Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Harawira goes walkabout

Hone Harawira has gone walkabout.

The Maori Party MP has abandoned fellow members of Parliament's justice and electoral select committee in Melbourne and headed for the Northern Territory.

The committee was today supposed to be visiting a Neighbourhood Justice Centre and meeting Victoria's Victims of Crimes Assistance Tribunal.

Instead Mr Harawira is in Alice Springs, meeting with native title holders and visiting Hermannsburg - the first community to receive health checks as part of the Australian Federal government's crack-down on child abuse.

He has already slammed the Australian Government as racist for its military-backed intervention in the remote aboriginal communities.

Select committee trips are considered Parliamentary business, so the Tai Tokerau MP is expected to have some explaining to do to speaker Margaret Wilson when he gets back.

A spokesperson for Ms Wilson says the matter has been referred to the clerk's office.


Gisborne District Councilor Atareta Poananga is crying foul over a working group to oversee construction of the town's new wastewater system.

The committee includes three councilors and representatives of tangata whenua.

Ms Poananga, who is one of only two Maori on the council, was nominated for a seat.

But she says councilors bloc voted to keep her off.

She says puts the whole working group exercise in jeopardy.

“Even though we have 50 percent of Maori in this district, that point of view is not allowed to be accepted, and our issues are constantly denied by these sorts of racist processes,” Ms Poananga says.

She's considering seeking a judicial review of the council's process.


Aotearoa Fisheries has sold its Gisborne wholesale and retail operations to Ngati Porou Seafoods.

In exchange, the pan-Maori fishing company will lease Ngati Porou's annual catch entitlement for three years.

Robin Hapi, Aotearoa Fisheries' executive chairperson, says AFL has guaranteed to supply the iwi business with its seafood requirements.

He says 13 iwi now have commercial agreements with Aotearoa Fisheries, giving it access to 16,000 tonnes of annual catch entitlement.


Ngati Raukawa eight-year-old Matiu Samuel is dancing on top of the world.

The Lower Hutt boy beat 50 dancers from the United States and Australia to win his age group at the World Dance Challenge in Las Vegas, showing his moves in jazz, tap and ballet.

His mother, Maureen Samuel, says the success hasn't gone to Matiu's head.

“To him he just loves to dance. He loves the moment on stage. He loves the feeling of getting an audience with him. But fortunately at his age at the moment it’s not something he’s got big headed about. He just loves that atmosphere,” Mrs Samuel says.

Matiu's sisters Aroha and Marie also competed, and the trio brought home 19 trophies.


The Council of Trade Unions believes Maori unemployment is still too high.

Maori vice president Sharon Clair says while the quarterly Household Labour Force Participation survey shows the highest number of people in work since the survey began, 7 percent of Maori are still jobless.

She says for this number to drop, significant barriers to employment need to be removed

“We have a high youth population and removing any barriers to education has to happen for them so they can participate in employment, removing barriers to skills and training, building our capability of workplace leadership, of whanau leadership, our capability in these areas,” Ms Clair says.


The Salvation Army's national Maori ministry has Maori leadership again.

Joe Patea from Te Ati-Haunui-a-paparangi and his wife Nan from Ngati Porou are the army's new full-time cultural advisors.

The positions have been vacant for several years.

Spokesperson Ross Gower says the army needs help on its bicultural policies.

“We really just want to honour the treaty and be bicultural in all that we do. We have a policy of biculturalism and we’re really just wanting to increase our sensitivity to Maori and Maori issues,” Major Gower says.

One of the couple's first official duties will be to represent The Salvation Army at the coronation of the Maori King next week.


A book celebrating the 125th anniversary book of Te Puke has unearthed previously hidden details of Maori occupation of the region.

Nga Tangata Me Nga Waahi, by Christine Clement and Lynne Roberston, goes from the pre-European settlement of the central Bay of Plenty to the contemporary townscape.

Ms Clement, a genealogist, used historical records such as the 1908 Maori electoral roll to give names to the shadows of the past.

“It's the first electoral roll that’s survived for the Maori electorates, so I’ve extracted all the Te Arawa people living in the Te Puke area so that’s the very first time any of that will have been seen,” she says.

She's also been able to include the names of the first pupils at the Te Matai and Pukehina Native Schools, which opened early last century.


Maori may be under-estimating the impact of local government on their lives.

That's the view of Local Government New Zealand, as it tries to encourage Maori to put their names up for October's council elections.

Spokesperson Mike Reid says only about 6 percent of councilors are tangata whenua.

He says decisions councils make are often more important to people's lives than what happens at central government level.

"The condition of the roads, can you get back and forth to work easily, you’re not spending a lot of time in traffic jams. Is your community safe? It’s not just a matter of police, but has your community been designed in a way that it’s a safe and welcoming place to be. All of these are decisions that are actually made by your local elected representative,” Mr Reid says.


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