Waatea News Update

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Maori youth factor in voting apathy

A conference on Maori participation in the electoral process has been told the relative youth of the Maori population is a major factor in the low Maori voting levels.

Electoral Commission chief executive Helena Catt says turnout in the Maori seats is consistently lower than in general seats, and Maori voters on the general roll are also less likely to turn up at the polling booth.

Dr Catt says the fact the median age of Maori is 13 years young than the average is a factor.

“One of the things that’s really coming through is it’s as much about age and income as it is about Maoriness, so the fact that the Maori population tends to be younger and tends to be poorer may be a large part of the explanation rather than being something inherently about being Maori,” Dr Catt says.

She says the research done for the conference may help the Electoral Commission find more effective ways to encourage Maori to vote.


Green Party Maori spokesperson Metiria Turei says the passing of the Maori Purposes Act last night shows the Government's total disregard for Maori rights.

The Act sets a deadline of September 2008 for lodging historical Treaty of Waitangi claims, and it raises the number of judges who can sit on the Maori Land Court.

Ms Turei says the Act was a knee jerk response to Don Brash's Orewa speech on race relations, and was written with minimal Maori consultation.

“Maori now have a deadline for when they can put in historical claims. There’s no deadline for the Government to settle them. There’s no deadline for the (Waitangi) Tribunal to have reports, and you wouldn’t expect there to be, but Maori have a deadline, and we’ve opposed it because there’s no justification for why Maori should have a deadline,” Ms Turei says.

She says no other player in the treaty settlement arena is working to a deadline.


The search for the longest married Ngapuhi couple is over, and they will be the toast of the Ngapuhi Kaumatua Ball tomorrow night in Kaikohe.
Lahni Souter from Te Runanga O Ngapuhi, says although airfares and accommodation were part of the prize, they won't be needed.

She says the winning couple is from Whirinaki, and is active in Maori affairs in the North.

“Mata Adam Pickering and his wife Rau. They’ve been married for 61 years. They’re in their 80s. A lot of the things that are going on up here and a lot of hui on a whole range of different subjects, they’re still really active in the community and they’re there in a whole lot of these hui, so I’m so pleased they entered the competition,” Ms Souter says.

She says the Kaikohe op shop has sold out of ball gowns.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says even though an extra Maori seat now looks unlikely, he's confident Maori voters will recognise the efforts his party made to secure one.

A 7.7 percent increase in the South Island resident population will probably outweigh the slight increase in the Maori electoral roll when the calculations are done in February.

During this year's Maori electoral option, the four Maori Party MPs fanned out across the country to encourage Maori to switch rolls.

Dr Sharples says it was worth the effort.

“It was worthwhile going on the road. We have more Maori enrolled on the Maori roll now. Our people know we’re genuine. I look forward to greater participation by Maori in the next election, even though there may be only seven seats,” Dr Sharples says.


One of the Maori Catholic community's most beloved leaders will be remembered tomorrow, a year after his death.

All five Maori Catholic priests will be at Otukou Marae south of Taupo for the unveiling of the headstone for Bishop Max Takuira Mariu.

Bobby Newson, the chair of Te Runanga o Te Haahi Katorika, says the first Maori Catholic bishop was well liked and respected, and he had a style of his own.

“He was such a quiet man but very deliberate. He would sit and contemplate on things, and sometimes it would frustrate you, but he was a sure thinker. That’s what I liked about him,” Mr Newson says.

The unveiling will begin with a powhiri at 10 am.


The bond between the Navy and Tainui will be reinforced tomorrow when King Tuheitia visits the frigate Te Mana at its home port in Tauranga.

Warrant officer Mark Pirikahu, the Navy's Maori cultural adviser, says Te Mana's patron was King Tuheitia's mother, the late Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

Mr Pirikahu says the ship has asked King Tuheitia to succeed to the role.

The king will be welcomed to the region at a powhiri at Huria marae, and then will head down to the port about 3 pm.

“He'll come on board Te Mana which will be berthed in Tauranga. He’ll receive the same thing form the Navy’s perspective, and then following the powhiri there’ll be presentation made by the chief of the Navy handing over the sponsorship of Te Mana to him, or the people of Tainui,” Mr Pirikahu says.

He expects it will be an emotional event, because of the close links the ship had with the late Dame Te Ata.

South Island growth rules out extra Maori seat

A jump in Canterbury's population over the past five years has ended any chance of an eighth Maori seat in Parliament.

The number of Maori seats is determined by a complicated formula including the number of people who choose to be on the Maori electoral roll and the number of people in the South Island.

Despite a spirited campaign by the four Maori Party MPs, this year's Maori Electoral Option led to only a slight increase in the Maori roll.

Labour list MP Shane Jones says the census data released this week shows the increase in the South Island population since 2001 outweighs the option gain, and Maori will be lucky to hang on to the current seven seats.

He says Maori are voting with their feet against the style of politics brought to Parliament by Tariana Turia's Maori Party.

“It turns off far too many Maori voters because it’s backward looking, and it’s opportunistic. It does not have a long term vision which encompasses the whole country, and a lot of our families, now that they are more integrated into the economy, they don’t want all that separatist nonsense,” Mr Jones says.

The Electoral Commission will announce the number of Maori seats in early February


The former head of the medical school at Auckland University says this week's conference in Rotorua for indigenous doctors from around the Pacific has been a useful forum for discussing health issues affecting the entire region.

