Waatea News Update

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Hormia defends limited budget

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says most of the benefit for Maori from this week's budget will come from mainstream areas.

The Maori Affairs budget contained little new spending, with allocations for Maori Television, iwi radio and Maori Wardens standing out.

But Mr Horomia says money being spent in education and health, the Kiwi saver scheme, and economic development will allow Maori families to build on the real advances they have made under Labour.

“Most Maori are working. Most Maori are in study and that. We are no longer benefit dependent people. Isn’t that something to celebrate, so all the ones who continue to preach doom and gloom, it’s a very limited market in the sense of that,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the tax cuts favoured by National would take money from areas where Maori need support.


But the Green's Maori spokesperson says Labour is ignoring the most vulnerable sections of society.

Metiria Turei says all the extra spending in the budget was targeted to middle and upper income New Zealanders, and ignored those at the bottom, who include disproportionate number of Maori.

She says the use of tax credits in Working for Families and Kiwi Saver means beneficiaries miss out.

“We have got to stop this separation between peoples on the basis of the source of their income. People on benefits will have problems trying to get any real gain out of this budget and that is just not acceptable, given that there is money there that is available and should have been used to help those who have the least resources and are the most vulnerable,” Ms Turei says.


The head of health sciences at Auckland University says a failed project to screen 15,000 Waikato Maori for diabetes was worth doing.

Only 5000 people were screened by the Te Wai o Rona team by the time the study ended in December, at a cost of more than $4 million.

Professor Ian Martin rejects criticism from some Maori health practitioners that the study was poorly organised and left Maori feeling patronised.

Professor Martin says the target of 15,000 screenings was too ambitious, but the study answered an important question about what is feasible for diabetes prevention.

“Can you take a community, screen them for pre-diabetes, and then deliver within the community and intervention that reduces your risk of progression to diabetes and at a cost that is affordable to the health system as a whole? That was not possible,” Professor Martin says.

The study identified more than 260 people with diabetes, and it trained more than 20 healthcare workers who are still active in the community.


The chief executive of Maori Television says the channel's venture into digital television is likely to be completely in te reo.

Maori Television got $3 million capital funding in the budget for the move to a digital platform and $5 million more a year for new programming content and expanded broadcasts.

Jim Mather says Maori Television is an active member of the Freeview digital broadcasting consortium, and is keen to become a multi-channel broadcaster.

He says its initial ambitions are modest.

“They centre basically around launching a second complementary channel for Maori Television which more than likely would have a stronger te reo Maori component and also focus on an audience that were fluent reo speakers and those that wanted to have full immersion households,” Mr Mather says.


Meanwhile, National's Georgina Te Heuheu says an extra $1 million a year for iwi radio is a drop in the bucket.

The budget allocation amounts to just $45,000 for each station.
Ms Te Heuheu says is shows the Government still doesn't appreciate the role of the 21 stations in promoting kaupapa Maori.

“I would have thought they carried the voice of Maori and the perspectives of Maori to wider than Maori, so I’m not sure how $45,000 helps that that sort of kaupapa,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.


An electronic artwork based on a classic Tuwharetoa love story is included in a survey of new media artworks which opened in China this week.

Artist Natalie Robertson from Ngati Porou was invited to the fourth Shanghai International Science and Art Exhibition as a result of her participation in a festival of electronic art in San Jose, California last year.

Ms Robertson says while the work retells the story focused of a love triangle between three mountains near Kawerau, it also looks at the effect of pollution from the Kawerau paper mill.

“Tarawera's tears as she cried for Potouaki leaving her have now in my work became a lament for the desecration to the lower reaches of her own body, of the awa of the river. Because the Tarawera River below the Tasman pulp and paper mill is now referred to as the black drain because it was so heavily polluted by that industry,” Ms Robertson says.

A version of Natalie Robertson's piece is also on show at the moving Image Centre in Auckland's Karangahape Rd.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Budget plays down the M word

Michael Cullen’s eighth budget contained small changes in the Maori affairs budget, but most of the meat will come in other departments’ expenditure.

Waatea News editor Adam Gifford says the 10 centimetre pile of budget documents contains few surprises for Maori.

Since Labour got burned by reactions to its closing the gaps policy, the government has downplayed any specifically Maori initiatives.

The new spend this year is the extra $23 million for Maori television, whose broadcasts are appreciated by increasing numbers of non-Maori.

Concern about street crime means the Maori wardens get a long overdue $2.5
million to beef up their activities, and another $2 million dollars goes into a violence prevention programme.

Köhanga reo, which has been shrinking in recent years, gets $13.9 million over four years, a beneficiary of the Government’s overall investment in the early childhood sector.

There is also money to build some of the classrooms that kura kaupapa Maori and wharekura have been crying out for.

Associate health minister Mita Ririnui says some of the $750 million in extra health spending will be of particular benefit to Maori, especially some of the immunisation programmes, but there is no flagship Maori health initiative this time round.


The National party co spokesperson on Maori affairs is welcoming a trial project to provide simultaneous translations in the parliaments debating chamber.

The government allocated $230,000 in yesterday’s budget to the pilot programme, where MP's will use headsets to keep up with the play.

Georgina Te Heuheu says over the past few years there has been a marked increase in the use of Maori language in Parliament, and is likely to increase over time.

“The Parliament as a whole has had to get used to the fact that increasingly that te reo Maori is being used in the chamber, and a simultaneous translation. What that means is that all members of the House, the majority of whom aren’t Maori speakers, can keep up with the debate, and I think that’s always helpful,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.


