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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, December 03, 2007

Winiata rules out coalition

The president of the Maori Party of ruling out a coalition after the next election.

Whatarangi Winiata says the party's four MPs have changed the culture of Paliament to allow for a Maori tikanga or way of doing things.

But there is a long way to go to reconcile the Maori desire for tino rangatiratanga or authority over their affairs and kawanatanga, the authority of the state.

He says the party can't afford to make itself subservient to any other.

“There has to be the independence, the freedom to speak as we think as we view the world through Maori eyes and the freedom to express the kaupapa we have inherited from a people who were here 1000 years and who survived, built us their society around those values, and they are relevant today,” Professor Winiata says.

He says the Maori Party MPs have shown they don't need to be in a governing coalition to be effective.


A climate change awareness tour is heading north to bring its message to Maori hit by last winter's floods.

The Be the Change Bus Tour is a joint initiative by Oxfam, Forest and Bird, and Greenpeace.

Tia Taurere from Greenpeace says it's trying to show people kanohi ki te kanohi what they can do to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The bus has got round the South Island on biofuel and solar power.

It's now off to Northland, including a stop at Te Huia marae in Kaeo, which was submerged in the flood.

“I'm sort of focusing a lot on Maori because we need more of a voice in that area because there were a couple of marae flooded. I’m keen to talk to a lot of kuia, kaumatua and locals up there about what’s happening to them, get their stories out,” Ms Taurere says.

The face to face approach is helping reach whanau in smaller communities and schools.


The Maori Barry White is bringing his brand of aroha to audiences in Aotearoa.

Ash Puriri has carved out a niche with tributes to the deep voiced American soul singer, and he's released albums overseas or for sale on cruise ship tours.

But Aroha Love is a collection of love songs, mostly in te reo Maori, for release here.

The Hastings-based singer says it was time to offer something for the folks back home.

“The whole theme is based on love and aroha so you’ll hear a whole lot of that in the mix and it reaches all age groups and reaches out to a wide genre as well as a couple of big opera arias I composed are also on this album as well called Te Maunga o Te Atua,” Mr Puriri says.

His anthem for Maori King Tuheitia, which he premiered at the Maori Sports Awards - is also on the album.


The Minister of Treaty Negotiations wants to talk to Tainui and Ngai Tahu about the way future treaty settlements are done.

Under the settlement terms made with the two iwi a decade ago, if the total of all historic settlements goes over the billion dollar mark, each will receive a top-up to ensure their shares stay at 17 percent each of the total.

That is causing problems with current negotiations, with claimants unhappy at what they see as insultingly low offers from the Crown.

Michael Cullen says he is looking for a more flexible approach to how settlement offers are valued, but the ratchet clauses mean any change will need agreement from Tainui and Ngai Tahu.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that the large increase in land values since 1985 does create some difficulties in the trade off between the relativities and fairness to people we are now settling with in terms of the amount of land which is on offer,” Dr Cullen says.

He says it is important to maintain relativity between settlements, or iwi will feel hard done by.


Northland iwi liaison officer Paddy Whiu is defending the police commissioner's controversial visit to a Whangarei marae last week.

Many northern leaders boycotted Howard Broad's appearance, and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira told him he should first go an apologise to Tuhoe for the October 15 terror raids.

Mr Whiu says the commissioner was keeping a promise to return to the area and hear how well his department and the local community are working together.

He says while the discussion was at time robust, there was an overriding concern that iwi liaison officer not be marginalised, as happened in the Bay of Plenty.

“If these sort of things happen in Taitokerau, our relationship and that with our police here in Taitokerau is sound enough that if we are included in those decisions or we have an early intervention,” Mr Whiu says.

He says Waitangi Day is a good example of how iwi liaison officers and other police can work with Maori communities on sensitive issues.


Eastern Bay wheelchair athlete Matthew Lack had a big 2007.

The disabled Maori sportsperson of the year won eight gold medals in eight track events in the under 18 wheelchair section at the Australian Junior Nationals in Sydney earlier this year.

That's on top of the four silver medals and the bronze he brought home from the World Junior Games in South Africa.

The 16 year old Opotiki College student is training for his next challenge in Sydney next month, where he will compete in the under 23 section against some of the worlds’ best paralympians.

“They call it the summer down under series and it’s an event that I’ve been to most years that I’ve been wheelchair racing. It’s a senior event. And then I’ve got junior world champs in America in July,” Mr Lack says.

He says as 16 it feels strange to be called a role model.

Today is the International Day of Disabled Persons


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