Professor Colin Mantell, says Maori doctors are held in high regard by their peers, and strategies to increase their numbers are closely watched by Pacific countries.

He says Maori have been able to to learn from their overseas counterparts, especially in the servicing of clients in remote regions.

“In terms of recruitment into health, I think people come to New Zealand to share our ideas, but there are some good initiatives relating to changing of diet and provision of healthcare in difficult circumstances that the Hawaiians or the Australians can teach us a thing or two,” Professor Mantell says.

The conference continues today.


A Sydney-based Maori broadcaster says her constant message to Maori living in Australia's largest city, is save for your funeral.

Ngawai Denning from Ngati Toa Rangatira hosts a Maori programme each Sunday afternoon, on a multi cultural community radio station.

She says too many Maori are in Australian cemeteries, because they hadn't made arrangements to be brought back to New Zealand.

“Being on radio, I put the panui out. Don’t wait until the last minute, because our whanau in Aotearoa here cannot help you. If you come to Australia, you come for the mahi, save if you want to come back. Because if you don’t come back, you know where you will be going to? Right in the back of the urupa,” Mrs Denning says.


The head of Labour's Maori Caucus says the census results show the need for politicians to develop policies to upskill young Maori and Pacific Island people.

Shane Jones says the Maori median age of 22.7, compared with 35.9 for the total population, points to a large bulge coming into the workforce over the next couple of decades.

He says it's important they don't just become labourers and drivers.

“All politicians need to come up with policies that ensure that that group is educated so that they are economically able to contribute to society and that they are not branded as talkers but they are the creators, promoters and generators of wealth,” Mr Jones says.

He says as the Pakeha population gets disproportionately older, there is potential for tension unless people appreciate they are all in the waka together.


A former head of the Aids Foundation, says Maori are being shortchanged by the organisation.

Maori medical researcher Clive Aspin says Maori rates of infection continue to rise, and there is no room for complacency.

Dr Aspin says the foundation's reversal of its Treaty of Waitangi policy shows a disregard for the needs of tangata whenua.

“They voted unanimously, the members of the foundation, to remove all references to the Treaty of Waitangi in their constitution. They want to have a commitment to biculturalism, whatever that means, and they don’t believe they should have a commitment to the treaty. So basically the main Aids organisation in this country is saying to Maori, you need to go somewhere else to get your services,” Dr Aspen says.

Aids Foundation chairperson Jeremy Lambert says the policy change was supported by many Maori, who believed the Treaty clauses were holding back the organisation from developing effective programmes for Maori.


Young Maori in Central Otago are being targeted in a new Maori focused health service.

Former Auckland medical school head Colin Mantell, an advisor to service provider Uruuruwhenua Health, says almost half the thousand or so Maori who live in the Otago District Health Board catchment area, are aged under 15 years.

Professor Mantell says a hui of stakeholders at Alexandra this week agreed that's where the resources should be put, which should have positive spin-offs in the future.

“Taking a 55 year old with diabetes and putting some concentration into their care was OK, but it was never going to take away the diabetes. We should be spending the time and effort and money on the under 20s ensuring they don’t develop diabetes. Certainly our focus will be on young people,” Professor Mantell says.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Close up and personal time for Maori presenters

It's time for a bilingual presenter on prime time TV.

That's the view from Taiarahia Black, the head of Maori language at Massey University's Palmerston North campus.

He says a Maori presenter filling the slot left open by Susan Wood's departure from current affairs show Close Up would help normalise the use of te reo Maori.

“There's an opportunity here to have a bilingual presenter, senior Maori broadcaster, that can present attitude, unity, involvement of people, nurturing the issues along, providing the credibility for language development and the enthusiasm behind that language development,” Professor Black says.

He says any controversy would quickly die away, in the same way the Maori version of the national anthem became widely accepted after an initial furore.


The head of Maori studies at Manukau Institute of Technology is challenging findings that Maori immersion students are underachieving.

Kura kaupapa students tested at the end of their primary schooling scored lower than expected in maths, reading and writing.

Wiremu Doherty says kura kaupapa have a Maori perspective on how learning takes place.

He says it is a mistake to expect all students to conform to the template developed in mainstream schools.

“There's this assumption that learning happens on this curve that starts from zero and makes this steady progression heading upwards. No student learns that way. Every student is different. The minute we try to homogenize the way our students learn, we are going to get into trouble,” Mr Doherty says.

He says the mainstream system has failed to show it can make Maori needs a priority, so the Kura have stepped in to fill the gap.


Waikato will tonight celebrate its distinctive haka flavour.

A benefit concert at the Founders Theatre in Hamilton will raise funds to send the region's three representative kapa haka groups to the Te Matatini national championships in Palmerston North in February.

Organiser Joe Harawira says top groups from primary, secondary and adult level will show their class, with the highlight likely to be a mass performance by the top teams, Te Iti Kahurangi, Tamarau, and Taniwharau.

“They've been getting and practicing for mass items, the three groups. They’re going to be performing as individual groups, but right at the end of the evening we are going to see that kotahitanga come together, That is going to be the exciting thing for me,” Mr Harawira says.


The Aids Foundation has voted to rewrite its constitution to remove references to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Chairperson Jeremy Lambert says the organisation launched a constitutional review last year after members revolted against a plan to give Maori half the seats on the board.

Mr Lambert says the vote was taken after widespread consultation, with many Maori members saying the treaty clauses should be taken out because the foundation was not part of government.