Mahia Maori are fighting a $9 million sewerage scheme on their back door step.

Alice Wairau from the Rakato hapu says the planned site is close to Maori land the owners intend to use for housing.

Ms Wairau says there are better sites available in the region.

She says the owners have asked the Maori Land Court to step in, and they believe they have a good case.

“We believe it’s going to impact the neighbouring blocks, which are multiply-owned. The owners of those blocks were never notified. There was no consultation process with them,” Ms Wairau says.

Ngati Rakoto has asked the council to look at other options for treating the community's sewage.


The CEO of Maori television says the $23 million boost in the budget is a vote of confidence from the government.

Jim Mather says $3 million will be used to help launch the channel on a digital format, with the rest earmarked for operational costs over the next 4 years.

He says that could include an increase in broadcast hours, a reduction in repeat screenings and development of new programmes.

“It is a strong vote of confidence by the Government in Maori Television. Both of our responsible ministers, Parekura Horomia and Dr Michael Cullen, should be acknowledged as being very supportive of Maori Television, not just through the good times but also through the initial early difficulties, so I think this is a strong vote of confidence,” Mr Mather


One of the contributors to a new book on indigenous sexuality says Maori takataapui or gay people value their Maoriness.

The book will be launched today at Auckland University’s Waipapa marae.

Former Labour MP Georgina Beyer says it’s a fantastic compilation of stories and a landmark for the takataapui community.

“Fantastic compilation of contributions from many leading takataapui Maori and the theme that keeps reoccurring to me is how Maori culture is fundamental to our being and this book will provide a resource as well as first person stories of what it is to be takataäpui,” Ms Beyer says.


The restoration of a carved whare sitting in the grounds of an English stately home should strengthen its links with its homeland.

Historic Places Trust Maori heritage adviser Jim Schuster says Hinemihi needs a new roof, floor and electrical wiring.

The house was taken from New Zealand in 1892 to Clandon Park by former governor Lord Onslow.

Mr Schuster says he’s met with owners the National Trust, and is now awaiting the green light for the restoration.

He says it will include work from whänau here and abroad.

“We're also trying to link back to here in that Ngati Hinemhi people will make tukutuku panels for the inside and some will be made here and some over there so that everybody takes part in the rebuilding,” Mr Schuster says.

Hinemihi is a meeting place for many tangata whenua in Britain, including London-based culture group Ngati Ranana and Te Kohanga o Ranana.

Maori Wardens get budget injection

Maori wardens and Maori television are the big winner from today’s budget

Unlike last year, when Maori affairs Minister Parekura Horomia came under fire for not asking for extra funds, this year’s allocation jumped $12 million to $169 million.

Waatea news editor Adam Gifford says despite the extra spending the overall direction remains the same.

The Maori wardens, who have limped along on $178,000 a year, get a one-off $2.5 million for vehicles, communications, uniforms and training, which is being developed by the New Zealand Police College.

The money comes from cuts in Te Puni Kokiri’s operational funding, but TPK’s core budget is still up $3 million.

There is another $27 million over the next four years for Maori broadcasting, with $20 million going into operational funding for Maori television, $3 million for the channel’s move to digital television, and another $1 million a year for iwi radio, divided among 20 stations.

Over the next four years köhanga reo will get a $13.9 million boost, and there’s $6 million going to wänanga to boost research into Maori knowledge.


The Green Party is bucking iwi opinion and supporting a proposed amendment to the Fisheries Act which will give the Minister of Fisheries greater power to make decisions on the basis of sustainability.

Iwi interests, the fishing industry and Labour’s Maori caucus say the change is unnecessary because sustainability is already built into the quota management system.

But Greens Maori Affairs and Fisheries spokesperson Metiria Turei says more protection is needed.

Ms Turei says the Fisheries Amendment Bill is in line with the Maori perception of sustainability:

“I'm surprised to hear that other Maori MPs are opposed to that legislation because it’s the best way we can protect our assets long term. I understand Labour MPs are concerned because in some cases quota limits might need to be deduced in order to favour sustainability. It may have an impact on the value of the asset, but only for that season,” Ms Turei says.


The co-editor of a new book on indigenous sexuality hopes it will help gay rangatahi.

Jessica Hutchings, from Ngai Tahu and Ngati Huirapa, says she and health researcher Clive Aspin produced the book because of the pressure gay people came under during the debate over the Civil Unions Bill.

They gathered together the stories of 16 prominent Maori, including the challenges they faced coming out in Maori communities.

"These are some of the stories of being queer within the Maori community. It’s a bit of a way of saying you’re not alone. Others of us have done it before and it’s not always easy and here are some of the experiences that you can lean into,” Ms Hutchings says.

Sexuality and the stories of indigenous people will be launched at Auckland University's Waipapa Marae on Friday.


The Waitangi Tribunal has been given extra funds to help the Government to push its objective of settling all historic claims by 2020.

The Waitangi Tribunal will get an extra $7.7 million over the next four years, an increase of 25 percent.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says it reflects the government’s determination to quickly settle remaining historic claims.

However, the fine print of the budget doesn’t point to a sudden surge of settlements.

The amount set aside for landbanks is capped at $10 million – not enough to buy a Landcorp farm, as events this year proved – and the total it expects to spend on settlements this year is only $60 million.

With the Nga Kaihautu o te Arawa and the Tämaki Makaurau settlements under fire, that money could stay in the kitty.

