives, were the first to offer support.

“Seven iwi came out in favour of my bill, and I thought that was an incredibly courageous thing to do. They know the impact of violence in those houses and want to do anything and everything to bring that to an end. Really we’re all working together for that goal, but when it comes to front on services, by Maori for Maori is I’m sure the best way to go,” Bradford says.


The head of Maori Television says the channel is starting to attract the interest of some of the large corporate advertisers.

Jim Mather says wining a Qantas Award for its Anzac special has helped raise the profile of Maori Television, and it is winning a loyal audience by offering an interesting and entertaining range of programmes.

He says advertising revenues will grow as audience numbers grow.

“Slowly but surely you’re seeing some of the big corporates and commercial organisations start advertising with Maori Television. There have been primarily government ministries with social messages, that’s constructive in its own right, but it’s good now to see the Kiwibanks and McDonalds and other organisations come on board,” Mather says.


Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira says the Treaty of Waitangi is not just a domestic issue.

He's just returned from a United Nations-backed conference on international treaties, held in Canada.

Mr Harawira says most of the indigenous peoples at the conference were aware of Maori efforts to have their treaty recognised.

But he says Maori may have made a mistake in viewing the Treaty of Waitangi as being about relationships between separate iwi and the Crown.

“I guess the thing I learned most from the trip, from listening to others, was that our treaty was not a domestic issue. Our treaty is an international issue, because treaties are only signed between sovereign states. We have to start acting like we are,” Harawira says.


It may be time for Maori to consider imposing booze bans on their own.
That's the view of Tuari Potiki, the South Island manager for the Alcohol Advisory Council.

He says he doubts there are any Maori families who have not not been subjected to the negative side of alcohol abuse.

Mr Potiki says in Christchurch, 80 percent of people arrested on a Friday or Saturday night, or are admitted to accident and emergency departments, have been drinking.

Mr Potiki says it's time for Maori to take matters into their own hands.

“As communities and as whanau we need to take control. We know what we need. Just give us the ability and the resource to do it. Let us fix our own problems and maybe going back to a tipuna like Rewi Maniapoto, who put down the rahui on alcohol in the King Country. He did that for a reason. They knew right back then that alcohol was causing a problem, was going to cause a problem, for Maori whanau and communities,” Potiki says.

Tuari Potiki says he's sick of picking up a newspaper on a Monday to and find another Maori killed on the road, or as a result of domestic violence.


Maori need to go back to discussing their issues in te reo Maori, rather than battling it out in English.

That's the korero coming from the first To Tatou Reo Rangatira Maori language conference this week at Massey University's Palmerston North campus.

Keynote speaker Taiarahia Black, the head of the university's Maori language programmes, says hui have become too reliant on the use of English, which changes the way kaupapa or issues are perceived.

“All of those issues in the past and to the present have always been discussed in English. We want to create a platform over the next ten years. Every two years there will be a Maori language conference where Maori speakers can deliver papers and keynote addresses in the Maori language, and the issues they are dealing with are issues that are relevant to Maori,” Professor Black says.

Phone message tells Solomon Ngai Tahu CEO gone

The head of the Ngai Tahu Runanga says the resignation of the tribe's chief executive came as a shock.

Mark Solomon says he heard of Tahu Potiki's departure on a phone message, and he had no idea it was coming.

Tensions between the two men was seen by outsiders as a major factor in the the disunity which has wracked the runanga over the past two years, leading two at least two attempts to unseat Mr Solomon as kaiwhakahaere.

But Mr Solomon says they had a working relationship, and he never heard Mr Potiki put him down publicly.

He accepts the reason for the departure.

“Tahu's rationale is that he’s been offered a job back home and he wants to go back home to Dunedin where he’s from with his family, and I can’t dispute a rationale like that. In some ways I’m a bit jealous that I can’t go back and work full time at my area,” Solomon says.

Mark Solomon says the challenge for an incoming chief executive is likely to be finding ways the benefits of the Ngai Tahu settlement reach all its members.

The resignation comes on the eve of the Ngai Tahu's annual meeting at Moeraki on Saturday, at which the runanga will try to explain the reasons it made an $11 million loss over the past year.