“They actually thought that the treaty clauses themselves were holding us back as an organisation and that we were far better to talk about biculturalism and to have quite explicit references to the way we work with Maori, rather than having quite bland references to the treaty,” Mr Lambert says.

Jeremy Lambert says the Aids Foundation runs effective programmes in Maori communities, and Aids is one of the few areas where the Maori statistics aren't disprortionately negative.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says Maori voters shouldn't read too much into a meeting held with National MPs during the week.

He says the departure of Don Brash as leader, has opened the way for dialogue on issues such as the Maori Party's bill to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Dr Sharples says those critical of the meeting need to understand the only way that can be achieved is with National's support.

“That's what it is and that’s all it is, is getting National and United Future to vote for us. What they want to do after that is their business. If they want to bring in a heavier and do something heavier or something good, that’s their business, but right now we want their support to repeal this bill and throw it out,” Dr Sharples says.


The Minister of Maori Affairs say Maori owe Justice Eddie Durie a debt of gratitude for the work he has done over the past three decades.

Justice Durie has retires after 32 years as a Maori Land Court and High Court judge and as head of the Waitangi Tribunal.

Parekura Horomia says Justice Durie broke new ground as he rose to become one of the country's most respected jurists.

He says Justice Durie was a tireless worker, and even over the past few days, has been briefing ministers on his Te Waka Umanga report on new forms of governance for Maori organisations.

“Eddie has made a huge contribution over a long period of time. Huge integrity and stood the test of time and participated as a longer to a certain degree in a world where Maori have never been, and been a great leader,” Mr Horomia says.

He says Justice Durie's retirement is a loss to the legal profession.


Labour's Mana MP, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, says there would be little interest among Pacific Islanders to go on the Maori electoral roll.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has suggested opening up the roll to Pacific people, because they are the closest relatives to Maori.

Ms Laban, a Samoan, says Pacific people have their own place in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“At the end of the day you have a treaty that’s between Maori and Pakeha. Pacific peoples certainly should not be relegated with all the other ethnic groups because they also have a special place, but I’m very clear that the Maori roll is for Maori, and I think it’s important that be preserved,” Ms Laban says.

Census snapshot finds young population

The 2006 Census results are finally out, giving a snapshot of life in New Zealand.

It found that 565,329 of the 4,143,282 people in the country on March 7 identified themselves as Maori.

It's a young population. The median age of Maori is only 22.7 years. compared with 35.9 years for the whole population.

With a younger population, median earnings are less, at $20,900, compared to $24,400. Only 10.2 percent make over $50,000 a year (18%).

Some 39.9 percent of Maori aged over 15 have no formal qualifications, compared with 25 percent of the whole sample.

They are almost twice as likely to be labourers, machine operators or drivers, less likely to be managers or professionals, but almost on par when it comes to technicans and tradespeople.


Kaumatua and kuia have met in Auckland to talk about what they can do to tackle an upsurge in alcohol abuse by rangatahi.

West Auckland kuia Kiri Jacobs says alcohol is doing irreparable damage to young Maori, and kaumatua can't just stand by and watch it happen.

She says the hui was called by service provider, Haapai Te Hauora at Orakei Marae so the community can start to come to grips with the extent of the problem.

“We come together as kuia and kaumatua to empower one another and to share dialogue around an issue that affects our youngsters and to put forward a submission, because it is our tamariki, it is our mokopuna, it is our leaders for the future that are being totally affected by it,” Mrs Jacobs says.

She says the problem has clearly got worse since the drinking age was lowered, and it has been made worse by a massive increase in the number of liquor outlets in Maori communities.


A senior Maori police officer says forming workable relationships with Maori communities is the responsibility of the entire police force.

Wally Haumaha, the interim general manager of Maori, Pacific Island and ethnic services, says iwi liaison officers have been successful over the past decade because senior administrators have supported them.

He says more iwi liaison officers would be welcomed.

“In total in terms of liaisons including Pacific and Asian liaison officers we have a total of around 65, and some would argue that every police officer is in effect an iwi liaison officer. In fact our commissioner said ‘I am the number one iwi liaison officer, I lead from the head and not from the feet,’” Mr Haumaha says.


Fellow judges, lawyers, historians and Maori leaders have lined up to pay tribute to retiring High Court Judge and former Waitangi Tribunal head Eddie Durie.

The Governor general held a reception at Government House this week to mark Justice Durie's 32 years on the bench.

High Court Justice David Baragwanath said the stand Justice Durie took on the creation of state owned enterprises and his findings in the Muriwhenua Fisheries Report established the basis for a new relationship between Maori and the Crown.

He says the subsequent settlements have not only contributed to the renewed pride by Maori in their race and culture, they have also helped Pakeha rejoice in the achievements and contributions of Maori as fellow New Zealanders.

Justice Baragwanath says Justice Durie ranks alongside the late Lord Cooke of Thorndon as one of the greatest jurists New Zealand has produced.


Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather says the channel is gaining support from some of its strongest critics - politicians.

Staff have been buoyed by the latest ratings showing over half a million people tuned into the 2 year old station in the past month.

Mr Mather says the channel's advertising goals are on track, and politicians who were hesitant to support the station are coming around.

He says former National Maori affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee and United Future leader Peter Dunne have spoken favourably about the station’s output, and the planets are lining up for Maori Television to do bigger and better things in the new year.


Those turning up at next month Parihaka Peace Festival for the music may find themselves challenged to open their minds.