Meanwhile, the Office of Treaty Settlements is getting a $900,000 boost, taking its budget for policy advice to $9.9 million.


New Zealand First MP Ron Mark says Maori better get ready to face the consequences of the child discipline bill.

Mr Mark was one of only eight MPs who voted against Green MP Sue Bradford's child discipline last night.

The bill removes the defence of reasonable force from the Crimes Act.

While the bill was amended to make it clear police have the discretion not to prosecute parents for "inconsequential" offences, Mr Mark says history shows that Maori rarely benefit from police discretion.

I think it’s going to make it very hard for any police officer who is asked to attend an incident and make a judgment on what is inconsequential and what is not, and my fear is when it comes to assessing Maori in such situations, we many not necessarily get the same assessment that we might in some other parts of town,” Mark says.

He says the bill shouldn’t have gone through without clear public support.


A leading marae restorer is chafing at delays in repairing a whare in

Jim Schuster travelled to Clandon Park in Surrey last year to assess the state of Hinemihi o te Ao Tawhito.

The house, which was carved by Mr Schuster’s great great grandfather 126 years ago, was taken from Te Wairoa near Rotorua in 1892 by then-governor Lord Onslow.

Mr Schuster says the National Trust, which is responsible for the building, isn’t due to hold its next restoration meeting until August.

He says that’s too far away.

Now that’s almost a year since the last meeting, so we wait, we watch this space with bated breath. We can’t really do anything because they are the legal owners of the place and whatever happens in the house has to fit in with their programme for the whole of Clandon Park,” Mr Schuster says.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Diabetes study money well spent

The head of health sciences at Auckland University says the $4 million spent on a controversial diabetes prevention study was money well spent.

The Wai Te Rona study was supposed to screen 15,000 Waikato Maori for the disease, but only managed 5000 before it was canned at the end of last year.

Professor Ian Martin says the study was not able to reach its ambitious targets, but the researchers now know that diabetes prevention programmes based on mass screening are not affordable with current technologies.

Professor Martin says the university got very little of the money.

“The majority of it was actually placed into the community to deliver the screening and to train new Maori healthcare providers within the community. That training took place, and there are between 20 and 25 new community healthcare workers who are out there still working who wouldn’t be out there if this project hadn't happened,” he says.

The study identified 260 new diabetics and put them on treatment programmes, and warned another 500 people that they were at high risk of contracting the disease.


The co-editor of a new book about being gay and Maori says it was inspired by the Destiny Church's protests against the Civil Union Bill.

Jessica Hutchings says the book, Sexuality and the Stories of Indigenous People, was a way to say Maori gay, lesbian and transgender people are not going away and they have a contribution to make to society.

Ms Hutchings says many Maori takatapui felt the publicity the predominently-Maori Destiny Church got over the Civil Union Bill was a personal attack on them.

“It was such an assault for many of us on who we are just as people, not necessarily only as queer people but as being a mother or being part of whanau or being part of tribal politics and our work identities. For people to stand up and walk down the streets and say hey, this is not okay – actually was not okay for many of us in the takatapui community,” Ms Hutchings says.

She says the book may help young Maori who are coming out feel they are not alone.


A suuccessful rat purge has boosted numbers of muttonbirds harvested this year.

Robert Coote from the Rakiura Treaty Committee, which oversees the harvest, says rats had been killing up to 20 percent of shearwater chicks each year on the Titi Islands.

Mr Coote says an eradication programme at the end of last season on four of the worst-infested islands seems to have worked.

“The signs are that rat eradication has been successful. Already there are reports of increased small bird presence on the islands and a bit of greenery there that hasn’t been there in many years, so everything’s looking quite positive in that department,” Mr Coote says.

The money for the rat eradication programme came from a trust set up after an oil spill off the California Coast.


Ngati Koata chairperson Fred Te Miha says a group trying cut Maori out of valuable marine farming areas at the top of the South Island should now drop its court case now a law change is imminent.

Ngati Koata and neighbouring iwi are due in the High Court next week to challenge the Golden Bay Marine Farmers Consortium.

The consortium claims the way it is applying for coastal space means there is no need to set aside 20 percent for Maori, as is required under the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act.

Mr Te Miha says the government's announcement this week that it intends to close off that loophole in the law spells the end to the consortium's plans.
He says the government should have acted sooner.

“We've wasted a lot of money going to court, put everyone through a lot of anguish and stress I suppose you would say, and this is one of the problems when the Crown hurries through and tries to push through legislation without consulting with people,” Mr Te Miha says.

The case has already cost top of the South Island iwi more than $20,000.


Money talks. That's the reaction from John Tamihere to David Bain's release from prison on bail.

The former Labour MP says while he's pleased for Mr Bain, he can't help wondering what might have happened if his brother David could have taken his case all the way to the Privy Council after being knocked back by the Court of Appeal.

David Tamihere is serving a life sentence for the 1989 murder of Swedish tourists Heidi Kaakonen and Urban Hoglin.

John Tamihere says a Privy Council appeal would have taken more money than the whanau could scrape together.

“Bain would not be in this position if he never had a millionaire backing him. He would be serving the lag right now, as a number of our people are. Justice regrettably in this country often depends on how much you can afford to get the best possible representation, and then go to the next level and the next level,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says applying the standard the Privy Council established in the Bain case, his brother should have been given another trial.


Manukau Institute of Technology has launched a new diploma to prepare Maori language speakers for jobs in the media.