Treaty lawyer Darrell Naden says the government has refused to listen to concerns Maori have with the Treaty of Waitangi claims process.

Mr Naden from Tamaki Legal was one of the large number of lawyers attending today's Waitangi Tribunal judicial conference at Pipitea Marae in Wellington.

Mr Naden says claimants have a right to a fair and transparent process towards settlement, but they're not getting it.

“The issues with the claims process grow in number, grow in seriousness and grow in complexity. The government seems to be playing with the claims process a little too much,” Naden says.

Darrell Naden says the government's deadline of 2008 for filing of historical treaty claims is diabolical and unjust.


The director of the National Addiction Centre says there could be cultural reasons for the Maori rate of drug addiction being twice that of the general population.

Professor Doug Sellman says his analysis of Ministry of Health research into mental health disorders among Maori points to a mix of cultural, socio economic and cultural factors in addictive behaviour.

“One of the things we know causes addiction is proneness to novelty seeking, curiosity, and proneness to risk taking, which is bravery, and when you think about Maori extroversion, sociability, generosity, athletic ability, some of those cultural differences, which I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t turn out to be linked to people’s proneness to addiction,” Sellman says.


A Dunedin mental health worker says research findings that Maori are twice as likely to become addicted to drugs come as no surprise to people working in the field.

Claire Aitken - from Moana House - says it reflects a weakening in Maori social institutions over the years.

“As a result of the historical factors and lots of losses and lots of disconnection, and policies that were really not designed to uplift Maori but were designed to assimilate, then it’s in those sorts of environments that multiple other problems occur, because already some of those traditional systems have been lost and broken down,” Aitken says.


Environment Bay of Plenty councillor Tipene Marr says cutting the number of Maori seats will put undue pressure on remaining councillors.

Objections close on Friday to a plan to cut the number of councillors from 14 to 10, with the Maori reps slashed from three to two.

Mr Marr, who holds the Mataatua seat, says it means less representation for Maori.

“You're going to have two now doing the job of three, and you’re just going to have to get round more. We’ll do it of course, but it’s never going to be as good as three. We should all be asking for another couple of Maori seats really, because 25 percent of the region is Maori,” Marr says.

Tipene Marr says the cut down council may make decisions more quickly, but he doubts it will lead to better outcomes.


The Maori Internet Society is calling on Maori language speakers to help finish a Maori version of the Google search engine.

Chairperson Karaitiana Taiuru says 75 percent of the project has been completed over the past two years, and the society is encouraging anyone with the time and the skill in te reo to help finish it.

They just need to go to the Language Tools section of Google.

Mr Karaitiana says it's time Maori have a chance to search the Internet in their own language.

“I see it as an evolution that Maori speakers are using the Internet. Maori have more access to the Internet now than we ever have, so it’s another way of promoting the language and showing the world that we are on the internet,” Taiuru says.

He says the Maori Language Commission wasn't asked to contribute, because the Internet model is for users to take ownership of problems rather than government agencies.

$1 million handshake revealed in Ngai Tahu books

The former head of Ngai Tahu's commercial arm banked more than $1 million dollars over the last year. Robin Pratt quit Ngai Tahu Group Corporation in May after a review recommended major structural changes.

Ngai Tahu's report for the year ending June 30 shows the corporation made a pre-tax profit of only $9 million compared with $31 million the previous year, resulting in an overall loss for the South Island tribe of almost $11 million.

It showed 43 staff earned more than $100 thousand dollars, with the top earner making between $1.1 and $1.2 million, including redundancy and compensation payments.

Ngai Tahu Runanga chairperson Mark Solomon says he was unhappy with the payment to Dr Pratt, but couldn't stop it.

“There was a payment made by the Holdings Corporation. I’m not in favour of the golden handshakes, but it was done by a board that had the delegated authority to do so. We now have to carry it,” Solomon says.

Mark Solomon says the overall result reflected difficult trading conditions and asset write-offs in the tribe's fishing operations, but he expects a significant improvement during the current year


Treaty lawyer Annette Sykes says claimants hope today's Waitangi Tribunal judicial conference in Wellington will result in an inquiry into the settlement process.