Organiser Te Miringa Hohaia says the second festival from January 5 will mark the centenary of the death of Taranaki leader Te Whiti o Rongomai.

He says special workshops will be held to commemorate the pacifist teachings of Te Whiti and fellow prophet Tohu Kakahi, and the legacy they left the people of Taranaki.

Mr Hohaia says special workshops will be held on their philosophies of non-violence, and there will be a comprehensive children’s programme, including a troupe using traditional Maori puppets.

Music lovers will be able to groove to the sounds of 95 acts including top Maori entertainers Ruia Aperahama, Che Fu and Kora.

Dilution sets in as total population passes 4m

The number of people who identify as Maori has continued to decline as a percentage of the total population.

Figures released today show just over 4.1 milion people were in New Zealand on census night, up 8.4 percent since 2001.

But the number of Maori ethnicity increased only 7.4 percent to 565,349 people. That’s 14.6 percent of the total, compared with 14.7 percent in 2001 and 15.1 percent in 1996.

Maori are a young population, with 35.4 percent aged under 15, compared with 21.5 percent of the total population.

Only 4.1 percent are aged over 65, compared with 12.3 percent of the total. Some 87 percent live in the North Island.

The biggest iwi is Ngapuhi, with 122,211 people, followed by 71,907 Ngati Porou and 49,185 Ngai Tahu.

That’s 10,000 more in the South Island tribe since the last census, and 30,000 more than when the iwi question was first asked in 1991.


A Tuhoe hapuu say they will continue to block a stretch of road they claim is on tribal land.

Maui Te Pou is a spokesperson for the Omuriwaka hapu, from Waimana valley, inland from Whakatane.

He says a 500 metre stretch of road outside their marae which is used to access to the Urewera National Park, is on Maori land.

Mr Te Pou says when the original access road was destroyed by floods in the 1960s, the road was rebuilt on Omuriwaka and Tuhoe tribal lands.

Mr Te Pou says protesters from the hapu, have vowed they will continue to block the road until proof of ownership is confirmed:

“As far as the hapu is concerned, all they want to see is the copy of the original title when it went from Maori ownership to European freehold title, and a copy of the receipt,” Mr Te Pou says.

He says the Department of Conservation and the local body have been told they canlt use that particular part of the road until further notice.


A collaborative project between three wananga which will provide students with access to a wider range of degree courses was launched today.

Te Waananga o Aotearoa, Te Waananga o Raukawa, and Te Whare Waananga O Awanuiaarangi will be combining their resources to integrate and market the degrees offered by each wananga.

Bentham Ohia, the chief executive of Te Waananga O Aotearoa, says the joint venture will be of benefit to their students.

“The opportunity now will be to offer integrated articulation pathways to allow cross crediting and recognition of qualifications offered at each of the individual wananga, so that enables transportability of the students, in the first other universities, polytechnics, and teacher training education providers,” Mr Ohia says.

He says the new strategy is about utilising the individual strengths of each wananga in a collective way.


Retiring High Court Judge and former Waitangi Tribunal head Eddie Durie has been hailed as one of the greatest jurists of his generation.

At a reception in Government House yesterday to farewell Justice Durie after 32 years on the bench, High Court Justice David Baragwanath said indigenous rights have been an intractable issue around the world.

He said the Waitangi Tribunal, created by the late Matiu Rata in 1975, became an effective way to resolve New Zealand issues because of Judge Durie’s scholarship, clear thinking, lucid writing and his willingness to speak truth not only to the Crown but to the people of New Zealand.

Justice Baragwanath, who as a lawyer acted for the Muriwhenua tribes of the far north in their land and fisheries claims, says Judge Durie showed profound moral courage when he took on the Crown over its flagship State Owned Enterprise policy,

He says the interim report on the effects of the SOE policy on Muriwhenua claimants, sent from Te Hapua in December 1986, stopped Labour’s privatisation agenda in its tracks.

He says it led to the fisheries settlement, under which Maori now control 60 percent of the fishing industry, and to greater pride and awareness of the Treaty of Waitangi by both Maori and Pakeha.

Justice Baragwanath says Judge Durie’s arguments were upheld in the Appeal Court by the late lord Cooke of Thorndon, the other pre-eminent jurist of the current era.


Maori underachievement in lower decile mainstream schools comes as no surprise to a Maori educator.
Wiremu Doherty, the Head of Maori Studies at the Manukau Institute of Technology says many struggle with identity issues.
He says increased exposure to their maori culture to improve their self esteem, could have an impact on their attitude towards school.
Mr Doherty says many Maori mainstream students , end up spending a lot of time and energy in their adult lives, chasing their language and trying to find out more about who they are:

“Our Maori students who do well in our mainstream schools are going to do well anyway. It’s that huge chunk of young Maori who are on the negative side of the statistics in mainstream who are not doing well, whereas if those kids had the same support as those that go through kura kaupapa, they would not be on the negative side of the statistics,” Doherty says.


One of the country’s top Maori cops is challenging Maori communities to support hot families.

Wally Haumaha, the acting general manager of Maori, Pacific Island and ethnic services, says each police district has Maori families with an intergenerational history of crime, who are responsible for the majority of offences.

Mr Haumaha says and it's time Maori identified those whanau, or hot families, as the police call them, and worked with them to discourage them from offending.