Tutor Kotuku Tibble says the demand by Maori media for staff means speakers are being snapped up without any formal training.

He says that's unsustainable, so the polytechnic had developed a one year course which will ensure graduates can function proficiently in Maori or English.

“There was a need to establish some sort of Maori programme targeted at our wharekura kids that were leaving kura and wroking straight in media. They had the reo, the tikanga and knowledge of te ao Maori but probably very little training in relation to radio tv or magazine,” Mr Tibble says.

The first course starts in July.

Government moves to close aquaculture loophole

A change to aquaculture laws comes in the nick of time.

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope says the law will be clarified to ensure all marine farming applications conform with the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act, which gives Maori 20 percent of all new marine farming space.

Three top of top South Island iwi are due in the High Court next week to support Tasman District Council in its case against the Golden Bay Marine Farmers Consortium.

The consortium claims its application covers existing rather than new space, so the 20 percent rule doesn't apply.

Ngati Tamai chairperson Te Miha says the case revealed the flaws in the settlement Act, which was rushed to compensate Maori for some of what was taken by the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“They hurried it through and prepared it and made it in three weeks and there was a lot of bloody holes in it you could drive a truck through, and one of those groups from Golden Bay found those holes and tried to cut Maori out or iwi out of their 20 percent,” Mr Te Miha says.

He says the amended law needs to do a better job of getting Maori into the marine farming industry, rather than having to wait until 2015 as is likely under the existing Act.


Former Labour MP John Tamihere says applying the Privy Council's test on David Bain, his brother should have been given another trial.

David Tamihere is still serving a life sentence for the murder of Swedish tourists Heidi Paakkonen and Urban Hoglin, despite key prosecution evidence being discredited when Mr Hoglin's body was found several years after the trial.

John Tamihere says there are close parallels between Bain's case and his brother's.

“Our Court of appeal stitched them up real bad you know. It did exactly what Bain’s Court of Appeal did. His Court of Appeal said whatever new evidence you come up with, the jury would still have found them guilty. What the Privy Council said is ‘No no, you can’t say that, if it’s good enough evidence, put it in front of another jury and give him another trial.’ That’s what they’ve said in Bain,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the family is trying to get David Tamihere out on parole.


The new head of the National Centre for Mental Health Research says her priority is improving the way mental health workers interact with Maori.

Arawhetu Peretini of Ngati Kahungunu says there are unique challenges dealing with Maori patients and their whanau which many health workers don't appreciate.

Ms Peretini says those are the sorts of challenges seh will be putting before the centre.

“How do we work with district health boards to support them to ensure that their workforce know how to work with whanau. Sounds simple, hard to do. It’s how to ensure that all staff have some kind of really good basic competency, so they’ve got in their own kete some things that actually stand them in good stead,” Ms Peretini says.


Nelson iwi Ngati Koata has applied to the Civil Aviation Authority for permission to run its own airline.

Chief executive Caron Paul says it will charter two 18-seat Jetstream 31 planes to use for freight and charter services.

The planes were previously flown by Origin Pacific, which collapsed last year.

Ms Paul says the iwi intends to keep the service small.

“Last year we looked at a complete passenger service and freight and charters, but when we were researching it and doing our feasibility studies we found this was a more sensitive and conservative approach to enter the industry, and this way it’s a very safe way of doing it,” Ms Paul says.

The airline will employ about seven people.


The Sensible Sentencing Trust's new Maori researcher wants to hear from Maori hapu and whanau on their views about crime.

Kelly Te Heuheu says Maori share many of the views of wider society about crime, but they also have different perspectives because they are more likely to be victims of crime and violence.

Ms Te Heuheu says the trust's aim is to make communities safer, so it needs to know it is advocating the right solutions.

“To make those things effective and decrease the crime, it has to be more effective. It’s giving a voice out there to Maori and a voice out there to offenders. I mean, a lot of gang members have whanau, but that doesn’t mean they have the support of their whanau,” Ms Te Heuheu says.


Muttonbirders on the Titi Islands maintain the annual harvest for the cultural and spiritual experience rather than the money.

That's the view of Robert Coote, the chairperson of the Rakiura Treaty Committee, which oversees cultural harvests on Stewart Island and the Titi group.

He says many birding whanau use the trip to give their young people an appreciation of nature and keep alive the practices that have sustained their tupuna for generations.

“People don't go down there to thrash the birds any more. They just see it as more a spiritual thing. There are still those who see it as a fair part of their annual income, but all in all I think, season to season, if the birds are plentiful people will do reasonably well. If the birds aren’t plentiful, people will scale down accordingly,” Mr Coote says,

Good weather before the season started means this year's muttonbird catch is one of the best in recent times.

Eels clue to type 2 diabetes prevention

A Tainui researcher says Maori should go back to eating eels and other oily fish to ward off type two diabetes.

Marie Benton is shortly to receive a doctorate for the work she has done on the role in diabetes prevention of omega-3 fatty acid, which is found in high concentrations in eels, sardines and other fish.

Mrs Benton's thesis included a 10-year case study into her own Waikato hapu.

She says type two diabetes was unknown in Maori until about 10 years after the move to the cities started, so she looked for clues in diet and exercise patterns.

“So I looked at what the tupuna were doing. They were drinking lots of water. They were eating fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. They were eating tuna every day. They stored it. They smoked it. They prepared it in all sorts of ways. Then I looked at what we’re doing today. We’re getting into a western diet, high in meat and saturated fat, low in low in omega 3,” Mrs Benton says.