Tribunal Judge Carrie Wainwright has asked a wide range of claimants to say why such an inquiry is justified and how it could proceed.

Ms Sykes represents some Te Arawa iwi who are standing outside a supposed iwi-wide settlement reached between the Crown and umbrella group Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa.

She says Maori have turned to the tribunal because they can't get the courts to listen to their concerns.

“There is a grave reluctance by the judiciary to enter into what they call political discussions around constitutional matters, So all of the various groups that are waiting patiently and watching many of their assets, their taonga being given away to other people, have concerns about the way the policy is dealing with them,” Sykes says.


Anti violence campaigner Mereana Pitman says the anti-smacking bill doesn't address the core of the problem.

Pitman, a member of a group working on the Kahungunu Family Violence Prevention strategy, says there is no quick fix because domestic violence is often intergenerational in whanau.

She says the select committee watered down Green MP Sue Bradford's original bill and left it ambiguous and open to interpretation.

Ms Pitman says a total ban on smacking may seem extreme, but everyone would know where they stand.

“We often think of violence in degrees. That’s pretty much the norm in Maoridom, that hitting and slapping is to varying degrees acceptable. Now, we need to go right back to the board, wipe it all clean and say no violence is acceptable, That may sound extreme, but if we don’t have a zero tolerance attitude, where are we going to start,” Pitman says.


Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says a new national body would give Maori more muscle to negotiate ownership of the country's water.

Tainui played a leading role at the weekend gathering of tribes at Pukawa at which such a body was discussed.

It also held a closed door session with Tuwharetoa, Whanganui and Ngai Tahu last month to discuss ways to challenge the policy on water ownership and management now being developed within government.

Mr Morgan says like the foreshore and seabed, water is an issue which can bring Maori together.

“The issue over ownership of water is a huge issue for every iwi in this country, because it impacts on everyone. It is an issue that’s unavoidable, and we either confront it as individual iwi, or we do it in a collective manner. It makes better sense to unite,” Morgan says.

He says the new Maori body is likely to combine traditional leadership with political advocacy.


There's room for more Maori in investment banking.

That's the view of Brett Shepherd, from Ngati Maru in Hauraki, who for the past three years has been chief executive and managing director of global banking at Deutsche Bank in Auckland.

Mr Shepherd honed his business skills with investment bankers Faye Richwhite.

He says the skill base required to work in investment banking is having a good head for figures, and the ability to get on with people.

He says the Maori psyche is well suited to the sector, although there are relatively few involved.

“Interact with people, that’s a key part, we are a service industry. That’s something Maori have, Maori have a great natural affinity with people which is important in driving a business as well as developing client relationships. But it’s very light on Maori participation within the industry,” Shepherd says.


Pohutukawa are starting to blossom around the country, a sure sign summer is on the way.

But there are fears introduced species may put an end to the annual show.
Pita Turei, from Ngai Tai, south east of Auckland, where pohutukawa grow prolifically, says many of his iwi are concerned at the threat posed by overseas plants.

He says most New Zealanders, including Maori, don't recognise how vulnerable the distinctive tree is to cross breeding.

Mr Turei says the danger is at the local garden centre.

“Garden shops are now selling hybridised Lord Howe Island, Tahitian pohutukawa, and Kermadec pohutukawa, which are totally different form our pohutukawa in that they blossom all the year round. It means that we are going to lose our annual blossom of the pohutukawa and they hybridise them with all the new ones they are bringing in,” Turei says.

Ngai Tahu chief executive quits on eve of AGM

Ngai Tahu chief executive Tahu Potiki says he is leaving the runanga in safe hands.

Mr Potiki has resigned after five years managing the South Island iwi.
He refused to comment on runanga chairperson Mark Solomon, with whom he has had an often acrimonious relationship.

But he says he has confidence Wally Stone, who chairs commercial arm Ngai Tahu Group Holdings.

Mr Stone also chairs the New Zealand Tourism Board and has headed Whale Watch Kaikoura for the past decade.

Mr Potiki says Mr Stone can fulfill a goal he wasn't able to achieve.

“My biggest regret is that I didn’t win the across the group the argument about how we get Ngai Tahu values into our commercial entities, and that’s why I’m prepared to leave so confidently, because I’m convinced Wally Stone is going to be able to achieve that,” Potiki says.