“In each district a small group of people commit 80 percent of the crime. How do we get our own iwi, our own hapu, to recognise that these families are causing us the most grief, the most strife, and we keep advocating over there the philosophy of by Maori for Maori. If that holds true, then what do we catually know about these families?” Mr Haumaha says.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

MPs have limited role in forest stoush

Labour list MP Shane Jones says he can't pitch in to help resolve the current standoff between Maori landowners and Carter Holt Harvey.

Maori are upset the forestry giant is selling its interests in central North Island forests to overseas investors, denying Maori a chance to invest in the timber growing on their own land.

Earlier this week, Maori Council vice chairman, Maanu Paul, said Shane Jones was in a position to protect Maori interests.

Mr Jones denies that.

“Despite his very handsome view about the power associated with our Finance and Expenditure select committee, I hate to disappoint both myself and him. We don’t actually have the power to prohibit international transactions,” Jones says.

Shane Jones says that decision was most likely made by the Commerce Commission and the Overseas Investment Commission.

He supports Maori landowners taking their cases to the Maori Land Court for resolution.


East Coast writer Stephen Donald has received $10 thousand to research a book on Maori Pakeha relations at Tolaga Bay over a 170 year period.

The grant was awarded to Mr Donald by the New Zealand History Research Trust Fund to write a history of the area covering the time from Captain Cook’s arrival there in 1769 through to 1940.

Mr Donald says the task is a daunting one given the many events and changes which took place during that time.

“We feel there’s a need for a consistent history, especially with the Waitangi Tribunal hearings coming up along the side of the coast. It’s very much a dual heritage community, and Aitanga a Hauiti are a very distinctive group alongside of the very distinctive Pakeha community, with lots of links between the two,” Mr Donald says.


A hui discussing the needs of transgender people was held in Auckland yesterday.

It's part of an inquiry being conducted by the Human Rights Commission, which aims to address the problems transgender people confront daily.

Stacey, who has been an advocate for trangsgender issues for the past 13 years, says although there are many Maori who are accepting of trannsgender people, there still exists a stigma that is difficult to overcome.

She says the hui was about equality.

“The inquiry itself is to establish what rights we need as transgendered people to gain equality of service in the health sector and the Corrections Department, general government departments such as WINZ and the right to be identified as transgendered people as opposed to the scourges of society,” Stavey says.


Labour list MP Shane Jones says Pacific Islanders shouldn't be allowed on the Maori electoral roll for practical reasons.

His comments come after the Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said yesterday that it's time to talk about opening up the Maori roll to other ethnic groups.

Mr Jones says Mrs Turia should focus on the needs of the Tai Hauauru electorate who voted her into her position rather than the political affairs of Pacific Islanders.

He says she should remember the Maori seats are a result of the Treaty of Waitangi, and as far as he recalls, there were no Pacific Islanders at the signing of the Treaty.

“The Samoan, Tongan, Tokelauan, Niuean, did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by our tupuna, through the various tribes, and the British Crown. I see no scope and I see very little interest among our people to close down the Maori roll and hand it over to the Pacific islanders,” Mr Jones says.

He says Tariana Turia's comments contradict those of her fellow Maori Party MP Hone Harawira who says he will not represent those not on the Maori roll.


Visitors to the home of the American ambassador in Wellington, are likely to see Maori artwork on the mantelpiece.

The works are included in an exhibition which includes pieces from First nations artists, and his home stat of Oregon.

Darcy Nicholas the cultural services director at the Pataka Museum, who helped source some of the maori artwork on display, says the exhibition is an example of the growing relationship between indigenous artist here and in America.

He says Ambassador Bill McCormick hosts many visitors from overseas, and it is fitting that Maori artwork be including.

“I think it’s a good step because a lot of the native American artists come down here and they’re very much like family to us now and with the artists, we communicate a lot with each other and I think it’s wonderful that that relationship between the native Americans and Maori is recognised by the ambassador,” Mr Nicholas says.


It's twenty years today since the opening of a marae in Wellington that has played a part in the lives of thousands of students.

Te Herenga Waka marae at Victoria University has been a home away from home for students staff and the wider community, and has played hosts to dozens of conferebces and international forums.

Piri Sciascia, the professor of Maori studies at the university, says the marae is an important focal point for the campus's Maori community over the past two decades.

Today’s celebrations will recognise those who had the foresight to push for a marae to be built at the varsity, many of whom have since passed on.

Mr Sciascia says at the time, the construction of Te Herenga Waka was seen as a trailblazing initiative.

“Since we were the first university to put a marae on campus, it was very much in its initial stages the laboratory, the teaching adjunct to Maori studies, so it became a place where Maori knowledge, Maori language can be kept alive and revived and be heard,” Professor Sciascia says.

Turia wants Maori roll open to Pasifika

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it's time to open up Maori political seats to Pacific islanders.

Mrs Turia says Maori, Pacific Islanders and Asians will make up almost 40 per cent of the population by the year 2050, and deserve better political representation.

She says she has been approached on numerous occasions by Polynesians wanting to enroll in the Maori electorates.

The Te Tai Hauauru MP says the issue deserves consideration.

“We are a Pacific people, our closest relatives are the people of the Pacific, but we have always been divided politically because the Maori roll doesn’t allow for Pacific people to enroll on it. I think that is worthy of thought,” Mrs Turia says.


The prime minister says the new leader of the National Party is not up to speed on Maori issues.

Helen Clark says John Key was vague when answering questions about the future of the Maori seats, Te Puni Kokiri and Maori Television during an interview on TVNZ's Marae programme last weekend.