For her post doctoral research she wants to trial some grass roots health programmes, including reintroducing an eel diet.


Social worker and Black Power life member Dennis O'Reilly is supporting the right of Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia to speak out on gang violence.

Mrs Turia has come under fire for some of her recent comments that gangs shouldn't be seen as purely criminal enterprises, which contrast with calls from her some of her fellow parliamentarians that gangs should be outlawed.

Mr O'Reilly says all the criticism seems to be of gangs with mainly Maori members such as the Mongrel Mob and Black Power.

He says a lot of the outcry is ill informed, but Mrs Turia is worth listening to because of her track record and life experience working with gangs.

“When Tariana Turia speaks, she’s speaking form what she sees. When someone else speaks, they’re speaking form a less informed … they’re not running into these people on a day to day basis,” Mr O'Reilly says.


Old boys of St Stephen's Maori Boarding School are still pressuring the Ministry of Education to provide a replacement.

Former pupil Wassie Shortland says they haven't forgotten promises made by ministry officials that the closure was temporary.

But Mr Shortland says the Old Boys Association is resigned to the fact the Bombay site is unlikely to re-open.

“The shape and the future of the school will be a lot different from that we knew. It was one of the things we came to realise. If we want a new school, it can’t be because we want something as a monument to our part. It must be something built on the future of Maoridom, not on the past,” Mr Shortland says.

The death of old boy Malietoa Tanumafili II, the head of state of Samoa, is a reminder of the importance of St Stephens not only to Maori but to the Pacific Island communities who sent their sons to it.


The Waitangi Tribunal says it intends to issue its report on Central North Island claims on June the 18th.

The tribunal held a judicial conference yesterday to discuss the scope of the report and how it affected an urgent hearing into the proposed settlement of some Te Arawa land claims.

Claimants from Tuwharetoa, Tuhoe and some Te Arawa hapu told the tribunal the imminence of the report showed the folly of the Crown trying to settle part of the claim by direct negotiation with the Nga Kaihautu group, which represents only about half of Te Arawa.

The Nga Kaihautu settlement will take about a third of the Kaingaroa Forest out of the pool of assets the Crown has available for settlement.


The newly appointed Maori spokesperson for the Sensible Sentencing Trust says tougher sentences and lowering the age of criminal responsibility are the ways to stop rangatahi heading for a life of crime.

Kelly Te Heu Heu from Tuwharetoa says it's time Maori took a hard line on the crime and violence afflicting their communities.

She says more than half of the prison roll is Maori, and it shouldn't be allowed to continue.

“If tougher sentencing came in, even for our younger ones, it sets up road blocks. It’s a preventative measure to save our kids from going on the path of destruction. And if it came in early enough, ewe can save our kids. By the time they get to 16, 17, when the courts can deal with them, they're too far gone,” Ms Te Heuheu says.

She stayed in New Zealand to fight crime, rather than joining whanau who moved to Australia to get away from the negative influences threatening their tamariki and mokopuna.


A Maori researcher who has discovered that an eel diet can ward off type two diabetes says the fish, or tuna as they are known to Maori, don't taste like they used to.

Marie Benton from Ngati Mahuta did a decade long case study of eel consumption among her own hapu as part of her doctoral thesis on the effect of Omega three fats on diabetes prevention.

A sample group of kaumatua who regularly ate eels, which are high in omega three, had no diabetes, while relatives and even siblings who shifted to a more western diet went down with the disease.

Mrs Benton says while urbanisation may have curtailed the Maori appetite for tuna, so did other factors.

“I know a lot of the kaumatua said the taste of the tuna, the taste of the eel, changed because of all the effluent and pollution in the river. It changed the taste of the tuna. And then of courser there’s less supply because of all the hydro-electric dams which were built,” she says,

Sardines are a good substitute for eels, because they are also high in omega three.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Government throws in $6.5m for cape carparking

Associate tourism minister Dover Samuels says a multi million dollar makeover of Cape Reinga is in the national interest.

This week's Budget will include an extra six and a half million dollars for the Conservation Department to redevelop car parks, toilets, landscaping and walking tracks at New Zealand's northernmost tourism attraction.

Once that's done DoC along with Ngati Kuri, te Aupouri and Enterprise Northland will build a $10 million visitor centre.

Mr Samuels says with visitor numbers expected to soon top 200,000 people a year, existing facilities were struggling to cope.

“This grant is very significant for Maori, for tourism and for the country. International visitors to the cape, Te Rerenga Wairua, is increasing every year, and the need for good facilities has been mooted over the long time I’ve been in Parliament,” Mr Samuels says.

Maori believed Te Rerenga Wairua was the departure point for the spirits of the dead.


A former president of the Wanganui Mongrel Mob says proposals to outlaw gangs are impractical.

Willie McGregor is now a Christian who counsels gang members in Wanganui.

He says outlawing gangs will only make them appear more attractive to wannabe gangsters.

“The gang format is really a family away from a family for most of those people, and so when you ban a patch, you do nothing, you do absolutely nothing. I don’t know that we have the police to enforce it, and certainly it’s a mindset that the gangs don't recognize,” Mr McGregor says.

He says increased violence in society stems from the influence of American films and electronic games which glamourise violence, rather than anything gangs do.


A former pupil of St Stephens says the death of the Samoan head of state will be felt by all those associated with the Anglican Maori boys boarding school.