Tahu Potiki will continue to be involved in tribal affairs through his new role as chair of the Dunedin-based Otakou Runaka.


Efforts to create a new national Maori organisation could come unstuck on the problem of how to preserve the authority of constituent tribes.

Tribes opened talks at Pukawa last weekend on structures for Maori going forward, and how they could support the new Maori king.

Ngati Porou runanga chairperson Api Mahuika says his East Coast iwi will never put itself under the mana of the king nor of any other iwi.

He says that's a bottom line.

“The mana of Ngati Porou remains sacrosanct to Ngati Porou and it is not under the mana, nor would we allow it to be subjugated under the mana of another. Be that mana in culture, be it in politics , be it in economics. We will however support different iwi in their issues if they so request that support from us,” Mahuika says.

Api Mahuika says Ngati Porou is keen to work with similar iwi who want to work collaboratively to advance themselves socially, economically or consitutionally.


Ngapuhi is looking for its longest married couple to be the guests of honour at this weekend's kuia and kaumatua ball.

Ngapuhi runanga communications manager Lahni Sowter says the iwi is prepared to fly the couple to the ball, wherever in the country they live.

Ms Sowter says it's a way to say thanks to the backbone of the iwi.

“We're going to try and encourage people to come home, to come back to Kaikohe and catch up with relatives, just have a good time and celebrate being Ngapuhi. Our kuia and kaumatua up here do so much work, so it’s about time we gave them something back too,” Sowter says.


Ngai Tahu board member James Daniels says the loss of chief executive Tahu Potiki will make little impact on the tribe.

Mr Potiki resigned today to spend time with his family and increase his role as chair of the Dunedin-based Otakou Runaka.

Mr Daniels says there are many senior businessmen with the ability to take the reins.

“It's an administrative role. There’s no tikanga required in terms of tea o Maori. All it is is to run the operations. The strategic thinking and the implementation occurs at different levels, so any good general manager would be looking at that role right now and thinking, hmm, that could be a bit of me,” Daniels says.


Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says any new national Maori organisation will need a strong political dimension.

The former New Zealand First and Mauri Pacific MP says he was heartened by progress towards such a body at a weekend hui by Lake Taupo.

He says there was overwhelming support from tribes for the Kingitanga, and the challenge that now faces Maori leadership is to develop an infrastructure which will allow iwi to square off against the government where necessary.

“One of the things we’ve learned from the seabed foreshore is that even despite the fact that that issue united Maori around the country and took more than 40,000 to Parliament, that issue wasn’t resolved because it came down to the political will, and the government did their own thing to the horror of Maori,” Morgan says.

Tuku Morgan says the next hui to be called by Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu should look at some of the infrastructural nuts and bolts of any new Maori forum.


Ngati Te Ata kaumatua Eru Thompson is blaming a proliferation of liquor outlets for a spate of violence in South Auckland.

Two youths have been arrested in connection with the death of a 33 year old man was found dead in a Mangere Park on Saturday.

Eru Thompson says as with most of the violence in the area over the past year, it appears alcohol was a factor.

Mr Thompson says many young people binge drink and do things they regret, whereas people from his generation, where liquor wasn't as readily available, learned to drink in a more controlled environment.

"We were fortunate because we were able to engage and drink socially when our parents were around. There was a lot of control. That’s not quite the same today. And of course there’s the accessibility of booze. You only need to go on every conrener of Mangere now and they have a liquor outlet," Thompson says.

He says closing parks at night won't solve the problem.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ngati Porou won’t bow for new king

The head of the Ngati Porou runanga says his iwi does not need to come under the mantle of the Kingitanga to work with other iwi on common issues.

Api Mahuika attended the weekend hui at Pukawa on Lake Taupo where there was discussion of future structures for Maoridom.

On the agenda was how the King Tuheitia could be supported in his work and whether the new King should become involved in Maori politics or remain in a largely ceremonial and cultural role.

Mr Mahuika says his East Coast iwi has has never joined the King Movement and never will.

But he says that won't stop iwi working together on political, social or economic issues that impact on them collectively.