The prime minister says his views mirror that of his predecessor.

“Mr Key has exactly the same views as Dr Brash on the issues. When he’s asked what’s wrong with the Orewa speech, he says nothing wrong with the substance, it’s the way it was said. Well come on. The substance, as we know is to play a race card in politics, and Maori were very very hurt by that,” Clark says.


Wangaunui based pro maori advocate, Ken Mair, says Maori are being left out of the process of rebranding the district.

He says his Ngati Tuera and Ngati Hinearo people are outraged that photos of Maori land are being used in the promotion without the consent of the owners.

The Wanganui District Council says there was no intention to exclude anyone from the process.

Mr Mair says it is imperative that Maori have input into decisions that will impact their communities, and the lack of consultation is another example of local authorities disregarding Maori views.

“In this case of course they’ve just taken photos of our land. We haven’t had any input, and this branding’s meant to be about inclusiveness etc and of course we’ve been sidelined and marginalized in this whole process,” Mr Mair says.

He says the hapu have offered to hold discussions with council to work through the issues.


The co-leader of the Maori Party says a coup like that taking place in Fiji, would not happen here, because Maori don't have the numbers.

Tariana Turia says while the western view may be that Fiji has descended into a state of anarchy, she says it is a stance of self determination by indigenous Fijians.

Mrs Turia says the Pacific nation is within its rights to request no interference from outside nations.

She says unlike what is occurring in Fiji, Maori are effecting change through increased political power.

“Here in Aotearoa, we simply don’t have the numbers. There have been attempts to stand up for our rangatiratanga and those have been thwarted every inch of the day. However, we are a growing nation, and as we grown I am sure we as tangata whenua will want what is best for this country if there should ever come a time where we have sufficient political power,” Mrs Turia says.


Maori have always valued those with oratory skills, and a gathering in Auckland today aimed to foster those skills, without the pressure of competition.

Tino Rangatiratanga o nga Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tamaki Makaurau, involves seven Maori immersion schools from the Auckland region, and offers encouraging support, as students practice the art of speechmaking and waiata.

Charles Ngarama Matua, who helped organise the event, says it is one of the few events for kura kaupapa kids that is non competitive, with the focus on unity, or kotahitanga.

He says it's important tamariki develop confidence, by learning how to speak and perform to an audience made up of their peers.

“Maori need to come together in Tamaki Makaurau, because they’re so far away from their roots hau kainga, and the need to come together and feel Maori. We do that by arranging this kaupapa and celebrating sovereignty, tino rangatiratanga as Maori kura withng a sort of mainstream environment,” Matua says.


Young Maori are preferring to repreprent their hapu, rather than towns and cities.

That's according to Gerard Ngawati, who helped organise the national Maori touch tournament held at Hopuhopu in the Waikato over the weekend.

He says there are increasing numbers of young teams entering the nationals, many formed as a result of connections made at kura kaupapa.

Mr Ngawati says the players use te roo maori constantly, and he's also noted more opting to represent their tribal areas rather than where they live.

“Maori who live in the towns like Auckland are starting to go back and play for their hapu or their iwi. We’re seeing less of teams coming from the likes of Counties Manuaku and Tamaki Makaurau, so players are deciding to go and play for their iwi instead,” Ngawati says.


The Prime Minister doesn't rate one half of the two MP's chosen to represent National on maori affairs.

John Key the newly appointed national leader is splitting the portfolio between Georgina Te Heu Heu, and Tau Henare.

Helen Clarke says she doesn't expect Henare, a former New Zealand First and Mauri Pacific MP, to have much impact.

“I didn't think he made much of a contribution his first time in parliament, and really this time it’s hard to see what he’s done other than hurl insults. That to me doesn’t to me make for a substantial or big contribution to public life,” Ms Clark says.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Maori Land Court to query forest lease flick

The Maori Land Court has agreed to look into whether Carter Holt Harvey can sell its interests in forests on Maori owned land to a North American hedge fund.

Landowners’ spokesperson Willy Te Aho says Carter Holt tried to get around the terms of the leases by selling the company which holds the leases, New Zealand Forest Products, rather than the leases themselves.

Mr Te Aho says that is still an interest in Maori land, and the special sitting in February is the right place to argue it out.

"The whole intent of the Turei Whenua Maori Act 1993 is about the retention of interests in Maori land in Maori ownership so yes there was a lease agreement with New Zealand Forest Products, but if the owners of that lease no longer want to participate in that lease, then it should first be offered back to the Maori landowners,” Mr Te Aho says.

He says the landowners believe Carter Holt and New Zealand Forest Products are in breach of the lease agreements.


More than 200 indigenous doctors from around the Pacific are in Rotorua this week for their bi-annual congress.

David Jensen, the chair of the Maori medical practitioners association, says it's an opportunity to network and learn about research developments.

Dr Jensen says there is much to learn from each other.

“We have some similar histories, we have some very similar health issues facing us including diabetes and mental health issues. The really great thing is to get together with docs who have a similar approach and other indigenous doctors and share information abut the research that is going on that can make a difference for our people,” Dr Jensen says.


Sports commentator Ken Laban says Maori and Polynesian players should benefit from the approach to the World Cup being taken by All Black coach Graeme Henry.

Mr Laban says the former headmaster has been able to accommodate the cultural demands placed on some of our top players, without compromising their professional aspirations.

He says Mr Henry has made some astute moves.

