Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Clean slate act needs review

Green Party MP Nandor Tanczos says it's time to review the Clean Slate Act.

He sponsored the bill which allows for some criminal convictions to be wiped from an offender's record after seven years.

The clean slate process can be particularly valuable for Maori, becuase of the disproportionate rate of arrests and imprisonment of young Maori men.

Mr Tanczos says the Act only applies to New Zealand, so many people are caught out when they are denied access to other countries.

He says it's also limited when it comes to offences which carry prison terms.

“It should be extended because we introduces a very modest clean slate regime in this country, and if we really believe in rehabilitation, giving people the opportunity to put their past behind them and make a fresh start, I think we have to be prepared to go further and allow it to cover at least sentences of imprisonment,” Mr Tanzcos says.

He wants to meet the Minister of Justice to see what mechanisms are in place to monitor the Act's effects.


A south Auckland Maori health service believes more needs to be done to prevent abuse of elders.

Keita Dawson from Te Oranga kaumatua kuia disability service says urbanisation means Maori communities no longer share the responsibility of looking after their elderly.

She participated in a four-year research programme which found a link between dementia or mental illness and elder abuse.

“Ninetynine percent of our kaumatua kuia during that research work who were victims of abuse also had some form of dementia. They are the most vulnerable,” Ms Dawson says.

A hui tomorrow at Ruapotaka Marae in Glen Innes will Maori perspectives on the elder abuse and neglect.


A proposed walking track along some of Taranaki's most rugged terrain will promote some significant Maori sites.

The Department of Conservation wants to build a 40 kilometre track from the coast to the summit of Mt Taranaki through the Kaitake and Pouakai ranges.

Robert Bennett, DoC's Stratford area manager, says Taranaki Tuturu will be asked to tell the stories of places along the way, particularly the high peaks.

“A number of these sites are associated with reasonably significant events in Taranaki history, where Waikato tribes came down and invaded the local iwi. The locals moved up0 to some of these fortified pa sites which are now within the park,” he says.

The track could be completed by 2010, if it is approved as part of the planning process for Mt Egmont National Park.


Passion and drive are what entertainer Pio Terei will be looking for when selecting candidates for a prestigious scholarship.

The Te Rarawa man has joined the judging panel for the AMP Premium Scholarship, which has a putea of $80,000 to distribute among 12 high achievers in business, arts or sports.

Mr Terei says previous recipients such as Northland-raised squash champion Shelley Kitchen should inspire more talented Maori to apply.

“The money is there for people who deserve it, and I reckon we should go for it. There will of course be some wonderful Maori candidates who come up, and they will be judged on their merits,” Mr Terei says.

Applications to the AMP scholarship close at the end of the month.


The Maori Party is challenging new rules for immigration.

The Government is making it easier for skilled people to settle here, and it is also dropping language requirements for people willing to invest over two and a half million dollars here.

Party co-leader Tariana Turia says once again the government has failed to consult Maori on who settles here.

She says the number of people coming in is cause for concern.

“We do not need the level of immigration we have in this country, some 40 to 50,000 a year. We simply don’t have the infrastructure to meet the health needs of those people who live here and are from here,” Mrs Turia says.


The ban on junk food in schools has riled National's Maori affairs spokesperson.

Georgina te Heuheu says it's up to parents to teach their tamariki about nutrition, not the government.

She says if Maori truly believe tamariki are the future of the people, they should give them healthy food.


Some of Te Arawa's most precious taonga have gone on show at the Rotorua Museum.

They are items collected by Gilbert Mair, known to Maori as Tawa, who led Te Arawa forces in the wars of the 1860s and 1870s.

Paul Tapsell, the Maori curator of the Auckland War Memorial Museum where Mair's collection is held, says the taonga in the Ko Tawa show were gifted by friend and foe alike.

He says Mair understood the obligations contained in such gifts, which create continuing obligations to iwi.

“Most of them when they do engage with the taonga, they realise that their tupuna presented these taonga as gifts to Gilbert Mair, but not just gifts like ‘Here you can have this,’ but ‘This is who we are,’ and Gilbert Mair at the time understood the obligations sitting behind the gift,” Dr Tapsell says.

Ko Tawa will remain under the mana of the Ngati Whakaue until August, when it will be handed over to Ngati Tuwharetoa for exhibition in Taupo.


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