“All these issues collectively and individually have no requirement for Tuheitia or for any iwi to have control of the process and therefore control of the mana of other iwi,” Mahuika says.

Api Mahuika says Ngati Porou has never joined the King Movement and never will, but it has pledged to suppot King Tuheita on specific issues if requested.


The head of the Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga Centre of Research Excellence says academic institutions still under-value the contributions of their Maori staff.

Linda Smith from Auckland University says a hui in Rotorua last week for Maori social scientists was a chance for academics to share experiences and plan for the future.

Dr Smith says a recurring theme was how marginalised many highly qualified Maori feel in the academic workplace.

“Even in their disciplines, they feel that they’re not taken seriously, that the things they are absolutely expert in is undervalued by the institutions and the departments they work in, and a lot of the work they do with Maori is over and above what they are expected to do in their daily work life,” Smith says.

Linda Smith says Maori academics feel an obligation to contribute to the development of Maori communities.


The new Maori sports personality of the year says combining sport and education enhances your chances of success.

Farah Palmer, from Ngati Mahuta, says rangatahi showing potential in the sporting arena need to be encouraged to take on academic study as well.

During the 10 years she's been a member of the national women's rugby squad, has found time to gain a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Otago.

Dr Palmer says education increased her options.

“When people use sport as a means to an end rather than as an end in itself, they set themselves up better for the future. You can risk just concentrating on sport and not really concentrating on your education. I think when you’ve got the two together, that’s when things can really happen,” Palmer says.


Maori Party co leader Pita Sharples says it is imperative to review the effectiveness of Maori political structures.

He says Maori have been well represented over the years by established organisations, but everything should be on the table for review.

Dr Sharples stayed away from the weekend gathering of tribes at Pukawa, but says he's keen to see any initiatives to give Maori a stronger voice.

“It's a very good time to have that korero because in some areas, the Maori Council is working extremely well. In other areas, the Maori Women’s Welfare League has a very strong hold. Still, you have the tribal authorities. It’s time we had that whole talk about how we want to be represented,” Sharples said.


The head of the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee says the high rate of Maori suicide should be a concern for all society.

Barry Taylor says Maori suicide rates are twice the national average.

Professor Taylor says the committee was also alarmed by the increase in suicides in the 10 to 14 age group.

"It seems hard to understand why children as young as 12 are killing themselves. I think at that age you can be somewhat more impulsive than at older ages.” Taylor says.

Barry Taylor says the increase in suicides is in part because people are choosing more lethal methods to kill themselves.


Auckland University academic Linda Smith says the growth of Maori in the social sciences is giving Maori the ability to set their own agenda.

Maori social scientists have just held their first hui in Rotorua to share research and discuss the challenges they face.

Dr Smith, who heads up the multi-university Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga Centre of Maori Research Excellence, says it has taken this long for there to be enough Maori academics to make such a hui possible.

She says the hui showed the growing capacity Maori have in a wide range of social sciences.

“Clinical issues in health, public health, education, sociology, philosophy, political philosophy, Maori studies, and when you put all those together, there is so much more that we can do as Maori that we don’t need to rely on others to do to us or for us,” Smith says.

Linda Smith says Maori academics still face major challenges being taken seriously by their peers and institutions, especially when they choose to conduct their research in Maori communities.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pukawa hui brings together tribes of lake and river

Ngai Tahu chief executive Tahu Potiki says the most important thing that came out of the weekend gathering of tribes at Pukawa may be the strengthening of links between hosts Tuwuharetoa and Waikato-Tainui.

Heavy rains kept attendance down to about 3000 people, and meant one of the aims of the hui, a discussion on the structures needed to carry Maori into the future, could not be completed.

Mr Potiki says any such structure would need to build on tradition, and that is why the hui was important.

“Two of the major powerhouses still within Maori society are the house of te Heuheu and the house of the Kingitanga. Often Pakeha people from outside don’t really understand that. If they come together at any time, they can have an impact on that old guard Maori world,” Potiki says.

Tahu Potiki says to be effective Maori leadership structures will need make room for the modern leadership styles of people like Sir Tipene O'Regan and Shane Jones, who are not afraid to speak their minds and use the media to get their views across.