Waihoroi Shortland says at 94, Malietoa Tanumafili II was probably the oldest Hato Tipene old boy.

Mr Shortland say the school, which closed six years ago, was the training ground not just for Maori leaders but for many Pacific Island boys who went on to be prominent in Pacific politics.

“From the Cooks, there were several from Tonga, certainly from the Solomon Islands, there were archbishops, there were all sorts of leaders that spent their formative years at Tipene,” Mr Shortland says.


The Maori fisheries settlement trust is calling for the Government to drop the Fisheries Amendment Bill, which would lead to a more conservative approach to fisheries management.

Te Ohu Kaimoana member Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngati Kahungunu says Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has been given bad advice by his officials on how to deal with a string of court cases the ministry has lost.

Mr Tomoana says instead of admitting it got it wrong, the ministry is trying to change the law by claiming it doesn't promote sustainability.

He says that's wrong.

“The amendment threatens to give the minister absolute say, without any consultation, without any right of appeal, to determine what is the utilization and what is conservation and what is sustainability and to iwi whanui tonu, it is unacceptable the rights that were gained under the deed of settlement,” Mr Tomoana says.

The Fisheries Act already provides an internationally recognised regime where sustainability goes hand in hand with utilisation.


Maori health groups will be looking for ways to influence how an extra $23 million for suicide prevention will be spent.

Merryn Statham from the Suicide Prevention Information service says while no Maori-specific projects have been identified in advance of this week's budget, it's an area that needs attention.

The Maori suicide rate is currently higher than that of the general population.

Ms Statham says the $2.6 million for an awareness campaign for young people suffering depression will be money well spent, because depression is one of the main indicators for suicidal behaviour.

“When whanau members recognise that there’s something not actually ok with their family member or their colleague or their friend, that there’s a better understanding that they will actually know what to do about that, and how to get help for their whanau member or the person that they're working with,” Ms Statham says.

The Maori suicide rate needs to be addressed alongside other health disparities for Maori communities.


The New Zealand Maori team for the Churchill Cup rugby tournament in England will include ten new caps.

Crusaders' midfielder Rua Tipoki has been named captain, and the side also includes experienced hands such as Angus McDonald, Christian Ormsby, Tanerau Latimer and Liam Messam.

Coach Donny Stevenson says the side is taking a single minded approach to the task ahead.

“We're defending that cup, so we’re going over there determined to retain it. We’ve had our first team meeting, and we just talked abut the challenges ahead and the expectations so the boys look up to it so now we just start training and working towards that result,” Mr Stevenson says.

The team flies out on Friday afternoon.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tommy the Clown goes west to foil gang lure

Gangs are no laughing matter for a Maori communities, but West Auckland's Waipareira Trust is using a clown to tackle the problem.

It has brought out Detroit Hip Hop artist Tommy the Clown for a school tour offering rangatahi alternatives to gang life.

Tommy the Clown is credited with bringing the krumping dance style to the world, and he encourages street gangs to battle it out with dance moves rather than guns or fists.

Waipareira chief executive John Tamihere says the message cuts through to rangatahi.

“This bloke's message is all abut anti-crime, anti-drugs, anti-gang. They use a very good medium that connects with our young people and that’s what you got to do, connect with our young people,” Mr Tamihere says.

Tommy the Clown is in west and south Auckland this week and Waikato and Wellington next week.


Maori-owned award winning wine company Tohu Wines is looking to maintain its growth despite a frost which wiped out a major new vinyard in Nelson.

Director Keith Palmer says over the past nine years products has risen to 60,000 cases, with most exported to the United States.

Most of the grapes come from its own vineyards in Marlborough and the East Coatst, with additional supplies from contract growers like Gisborne's Wi Pere Trust.

Mr Palmer says it is moving to growing all its own grapes, but it didn't quite work out this harvest.

Unfortunately this year in our major vineyard on November 16 we had a frost which wiped all our grapes out in that new vineyard which was the first full year of production, so we’re very fortunate that we did have some contract growers we’d kept on, and they managed to fulfill the gap in our supply,” Mr Palmer says.

Tohu Wines is trying to encourage more young Maori to join the wine industry.


A pair of Maori puppeteers are using their skills at the ancient craft to given children a new experience of te reo Maori.

Jeffrey Addison from Ngai Tahu became interested in puppets while working on television satire Public Image.

With his wife Whaitaima Te Whare from Tuwharetoa, he has created more than 80 puppets, including Poura the Koura, Gazza the possum even the demigod Maui.

When they're not working on television puppet shows, the pair travel the country in their house bus giving shows as schools and kohanga reo.

“Knowing that we had to create our own work was the genesis of us forming our own puppet theatre group called Toro Pikopiko, and we had such a positive response from there, because there was just nothing for our tamariki at the kohanga reo in terms of traveling entertainment shows i te reo Maori,” Mr Addison says.

The whanau are working on a third series of Toro Pikopiko E! for Maori Televison.


New Plymouth's Ngati Te Whiti is celebrating its second oil strike.
The hapu has a six percent stake in Greymouth Petroleum, which has a licence over the country's oldest oil field, Moturoa near Port Taranaki.

One well has been producing about three barrels a day for several years, but a new exploratory well is pumping out almost 200 barrels a day.

Ngati Te Whiti spokesperson Peter Love says while the Crown has ruled out giving Maori any rights to sub-surface minerals, Greymouth Petroleum did the right thing and entered a joint venture the tangata whenua of their licence area.