“Releasing the Maori players to play against the British and Irish Lions, to his continued support of Maori and Pacific Island players through those significant leadership positions within the team, and I’ve got even more respect form because he’s got the same opinion as Luke McAllister that most of us have as well, that he may prove to be the absolute key player in 2007 when we try to win the World Cup,” Mr Laban says.


Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather says the channel wants to take the step into digital television.

Mr Mather says while it has state of the art broadcasting equipment, the channel is aware that new technologies will change the way people access information.

Mr Mather says in the future more people will access information through the Internet on PCs or personal communication devices.

“I've just had three of our senior managers come back from an IPTV conference in Australia which is basically Internet television. We’re looking ahead and realising 10 years down the track many New Zealanders won’t be watching television through the traditional means of a screen in the corner of your living room, and we need to be prepared for that,” Mather says.

Jim Mather says Maori Television has just recorded its highest ever monthly viewership, but there is no room to be complacent.


The Maori Party should be wary of John Key.

That's the response from left wing political commentator Chris Trotter to the charm offensive being mounted by the new National Party leader.

Mr Trotter says unlike his predecessor, Mr Key recognises the Maori Party will probably hold the swing vote after the next election and its support will be critical for whoever is to be the next government.

He says Mr Key is having a good run, but Maori shouldn't rush to judgment.

“I'm just a bit disappointed our colleagues in the fourth estate are kind of buying all this stuff and retailing it back to the public as if John Key were a cross between Jesus Christ and Abraham Lincoln. He’s a Tory mate, and a fairly hard nosed one too,” Mr Trotter says.

He says the Maori Party should wait and see whether he is prepared to deliver policies that will improve the lot of Maori in health, education and economic development.


Tainui has taken the first step towards bringing together all the economic authorities within their waka.

Tainui executive chairperson Tukuroirangi Morgan says a hui this weekend brought together more than 70 representatives from Waikato, Maniapoto, Raukawa and Hauraki, with interests in mining, forestry, fishing, beef, dairying and sheep.

He says it was a chance to see how such organisations can work in with Waikato-Tainu's post-settlement economic institutions.

“Tainui authorities have never got together. This is the first time that we’ve been able to galvanise people so that we can take the opportunity to talk to each other, to begin to work collectively, begin to engender a spirit of enthusiasm so we can better manage our affairs collectively,” Mr Morgan says.

He says as well as discussing ways to share commercial knowledge and improve economic performance, the hui discussed ways the organisations could influence policy development on water allocation models and land rating.

Game to get Maori voters on side

Political commentator Chris Trotter says new National Party leader John Key knows how to play the game to get Maori on side.

Mr Trotter says below the friendly persona, Mr Key is a hard-nosed Tory.

He says he knows what it takes to win, and if that means making overtures to the Maori Party, he will do that.

The swing vote at the next election will be the Maori Party. The Maori Party will make or break Labour or National in terms of who goes into office, and I think John Key understands Maori are rapidly becoming the swing vote in New Zealand politics, and therefore their concerns, their aspirations have to be taken seriously by any party with aspirations to govern,” Mr Trotter says.

He says while former leader Don Brash scared large sections of the electorate, Mr Key will be out to charm.


A cancer researcher says Maori women should be given priority in a proposed cervical cancer immunisation programme.

Beverly Lawton, the director of Otago University's Womens Health Research Centre, says the Gardasil vaccine is an exciting advance in cancer prevention.

The Ministry of Health are thinking about putting Gardasil into its national immunisation schedule from 2008. Australia plans a mass vaccination campaign starting next April.

Dr Beverly Lawton says Maori women are five times more likely to die from cervical cancer than non Maori, with those in rural areas particularly vulnerable and more likely to be diagnosed with the illness at a later stage.

“We see this as a unique opportunity to get involved with rural Maori communities and to go through some of these issues and to consult, because this is a very new type of vaccine, it’s an anti-cancer vaccine and it’s very exciting, and we should all work our way around so we can have the maximum impact,” Dr Lawton says.

Sports commentator Ken Laban says the board of New Zealand League has made a contribution to addressing the shortage of brown sports administrators by seconding former Kiwi and NRL coach, Tony Kemp.

Mr Laban says the Taranaki-raised Kemp, who was the first Maori to coach in Australia's National Rugby League, has always been willing to challenge the status quo.

As an 18 year old with the chance to play for Newcastle in the NRL, Kemp won a restraint of trade case against the New Zealand League, who demanded a transfer fee because he had played junior international football.

Ken Laban says there should be many fights still to come.

“And one of the things that’s frustrated me about our sports administrative bodies is that we run the risk of having games that are administered by Pakehas but played by brown people, so to have someone of Tony Kemp’s stature recognised for his contribution so far and recognized for what he cam contribute to its continued growth is very good for the game,” Mr Laban says.


Te Wananga o Aotearoa has teamed up with the Unite Union to offer courses to low paid workers,

Unite director Matt McCarten, who is also a member of the wananga's board, says workers have been asking for opportunities lo learn things such as literacy, computing and business skills.

He says upskilling will help many workers move into higher paid jobs and the wananga has the expertise to help make it happen.

“Well it's trying to capitalize on what the wananga does really well, which is to do courses aimed at people who haven’t done formal education for a long period of time,” Mr McCarten says.

He says the union will be trying to get firms to see the benefit of letting staff do the courses, while the wananga is also trying to strengthen its relationships with employers.