The head of the government-appointed Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee says Maori mothers need to stop smoking and stop sleeping in the same bed as their babies.

Barry Taylor says those two things are what drives the persistently high rate of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) among Maori.

Professor Taylor says smoking in pregancy triples the risk of cot death.

He says the risk then increases markedly if mothers sleep with their babies.

“The trick is that you can get rid of that very high risk by just removing one of those factors. You don’t have to stop both smoking and bed sharing, though that would be the ideal. You can actually reduce the risk quite dramatically, where the mother smoked in pregnancy, by not bed sharing,” Taylor says.

Barry Taylor says existing education campaigns clearly aren't working, and new strategies are needed to get through to Maori mums.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is challenging Maori to buy from their own to boost the Maori economy.

Pita Sharples says despite the buzz about Maori being some of the most entreprenurial people in the world, many Maori businesses don't last.

He says many of the peoples who now call New Zealand home go out of their way to buy from their own, and Maori should follow suit.

“We're third in the world for creating businesses and entrepreneurship and leadership, but 37 percent of our businesses don’t last after three and a half years. So it’s sustainability. Like the Maori authorities, Maori businesses have to work together. We have the capital, and we have to use it,” Sharples says.


Ngati Pikiao landowners are trying to overturn a deal giving Environment Bay of Plenty land needed for construction of a wall in Lake Rotoiti.

The wall along the Ohau Channel will ensure nutrient-laden water from Lake Rotorua flows directly into the Kaituna River.

Tepora Emery says trustees granted the council a 35 year lease over the 28 hectare Te Koutu Mauri Ohau Channel Block, without consulting with the owners.

Ms Emery says the deal fall far short of expectations.

“If it was a Pakeha person’s land they would be coming up with a figure like $2 million. What the council is offering us is $175,000 compensation, for the 35 year period, and the money will be applied to build a toilet at the marae,” Emory says.

She says the Maori Land Court will be asked this week to reject the lease.


Associate Health Minister Mita Ririnui says Maori are well aware of the health issues that affect them.

He says a claim by Dr Paul Zimmet from the International Diabetes Institute that diabetes could make Maori extinct by the end of the century ignores what is being done already.

He says the Government has been working with Maori to develop public health programmes addressing the causes and treatment of diabetes.

“The people are saying work with us, let us finds the solutions, and that is probably the best response you can get. It’s all very well for an international scientist or a professor to make a statement about the extinction of a race, but the people he is talking about are the people whose points of view really matter,” Ririnui says.


The Maori king took a break from the weekend's Pukawa hui to drop into the Maori Sports Awards is South Auckland.

King Tuheitia and minder Ngarau Tupaea were flown by helicopter from the southern shores of Lake Taupo to Manukau, were an ope of 200 manuhiri were waiting to be welcomed into the Telstra Clear Event centre.

Tuheitia's late mother, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu was the patron of the Maori Sports Awards.


Meanwhile, the Maori sports personality of the year intends adding te reo Maori to her impressive list of credentials.

Women's rugby captain Farah Palmer, from Ngati Mahuta, grew up in the small King Country town of Pio Pio.

As well as being a member of the Black Ferns squad for the past decade, she completes a PhD from Otago University and is now employed by the Ministry of Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri.

Dr Palmer says te reo is her next challenge.

“That's one of the things I’ve always been most ashamed of is that I’ve got only a limted amount of reo, and I’ve made a commitment to enroll in Te Atarangi next year, and my mum and my sister are already doing it this year, so I’m looking forward to that,” Palmer says.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Maori overrepresented in electoral roll cull

Almost a third of the 63 thousand voters purged from the latest electoral rolls were Maori.

Almost 11 thousand came from the seven Maori seats, while a further 8000 were dropped from general seats.

Electoral Enrolment Centre manager Murray Wicks says the number was high because of this year's Maori electoral option, which involved sending out packs to everyone identified as a Maori on the Maori and general electoral rolls.

Anyone whose pack was returned as gone no address was struck out.

Mr Wicks says even in normal years, the number of Maori dropped from the rolls is above the national average.