“There was going to be disturbance of the seabed and foreshore in terms of our kaimoana fishing grounds. There’s nothing you can do about that. Exploration licences of course take precedence over everything,. You can own the land until you’re blue in the face but if the government issues them a licence, well then they're away,” Mr Love says.

The oil and natural gas in the field could be worth more than 100 million dollars over the next 20 years.


Maori wardens in West Auckland say it's not the traditional gangs that are causing trouble.

Spokesperson Jack Taumaunu says Black Power and the Mongrel Mob are portrayed as being at the root of gang problems nationwide, in the wake of the shooting death of a Black Power member's daughter in Wanganui last week.

He says the real problems are with cross cultural gangs, or crews as they are called, modeling their behaviour on American street gangs.

“Most of the gangs come from a different era. We are dealing not with the Mongrel Mob, the Black Power like the press explains and everyone else, we’re dealing with another hidden, younger, far worse gang strife, and that is to do with the younger generation,” Mr Taumaunu says,

The Waitemata Wardens are able to develop working relationships with the leaders of youth gangs because they are less intimidating than the police.


A director of Tohu Wines says the award winning Maori-owned company is taking a long term approach to bringing Maori into leadership positions.

Keith Palmer says while some Maori land trusts have diversified into viticulture, there is still not a large Maori presence in the industry.

Mr Palmer says Tohu wants to encourage Maori into the workforce, but there are no shortcuts when it comes to making and marketing good wine.

“It's like every industry and wine’s no different, you can’t just leap into it. And when we talk about our young Maori coming in to run our businesses, that’s a generation away, You can’t just go to university, learn, or do an apprenticeship of five or six years and then take over. There’s a long time horizon to building up the capability to run it totally yourself,” Mr Palmer says.

Tohu is now producing about 60,000 cases a year, with most of it exported to the United States.

Students gripe at budget top up

The new head of the Maori Tertiary Students Association says a $40 million funding boost in the budget for universities isn't enough.

The money, spread over four years, is to support change in key areas, including increasing the achievement of groups such as Maori.

Victor Manawatu says it will be a pittance by the time it gets to Maori students.

He says the government is taking a piecemeal approach to the sector without facing the real problems facing Maori students.

“We're still talking about high fees. We’re still talking about eligibility of allowances. Only 29 percent of all students are eligible for student allowances, so they’re not really addressing the real poverty line,” Mr Manawatu says.

He says the government still hasn't come up with a suitable replacement for the Manaaki Tauira grants and scholarships for Maori students, which were axed last year.


Eight marae in the Franklin area are taking a new approach to improving the health of communities along the lower Waikato river.

The Project coordinator from Huakina Development Trust says each marae will choose a kaiwhakahaere or health worker to develop and run Oranga Pai programmes, which are a mix of physical activity and nutrition advice.

Ms Ratu says the initiative was developed after a Port Waikato kuia approached primary health organisation ProCare Network Manukau because of her concern about the poor health levels among the 6 thousand Maori living in the region.

“She was just concerned at the level of people who were diabetic and having dialysis and the fact that our mokopuna think that it’s normal to be diabetic and normal to go up to dialysis every day abnd shew just became very concerned about that and started talking until she got the right person,” Ms Ratu says.

The Marae Hauora Project involves ProCare Network Manukau, Maori providers, local iwi, the Counties Manukau District Health Board and Counties Manukau


Maori followers of the Baha'i faith now have a book in te reo to consult.

Spokesperson Cheryl Davis from Ngati Hine says the inspiration for the project was the large and growing number of Maori Baha'i.

She says because the original book was written in a poetic form, much of the content was translated as waiata and moteatea for Maori readers.

“The English version was translated from Persian, so it went from Persian to English and now it’s gone to Maori, and the beauty of the English version is just as beautiful in Maori of course,” Ms Davis says.

Baha'i, which has its roots in Shi'a Islam, has been established in Aotearoa for 50 years.


Former Maori affairs minister Tau Henare says he's going to hammer his former ministry and its minister until it lifts its performance.

The National list MP says Te Puni Kokiri has handed out almost $1.5 million in contracts without calling for tenders, in breach of its own rules.

He says the performance of the Maori development ministry TPK leaves a lot to be desired.

“You can get away with some sloppy work for so long, and somebody out there is going to nail you in the end. And all I am saying is you are spending taxpayers’ money, and you owe it to the public to make sure you are doing things by the book,” Mr Henare says.

He says neither Te Puni Kokiri nor minister Parekura Horomia are delivering results for Maori.


A company which wants to use the tides in Kaipara Harbour to generate electricity says its plans could help Maori achieve their aims of cleaning up the harbour and restoring fisheries.

Anthony Bellve, the executive director of Crest Energy, says the company is consulting extensively with tangata whenua.

The councils managing the harbour will hold joint resource consent hearings in July on Crest's plans to place 200 one megawatt turbines on the harbour floor.

Mr Bellve says the turbine bases, which will be spread across 18 square kilometres, will create their own ecosystem.

“The base is 20 by 30 metres, so it’s the size of a reasonably large house, and filled with rock in that way, it could act as a marine reserve In the long run it could benefit the fishing in the harbour. That turnaround could occur within two or three years, based on the experience overseas,” Mr Bellve says.

Crest Energy's plans include encouraging replanting of native bush in catchments emptying into the Kaipara, to reduce sedimentation.