A Maori Television spokesperson says the channel is disappointed its complaints against talk back host John Banks have been knocked back.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority upheld the channel's contention that some of the former National MP and Auckland mayor's comments in a July broadcast were inaccurate.

But it said Mr Banks' description of Maori TV as the "money guzzling apartheid state owned Maori television channel" was clearly opinion, so it was not subject to the accuracy standard.

And because Maori Television is a statutory body, it doesn't enjoy the protection in the Broadcasting Standards Act against denigration of individuals.

Maori Television marketing manager Sonya Haggie says despite the result, the complaint may have stemmed some of the the abuse coming across the airwaves from Mr Banks.

“He does seem to be staying away from the whole issue at the moment, so that’s been a positive outcome for us, because we seem to have shut him down, hopefully, but at the same time we didn’t win in terms of the BSA,” Ms Haggie says.

She says Maori Television is unlikely to take the issue further.


The Maori Language Commission intends to work closely with the tourism industry over the next year to improve the presentation of Maori culture and language.

Chief executive Haami Piripi says it will partner with Tourism New Zealand to show operators the potential of a Maori element in their products.

He says it's good for business and good for national identity.

“People who come to New Zealand look for that sort of cultural element. When you can properly integrate that cultural element into a national ethos instead of sitting side saddle, you are getting to a point when you are starting to mature as a nation and beginning to reflect your demographic reality,” Mr Piripi says.

He says the commission is also looking at ways to make Maori work with translation software.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Key wanting clean slate for Maori policy

National Party leader John Key says he's looking for a different tone in the way his party approaches Maori issues.

Mr Key says he wants to leave behind the policies of his predecessor Don Brash and start with a clean slate.

The new National line-up includes two Maori spokespeople, Georgina te Heuheu and Tau Henare.

Mr Key says both enjoy huge support in Maoridom, and they should complement each other.

“I see both of them having different strengths. Georgina we’re asking to concentrate on Maori development and on culture. In Tau’s case, it will be economic issues and also TPK and education,” Mr Key says.

He says the line up should help National work towards a coalition with the Maori Party.


The head of Waikato University's school of Maori and Pacific development says the university is consistently outperforming its competitors in turning out Maori graduates.

Professor Tamati Reedy says while it is based in a region with a high Maori population, the university also works at being the first choice for Maori students.

He says the graduates are coming from a range of academic disciplines, not just Maori studies.

“Waikato University was producing about 450 Maori graduates out of here, nearly three times as much as any other two universities put together,” Reedy says.

Tamati Reedy says Waikato University also has a close relationship with Tainui and the Kingitanga, which was acknowledged last Friday during a visit to the campus by King Tuheitia.


Ngati Porou chairperson Apirana Mahuika wants the Waitangi Tribunal hearing the WAI 262 intellectual property rights claim to give special consideration to the way iwi dialects are treated.

Mr Mahuika says the sort of guidance being given to people learning te reo Maori by the Maori language commission is creating an alien tongue.

He says that language gets spread by broadcasters.

“When we sit down and listen to Karere or Kaea broadcasters, we do not understand 40 percent of what they are saying, because they tend to be speaking a language that is alien to us and alien to the language we were brought up in,” Mr Mahuika says.

He says Ngati Porou believes native speakers from all over the country need to set down their language so it can be preserved and passed on in their home areas.


One of the architects of the Fijian constitution says Aotearoa-New Zealand and Fijian interests are now inextricably linked.

Former Governor General, Sir Paul Reeves, who chaired the 1997 Fijian constitutional review committee, says New Zealand has no choice but to involve itself in the current standoff between the Fijian army chief, and the Fijian Government.

He says both countries have significant influence on the way other Pacific nations act, and it is important that they maintain lines of communication.

“I've been very impressed by the way in which Helen Clark has managed to put herself between warring competing factions there and seemingly be a cause of moderation, and hopefully some compromise, though at the moment that’s far from clear,” Sir Paul says.

Sir Paul Reeves says concerns about Indian dominance which were a feature of earlier coups are absent this time, and it is clearly a Fijian versus Fijian conflict.


Bay of Plenty regional councillor Tipene Marr says commercial fishers are undermining a rahui on Ohiwa Harbour.

Ngati Awa, Tuhoe and Whakatohea have imposed a three year ban on taking kaimoana from the harbour, to allow shellfish beds time to recover.

Mr Marr says Environment Bay of Plenty, Opotiki and Whakatane District Councils back the Ohiwa strategy, but some fishers have slipped through the net.

Mr Marr says while Maori are adhering to the rahui, commercial fishermen aren't.

“There is a couple of fishermen there that have got quota, and one’s to fish in there and get flounder, and the other’s allowed to go in and get pipis and kukus and commercially sell them. We’re all not going in there and replenishing the pipi beds and cockles and mussels, and this guy’s allowed to go in there and get a quota,” Mr Marr says.


A Ngati Porou scientist is looking at ways of curing kumara to keep small farmers from loosing crops to disease and spoilage.

Massey University student Neola Whalley was won a Crop and Food Maori research scholarship giving her paid work over the summer.

Ms Whalley says she's heading back to Ruatoria to record traditional Maori methods of kumara preservation.

“A lot of them aren’t well known in Crop and Food, so trying to get those methods written down, and trying to integrate those two different communities together, the Maori version and the scientific version,” Ms Whalley says.

She will also look into what is needed to transform Maori agricultural land into horticultural land.