“Maori people aren’t good at keeping their enrolment details up to date. They move quite often, it’s not a high priority for them, difficulty with the form, difficulty getting the forms. It’s an area we just have to work harder at compared with the rest of the population,” Wicks says.

Murray Wicks says people whose enrolment has lapsed can only enroll back on the roll they were last on, and can't switch between the Maori and general rolls until the next option in five years.


A strong historical connection was rekindled when Waikato attended the major hui at Pukawa on the shores of Lake Taupo over the weekend.

The hui was called by Ngati Tuwharetoa, and brought together iwi from around the motu, to discuss issues confronting Maori, and to plan a way forward.

One of the main reasons for the gathering was the opening of a new whare at Pukawa, the site where one hundred and fifty years ago, tribal leaders met to choose the first leader for the kingitanga.

Kotuku Tibble from Tuwharetoa says it should come as no surprise that Tainui people arrived by the busload.

“And I think it’s important for people to remember, these tribes, the tribes of Waikato, and the tribes of Tuwharetoa, are historically connected, In fact we know that the Waikato River starts from the sacred springs which begin at Tongariro mountain,” Tibble says.


It's totally blown me away!

That was the reaction of rower, Storm Uru when he was named Maori sportsman of the year, at the 16th annual maori sports awards held in Auckland over the weekend.

Uru beat out league hardman Ruben Wiki, and All Black prop Carl Hayman.

Mr Uru, the under 23 world single skulls champion, paid tribute to the other finalists.

Farah Palmer, the captain of the National Women’s Rugby team, was named both the senior Maori sportswoman, and Maori sports personality of the year.


The opening of a whare on the site where the first leader of the Kingitanga was chosen, is the fulfillment of a thirty year dream of the late the Maori queen.

The major hui called by Ngati Tuwharetoa at Pukawa, on the shores of Lake Taupo, brought together representatives of most of the iwi from around the of the country.

Kotuku Tibble from Ngati Tuwharetoa, says it also reaffirmed the strong bond between Waikato and the central north island iwi.

He says the new whare, Mananui a rua Kapana, was a collaborative effort.

“Those carvings started 30 years ago, and Tuwharetoa put the whare together, the tukutuku panels and kowhaiwhai, but Waikato of course contributed with the carvings, and that was the korero on the marae, it was stated that that was a dream that Te Ata had, and she had spoken to both Sir Hepi (te Heuheu) and to Tumu, and of course Tuheitia was there representing his mother to see the fruition of this dream,” Tibble says.


The family of Ngati Maniapoto weaver Diggeress Te Kanawa believe her latest award is an honour for the whole whanau.

Mrs Te Kanawa was Te Waka Toi's highest award, Te Tohu Tiketike o Te Waka Toi, at a ceremony at te Tokanganui Marae in Te Kuiti this weekend.

The award from Creative new Zealand's Maori arm acknowledges her lifelong contribution to Maori arts and culture.

Her son Dan Te Kanawa says Mrs Te Kanawa learned her craft from her elders, and she has made sure the skills are passed on the next generation.

“Personally I regard it as an acknowledgement of an intergenerational commitment to keep the raranga alive. It comes to some, and not all, biut at least there is evidence that that will continue,” Te Kanawa says.


A leading Maori sportsman has challenged Maori families to give more support to their budding champions.

At the national Maori Sports Awards in Auckland on Saturday, former professional league player, Tawera Nikau, said many young Maori show huge potential, but often lack the support networks needed to develop their natural talent.

He was addressing the audience prior to presenting disabled athlete Peter Martin with his taonga.

Mr Nikau, who had his lower leg amputated after a motorcycle crash last year, says disabled athletes show tremendous courage and determination.

He says Maori families should take a leaf from their book, and get in behind their talented youngsters.

“And I think it’s absolutely fantastic to see that our young Maori achieving on the world stage. Thirteen world champions this year, that’s an absolutely fantastic feat, and I’d just like to acknowledge you and salute you all,” Nikau said.

Dr Farah Palmer, the captain of the New Zealand women’s Rugby team, was named the Albie Pryor Memorial Maori Sportsperson of the year.

Rower Storm Uru, the under 23 world single skulls champion was named Maori sportsman of the year.