An American hip hop celebrity is making a return visit to Aotearoa to show kids there are alternatives to the gang life.

Tommy the Clown was brought back by West Auckland's Te Whanau O Waipareira to work in schools and streets encouraging young people to encourage them to channel their talents into hip hop.

The Detroit man is credited with introducing the battlezone, where rival crews go head to head to see who has the best moves.

“Happy to be in New Zealand again. We came before, rocked the big show, and now we’re back here, spreading the battlezone so what we’re going to do is we’re going to encourage everybody to form their crew. New Zealand has dancers here that are very skilful. And come together and battle on the dance floor,” he says.

Tommy the Clown will be at schools in West and South Auckland this week before heading to Waikato and Wellington.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hearing sought on Kaingaroa settlement

Claimants objecting to the proposed Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa land settlement have asked the Waitangi Tribunal for a further hearing on forestry issues.

The tribunal set aside the issues when it sat in March because it did not want to overlap with a separate High Court challenge by Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council.

Any hearing raises the risk that the tribunal may not be able to complete its report before the Government introduces enacting legislation.

The proposed settlement sparked a two pronged attack.

Some Te Arawa hapu went to the Waitangi Tribunal, challenging the way the Crown dealt with just half of the tribe.

The Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council challenged the mechanics of the deal in the High Court, saying it breaches the 1989 agreement establishing the system for settling forestry claims.

Last week Justice Gendall said the court could not stop Parliament passing laws, but if it went ahead the Crown would be in breach of its duty of good faith to all Maori.

Waitangi Tribunal presiding officer Carin Fox says now Justice Gendall’s decision is out, the tribunal can consider forestry issues.

She asked lawyers for the claimants and the Crown to make submissions this week on whether a hearing is needed, but warned there is little time left.


Anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond says her research into early European contacts with Tahiti is revealing valuable information on pre-European Maori.

Professor Salmon's Aphrodite's Island: the European Discovery of Tahiti will be published next year.

She says it was fascinating to look at the kind of society that Maori originally came from, and at the kind of things that were carried over the ocean.

Professor Salmond says the Tahitian high chiefs were distinguished by their red feather girdles.

“Well in Aotearoa, at time of first contact, when Cook was sailing around the coast for example, people came out in red feather cloaks, and I think they were an equivalent of those high chiefs of the early period, wearing the same kind of symbols, only they’d turned into cloaks rather than girdles by that time, presumably because the climate was so different,” she says.

The next book will be about what happened to Maori in the period after the arrival of the missionaries and before the land wars.


An expert in Maori potatoes says there is still a lot to be done to commercialise the ancient crop.

Nick Roskruge from Massey University is working with growers' collective to

Tahuri Whenua to find out which of about 20 different types of taewa or potatoes has the most potential.

Four varieties are already grown with the commercial market in mind, including a restaurant favourite - the purple yam shaped tutaekuri.

Mr Roskruge says the trials should remove some of the risks for growers.

“It's really about cretin gab opportunity for Maori with these foods. To be able to produce them commercially, you’ve got to be able to get enough yield out of them and have consistent quality, so the trial’s about trying to pick the best ones,” he says.

Mr Roskruge says this year's harvest was poor, because of the wet spring and cold pre-Christmas temperatures.


Wanganui iwi are pressing ahead with plans to achieve greater control of the Whanganui river.

Wanganui River Maori Trust Board member Jarrod Albert says negotiations with the Crown have stalled over issues ownership and control.

He says the Crown wants to confine iwi to the Resource Management Act framework.

Mr Albert says the river tribes want more, and are looking for ways to improve the health of the river.

“Iwi are focusing on establishing some other pathways to achieve the same outcome, in terms of the health and well being of our river, and that’s about operationalising our policy, and starting to take little steps ourselves to continue to show the leadership we have shown regarding the proper management of our river,” Mr Albert says.

He says there are few models to work on, but Whanganui iwi want more than the shared management arrangements in the Te Arawa lakes settlement.


A history of Maori rugby league is planned for next year's centenary.

The book is being put together by two West Coasters, journalist John Coffey and former New Zealand Rugby League director Bernie Wood.

Mr Coffey says given the traditional strength of league in Maori communities, it's a logical follow up to the pair's 440 page tome on the first hundred years of the New Zealand Kiwis.

He says the story should start with brothers Ernie and Opae Asher, who were part of the first Maori rugby league tour to Australia in 1908.

“Ernie remained in the game as a player and administrator for 60 years and Opae, who had been an All Black, he was considered the greatest wing of his time, and of course through the years there have been hundreds of great players,” Mr Coffey says.

The book will be a chance to recognise players like Brownie Paki, who crossed the Tasman in 1923 to play for St George.


Maori comedian Andre King is looking towards the next generation of Maori comic talent on the horizon.

The Te Kauwhata-raised comedian is one half of comic duo the Whakas - that's spelt w- h - a - k - a.

They're performing their Maori Protocol for Dummies show at the Auckland comedy festival and at a showcase of Maori and Pacific Island comedians in Manukau later this week.

Mr King says the real laughs come in their Class Comedians workshops, where they offer tips to high school students.

“Everything from stagecraft to mike technique to how to write a good gag, where you’re setting the premise, reinforcing the premise, and then hitting them with the punch line that’s a twist. And I mean I look at them and I think if I’d started when I was 14 or 15 years old doing jokes the way these guys are doing jokes, by the time these guys are my age, they're going to be amazing,” Mr King says.